Read: 2 Samuel 23:39; 2 Samuel 11; Romans 13:8-14
Several days ago, as I was getting ready for the day, I heard my husband calling to me. I didn't hear him the first time; so, I asked him what he said. His response? We have a leak. When I asked where, he let me know that it was in the waterbed. There were two things for which I was thankful:
1. He discovered the leak early in the day. That meant that the amount of water didn't have the chance to increase throughout the day. I could imagine the unpleasantness of picking up my pillow at bedtime, only to discover that it was water laden and that the sheets were also wet and cold. In addition to the "yuck factor", the longer a leak goes unnoticed, the more mess there is to clean up.
2. We were able to drain the water out of the bed in the light of day, rather than in the dark. That's so much easier and less stressful.
Once the waterbed was drained, we did have a couple of options. We could look for the leak and attempt to patch it. We did find a tiny hole that appeared to be the source of the problem; however, we decided upon choice #2. Replacing the mattress. We wanted to avoid the possibility of another soggy surprise. Even a tiny leak can put out a lot of water fairly quickly; so, armed with the drain and fill kit, we went to work. We wanted to deal with the leak as quickly as possible and do what we could in order to keep this from occurring again.
Sometimes, we who belong to Jesus find ourselves dealing with leaks that have nothing to do with water. They show up when we choose to obey our flesh--our old way of thinking and acting--rather than the prompting of the Holy Spirit. When this occurs, rather than the fruit of the Spirit being evident in our lives, Galatians 5:22-23 our lives leak out the works of the flesh, Galatians 5:19-21.
Let's look at King David and how He could have stopped a leak either before it sprang up, or lessened the damage done by making different choices than the ones he made. By the time we meet David in 2 Samuel 11, he was well established on the throne of Israel. He had several wives and concubines. The twelve tribes were united and loyal to him, the kingdom having not yet been divided. All appeared to be going smoothly for David. It was spring. David's men went out to fight battles, but for a reason unknown to us, David stayed back in Jerusalem; so right from the get/go, it is obvious that David could have avoided the temptation that he faced if he had done the kingly thing. He had time on his hands that he wouldn't have had if he had been with his men. There was David's first vulnerable place where a leak could develop. David then decided to walk on the rooftop. That is where he saw her. The beautiful woman who was bathing. It is obvious that David didn't look away because he asked about her. David had no lack of womanly companionship and affection, but he desired more. At this point, he wasn't content with what he already had. Another vulnerable place for a leak. At this point in David's story, David was told the name of the woman he desires. She was Uriah's wife. Even though David was the king, he had no right to her. That would be adultery. That fact alone should have sent David running the other way, as Joseph did, Genesis 39:1-13. There was even another truth that should have stopped David in his tracks. This woman was Uriah's wife. Who was Uriah? One of David's trusted mighty men, 2 Samuel 23:39. Wouldn't David's desires be curbed when he considered Uriah's faithfulness and loyalty? Even with all of this, David sent for Bathsheba. The leak began to grow, along with the damage caused by it. If only David had seen the vulnerable places and stopped, but he didn't. The next time we see David after his sin with Bathsheba, he was receiving news of Bathsheba's pregnancy. He had a choice even here. Would he admit his wrong? No, sadly the leak grew. The result? More lies and cover-ups. Can we imagine what it was like for the king to send for Uriah and talk with him about the battles? Small talk occurred, but David never came clean. Instead, he hatched a plan in the hope that Uriah would go home to his wife and enjoy her loving company. Then when it was obvious that she was pregnant, everyone would simply believe that the child was Uriah's. It didn't work, even when David got Uriah drunk. Uriah was simply too honorable to enjoy pleasure while his men and Joab had to sleep out in the open field. The patch David tried to apply didn't cover the leak. Sadly, David wasn't out of ideas. He had Uriah killed in battle, and in a sad twist, Uriah himself carried his own plan of execution to the commander, Joab. The deed was done, and at the "appropriate" time, after Bathsheba mourned the death of her husband, David married the widow. Another patch applied to the leak. Wasn't all well and cleaned up? No, because at the end of 2 Samuel 11, we read God's assessment. What David had done displeased the Lord. Such sad words. Psalm 51:6 says that God desires truth in the inmost part of man, and David was not ready yet to open his heart to the cleansing work of God, Psalm 32. David did eventually turn away from his sins and call on God for mercy. Oh, the joy the king experienced when God took away the useless patches David had applied to attempt to hide his sins. In their place, God covered David's guilt and shame with His grace. Although this sweet cleansing was so wonderful, how much better it would have been if David had stopped his slide into sin before so much damage had been done.
In Romans 13:8-14, we see what might have helped David in his time of temptation and what might also help us. First, we are to owe no debt but to love. No, we are not to be controlled by lust as David was Instead, we are to love our neighbors. Thankfully, Paul shows us what this looks like. Love, as Romans 13 reminds us, means not wronging a neighbor. We are not to sin against others. Instead, we are to allow God's love to pour out through our lives, Romans 5:5.
David forgot all the tender love God had showered on him. When his desires ruled over him, he didn't remember God's command to love his neighbor. Instead of that, David showed contempt for God and as is so often the case, his sins injured those around him. David also forgot Uriah's loyalty. If he had loved him in the biblical sense, he wouldn't have stolen his wife. Romans 13:14 also reminds us not to place ourselves in vulnerable situations when we can avoid them. In 2 Timothy 2:22, we are commanded to flee youthful lusts. Something David, though he wasn't a youth per se, didn't do. Instead, he entertained them, not listening to the alarm bells that one of his men rang to warn him of danger, 1 Corinthians 10:13.
It is much easier to stay out of temptation when we don't purposely walk through its door. That applies to any sin not merely lust. We all have areas where we know we are vulnerable. The earlier we extricate ourselves from circumstances that are dangerous for us, the less chance there is for a leak to develop. What a good thing it is when we know that we have vulnerable places, 1 Corinthians 10:12. Romans 13 presents us with one additional help as we walk with Jesus. It reminds me of the drain & fill kit. There are things to drain out and, then there is a filling to receive. When we recognize them, there are works that were a part of our old life that we should put off. After this is done, what a joy it is to ask God to fill us with His Spirit, Ephesians 5:16-18. The good thing is that God is pleased to grant this request.
Back to King David. He asked God to restore the joy of his salvation and to renew a right and willing spirit within him Psalm 51:10; Psalm 51:12. This was done for David when he was honest with God about both his sins and his need for cleansing.
Father, Help us run to You quickly. Help us to repent right away. Yet, if we have done as David did and have waited a long time before repenting, remind us of Your grace and Your desire to cleanse us, 1 John 1:9.