David. There is so much to love about David. From the boy David who fights the giant….to the anointed David constantly pursued by Saul…and then King David whom God would describe as “a man after mine own heart.” I have been reading I and II Samuel during my morning devotions over the last weeks and David’s stories never fail to excite, encourage, convict and humble. Yesterday I read about his sin with Bathsheba – one of the saddest accounts of David’s life. The chapters just before this story were filled with victory after victory for David. God was using him and blessing him….yet, we see him at his lowest spiritually. However, the very next chapter (II Samuel 12, if you care to read it) is not only David’s repentance (which came with much sorrow and grief) but also ends with victory and God using David again! Amen – and how encouraging!!
Throughout David’s life, there are highs and lows. His adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of Uriah were horrible “lows” but all sin can be considered lows in our spiritual life. But David had a testimony of both convictions of sin as well as confession and forgiveness of sin. With that forgiveness of sin, he was made right in God’s eyes…just as any of us can be. That has been such a powerful truth for me this week. I Kings 14:8 says, “….my servant David, who kept my commandments, and who followed me with all his heart, to do that only which was right in mine eyes.” God says that about David. Not David with his gross sin – but David with his forgiven heart and restored fellowship!
As encouraging as that is, I want to leave us with a challenge today. Because, yes, we can be forgiven. Any of us can be restored and even still used by God. Any of us. But there is also a lesson to learn. We need not have the same testimony. We can avoid the “gross sin” – whatever that might be. We can learn from David’s humility and contrite heart but, how much better, to see some of the ways that led him to sin…and to learn from those. David should not have been on the roof. Most likely, David should not have even been at home “at the time when kings go forth to battle.” Nevertheless, we too have places of temptation and we must recognize them – and avoid them.
I read once that sin is rarely the result of a single poor choice, but rather, from a drifting away from God following several specific decisions outside His will. The temptations and the opportunities to drift away from God are endless. We face them every day. Temptation is most likely disguised. What appears to be “no big deal” or of little consequence or even concern often comes with the greatest guilt, shame, and regret. We must be alert and aware of temptations and prepared to avoid them. Remember that temptation, by itself, is not sin. But just as giving into it is sin….resisting it is victory!
Just a few practical reminders for resisting temptations:
- be alert – recognize the enemy’s lies for exactly what they are…and know how he targets you. What are your weaknesses? For me, it is often my desire to be liked or need for approval. However, it could be many things. But be prepared.
- pray often – our enemy, Satan, trembles when we pray. Literally.
- stay in God’s word – it keeps us from sin and strengthens us as we resist/avoid temptation
- practice self-control – when we practice controlling our desires and bringing our flesh into subjection on a regular (daily) basis rather than waiting until we are face to face with temptation, resisting will be much easier…even natural.
I pray you will be encouraged today. And how have you been instructed or encouraged by your Bible reading this week? I would love for you to share it with me!