“In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out 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 SAMUEL 11:1
Read 2 Samuel 11:1-27
In this chapter, we see David’s “fall from grace”; a pattern of escalating sin which he justified in his mind at every turn and it all started with him being in the wrong place. Verse one tells us twice that he wasn’t where he should have been – instead of being at war with his men, he stayed home. It was time for the kings to go to battle but where was he? Wandering around his rooftop terrace, looking for a distraction from his boredom and idleness.
Secondly, he was looking at the wrong things. Instead of overseeing his armies and perusing battle strategy, his eye was captured by the beautiful Bathsheba. But instead of looking away, he “took notice” (v2). The lust of his eyes very quickly led to adultery and, in turn, adultery shortly resulted in murder. Bathsheba became pregnant and her husband, Uriah (one of David’s mighty men) was sent to the front of the army; a position that guaranteed his death. All because David was in the wrong place, looking at the wrong things.
James 1:14-15 tells us: “But each one is tempted, when by his own evil desires, he is lured away and enticed. Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” These verses show us how things escalate from desires to enticement, to sin and then to death. Adultery or sexual sin doesn’t start in the bedroom; it starts with a chat at the photocopier, smiles across the school gates, WhatsApp messaging…
David was not where he should have been. Are you letting your mind go to places it shouldn’t? Are you physically, or virtually, visiting the wrong places or people? David “took notice” of the wrong things. What are you looking at? Instead of focussing on God and His word are you watching things on Netflix or the internet that cause titillation and “evil desires” rather than Holy Spirit desires for godliness and holiness?
The phrase James uses, “lured away”, is a fishing term which literally means “being baited”. The fish sees the bait and takes a nibble. Next thing, he is hooked (literally!) and finally, he is on the boat. At which point is it easiest for the fish to get away? From the boat? At the point he is attached to the hook? Or when he is swimming towards the bait? Of course, it’s when he’s swimming towards the bait. Please! Swim away from the bait, before you get hooked!
Be in the right place: Follow God’s path.
Look at the right things: Fix your eyes on Jesus.
Maintain wide margins between you and whatever bait is likely to entice.
Author: Euan MacRae - Elder, Living Hope Church, Isle of Man