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Governed by Lesser Passions, Part 1

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
January 25, 2022 12:00 am

Governed by Lesser Passions, Part 1

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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January 25, 2022 12:00 am

Adultery doesn't just happen in a moment. It is born from a lustful mind that is allowed to go unchecked over time.

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Not only is she married though, get this, she's married to Uriah, David. You know him well. He's one of your mighty men. In fact, he's a converted Hittite.

Fascinating man we know little of. But his name more than likely was changed in his conversion to Uriah. That means Yahweh is my light. David, your God is my God. They've been fighting together. They've been on the same side.

They've watched each other's back for years. David, what are you thinking? She's the wife of Uriah.

Hello and welcome back to Wisdom for the Heart. We've been working our way through a series on the life of King David called The Singer. Today, we arrive at one of the darker moments in King David's life. David was overcome with lust for another man's wife and he committed sin with Bathsheba.

David thought this sin was something he could get away with or at least cover up. Today, Stephen Davey will teach us several important principles that we can learn from this account. This message is appropriately entitled, Governed by Lesser Passions.

Here's Stephen. The story of Marcus, Antony, and Cleopatra has captivated the attention of generations over the past several thousand years. This adulterous liaison between this Roman ruler and the queen of Egypt would become the father of the gossip mill the world over. And of course, Hollywood in recent years had to tell the story to both Marcus and Cleopatra deceived their spouses and their empires, eventually allowing their lust to replace even their national loyalty. And their kingdoms would never quite be the same.

In fact, they would end up deceived themselves after losing a significant battle if you study a little of their biography. You watch as Marcus is stripped of his position and title. With that defeat, he flees to Egypt to rendezvous with Cleopatra. Only when he arrives, he is told that she has taken her life, and he in despondency falls on his sword.

Then as he lingers just before dying, he discovers that she was still alive and he has been deceived, but it is too late. At one point in time, Marcus Antony was known as the silver-throated orator of Rome, this early Roman republic. From his demise will come the Roman Empire with a Caesar.

He was known as a courageous soldier, a strong leader, but the one thing he lacked, even from his earlier years, was strength of moral character and integrity. In fact, while he was still a young man, his tutor famously shouted at him the phrase, O Marcus, O colossal child, able to conquer the world, yet unable to resist temptation. I imagine there isn't any biblical story that has captivated the attention of generations anymore over the last several thousand years than the liaison of King David with Bathsheba.

What began with the look that led to lust, that led to this liaison, would give birth to a legion of circumstances. In fact, you could write over the caption of the next scene where we find ourselves in our study of David's life, this same rather lamenting description, O David, O colossal child, able to conquer the world, unable to resist temptation. So far in our study, and we're at 2 Samuel 11 now, in our study of this singer-king of Israel, the record of inspired Scripture, if you've been with us, you've noticed how often so much time elapses in just a few verses. In fact, in one chapter, he is a young shepherd boy who takes on Goliath.

In the next chapter, he is a seasoned warrior married to the daughter of King Saul leading troops victoriously into battle. And it all happens in the space of 50 or 60 verses. Most of the time, the biography of David is a blur.

It moves at blinding speed. And yet now, when you arrive at this chapter, God slows everything down. In fact, 2 Samuel is going to effectively devote two chapters to less than 10 months in the life of David.

The narrative sort of slips into slow motion. God obviously wants us to learn some lessons and to learn them well from these moments in David's life. If I could offer a lesson or two at the outset before we dive in, one of them would be this, if David can fall, so can we. I mean, if David, you know, the courageous giant killer, the ferocious, trusting, faithful warrior with abandon, taking on the enemies for the glory of God, this loyal citizen to a corrupt king who waited for years in hiding, running for his life, a man who delighted with joy at the coming, the return of the ark of the covenant of God, a poet-singer who by now has written dozens and dozens of psalms where he loves to sing, of his adoration to the glorious Creator God. If that man can fall, why would we ever be overconfident in ourselves? Why would we ever think we can't? Let me give another foundational observation, and it's this.

No one falls into sin in a moment. Now, we've got to backtrack a little bit. In fact, you can't understand 2 Samuel chapter 11 until you understand what's been heating in the oven for some time. You might write into the margin of your text somewhere around there in your notes a text you could go and look at. Your leisure, just write Deuteronomy chapter 17.

