Summary: If we want to avoid sin, then be in the place where God has appointed you to be
In the spring when kings go out to war
Have you ever thought what is meant in the Lord’s Prayer when Jesus said:
“Lead us not into temptation….” (Mt 6:13)
Have you ever asked any of these questions?
i. Does God tempt us?
ii. Is temptation a sin?
And indeed what do you make of Jesus’ temptations in the wilderness in Luke 4.
I’d like to focus this morning on how can we resist temptation?
Oscar Wilde in his inimitable way usually had something to say about everything – and temptation was no exception: He said
1. "I can resist anything except temptation!"
2. "The best way to deal with temptation is to yield to it!"
Was he right?
If he wasn’t, how do we deal with temptation.
1. “When kings go off to war”
This morning, I’d like to focus on one verse from our OT lesson today. That seemingly strange phrase in 2 Samuel 11: 1:
In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war,…..(2 Sam 11:1)
When I first read it – I was perplexed.
So what is it all about?
“In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war”
2. The Context
The verse introduces one of the most notorious acts of treachery in the Old Testament.
King David’s adultery with Uriah the Hittite’s wife, Bathsheba - followed by the shameful murder of her husband.
3. Who was Uriah?
What makes this event so despicable is that Uriah wasn’t just any old soldier.
He was one of David’s special SAS force - known as the Thirty Chiefs - who had been with David from the days of Adullum’s Cave (2 Sam 23: 39).
In other words Uriah was a trusty companion of David’s. A friend even.
And David had him killed!
4. David’s sin
I haven’t come across anyone who could break so many of the 10 commandments at one sitting!
As far as I can make out David managed to break at least 4 of the 10 commandments
You shall not murder (No. 6)
You shall not commit adultery (No. 7)
You shall not steal (No. 8)
You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife (No. 10) (Ex 20:1-17)
But just before you think that David was a special sinner, I’d like to park a verse with you that St. Paul said about King David:
(God) testified concerning (David): ’I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’ (Acts 13:22)
A murderer, an adulterer, a thief - a man after God’s own heart?
So how do we marry up all these paradoxes?
I am not going to answer the question now- though I will touch it later!
But back to my Bible reading:
In the spring when kings go out to war…David remained in Jerusalem.
God had called David to be king and so HE SHOULD have been at the head of his troops.
In those days, the king had the responsibility of leading his troops into battle. But David stayed behind in Jerusalem.
I would like to suggest to you that there are three reasons why David fell for the temptation.
4.1. Reason No. 1.
David fell into temptation because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Nothing wrong with being in his palace in Jerusalem – but not when he should have been at the head of his army!.
We will often fall for temptation when we are not where we should be - in the Will of God.
4.2. Reason No. 2
The second reason David fell into temptation was that he gave into the “sin of the second glance”.
There was nothing wrong when he saw Bathsheba naked for the first time – he couldn’t be blamed for that. But it was sin when he looked the second time.
4.3. Reason No. 3
The third reason that David fell into temptation was that he wanted to cover up his original sin
One sin often leads onto another and in this case David gave into the temptation to look good in the eyes of the world.
When Bathsheba told him that she was pregnant, David tried to get Uriah to come home and sleep with his wife.
So they could pass the child off as Uriah’s!
But when you are so public a figure you can’t get away with that!! The palace guard probably wasn’t taken in. I bet Uriah wasn’t either.
Having called Uriah back from the front, David invited him to go home and sleep with his wife .
However Uriah’s answer had quite a sting in the tail:
"The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in tents, and my master Joab and my lord’s men are camped in the open fields. How could I go to my house to eat and drink and lie with my wife? As surely as you live, I will not do such a thing!"