Stay on Target

When you mention the name David I think the majority of people think also of Goliath. The story of the little boy with his sling taking down the giant is used as a metaphor for sports, business and life in general. Much to the chagrin of other famous Davids, the David of the Bible, king of Israel tops the page in google and pictures of his statue cover the first rows of the image search. If you ask Christians they’ll tell you about Goliath, the Psalms particularly Psalm 23 and adultery.

I reached that last part today and one line struck me, not even a full verse but the last line of verse 27.

But the Eternal One was displeased with what David had done.

2 Samuel 11:27b

I love David, my best prayer for someone is that they would have a heart like David, it’s my prayer for myself so when I look at this I wonder what I can learn. Obviously not to do things that displease the Lord but what more? The previous chapters are full of God’s blessing and approval for David. In chapter 7 God promises David that He will establish the Davidic line as rulers for all time. In the following chapters as David cuts a swathe through the opposition defeating tribe after tribe God’s favour is evident and the text of 2 Samuel repeats several times:

The Eternal helped David everywhere he went

So what happened?

The first verse of chapter 11 basically says that this year in the Spring, instead of going out to fight as most kings did David stayed at home. Who knows why? Maybe he was tired of war, maybe he got caught up in some business maybe he had a bug because verse 2 says early in the evening he got up from his bed. David doesn’t strike me as a guy who would lie around in bed all day so maybe he was under the weather. Whatever reason he was strolling on the rooftop and saw Bathsheba and one thing led to another. Now we use that phrase to describe a series of events that shouldn’t have happened and that is definitely the case here.The other thing that was led to was murder; to the planned assassination of Bathsheba’s husband.

Stayed home, went for an evening stroll, fell in lust, had sex, oops she’s pregnant, got to fool the husband, darn it he’s too righteous, can’t kill him myself I’ll have the enemy do it, yeah! he’s dead, mourn a few days, get married, have a son – result! How on earth did we get from staying home to adultery and murder? What a cascade of events, and – let’s be honest – this wasn’t a one-night thing it was a month or two because she had to recognise her pregnancy.

Where did it start? With distraction. Joab was out fighting the battle that David should have been fighting. If David had been occupied with the things he should have been occupied with then he wouldn’t have been distracted by a beautiful woman naked on a rooftop. If I am occupied with the things God has given to me – and there are enough of them to fill my life to overflowing – then I won’t be distracted by the shiny gaudy balls and baubles of this world. I won’t be distracted, eyes off the prize so that my hands and feet go after things of no worth.

David was a hero of faith, he has so much to teach me and not just in the great things he did with God but here too. We can learn from mistakes, God includes them for a reason. Eyes on the prize, stay on target, don’t let yourself be distracted, keep putting on that armour of God – run the race. God brought good out of the relationship – Solomon and Psalm 51 but given the choice I suspect David wished he had gone off to war that he had never done anything to displease God.

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