Archive for the ‘Family Life’ Category

Sin is No Respecter of Persons

Sunday, October 17th, 2010

“Do not let this thing displease you, for the sword devours one as well as another.” 2 Sam. 11:25

The Bible often presents lessons by pairing up stories, or pairing up people. 2 Sam. 9 and 10 speak of kindness received and kindness rejected. 2 Sam. 11 reminds of Jesus’ warning to watch and pray, and shares the sad story of David succumbing to temptation in a careless moment, and successfully covering up his sin at the expense of Uriah, a wonderfully loyal soldier and husband.

1 Sam. 11 opens with Israel at war. Directing the battle were David’s commanders; within the army were disciplined and loyal soldiers. David surprisingly chose to remain at home.

David, who survived the attacks of Saul, endured the rigors of the wilderness, overcame shortcomings so far as associating with the enemy went, and was so wonderfully generous to Mephibosheth, suddenly took a spiritual tumble of epic proportions: he committed adultery with Bathsheba and got her pregnant; then  worked to cover up the unbecoming event, eventually resorting to having Uriah killed in battle. He even later took Bathsheba as his wife and thought no one would know.

I don’t think David planned any of the things that took place, they just happened. I don’t think we necessarily plan the mischief we get into; it just happens. For David there was first the unguarded moment, then the furtive lingering glance, then the foolish inquiry, then open seeking, then sinning. Various desperate attempts to cover up the deed followed, culminating in the successful bloody coverup!

Unfortunately for David, Uriah was so faithful and so committed to the urgent demands of the battle going on, that he refused to tarry with his wife, preferring to sleep at the door of David’s house. So David finally had Uriah placed in a vulnerable position in the battle, where David knew he would be killed; soldiers died in combat all the time, no one would know otherwise—at least that is what he thought.

Thus when a messenger reported the battle’s outcome and the death of Uriah to David, David’s self-absorbed response was: “Do not let this thing displease you, for the sword devours one as well as another.”

Of course it was David who was not displeased, and he was right: the sword kills indiscriminately. But he forgot that sin is also no respecter of persons, and indiscriminately devours and brings down a person—even a strong person—as easily as another.”

Here are some things that strike me.

(1) Only some of our enemies appear in human form (Eph. 6:12). David may have mistakenly thought that with Saul dead and the Philistines quickly submitting to his armies, he was going to be free of enemies, and accordingly gave himself permission to let his guard down and stay in Jerusalem. Sadly he failed to realize that his GREATEST enemy was unseen, and was busily working to bring him down. That unseen GREATEST enemy is working against us too.

(2) Satan has many ways of getting us to tumble spiritually (1 Peter 5:8). What he cannot accomplish by way of difficulty, he will seek to accomplish in other subtle ways that we don’t anticipate. It isn’t a matter of whether he will try to bring us down, it is only a matter of when and how he will try. David was undoubtedly not anticipating such a temptation when he was wandering on the rooftop.

(3) We must always be on our watch (Matt. 26:41).  Great Christians uniformly had quality time with Jesus EVERY day. Every day they sought to serve God wherever they found themselves; every day they sought the Holy Spirit’s protection against Satan’s wiles. We must do the same.

(4) Strong men and woman are no match for temptation in unguarded moments, if they are not watching and praying (Prov. 7:26)—which begins with the unguarded look or the unguarded thought (James 1:15). This is frighteningly true. We overtly see this in Samson and David, but it also played a role with Solomon the wisest man who ever lived.

(5) We are just as vulnerable in good times as in bad times, perhaps even more vulnerable in good times since we tend to let our guard down (Luke 17:27-29). The latter may not seem to make sense, but I believe it to be true.

(6) We need more prayer, in some ways, when things are going well, than when they are going badly, and some of those prayers need to be “defensive” in nature (Matt. 6:13). When things are going badly, we are highly motivated to pray and ask our friends to pray for us. But when things are going well, we go along on our merry way, little realizing that Satan is quietly conjuring up “designer” temptations that are perfectly suited to our vulnerabilities.

(7) We tend to flippantly respond to spiritual and moral failures and minimize their impact when we are involved (Jer. 5:22), when we would be highly critical of someone else.

(8) There are preferred ways of dealing with our problems. David shows us a bad way; we should choose better ways, which ALWAYS begin with returning to the Lord (Isa. 55:7).

(9) Bad things happen to good people (Job 2:3-6; Heb. 12:1). Even though Uriah was a Canaanite, he was a godly man from what we can tell. Though he probably never understood what went on, God apparently saw that Uriah could witness more through death than through a normal life. There are things we won’t understand until we get to heaven. In the meantime we need to be faithful and obedient, trusting God no matter what is going on.

David’s careless attitude was manifested in his flippant, “Do not let this thing displease you, for the sword devours one as well as another.” I think we are wired from Adam to take a similar attitude to our challenges, and the only thing to combat such an attitude, to say nothing of preserving us from similar foolishness, is a constant connection with God that is only possible as we are reading and praying.

