Thursday, February 13, 2014

Faithful in All

I am such a horrible blogger, I know.  I post daily for a few weeks and then wander off.  A conversation I had with a man the other day about the following story prompts me to write tonight though.
It happened, late one afternoon, when David arose from his couch and was walking upon the roof of the king’s house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful. And David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, “Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” So David sent messengers, and took her; and she came to him, and he lay with her. (Now she was purifying herself from her uncleanness.) Then she returned to her house. And the woman conceived; and she sent and told David, “I am with child.” (2 Sam 11:2-5)
David first attempted to conceal his actions by inviting her husband home from the war so he could sleep with his wife.  The soldier doesn't cooperate, so David has him killed on the front lines of battle and takes Bathsheba for his wife.

The man I was speaking with noted that if David, a man after God's own heart, could fall, then he as a man could easily fall as well.  He noted how easy this is to do and how entirely hard it is to avoid.  He also noted the context:
In the spring of the year, the time when kings go forth to battle, David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they ravaged the Ammonites, and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem. (2 Sam 11:1)
David wasn't doing what he was supposed to be doing to begin with.  He didn't go from doing everything entirely right to sleeping with a married woman and then having her husband killed.  He first started failing at other duties.

In today's readings, we read David's son has some troubles too.  His kingdom was grand and wealthy after God granted him extraordinary wisdom.
For when Solomon was old his wives turned away his heart after other gods; and his heart was not wholly true to the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father.  For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites.  So Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and did not wholly follow the LORD, as David his father had done.  Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, and for Molech the abomination of the Ammonites, on the mountain east of Jerusalem.  And so he did for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods. 
And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice, and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods; but he did not keep what the LORD commanded.  Therefore the LORD said to Solomon, “Since this has been your mind and you have not kept my covenant and my statutes which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you and will give it to your servant.  Yet for the sake of David your father I will not do it in your days, but I will tear it out of the hand of your son.  However I will not tear away all the kingdom; but I will give one tribe to your son, for the sake of David my servant and for the sake of Jerusalem which I have chosen.” (1 Ki 11:4-13)
Solomon went after foreign gods and worshiped them.  The man with the most wisdom on the planet failed to properly serve God and instead turned to idolatry.  Why?  Let's go back a few verses and see the context for this one.
Now King Solomon loved many foreign women: the daughter of Pharaoh, and Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, from the nations concerning which the LORD had said to the people of Israel, “You shall not enter into marriage with them, neither shall they with you, for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods”; Solomon clung to these in love. He had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart. (1 Ki 11:1-3)
Again, the prelude is a failure to serve God.  Solomon didn't wake up one day and fall into idolatry.  It takes quite a bit of time to wed 700 women and pick up an additional 300 concubines!

What's the take away?  Sometimes I think it can be easy to relegate some of our duties to God as "less important" or "no big deal."  Maybe I think, "Well, I'm not off killing people, so who cares if I skip a few other things?"  "Who cares if I watch this inappropriate movie; it isn't like I'm out there swearing and sleeping with multiple people."  "It isn't a big deal I gossip about so and so.  It isn't like I'm telling everybody."

It apparently is a big deal.  Small disobedience now leads to big disobedience later.  We need to be faithful in all things.



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