Summary: Bad behavior and the consequences thereof may be far-reaching but in coming clean we find the grace of God to be equally far-reaching.
20150802 10th Sunday after Pentecost B Web Site
Title: Behaving Badly
Text: II Samuel 11:26-12:13a
Thesis: Bad behavior and the consequences thereof may be far-reaching but in coming clean we find the grace of God to be equally far-reaching.
If this text were to be funneled through the College Board Advanced Placement U.S. (Biblical) History Standard people, it would likely be perceived as being too negative and in need of a revised positive spin. It does little to advance the idea of Biblical Judeo-Christian Exceptionalism. This is just one of many historical Biblical accounts that do not reflect well on God, the people of God or the human condition. Fortunately God has the integrity to be authentic rather than white-wash the way we are. So we have stories like David and Bathsheba woven into the Biblical narrative.
Public shaming is all the rage now. Parents use shaming to embarrass their teenagers. Pet owners hang signs on the collars of their pets that read, “I was bad while mommy was at work.” The idea behind shaming is to point out legitimately horrible behavior and the posting of their shameful behavior on public media is supposed to be a deterrent… after all, who wants to be publically shamed?
Walter Palmer is currently experiencing the effects of public shaming for having paid $55 K for the privilege of shooting Cecil the lion just outside the boundary of a Zimbabwean Conservation area. Apparently his big-game hunting guides tied a dead animal to the back of their vehicle and lured the lion from the conservation area so they could make a legal, albeit unethical kill.
Dr. Palmer is something of a big-time game hunter and he has the means to buy a safari from professional guides that assure him of a trophy kill. If he was unaware that his guides had not acquired the necessary permits and that Cecil had essentially been baited for the kill and that there was a deliberate attempt to lure the lion from the conservation area… he most certainly was aware that Cecil was wearing a tracking collar and party to the attempt to destroy and hide it.
And so it is, Dr. Palmer is at the center of a public shaming media storm.
Can you imagine what kind of media storm King David would stir up today?
I. David was blind to his hardening heart, II Samuel 11:1-27
The challenge is the tension between spiritual awareness and apathy.
This text begins rather innocuously but it unfolds very quickly to reveal a developing crisis.
A. He was Disengaged
It was the spring of the year, when Kings normally go to war. David sent Joab and his army to fight the Ammonites, however, David stayed behind. II Samuel 11:1
B. He was Distracted
…he noticed a woman of unusual beauty taking a bath. He sent someone to find out who she was. II Samuel 11:2-3 (He sent for her and slept with her…)
C. He was Deceitful
When David found out Bathsheba was pregnant, he sent word to Joab, “Send me Uriah…” II Samuel 11:6
His hope was to get Uriah home so he could sleep with his wife and would never know the child she carried was not his but when that scheme did not work David upped the ante.
D. He was Deadly
David sent a letter to Joab, “Station Uriah on the front line where the battle is fiercest. Then pull back so he will be killed.” II Samuel 11:14-15
About the only way God could have made this sordid story any worse would be to have King David become a “Hannibal the Cannibal” Lecter and literally consume the evidence against him. It is a wretched story that many, if not most of us can hardly relate. We have trouble seeing ourselves as being that bad. And yet we are reminded that David was once a handsome young man with a heart for God and a faith large enough to take on Goliath and character so strong that he resisted the opportunity to kill the man who was making his life hell because he thought of Saul as the Lord’s anointed.
There is a developing sinkhole phenomenon occurring around the world as without warning gaping holes open up revealing the effects of long term, ongoing erosion. Here in the U.S. Florida, Texas, Alabama, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee and Pennsylvania are particularly prone for sinkhole locations. It seems the ground beneath these states is rich in easily dissolved rock types which are eroded by water seeping into these formations. Eventually a vast cavern collapses creating a sinkhole crater. We’ve all seen them…
The 2010 a 330-foot deep sinkhole in Guatemala City swallowed land, power poles, a three-story factory building and a security guard.
One way to think of what happened in David’s life and can happen in our lives as well is to think of the way our inner lives can be affected by the gradual erosion of our spiritual vitality. We neglect time with God. We are less faithful in spiritual activities. We refuse to deal with issues in our lives. We continue to live in habitual sin and excuse our character flaws. And then one day the pretty exterior we’ve maintained collapses and exposes our spiritual vulnerabilities and we are revealed for what we are…