Thursday, August 11, 2005

How Does That Happen?

If you ask the average person on the street about King David, they probably could tell you two stories about him: David & Goliath and David & Bathsheba.

The question few people stop to ponder is, "How does that happen? How does David allow something like that to happen?"

It's one thing when someone has a pattern of rejecting God's ways. If this was a story of a godless, womanizing heathen we wouldn't be surprised. That happens all the time. There are people -- we could all name several -- who lack integrity and moral values. If we heard that they had done something like this, if we heard that they were guilty of deception, adultery and murder, we might be tempted to say, "Well, what did you expect?"

But this is David. King David. The man after God's own heart. This is really out of character for him.

He had, after all, loved God his entire life. When he was a small boy, he took care of sheep and knew that God was with him out there. He knew when wild animals came to steal his sheep and he managed to drive them off -- that wasn't his strength. He knew, without a doubt, that God's protection was with him.

When he got a little older, he faced down a giant named Goliath. He did what no other man in Israel would do because he knew God was with him and would deliver him in battle.

When he found himself in a cave faced with an opportunity to kill his rival Saul, he submitted to God's will in God's timing. He was so committed to obeying God that he wouldn't lift his hand against Saul.

He was so passionate about God that the mere thought of God's presence returning to dwell among the people of Jerusalem inspired him to dance with all his might.

In psalm after psalm, David pours out his heart to God -- asking God to search him and know him and give him an undivided heart. He wrote about how much he loved God's law and how he meditated on it day and night.

And the end of this story David is guilty of lust, covetousness, deception, manipulation, adultery and murder.

How in the world does something like that happen? You don't just wake up one day and say, "I think I'll sleep with that guy's wife then have him killed." This kind of thing doesn't just happen.

I want to talk about how things like this happen. But first, I want us all to think about this: Is there anyone reading this who is so certain of their own spiritual maturity that you know this could never happen to you? Anyone willing to say, "I'm way more spiritual than David ever was because I would never let something like that happen to me"?

As the Apostle Paul wrote:
These are all warking markers -- DANGER! -- in our history books, written down so that we don't repeat their mistakes.... We are just as capable of messing it up as they were. Don't be so naive and self-confident. You're not exempt. You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else.