One of the things I like to do on my weekend is awaken in the wee hours to listen to preachers, because it seems that is my most vulnerable time to hear. Unfortunately, my body has this concept of, if you are now awake, you want to go to the bathroom- for a long time. TMI, I know, but it is important in the story of David and Bathsheba- and Martin. Because the true meaning of this story is what's important. And as I sat there in the bathroom, I realized that the reason I was there was because it is the relationship with God, not the preacher, that's important.
It seems preachers had been talking about David and Bathsheba a lot lately. Why Chris, is it trying to tell you something? Yes- maybe not what you'd think. Because once I realized that the relationship with God was the important thing, I began to confess my sins... and at that point, the furnace kicked off, and I could hear the message from there to here. And the first thing I heard was about Uriah.
For those that need the story in a nutshell: David was the King, and one day he got a naked glimpse of a beautiful woman. Despite his faith and righteousness, he began to stumble. Problem was, she was the wife of one of his top soldiers, his Mighty Men. And once he got her pregnant, he had to cover it up. So home comes Uriah from the war, and D & B try to line things up so that he has sex with his own wife so no one will know he didn't get her with child. But Uriah refused their attempts, and in the end David has him killed. Everything swept under the rug, everything just fine- until Nathan the Prophet confronts David with the sin he thought covered up.
So back to me, God, and the bathroom. As I thought about Uriah, I thought- why didn't the plan work? Why wouldn't a husband on leave from the army make love to his own wife? Because for Uriah, something was more important than his pleasure, more than even his wife- his honor, his responsibility to his God and his fellow soldiers, and even to his king. Even when the pleasure wouldn't be wrong, the pleasure was secondary to his responsibility and his honor. The way these things HAD been more important to David- until now.
Because David chose the sin, and now the most important thing was hiding it. Everything- Bathsheba's honor, Uriah's life, Joab's integrity, and the fate of his people, were now subordinate- not to the pleasure he chose, but in the covering up of the sin. (Secondary lesson- honor permeates all things; sin pollutes all things.)
I began to realize that fighting sin, and confessing it, is a more complicated battle than I gave it credit for. Jesus taught us last week that He EXPECTS that we'll be coming to Him over and over again, just because of how hard a thing this is. Having returned to the bedroom, the preacher began to talk about this subject and pointed out that the Greek words for confession is the concept of "repeating back as it has been done". In other words, not confessing the sin as you perceive it, but as God sees it. Which was why when David finally made his confession, he skipped past the effects of the sin on Bathsheba, Uriah, Joab, and his people, and said, "Against You have I sinned, and You only."
And for me, that brought me to a very important revelation. You see, being in the image of a Triune God means that we are likewise Triune- Body, Mind, and Spirit. And for me, that means that, unlike my self-image, I am this little bitty undermuscled spirit, longing for the good things of God, fighting against both Mind and Body for how I will behave, what I will seek after. The good guys, as it were, are like Samuel L Jackson said in The Avengers, "Horribly, laughably outgunned."
But that doesn't matter if... IF? Yes. You see, in the end, the story is not about David, Bathsheba, joab, or Nathan. It is about Uriah. In the safety and comfort of his own home, he did what was right. On the front lines, he did what was right. And when Joab, under David's orders, pulled back the army and left him horribly, laughably outgunned... he did what was right. When it was easy and when it was hard. And because it was a part of ALL he did, it was as easy to die that way as to live that way, to deny himself as to be denied.
So why did David fall? He too, had been a mighty man of war, he too had been faithful in the good and the bad. He too had known the power of God with him, even when he was alone, when he was horribly, laughably outgunned (remember Goliath?) He fell because, just once, he let his guard down. And there are two truths about when you let your guard down. The first is, Satan will find the open spot in the armor. The second, God will allow you to be tested, that you might learn. And the test might be a lifetime, if you fail to get the answer right.
For me, this morning, the answer was looking at the sin as God sees it. Not, "OMG (does God say that?), Chris did thus-and-so"; but "Chris has never let that measley little spirit develop muscle". Sometimes, we question God on His assurance that "but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it (I Cor. 10:13)." But if you go to the concordance as I just now did, you see the word able listed as both "able" and "possible"; that perhaps we should translate it as, "...be tempted above your POTENTIAL to resist..." And that potential rests on how strong you have made your spirit, and what you will do when your guard slips just a bit.