And for the sake of time, let me just review it quickly. Moses predicted a time when the people of Israel would want a king. And God revealed to Moses in the law three prohibitions of these kings that would come to rule Israel. Number one, they were not allowed to multiply horses.

Number two, they were not allowed to build a personal store of gold and silver. And number three, they were not allowed to multiply wives. In other words, the kings were to model humility, non-materialism, and monogamy.

To do otherwise would effectively defy God's created order as well as abandon trust in His provision, in His protection, in His providence. You see, multiplying horses related to military power, increasing gold related to materialistic pursuits, and multiplying wives related to moral purity. And in this rather brutal, materialistic, polygamous world that looks a lot like ours, the king over God's people was to set an example. And by the way, we as royalty, sons and daughters of the king should do none the less than this. If you study his biography with this in mind, these prohibitions, David will consistently slay the horses of enemy troops after his victorious battle over them. He will consistently bring gold and silver and dedicate it to the temple. But when it comes to this matter of the opposite sex, he will fail. Now you might think, well, he's two out of three. If this were baseball, he'd be a superstar. No, this isn't baseball. And keep in mind, especially when you read the Old Testament, that what the Bible records isn't necessarily what the Bible condones.

It often just simply states fact. You might have, if you've been with us, watched with a measure of confusion. And I think I'm going to need to spend an entire sermon on the subject of polygamy because that's next in our culture. But if you study this biography, you've been confused, not quite sure what to do with it. He marries Michael, the daughter of King Saul, and then you watch as he sort of rescues Abigail, this damsel in distress after Nabal, that husband of hers, dies of a heart attack.

And you're kind of cheering on the fact these scoops are up. But you're wondering why God's hammer doesn't fall somewhere in their honeymoon. The Scriptures are silent, leading many. In fact, I've had men tell me that's justification for their lifestyle. I've had polygamists. I've heard from them and read them that they would say that David is actually setting an example. But then David marries Ahinoam, and you're not sure where to file that one. Then he moves to Hebron and adds four more wives. And now your filing cabinet just can't handle it. And along the way, you discover he's picked up concubines.

Or as one little kid said, cucumber vines. And he's really not finished. In fact, he won't finish. The Bible will not white out the sins of our spiritual forefathers. And here's that lesson at the outset of our study. None of us fall into sin in a moment.

It's usually a series of decisions, compromises that build or grow, made over a period of time that are compartmentalized, that are justified, that are rationalized, that are even sanitized. And a fall is just the next step in a direction you've been heading. You don't fall into sin.

You walk into sin. Now up to this point in David's biography, he has suffered many obstacles and difficulties. In fact, he's been at his best, hasn't he, in this climb?

One author writes it this way. Look at him now. He's had a humble beginning.

He's been a giant killer, two decades now of leadership, choice men in the right places, a military force, every foe respected, enlarged boundaries that now reached 60,000 square miles. No defeats on the battlefield, exports, imports, financial health, a beautiful new home, plans for the temple of the Lord. So what if he married a few more wives and privately created a harem who would complain?

By the way, there's another lesson there at the outset that I want to record. David is about to pursue yet another woman when he has a harem and a multitude of wives. Another lesson, sexual desire is never satisfied outside God's created design. It only increases and digresses and destroys. Forbidden lust is like someone dying of thirst while begging for salt.

David's lust and polygamy and sexual compromises have eroded his integrity. You didn't read about it. I mean, you saw a verse here too and you scratched your head. But the hammer doesn't fall and I guess everything's all right. There wasn't any hammer.

There wasn't any shoe dropping in the honeymoon of wife number six or concubine number 12. But it is now beginning to fall. It's now beginning to fall. He's about to take a step that he would never himself have been able to imagine. You could entitle the first half of David's life the triumphs of David. This chapter is the hinge in his biography and you can entitle the second half the tragedies of David. The kingdom will never quite be the same. In fact, the failure of the average Bible student or Christian to understand that this chapter spells the end of his triumphs and the beginning of his tragedies will most likely fail to connect the dots of his coming loss of family relationships, a coming political firestorm, intrigue and crime that will include murder and rape and jealousy and abandonment and treason and disloyalty and multiple murders to come. They'll never connect the dots unless you understand this chapter in its context. And by the way, you'll also miss the depths of his genuine confession and repentance and the amazing grace of God, unless you understand this correctly. Now verse 1, in the spring of the year, the time when kings go to battle.

