David, You are the Man!

The LORD sent Nathan to David. When he came to him, he said, “There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor.The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him.

“Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him.”

David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, “As surely as the LORD lives, the man who did this deserves to die! He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.”

Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man!”  2 Samuel 12:1-7

This is not the first time that Nathan appeared before David. In 2 Samuel 7, Nathan told David that someone from David’s lineage would build a house for the Lord. David trusted Nathan. In the present story, Nathan got David angry about a story character that Nathan had presented.

Then, out of nowhere, Nathan said to David, “You are the man!” Then Nathan revealed to David what he had done.

The last two devotionals have talked about God knowing all. We just cannot hide from the eyes of the Lord. As the Psalmist wrote in Psalm 139, “if I make my bed in the depths, ah, you are there!” No place on earth, under the earth, above the earth, or in the seas can we hide from God. Do you think He doesn’t see it all? Do you think he is able to see watch six billion people at once?

Praise God that He is all-seeing and all-knowing. Then pray that He will continue to smile upon your actions.

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Bathsheba’s Pain

When the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she lamented over her husband. And when the mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD. 2 Samuel 11:26-27

David essentially raped a woman, then had her husband killed. King David tried to cover up his actions with Bathsheba. If it had come out what he had done, it would be scandalous. He would probably lose a great following. It troubles me that the situation wasn’t dealt with more harshly on the spot (because at the very least Joab knew what David had done with Uriah).

But I find great comfort in verse 27: But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD. As far as I can tell, displeasing the Lord is not a good thing. And it was written down for generations and generations to see: David had displeased the Lord.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s devotional, God knew what David had done even though most of his Kingdom hadn’t a clue. He knew and He was displeased.

Maybe you have been wronged; God knows it. Perhaps you have been cheated or robbed; God knows it. Or even yet, maybe you have been abused, violated, or raped; God knows it.

God’s heart breaks at your pain and your suffering, and am convinced He wants to be your Comfort and Strength.

In the story above, Bathsheba was all of that, and yet it seemed like King David, Mighty King David, got away with it. It seemed like God just turned away from Bathsheba while all of this happened to her. He didn’t turn away and David didn’t get away with it. I don’t have a lot of answers that can explain all of that, but I do know that God is worthy. Just as he was Bathsheba’s strength, He will be yours as well.

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He Knew It

So David sent this word to Joab: "Send me Uriah the Hittite."
In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah. In it he wrote, "Put Uriah in the front line where the fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so he will be struck down and die."
2 Samuel 11:6, 14-15

Coverups are usually more disastrous than the actual event being covered up. David's dealing with Uriah is a clear case of this. Rather than dealing with his own sin, David covered it up. Bathsheba knew it. David knew it. And God knew it.

God knew it.

God knows when we're false and when we try to cover our own sinful tracks. Rather than taking the blame for our faults and actions (or inactions), we try to shift blame whenever possible. It's human nature. Adam and Eve tried to point fingers and shift the blame. David did the same. In Adam and Eve's case, God responded by "searching" for them. In David's case he would later send the prophet Nathan. There will come a day "when God shall judge the secrets of man by Jesus Christ according to my gospel" (Romans 2:16). In other words, we're not going to get away with sin or its coverup. They are not a secret to God.

Praise the Lord that He knows our hearts and our actions. Praise HIm that He is there to rescue us from our sin and the coverup it can lead to.

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David and Bathsheba

One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, "Isn't this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite?" 2 Samuel 11:2-3

This is perhaps one of the most well-known stories in the Old Testament. David sinned. It wasn't Bathsheba's fault because refusing the King could have meant death for her. No, David sinned. He should have been at war but he wasn't. He couldn't sleep so he got up and roamed his palace. He was bored. We could even use the adage, "idle hands are the devil's tools."

When you're bored and have time on your hands, you can get into trouble. It happens to celebrities all the time. They have unstructured time between movies, so they do whatever they want and often it lands them in jail or worse.

So, this paragraph is geared for the guys in my audience. Be extremely careful of your unstructured time, especially if you're on the internet a lot. You don't have to be a genius to realize that photos and videos of nude women are all over the internet. Guard your hearts and your minds, gentlemen. Don't go there. Don't even think of going there. Run from it. Flee fast. Don't put yourself in that situation.

And ladies, don't think you're not immune to the temptations that idleness brings you. Perhaps you're lonely or your husband isn't giving you enough attention. You too can get bored. So you naturally gravitate towards online friendships, because they're "safe.". Be very careful of the kinds of relationships you build online. If you think your husband might be jealous if he found out how much time you are "chatting" with a guy online, then it's probably not a good idea to pursue that relationship further.

So, men and women are tempted by our idleness in very different ways. We need to honestly examine these temptations and act accordingly.God will provide a way out but we have to acknowledge that before the fact.

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NIV)

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In-The-Dark Character

In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king's men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem. 2 Samuel 11:1

Up to this point, David had been heroic and victorious in battle. He was defeating his enemies left and right. It was the duty of kings to lead their men into battle. David didn't. We've read the story. We know what's coming ahead. David had a lot of idle time on his hands. His mind wandered; his eyes wandered.

