The anatomy of temptation - 26 July 2021
By Ewald Schmidt
- 2 Samuel 11:2-4
One day, late in the afternoon, David got up from his nap and went to the palace roof. As he walked about up there, he saw a woman having a bath. She was very beautiful. So he sent a messenger to find out who she was, and learnt that she was Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite. David sent messengers to fetch her; they brought her to him and he made love to her. (She had just finished her monthly ritual of purification.) Then she went back home.
We may be children of God trying our best to honour him by obeying his commands, but we remain human beings, and we live in this broken world. Every one of us will face temptation from time to time. Temptation is not sin, yet. It is an invitation to turn away from God’s path. Today, we learn how not to handle temptation from David.
1. David was not where he was supposed to be. This happened in the springtime, the time that nations went to war. A king was supposed to be with his army, defending his country. But David got lazy. He sent his army to war but remained hanging around at home. When you are not actively busy, working out your life’s calling, you are open to temptation. You can easily be in the wrong place at the wrong time if you are not where God wants you to be.
2. David looks a second time. He is strolling on his palace roof. He sees a beautiful woman taking a bath. His lust takes over, he desires her body. He does not look away; his thoughts take him out of God’s boundaries. He should have walked away, jumped on the nearest horse, joined his army, but he did not.
3. David starts enquiring … His thoughts lead to action. He starts asking who she is. He hears that she is Bathsheba, a married woman. Married to one of his most trusted soldiers, living so close that he could see inside their house. This does not stop David. Thoughts become deeds.
4. David misuses his authority. He, in his capacity as king, sends for Bathsheba.
5. Temptation becomes a deed of disobedience. He slept with her. He committed adultery.
6. Sin has deadly results. She becomes pregnant, and it was some time since her husband was last at home, he would immediately know. David tried tricks to get him home, but he was a loyal soldier, he refused to go home whilst his brothers fought the king’s battles. So David planned his murder on the battlefield.
7. Sin puts distance between us and God. Here again we see how deadly sin can be on all relationships involved.
Temptation is a harsh reality in our lives. We must live so close to God that the Spirit gets our attention the moment we start to go astray. Temptation is not sin, yet. But our reaction might be. Be aware of the snares of sin on your way.
Prayer: Lord, you have set us free for a life of abundance, with your blessing, when we obey and trust in you. Sometimes we encounter temptations, inviting us to alternative routes. Open my eyes to see your path, and guide me through your Spirit. Amen