That's not a throwaway line though. That's a hint. David sent Joab and his servants with him and all Israel and they ravaged the Ammonites. That means they creamed them and besieged Rabah. But David remained at Jerusalem. It happened late one afternoon when David arose from his bed, his couch, and was walking on the roof of the king's house. Let's pause there for a moment.

The author has hinted at several things we ought to take note of. First of all, David was not in battle. He was in bed. Had he been where he belonged, perhaps this episode with Bathsheba might never have occurred. And isn't it true that sometimes our greatest battles with temptation come when things are going so well? Now at a future date, his commander will convince him to not go into battle because the enemy is targeting David to kill him. That's not happening here.

David is most vulnerable to the bait of Satan. He's bored with the mundane chores of predictable days. There's more leisure than necessary. He's luxuriating in his new palace. His army is mopping up one more victory.

Ho-hum! Didn't even need to pray about it. He's resting comfortably physically and metaphorically on his past heroic accomplishments. Life couldn't be easier. And the writer doesn't want us to miss this. He's lounging in bed in the late afternoon.

Now there's nothing wrong with an afternoon nap. Excavations have revealed that Eastern monarchs frequently built palaces on top of palaces. They built gardens, beautiful gardens. Some of them have been drawn out for contemporary audiences to see.

Hard to imagine what they would do. They would build open-sided, column-supported dining rooms and bedrooms where they could enjoy from their flat roofs of their palaces the cool evening breezes. In the evening, a king would be able to walk around his rooftop garden in some privacy above the noisy streets below where he is protected, but from which he can see his kingdom sprawling around him. That's exactly where David is at this moment, and it happened, verse 2. Late one afternoon when David arose from his bed, his couch was walking on the roof of the king's house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing, and the woman was very beautiful.

Now the biblical record, by the way, isn't going to write a Hollywood script, but it doesn't exaggerate. When it says that she was beautiful, it means it. In fact, we're told that she was very beautiful. One Old Testament linguist pointed out the fact that the Bible rarely uses the word translated very, and I checked it out myself and went to the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament, and discovered that that word very, usually translated exceedingly, only appears about twelve times in the New Testament.

The Bible doesn't exaggerate. And so when it says that she was exceedingly beautiful, she is the perfect storm. She is perfect for this last step. And I would agree, by the way, with others that she bears some responsibility in his wonderful commentary on the life of David, which I've enjoyed reading.

Chuck Swindoll writes on this text here, Bethsheba was careless and foolish. From her own home, she would often have looked out to the royal palace nearby. She would have known that she could be seen.

Now whether she knew it or not, we'll never know, and it probably wouldn't have mattered. David did see her, and when he should have turned away, he looked again. And his looking turned into lusting. See, lust is never satisfied anyway.

It always craves more. Verse 3, and David sent and inquired about the woman. In other words, I'm going to add her to my harem. And one said, the messenger said, is not this Bethsheba, the daughter of Eliim, the wife of Uriah the Hittite? This messenger, by the way, deserves a medal.

His answer is loaded with warnings. There are at least four of them. Notice, he doesn't just give her name. He puts it in the form of a question that translated into English means, what in the world are you thinking?

That's what he's saying. Isn't this Bethsheba, the daughter of Eliim? Bethsheba, the name woodenly translated, I don't know much about her, but it means daughter of seven. More than likely, it means the seventh daughter. Eliim and his wife have had seven daughters. She's one of them. She's somebody's daughter. She's somebody's daughter. She's the daughter of Eliim.

This is where he gets interesting to me. Eliim was the son of Ahithophel. Ahithophel was the trusted counselor of King David. We're going to meet him again in this biography.

It's interesting to me that this chief counselor… In fact, it explained to me this week, I finally got it. It explained to me why Ahithophel will later abandon David, switch sides, side with Absalom, and give Absalom the correct advice, had he followed it, he would have gotten the throne. He said, here's how you need to kill your dad. Absalom ignores his advice. Ahithophel will leave and take his life. Why does he end a life of such a respectable career and leave David for Absalom?

