Summary: I look at the power, lure and dangers of lust from the story of David and Bathsheba.
I need you to think way back to July 23rd we began a series, do you remember what it was? We began a series looking at the seven deadly sins. Allow me to do just a little bit of review for you. The Seven Deadly Sins are not found listed in the Bible, but they are a list of sinful attitudes which some of the early church fathers compiled as those most harmful and deadly to the soul, from which most other sins stemmed from. The list was compiled as a tool for self examination so that a person could confess their sin and ask God for help.
We started by looking at pride, then in week two we examined the dangers of envy, and then we looked at anger. We have four more deadly sins to consider and this week we are looking at the sin of lust. While the word “lust” literally means strong desire, or craving and can be used to describe someone’s lust for power or someone’s lust for life, that’s not what the church fathers had in mind when they listed it.
Lust is an intense or unrestrained sexual craving. Frederick Buechner says, “Lust is the craving for salt by a man who is dying of thirst.” Another writer said, “Lust is the athlete’s foot of the mind.” And friends it should come as no surprise to you that we are increasingly becoming a sex obsessed culture. Allow me to list some statistics:
• The number of porn sites in 1998: 71,831, In 2001: 311,652, In 2003: 1.3 million
• The amount of money the porn industry makes in a year is more than that of the NBA, Major League Baseball, and the NFL combined.
• The average age for a child to see porn is 11 years old.
• 68% of all Prime-time programming and 84% of situation comedies, contain sexual content 10% offer strong suggestions of sexual intercourse
• According to The National Center For Missing and Exploited Children, reported incidents of sexual exploitation have risen dramatically. In 1998, the Center received 4,573 reports. In 2003 the number of incidents rose to 81,987.
• The percentage of female readers of Today’s Christian Woman online newsletter who admitted intentionally accessing Internet porn: 34
• A recent survey conducted by the National Coalition for the Protection of Children and Families surveyed students at five Christian colleges. Sixty-eight percent of the male students said they had intentionally looked for pornography on the Internet. Ten percent of those surveyed admitted to frequent use of pornography, and five percent acknowledged having a problem with pornography.
• The Justice Department estimates that 9 of 10 children between the ages of 8 and 16 have been exposed to pornography online. Software company Symantec found that 47 percent of school-age children receive pornographic spam on a daily basis. And representatives from the pornography industry told the Child Online Protection Act Commission that as much as 20 to 30 percent of the traffic to some pornographic websites is children.
Friends the lure of lust is everywhere. There are times driving down the street where I have seen bus shelter posters that I wouldn’t allow on my 12 year old son’s bedroom wall. Within the Canadian culture there is an ever loosening of sexual standards and don’t fool yourself we can’t help but be affected by them. Nobody is immune to its lure and no one is above the danger of falling.
While running for the office of President of the United States, Jimmy Carter received intense scrutiny for admitting to a reporter: “I’ve looked on the lot of women with lust. I’ve committed adultery in my heart many times…” Buddha said, “Of all the worldly passions, lust is the most intense. All other worldly passions seem to follow in its train. A 13th century Muslim poet revealed the strength of lust’s pull when he wrote, “An enemy to whom you show kindness becomes your friend, excepting lust, the indulgence of which increases its enmity.”
Friend, no one is immune to the lure of this sin. The Bible says that King David was a man after God’s heart. He was a man who was emotionally mature, he new intimately what was going on in his heart and his own self awareness enabled him to write some of the most insightful poetry and songs dealing with human emotion in all of literature and yet he fell. But perhaps we can learn some lessons of how he could have remained strong if we look at his story. (Read 2 Sam. 11:1 – 5)
David fed his habit
Actually the story of David’s falling prey to lust begins earlier than his encounter with Bathsheba. You see David’s fall began by him feeding his habit until it became an addiction. You see David already had several wives he could have called. In fact after he already has seven wives and several more concubines and then we read in 2 Samuel 5:12 “After he left Hebron, David took more concubines and wives in Jerusalem…” Now in that culture and time, having multiple wives was not illegal but friends it was immoral. In Deuteronomy 17:17 God warns that a King of Israel “must not take many wives.” But David ignored that prohibition. What’s legal is not always moral and it can feed lust’s appetite.