Today I was hoping to think about a subject that I expect every man struggles with; sexual purity. Perhaps every man, at some time in his life, has struggled with this subject whether it is inappropriate scenes in films, top shelf magazines, Page 3 or even surfing on the internet and either deliberately or otherwise finding pornographic content.
Our culture has changed dramatically over the last thirty years and with an explosion of technology has come an increase in accessibility to material with increasingly highly charged sexual content. This content is delivered into our hands and living rooms through such devices as Smart Phones, iPads, Kindles, laptops, newspapers, DVDs, music videos, etc.
The Bible gives us an account of how sexual sin destroys our relationship with God and leads us deeper into even worse sins. We read of this account in 2 Samuel,
“In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem.
One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, “She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (Now she was purifying herself from her monthly uncleanness.) Then she went back home. The woman conceived and sent word to David, saying, “I am pregnant.”” 2 Samuel 11:1-5
There are several lessons that we can draw out from this famous account of King David committing adultery with Bathsheba and we’ll examine them at the end of this. Firstly let’s examine the story.
David chose to stay at home instead of being with his army. Instead of being on the frontline and supporting his troops and continuing the war with the Ammonites, he stayed home. Perhaps this demonstrated that:
- David was overly confident that all would go well or,
- David was in fact lazy and couldn’t be bothered to go with his army or,
- He was conceited and thought he didn’t need to go; that’s why he sent Joab.
Whatever the reason this was not David’s usual practice and shows us that in not doing what God has called us to do can lead to sin, which came next.
David might have been restless from making his decision not to go to war with his army and so couldn’t sleep. He needed a distraction. That distraction came in the form of a beautiful woman bathing in her courtyard or room. Because of the elevation of David’s palace David could see down into quite a few homes if he wanted to. Maybe he had noticed her from a chance encounter previously but whatever the reason he was so taken with her that he took the decision to send a servant to find out her name. In feasting his eyes on her he had most certainly already committed adultery with her in his mind, just as the words of Jesus remind us,
“But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:28
In finding out her name and the fact that she was married he then crossed that imaginary line, he sent for her. So proud and now so filled with sexual tension David had sexual intercourse with her, probably thinking that he would not be discovered since she had just finished her monthly period.
How wrong David was when sometime later Bathsheba sent word that she was with child. His child. This is a real demonstration of what it says in James 1,
“When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin;” James 1:13-15a
David allowed himself to be dragged away by his own evil desire and his sinful actions had conceived a child. But more was to follow. After finding out that Bathsheba was pregnant David brought Uriah back from the front line in the hope that Uriah would sleep with his wife. Uriah did not return home in spite of David’s encouragement and getting him drunk. So David realised that he would have to take a different course of action which we now read,
“In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah. In it he wrote, “Put Uriah out in front where the fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so he will be struck down and die.”
So while Joab had the city under siege, he put Uriah at a place where he knew the strongest defenders were. When the men of the city came out and fought against Joab, some of the men in David’s army fell; moreover, Uriah the Hittite died.” 2 Samuel 11:14-17
Since David’s first plan had failed, David resorted to murder. David himself was no stranger to death and killing but now in order to finally cover up his sins and eliminate the ‘problem’, he wrote a letter to his General, Joab, detailing exactly how Uriah should be killed and made to look incidental. Uriah surely died and David now thought he had successfully dealt with the issue. In the next chapter of 2 Samuel the Prophet Nathan tells David in no uncertain terms how wrong he was. However, let’s draw out for ourselves David’s sins and how we can avoid them.
- When God calls you to be active for Him and doing His work, don’t abscond. David stayed home instead of being with his troops. Practically we need to be living our lives every day for Him by staying focused on reading the Word and praying for ourselves and others.
- An idle mind is the devils workshop. David allowed his eyes to wander onto a scene and then did nothing to avert his gaze. We need to keep our eyes and minds active on what God has called us to do and practically avert our gaze from the top shelf in the newsagents, close the pornographic pop up advert, switch off the movie and turn over the channel when we encounter sexually suggestive, or more, content. It’s no good to think to ourselves that because it’s not perhaps overtly pornographic that we can get away with entertaining the image(s) or even writing.
- Keep short accounts with God. David sinned and took Bathsheba for himself but instead of being immediately repentant, he sinned again and again. The last part of the verse in James is,
“Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” James 1:15
David’s sin was the primary cause of the death of Uriah. If David had not lustfully looked at Bathsheba and slept with her, Uriah might well have survived. We should keep short accounts with God to avoid our sin leading us into deeper and even more serious sin. David was not repentant but rather delayed his repentance which caused him mental and spiritual agony (described in Psalm 32) and was only repentant after the Prophet Nathan came to him. God is faithful and will always forgive us our sins,
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
“I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” Isaiah 43:25
If we delay we cause spiritual separation between us and God because God is Holy and he hates evil and sin,
“God is a just judge,
And God is angry with the wicked every day.” Psalm 7:11 (NKJV)
Thankfully because Christ died on the cross for all our sin, we are forgiven and are assured of our eternal future with Him.
God’s Word speaks to us about staying focused on Him in Philippians,
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8
Let us fill our lives with good things in order to stay the course through this life without falling into sexual temptation, but when that temptation does come, and it will, run away from it! Just like Joseph’s example teaches us when, after being constantly hounded for sex Joseph ran from the sexual temptation of his Master’s wife.
“She caught him by his cloak and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.” Genesis 39:12
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