Why? Because he's been seething for years because of what David did with his granddaughter. In ripping his family apart.

The messenger isn't finished. Now, typical introductions in the Middle East will begin with the name, perhaps of the father, add the grandfather. The spouse is rarely included. He saves that for last, verse 3. She is the wife of Uriah the Hittite. In other words, that beautiful lady down there is married.

That should have stopped him cold. But his heart and culture is so much like ours where a wedding band is nothing but a minor obstacle in the way. Not only is she married though, get this, she's married to Uriah, David. You know him well. He's one of your mighty men. He's one of the 37 that track all the way back to those days of hiding out from Saul, running for his life.

These are faithful men who gave everything to David. You know Uriah? She's his wife. In fact, he's a converted Hittite.

Fascinating man we know little of. But his name more than likely was changed at his conversion to Uriah. It means Yahweh is my light. David, your God is my God. They've been fighting together. They've been on the same side.

They've watched each other's back for years. David, what are you thinking? She's the wife of Uriah. He knows what David's thinking, which is why he comes back and effectively says, David, you can't do this. She's the granddaughter of your trusted counselor.

She's the wife of one of your faithful friends, as if to say, you cannot be serious. David is undeterred, his mind now governed by lust, this lesser passion. He has set reason and logic aside and faith and worship and fellowship. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer once wrote in his book entitled Temptation, he writes insightfully, listen to these words. He says, in our members there is a slumbering inclination toward desire which is both sudden and fierce when a secret smoldering fire is kindled.

It makes no difference whether it is sexual desire or ambition or vanity or revenge or love of fame or power or greed for money. It doesn't matter. At that moment when the fire is kindled, note this, God loses all reality. Satan does not fill us with hatred of God but with forgetfulness of God.

And the powers of clear discrimination and decision are taken from us. There on that rooftop, you need to understand, David doesn't hate God. He's choosing to forget God. And his judgment and clear thinking become the casualties. There's only one verse in the text that informs us of their encounter.

It's going to be hard to write a script for a movie out of this one. We're not told anything, really. We're not told if she was surprised by his advances or if she resisted. We're not told that David charmed her or threatened her.

Not one word is recorded between them. In fact, in the Hebrew language there's little doubt that God is boiling it down to brute verbs. Let me read it that way, verse 4. David sent messengers, took her. She came to him. He lay with her. She returned, period.

No connection, no conversation, just cold, heartless, selfish, uncaring lust. But I do want to point out one thing that the author of Scripture wants us to get. In my text it's in the parenthesis, which I skipped.

Let me go back to it. It's in the middle of verse 4. It simply says, Now she had been purifying herself from her uncleanness.

Now getting that correct will determine our application. Some translations imply that she remained in David's house until she ceremonially purified herself from sexual intimacy, according to the law delivered in Leviticus chapter 15. And that would lead me to obviously make application from the fact that even though they sinned, they put on a religious show, is that they cared about the law of God. It's that they cared about God, which people in sin often do. I have had individuals involved in immorality say, I have never been closer to God in my life than right now. We pray together.

We read the Bible together. It's amazing the absolute loss of discretion and discernment. Have you ever found yourself in the position of trying to cover up your sin? You tried to maintain a facade of godliness, but your sin was driving you away from God. We know in our hearts that we can't fool God, but it's tempting to want to try. And it's tempting to try to fool the people in our lives. I'm not glad that King David fell into sin, but I am glad that God preserved the account for us to study. Because seeing David as a fallen man who gives into temptation can help us.

Not only is this passage a good reminder for us to avoid temptation, but it also instructs us on how to deal properly when we do sin. There's more to this lesson, but the conclusion is going to have to wait until next time. We're just about at the end of our time for today. Between now and then, we'd love to hear from you. If you have a comment, a question, or would like more information, you can send us an email if you address it to info at wisdom online dot org. It's always a delight for us to hear from our listeners and learn how God is using this broadcast to bless and encourage you in your walk with Christ. Once again, that's info at wisdom online dot org, and I hope that we hear from you today. That's all for today. I'm Scott Wiley, and on behalf of Stephen and the entire wisdom team, thanks again for joining us. Don't miss the conclusion to this lesson next time on Wisdom for the Heart. God bless.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-18 02:19:27 / 2023-06-18 02:29:07 / 10

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