The King Wept Bitterly

As he finished speaking, the king's sons came in, wailing loudly. The king, too, and all his servants wept very bitterly. 2 Samuel 14:36

Absalom had just killed his brother Amnon. A few years earlier Amnon had raped his sister, Tamar. It was obvious to all around (and they said so) that Absalom had killed him to avenge the rape. The King of Israel, King David, wept.

The king is weeping over his family. He had everything a man could want and yet his children were out of control. One son was a rapist; another was a murderer. Even David himself was a rapist who had his lover's husband murdered. It's not hard at all to imagine David weeping and weeping over what his family had become. His weeping showed his sorrow and his compassion.

It's not hard nowadays to weep when we read the news. Children are slaughtered senselessly; homes and fortunes are confiscated by ruthless dictators; genocidal evil men roam many countrysides in Africa. Unfortunately the list could go for pages on as there is a great amount of wickedness in the world.

Fortunately, though, we can weep in our prayers to God. We can weep over the wickedness; we can weep over the injustice; we can even weep over the state of our own souls.

When was the last time you wept?

Righteous Anger

When King David heard all this, he was furious. Absalom never said a word to Amnon, either good or bad; he hated Amnon because he had disgraced his sister Tamar. 2 Samuel 13:21-22

After the kids are all grown up, David began to see just how dysfunctional his own family had become. David got furious at Amnon for what he did to Tamar, but you know he was probably recalling his own sin in that same household. Amnon was a grown young man with his own choices and tastes. His sin and actions were his own. By law he could have been put to death for what he had done to Tamar.

So David's fury against Amnon was short-lived for David had committed a similar sin. (Even as I write this, I can see that the family was a complete mess).

We too need to get angry at the things that are destroying the family (the church, so to speak). Sexual sin, greed, love of things, coldness of heart, and many others are great examples of things we need a righteous anger over. And that's not even to mention the multitude of events outside of the church that we need to become furious over.

Pray that god will give you the fury David had and the passion he had later in life towards God

Sin Has Consequences

Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” Nathan replied, “The LORD has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. But because by doing this you have made the enemies of the LORD show utter contempt, the son born to you will die.” 2 Samuel 13:13-14

I’ll be honest, these kinds of passages trouble me. My first tendency is to avoid them because they don’t really fit into my idea of a compassionate and caring God. But there’s a lesson in all of this mess (and make no mistake, it is a mess) that is easy to miss.

I read this passage and continued on to the next, and as I thought about it, it all became clearer to me: sin has dire consequences. I know, it’s not exactly material that changes the world, but it is true nonetheless. I don’t think we really realize what kinds of consequences sin has on families and friends. Sometimes the effects are obvious; often they are not.

We don’t have to look far to see the devastation that sin has on families and societies: broken homes, out of control crime, sensless violence, children having children. The list could go on for pages.

And yet, there is forgiveness in Christ. That bears repeating: there is forgiveness in Christ no matter what you’ve done. Sin devastates; Christ rebuilds. Christ heals and mends the brokenness.

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.

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.

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.

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)

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

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.