2 Samuel 11:14-15 (the message)
In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah. In the letter he wrote, “Put Uriah in the front lines where the fighting is the fiercest. Then pull back and leave him exposed so that he’s sure to be killed.”
The saga of David and Bathsheba begins.
David stays home as his men go to battle…takes a walk on the roof of the palace after a nap…spies this stunningly beautiful woman bathing and has her brought to him…all the while her husband is serving in his military.
I’m taken with the change of heart in my favorite Old Testament shepherd.
Once David refused to kill a man who was trying to kill him! Saul in his grasp and David refused. Somewhere along the way David’s heart changed from broken and determined to complacent and hard. Bathsheba is Uriah’s wife. Now Uriah’s wife is pregnant with the king’s baby. David kicks discomfort down the road by having Uriah murdered and taking Bathsheba as his own.
I wonder if you are thinking what I am thinking.
One clue comes at the beginning of chapter 11 where the Bible says David stayed in Jerusalem while his men laid siege to Rabbah.
No other time have we read an account of David not going with his men to war. He not only fought, he sought The Lord for wisdom and guidance in battle. Perhaps David grew a bit too comfortable and lost perspective.
Gracious, do I get it.
See, I don’t think a hard heart comes suddenly, with a thunderous boom. No, I believe it creeps. Begins with complacency.
One of the definitions in Webster’s 1828 for complacency is satisfaction.
Satisfied. You know, “I’m good.” Don’t need more, have all I want.
Satisfaction might be good for meals, but not for spiritual life. When passion for Jesus cools to a place of satisfaction, perspective is quickly lost.
Surely David experienced God’s whisper to his heart, Go with your men, son.
And here lies a pivotal moment. Standing as close as we can to the line without crossing. Experiencing Holy Spirit’s weighty hand on our shoulder attempting to redirect us. At one point or another in life most of us make the wrong move…
We shrug Him off.
Go against the grain of His leading. Feel a deceptive relief as finally the weight of conviction is gone. But complacent-heart decisions lead to hard-hearted consequences.
I remember one of these pivotal moments in my life. I was working as an RN and moved into my own home. Every other weekend I was off and spent my Saturdays volunteering with a ministry reaching inner-city children nearby. It was amazing and fulfilling. But in time a restless need began to stick like a thorny distraction in my heart.
I can still see myself…rolling over in bed to stare at my alarm clock. Knowing I needed to get up and get going, call and let someone know I would be late. Staring at my phone in its cradle, the moment arrived and pressed in on my heart. See, I didn’t really want to go anymore because my heart was changing. And since my lack of desire was tied to this creeping complacency, I had no valid reason to give.
So after a few tense minutes, I shrugged.
Shrugged Him off. Kind of like David, I guess. I stayed home. I didn’t bother to call at all and never went again. In that moment I redirected my route. I was young and had no idea really of how a complacent heart leads to a hard heart and how a hard heart leads to pain and consequence.
In time I tasted Mercy. Felt the pull of Grace. Kindness led me to repentance…gently untangled my knots and melted my heart. Restored my perspective.
If your toes are at the line, may I encourage you to linger? Hold on. Let the feelings pass. Only God and those who have been there understand how one shrug leads to another. Until the weight on our shoulder isn’t loving correction but loss and devastation.
And if perhaps today you are hardened with the weight of regret, having crossed the line years ago, may I share God-Words that can heal you…free you…restore you?
Bible-Words that speak so deeply to this girl who has been there…
His anger lasts a moment but His compassion never fades. His love endures forever. He is full of grace and mercy. There is nothing that can separate you from His love. 1 John 1:9 says that if we confess our sin He is faithful to forgive us.
God wants to forgive and lead you again.
Jesus will walk it out with you. Step by step and day by day. He will not ever reject or leave you.