So, how is it going with your daily time? I hope you are lingering and savoring your time with Him every day, if not several times every day.

Father, if Satan was clever enough to bring mighty David down, he is certainly clever enough to bring us down. You warned us about the need to “watch and pray,” and taught us to say, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” Help us to take Your admonitions seriously, and not only pray, but also live those words. Keep my friend in this regard. Put an angel guard around and around all those who are near and dear. Drive Satan far away. Make my friend’s life one of great joy and blessing, for Jesus’ sake, for my friend’s sake, for the associated family’s sake, and for those who, in observing Your radiant joy, will want to know You as well. I ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen.

God bless you, Dan

A Good Home is the Best School!

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

I am an avid bookworm and find wonderful admonitions in the books that I am reading. Accordingly I have started a new section on my path2prayer.com web site where I share some of the quotations that I have read on a particular day. Today I was reading Legh Richmond’s take on raising Christian families. Along the way he also comments on music. His words are simple, come from a father’s heart and are profound.

Legh Richmond:

Richmond was very concerned about the way he raised his family. He strongly believed that many so called “innocent” pleasures were anything but innocent.

Richmond’s first object was to make home the happiest place to his children; to render them independent of foreign alliances in their pursuits and friendships; and so to interest them in domestic enjoyments, as to preclude the feeling, too common in young people, of restlessness and longing to leave their own fire-sides, and wander abroad in search of pleasure and employment. In this attempt to satisfy his family, and engage their compliance with his wishes, he so completely succeeded, that every member of it left home with regret, even for an occasional visit, and returned to Turvey with fond anticipation—as to the place of their treasures.

“I have long thought that though a good school is better than a bad home, a good home is the best of schools. Children are for the most part educated in temper and habits of all kinds, not by schools-but by companions, and here, all is contingency.”

“Some may think I am too fond of seeing my children around me; if it be a weakness, I must plead guilty to it-from their infancy I have looked forward, as far as providential circumstances would permit, to find comfort, support, and companionship in my children. My middle, and if spared, my old age, may much require it; and if my life be short, can anyone wonder that I should like to see and know much of them while I remain in this world. It has ever been my heart’s desire and prayer, to give them a useful, happy, exemplary home-were I to fail here, life would indeed become a blank to me. I would strive “to roll the troublous trial on God,” but I would deeply mourn in secret.”

A happy home greatly depends on the recreations and amusements which are provided for young people…. Mr. Richmond was aware to these issues and endeavored, by a succession and variety of recreations, to employ the leisure hours to advantage. He had recourse to what was beautiful in nature or ingenious in art or science-and when abroad he collected materials to gratify the curiosity of his children.

Music was another source of domestic amusement in which Mr. Richmond excelled, being both a good composer, and no mean performer. Many of his children played on some instrument, and occasionally joined their father in a “concert of sweet sounds.”

He encouraged the use of the pencil, and was very anxious that his daughters should cultivate their taste for drawing.

“Mere innocent pleasure is not a sufficient motive-the glory of God must be the end and aim of every attainment, or else it is a waste of time, and an abuse of talent. Pencils, paint, Indian ink, and Indian-rubber, may be devoted to the honor of him who bestows the power of combining their respective properties, so as to produce the similitudes of his works.”

“I am no less anxious about the cultivation of musical talents; there is, however, more danger of music being abused than drawing-the inundation of frivolity, and the sometimes unsuspected associations of a carnal and worldly nature, which mingle with musical compositions of a modern and fashionable cast, often distress and hurt me. The fascinations of the ballroom, the corruptions of the theater and opera-house, too often creep into the quiet piano-forte corner of young people. Even instrumental music, with its appendages of waltzes, dances, and love-sick airs, has often a tendency to familiarize the young mind with subjects injurious to its welfare. The sober dignity of genuine instrumental music is nearly lost in the substitution of modern trick and blandishment-but if instrumental music be thus abused, how much more so vocal music-here the art and science of music opens its richest stores of opportunity for glorifying God and edifying man.”

“I am persuaded that music is designed to prepare for heaven; to educate for the choral enjoyment of paradise; to form the mind to virtue and devotion, and to charm away evil, and sanctify the heart to God. A Christian musician is one who has a harp in his affections, which he daily tunes to the notes of the angelic host, and with which he makes melody in his heart to the Lord. Does he strike the chord with his hands? it is to bid lute and harp to awake to the glory of God. The hand, the tongue, and the ear, form a kind of triple chord, not to be broken…. Bring music, my beloved child, to this test, and your vocal hours will not be spent in vain.”

You can find my reading notes at this link: I also have notes on Huegel’s Bone of His Bone, and Brainerd’s Prayer Journal. There is much more at path2prayer.com on practical Christianity.