2 Samuel 10
It's important to note that David's heart is in the right place. He was trying to honor the king of Ammon, and to comfort his son. The first insight I get from looking at Nahash's advisors and how they influenced his response and what would unfold from there, is just the insecurity and fears which define us so much and end up destroying us. Nahash had a friend and ally in David and Israel. But in his suspiciousness of David's true motive, he starts a fight he can't really finish. And it's obvious that he can't finish it because he hired the Syrians in a desperate attempt to combat Israel's military prowess.
I just wonder how many of our relationships, how many of my relationships, have been destroyed or at least damaged by own skepticism and insecurities. In my fears of being exploited or taken advantage of or of being betrayed, I can unwittingly create the conflict which I wrongly assumed existed.
I guess I'm looking at Nahash and thinking that probably through this whole conflict he never even thought that he was wrong in his original assessment, that David was out to get him. His own fear provoked an aggressive response where none was needed, but all that unfolded from there, on the surface, would legitimize his original reaction... at least I suspect.
I've seen this in my life and in so many others, in interpersonal conflict where distrust predisposes us toward defensiveness and combativeness which is actually uncalled for and unnecessary. But because our acts of aggression often precipitate a like response from the other, it seems to confirm our distrust. This is a sad game that goes on in both subtle ways but also in catastrophic ways.
I'm just considering this morning my own heart and invite you to as well... To ask God for wisdom and discernment about unhealthy forms of distrust in your life. Are there relationships which deserve your trust, but because of other experiences and woundedness, you withhold trust from people who deserve it? Have you perhaps fallen into the trap of confirmation bias, interpreting others actions through the lens of what you assumed in the first place, or what you have created yourself?
2 Samuel 11
This chapter is such a cautionary tale. This changed David's life and legacy forever. There is deep personal anguish caused by David's sin and far reaching effects of that sin in how it causes wreckage for so many people. In some significant ways, all of Israel, because David was their king, suffers the collateral damage of his own "private" sin. I will write a separate blog related to the pattern we see and how we might fight the temptations of sexual sin in our own lives and in our own sex obsessed culture. For the purposes of here, in the devotional sense, there is one thing that just haunts me here...
I can live my whole life with conviction and courage, following after God, striving to labor for him, and bear fruit for him... I can love Jesus, love his people, walk with integrity, pursue holiness and maturity, work diligently and excellently, enjoy God's blessing and favor and grace... I can make wise decision after wise decision and build my life on the strength of wisdom and discernemnt and understanding... and regardless of all that... even 20, 30, 40, 50 years of such wisdom, I AM ALWAYS A COUPLE MINUTES AND SPLIT SECOND DECISIONS from ruining my life, my marriage, my family, my ministry and my testimony.
There are any number of areas in which we can make a series of small decisions or lose our way just for a few moments, will cost us everything. But our sexual impulses are particularly vulnerable to this kind of lapse in judgement. We cannot ever go to sleep on the pursuit of sexual purity because the world, the flesh and the Devil are fiercely set against us, and the temptations and urges toward immorality can come seemingly out of nowhere. If we are not on on alert always... ever vigilant and diligent in guarding our hearts and minds and bodies from the enticing, powerful, persistent and sinful impulses to gratify the flesh, we are very likely to follow David down this path of destruction.
Don't be a fool and think you are beyond this, no matter what your history of uprightness and purity may be. We are all susceptible to this area of sin... men and women alike. We must actively distance ourselves from the temptations that are coming for us... we must "flee sexual immorality," not hope we don't fall into it. This is a great misnomer... that we fall into sexual sin. We don't. We make choices every day, many times a day often, that move us in the direction of holiness or of fleshliness.
What choices are you making today? and in what direction are they moving you? (think interactions, internet activity, entertainment choices, thoughts, etc.)
How are you pursuing purity and fidelity?
2 Samuel 12:1-15
Stories are incredibly powerful. I was talking with someone the other night, and we were discussing movies and he mentioned one I'd never seen before and he said you have to see that movie. When I asked why, he went on to tell me that God used a single line from that movie to change his whole life. There was a profound impact on him personally which originated from a movie. I love that.
Stories are so powerful in awakening our imaginations, connecting our emotions to real life experiences, and even in communicating truths which we don't have words to articulate. Stories draw us out and reveal things within. I love movies and tv and good books that move me and leave me wrestling with new thoughts, considerations, ideas and feelings. And this is what Nathan, in his prophetic brilliance uses to confront and expose David, as well as to appeal to his conscience. Jesus uses stories in similar ways.
Anyway... there's so much I could elaborate on here, but what's primary in my heart that God is incredibly merciful to David, considering the gravity of his sin. But even with God's love for David, his forgiveness of David, and hisgrace and mercy toward David, there are still enormous consequences which David suffers and those around him and under his leadership. God can and does forgive every sin repented of and every repentant sinner... He may even remove the greatest consequence sin that is death and separation from him.b But God almost never removes all the consequences of sin.
With real divine grace and forgiveness extended to David, he must still walk out the long term pain and suffering which his sin has caused and created. And true repentance accepts those consequences and remains humbly repentant in the face of those consequences. Beloved, our sins are real and their effects are real. And while God is good and gracious and merciful and forgiving, he will not shield us from all the consequences of which our sin brings upon us. Mature, humble and repentant people take responsibility for sin, and it's consequences without being entitled to anything better or embittered by the self-inflicted pain.
2 Samuel 12:16-31
2 Samuel 13:1-22