Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Counting the Cost First...

"Well, well, well," as the old lady once said, "deep subject." In the historical order of Biblical events, today's reading brings me to a passage that I believe is the most difficult in all of the Old Testament. So tragic is this account that it almost brought me to tears as I read this morning in much the same way that watching "The Notebook" always does--it just gets me, plain and simple.

2 Samuel 11 and 12 and 1 Chronicles 20 are the day's scriptures, and in these verses the story of David's sin with Bathsheba is told.

There are so many things that could be mentioned about this tragedy--but I think I will focus on the potential perils of yielding to temptation. David had many wives, yet when he saw Bathsheba (an interesting name for a woman who was taking a bath in view of the palace, huh?--I wonder if that is the origin of our word Bath?~)he didn't look away. He stared, then he inquired, then he summoned, then he slept with her. As a side note, no mention is made of her having resisted, but then again, he was the King.

All of the above happened while her husband was fighting bravely for Israel. In fact, he (Uriah) was one of David's "mighty men," and yet David apparently gave little thought to his sinful actions.

Scripture says that Bathsheba became pregnant from the illicit encounter, so something had to be done--and what better option than a cover up? David would send for Uriah and allow him a little furlough so that he would believe the child was his. But this extraordinary man refused to take advantage of the opportunity while his fellow soldiers were still in battle, so Plan A was foiled.

As a result, despicable Plan B was devised. It involved Uriah being moved to the front lines of battle so that he would be killed. This terrible plan was successful, so David and Bathsheba concealed their sin from everyone-- except God.

God sent Nathan, a prophet, to tell a story to David so that he could see how heinous his actions were. After listening to the "tale," David said that the person who would do such a thing deserved death. At that point, he realized that he was the guilty man and recognized the gravity of his sinful choices.

Make no mistake my precious ones, there IS pleasure in sin for a season. (see Hebrews 11:25.) But there are consequences when we choose to disobey the Lord, and he always knows what we have done even if we successfully keep it from others.

I have witnessed the benefit of confession in my own life and the lives of those I love. I have also endured the agony of concealed sin and learned as a result that it is only when we come clean before God and ask His forgiveness that we are able to experience intimacy with Him.

At the time of his temptation, David did not consider the cost of his choice. I am confident that he never imagined he'd be facing an unplanned pregnancy, the murder of an honorable soldier, a dead child, a daughter who was raped by one of his sons, a son who was murdered by his brother, and family discord the likes of which are terrifying to imagine.

Here are God's words to David about his sin:

2 Samuel 12:
11 “This is what the Lord says: Because of what you have done, I will cause your own household to rebel against you. I will give your wives to another man before your very eyes, and he will go to bed with them in public view. 12 You did it secretly, but I will make this happen to you openly in the sight of all Israel.”

God also asked David why he despised His Word. In our Father's sight, it is as if we loathe his word when we ignore its tenets. Any loving parent understands the tremendous disappointment that accompanies a child's rebellion. The agony associated with rejection of a parent's devotion and sacrifice is enormous.

I pray that this reminder from scripture helps us all count the cost first--before our actions suggest that we despise his Word.

Father, help us regard your Word as a treasure that we may not sin against you--and forgive us our many failures by the blood of our Savior Jesus who died in our place on the cross of suffering. Thank you for mercy. Praise you for grace. Help us remember, let us count the cost first, teach us to think, and make us holy.

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