Summary: The fifth deadly sin is lust. Like, the others, this one permeates our culture. It is everywhere. It tempts us all. It starts out so innocently but even the smallest seed can germinate to destructive proportions. We’ll see how to guard against it.
June 8, 2008
The seventh deadly sin is lust. I hope you have been able to see how our culture and our lives are inundated with these sins and how they often run hand-in-hand with each other.
Our cultural advertising motto is “sex sells.” Sex sells clothes, cars, food, beverages, even exercise equipment. “You can have the body that you have always wanted.” While they show two “perfectly” chiseled bodies using their equipment (always one male and one female), the message is that once you can have the body of your dreams by using our equipment for at little as thirty minutes a day three times a week, then you will “get” the other body that you “desire.” It’s implied: two bodies for the price of one.
Our scripture is the story of David and Bathsheba from 2 Samuel 11. Now you need to know that David has multiple wives and concubines that he has had children with even before he saw Bathsheba. His son Solomon who succeeded him as king had hundreds. Part of this had to do with culture. When a king took a wife or concubine from a neighboring country, this became a part of a treaty. When children especially sons were born to the king from these women, they became important symbols of mutual support between countries and also an assurance of continued peace.
There was a frog that absolutely knew his destiny was to turn in to a handsome young prince. But for confirmation, he decided to visit a fortuneteller. The fortuneteller brought the frog in and gazed into her crystal ball. She said, “Oh, I see something. You are going to meet a beautiful young woman.” The frog gets very antsy, “Yes, I knew it. I’m going to become a prince.” The fortuneteller continues, “From the moment she sets eyes on you she will have an insatiable desire to know all about you. She will be compelled to get close to you--you’ll fascinate her." The frog is very excited. He asks, “Where am I? At a singles club?” The fortuneteller answers, “No, Biology class.”
David has become king. He has won many battles and established Israel as an important power to be reckoned with. In 2 Samuel 11, the scripture tells us that it was spring and it was the time to go to war. But David decided to stay home this year. Maybe he was getting tired. Maybe he was just going to enjoy the fruits of his labors. Regardless, he sent Joab as the commander for him.
While the men were at way, David is up on his palace roof in the evening looking out over his city that he has built when he spies a young woman taking a bath on her roof. Now before we read too much into this, this was normally about as much privacy as a woman would get. When David sees her, he says, “Nice!” Remember David has lots of wives and concubines already but that is not enough. He asks about her.
“That’s Uriah’s wife (or Yuri for short). He is off fighting for you,” Someone tells him. David could have dropped it. He could have called one of his women and satisfied himself with her. But that is not enough. He is king. He is more important than even the Burger King. He has to have it his way. So he sends for her.
Now what woman is going to refuse the king. You are brought into this palace. The king (not Elvis mind you) is giving you all this attention. I know some of us today would be saying, “Not me buddy. No way, Jose!” But as a woman in that time, you couldn’t say, “No.” And after all, David was supposedly a pretty handsome guy. He made the cover every year of People magazines most handsome man of the year. He was the Pierce Brosnan, or George Clooney, or whoever is “hot” this year. He definitely was NOT a “Carrot Top.”
Well, after that wonderful night, Bathsheba goes home and sends word that she is pregnant. “Great,” David must be thinking, “Consequences to take care of. No problem. I know what I will do. Send for Yuri.” David figures that after being gone from his beautiful wife for so long that Yuri won’t even stop to eat before “seeing” her. Only problem is that Yuri seems to be a man of great character and loyalty. He goes to the palace and refuses to go home and sleeps at the gate where the servants sleep.
When Yuri was asked by David why he didn’t go home, Yuri says that he couldn’t do this while the rest of his men are off fighting battles that he should be fighting as well. So David decides to invite Yuri for an evening of fine dining and drinks with the emphasis on drinks. David wants Yuri to be a glutton. But even after a little too much to drink, Yuri goes back to his mat in the servant’s area.