What Should You Be Doing?

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 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, 3 and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, “She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.

2 Samuel 11:1-3 (NIV)

King David was without a doubt Israel’s greatest king. He was beloved of God, and penned much of the Psalms we know and love today. Yet he was not a perfect man, and 2 Samuel 11 begins to tell how he fell into temptation and committed the sin of adultery.

These passages are not here for us to pick on David, nor is anything I say in this post meant to be criticism of him. These stories and words are here in our Bible to teach us, and we must learn the lessons from David’s mistakes. Hopefully by doing so, we will avoid the sins he fell into.

2 Samuel 11 opens by telling us it is spring time, and the time when kings go off to war. We might then expect it to say that King David gathered his army and went after the Ammonites, but it does not… Instead we read that David sent Joab with the army to go fight, and he stayed at home.

This is probably David’s first mistake. For whatever reason, he decides not to go out with the army. Perhaps he was fed up with war, or perhaps he was just tired. We do not know if Joab tried to convince him either way, but ultimately he was not where he needed to be – and that led him down a path of trouble.

David’s first misstep was to not do what he should have been doing. What should you be doing? Are you putting off things you know God has put on your heart? Are you making excuses not to fulfil your commitments or responsibilities? If so, then it could likewise lead you into problems.

There are likely countless examples. Do we find ourselves watching all kinds of sinfulness on TV, instead of spending time with God or our families? Are we surfing the web instead of putting in the hours at work (this is all too easy while working at home)? Are you laying in on a Sunday morning instead of being with God’s fellow people? Insert your own example here…

Verse 2 begins “One evening, David got up from his bed…” What does that tell you? David had been in bed during the day. Some immediately assume he’s spent all day in bed, and all night doing whatever he wanted. This could well be true, but we must also remember Israel can get very warm and so he may have just been resting during the heat of the day.

Irrespective, he then decides to take a walk on the roof. We do not know if this was his custom, or the done thing of the day, but again, it leads him into the path of temptation. I have no idea if David’s palace was the biggest and tallest building around, but it is in my mind at least. David, on the roof, would have had a good view of the entire area. Was it pride that took him up there, to survey his entire kingdom? Did he know it was a common time for women to bathe, and so hoped to catch a glimpse? We don’t know, and i have no wish to unfairly criticise him – as the text does not necessarily support it.

From the roof, David sees a beautiful woman. As above, we do not know if it was an accident or contrived in some way. Either way, what should he have been doing at this point? Averting his eyes? Definitely. Running away? Quite probably. And as an aside, one day i’ll write a post about “running away” as we see several examples in the Bible of people who did this, for good and bad reasons.

When he saw her bathing, instead of doing what he should have done, he sends a servant to find out who she is. It is clear that he is flirting with sin at this point. He has likely looked on her with lust, and now sets his mind to having her for himself. When he finds out that she is married, that should certainly have been the end of it. But if you know the story, then you know it is not the case.

There is more to learn from the rest of the account, but my point for today is simply to say – what should you be doing? We see more than one opportunity here for David to have done the right thing, and he chose not to. Instead of doing what he ought to be, he takes small steps towards sin.

Temptation is often like that. Rarely is someone simply tempted to commit adultery. It starts with minor things; the laugh by the water cooler, the touch of the arm, the sharing of personal thoughts… and before you know it, you are in a situation where you have moved closer and closer to sin, and it’s now much harder to escape.

Had David just gone to war as he should, then he may never have laid eyes on Bathsheba at all. If you were doing what you should be, what sin might you never lay eyes on?

Perhaps you are not engaged in a particular sin right now, but recognise you are slowly moving towards it – one step at a time. Take time now to reflect on this, and turn back before it is too late. Talk to the Lord about it, and ask Him to give you strength to resist temptation.

I’m Still Here!

This is the eighth week in a row where I have published daily posts on the blog. Who knew I had so much to say?!

Most days I have a fair idea of what I want to write about, but occasionally God reminds me that it really isn’t about what I want, it’s about what He wants. I was all set to write about the Ten Commandments, and the commandment to honour one’s parents in particular. But not so for today. Hopefully that will come out tomorrow.

For today, I felt that it was important to talk about endurance.

I know that many of you reading this will be going through all manner of trouble and trials right now. It may feel like life is going drastically wrong and you are not sure how much more you can take. You are seeking some form of success in your Christian walk, yet just surviving has become the order of the day.

But you are still here! You are still going! Others may have fallen by the wayside or given up altogether – but not you!

If nothing else, you can say “I’m still here!”

It may feel like you can’t take any more. The temptations, the trials, the worries of this life may be piling up, but I want to encourage you today and let you know you can make it.

No temptation has overtaken you that is unusual for human beings. But God is faithful, and he will not allow you to be tempted beyond your strength. Instead, along with the temptation he will also provide a way out, so that you may be able to endure it.

1 Corinthians 10:13 (ISV)

You may be ready to shout, “God, I can’t bear it anymore!” But, and I don’t mean this to sound harsh or unkind, you’re wrong. You can bear it! God will never allow any temptation to come upon you which you cannot bear. If you are facing it, then God knows you can stand it. If your trouble is great, then that is a compliment to you, because it means you have the strength to face it.

God will always provide a way out for you. Now don’t misunderstand that part of the verse. It does not mean God will always provide a way to stop the trouble or temptation, but provide a way out for you to endure it. Sometimes the only way out is through!

You can endure what it is you are facing. Don’t give up! Don’t quit! It may be hard or even the hardest thing you have ever faced, but you can make it if you stick with Jesus.

I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:13 (ISV)

You can do all things (that He has called you to do) through “him.” Who is the “him?” It is sometimes translated as “the Messiah” and so clearly points to Christ. You can do whatever you need to do through your ongoing relationship to and with Christ.

Practice carrying each other’s burdens. In this way you will fulfill the law of the Messiah.

Galatians 6:2 (ISV)

Don’t try to go it alone. Draw your strength from Christ, but also seek the support of the family of believers. Let others help you bear the burdens you carry. If there is nothing practical they can do, then they can at least listen to you at this time.

More importantly, they can pray for you. If you have no one in your life who can stand with you in prayer, please get in touch and I will gladly pray for you. Use the Contact page to get in touch.

Therefore, having so vast a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, and throwing off everything that hinders us and especially the sin that so easily entangles[a] us, let us keep running with endurance the race set before us, 2 fixing our attention on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of the faith, who, in view of the joy set before him, endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:1-2 (ISV)

There is nothing I can add to these words. Many have gone before us, as mentioned throughout Hebrews chapter 11 (such as David, Moses, Abraham etc.) and faced their own challenges and trials. We, like them, must run our own race and run it to completion.

Your race won’t be the same as mine. Some will have a flat course to navigate, while others a steeplechase with all kinds of obstacles in their path. Whatever your race looks like, keep on going!

Don’t give up. And don’t give up on Christ. You can bear up under the temptations you face today and every day. Hard it may be, but you can do it!

If you are one of the few who have no problems right now, then help bear another’s burdens. Support them and lift them up. Pray for them and bless them.

For those who feel they cannot go on, please hold on one more day. Tell God how you feel, and cry out to Him. Job from the Bible lost everything, and he railed at God. He cried out to God and he was angry and in pain. Yet he did it with God.

I pray that God will help you to endure whatever you are facing right now. I pray you will have the strength you need to continue, and to do so in His grace.

If you see no other victory in your life, then your testimony can simply be – “I’m still here!”

Amen!