Four thousand years later we're still talking about what happened next. In a nutshell, David fell because he apparently had neglected the little things: what would he do when his men were away and the wives were all alone? what would he do with his ample free time? The King of Israel could do what the wanted when he wanted, and besides who would stop him?

So I ask, what do you do in your free time when no one's watching? Where do your thoughts and mind roam? When there's no one around but you and God, what do you do?

D.L. Moody said it best, "Character is what you are in the dark." Ask God to help you "take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." 2 Corinthians 10:5

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Just Because

When Mephibosheth son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, came to David, he bowed down to pay him honor. David said, Mephibosheth!"
 "Your servant," he replied. 2 Samuel 9:6

This is an interesting little story tucked away in the pages of 2 Samuel. David wanted to show kindness to someone in Jonathan's lineage because he had been good friends with Jonathan, despite his extremely rough relationship with Saul, Jonathan's father. The Scriptures pointed out twice that Jonathan's son Mephibosheth was crippled in both feet. Mephibosheth knew royalty as the grandson of Saul. He had probably lived in the royal palace with his father. And David treated him like an old friend.

There's something warm and refreshing about that, especially considering all the heartache that Mephibosheth's grandfather had caused David. Mephibosheth wasn't forgotten, nor was his father or grandfather. In many countries, Mephibosheth would never be heard from again.

But God is merciful. We too are like Mephibosheth. We're broken down and worn. He treats us like his long lost children. Nothing but the best for his children. Take a few minutes to just praise the God of the Universe. Why, you ask? Because He's worthy. Because He deserves what we can give him a million times over.

Just because.

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Power to Be Just

David reigned over all Israel, doing what was just and right for all his people. 2 Samuel 8:15

After an entire chapter of explaining David's military exploits, the Bible tells us that as David reigned over Israel he was "just and right for all his people." As we read in the chapter, David was quite brutal and unpredictable towards his enemies. Leaders and commanders from opposing armies came bearing gifts for this mighty warrior. They knew that they didn't stand a chance against their fiercest opponent.

As a military leader, David was the best. As a King over a nation, David was just and right. As the Sovereign in his country, he had power and authority like no other. At his command, people could be put to death. Also at his command, peasants could be elevated to authority. With that position came great moral responsibility.

You don't have to look far to see abuses of that power. Many leaders (in every level of government in many governments around the world) view their position as a personal playground to please their every hedonistic whim. Some view the power as a means to controlling the lives of countless thousands. It may not be as overt as that, but the end is the same: power for power's sake, and greed unlimited. Power is intoxicating.

Once again, pray for your leaders. Pray that they, like David, will be just and right for their people. Pray against abuses of power.

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Waiting Before the Lord

Then King David went in and sat before the LORD...2 Samuel 7:18

What follows after this text is a great prayer, a prayer I’ve heard over the years. It’s a prayer of praise and worship and gratefulness. But it came from a man who was desperately seeking God. He sat before the LORD. I’m not sure what that means precisely but it implies that he just waited. I can see in my mind’s eye a man sitting in the presence of true greatness waiting to hear wisdom and truth.

It’s a simple thing really, to wait for the LORD. Certainly David prayed, but I suspect that he did more waiting than praying. Of course I don’t know that for a fact but based on his previous encounters in worship and dancing, he was giving it all he had. He seemed to be spiritually in tuned with God (remember he gave up the ark of the LORD for three months because someone in his party had touched the ark).

We all know that sitting in the LORD’s presence is worthwhile. We know benefits us in ways we don’t even know, and yet it’s very difficult for us to do. Perhaps we’re expecting too much of ourselves. Maybe we fail because we think that we could never sit in His presence for an hour or more. Who says we have to do that?

Try it for two minutes, then five minutes, then ten. The more we practice it, the easier it becomes.

He’ll wait with us.

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It Matters.

David was afraid of the LORD that day and said, "How can the ark of the LORD ever come to me?" He was not willing to take the ark of the LORD to be with him in the City of David. Instead, he took it aside to the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite. The ark of the LORD remained in the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite for three months, and the LORD blessed him and his entire household. 2 Samuel 6:9-10

I read these verses and I am struck by one phrase: "David was afraid of the LORD." David had a sense of awe and fear of the Lord. It seems to be missing today in leadership and among the people. We don't fear consequences for our actions; we don't fear the wrath of God when we dishonor his name; we're not afraid of God anymore. Granted, we are in an age of Grace, and God's not One to "zap" us every time we sin. Still, though, the reverent fear we in the West once had seems to have departed. This should concern us, because we have to ask, "why don't we have that fear anymore?"

Many of our persecuted Brothers and Sisters seem to have that fear and reverence. They know that worshiping and meeting together is illegal in their nation, so the things they do ought to matter.

Praying matters. Meeting together matters. Reading Scripture matters. Worshiping and humbling yourself before Almighty God matters. We can certainly learn from their eagerness and desire to serve God. Likewise, we can help them with our prayers. Our prayers may make the difference between life and death. Literally.

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