walk in the word
“I will run the way of Your commandments for You will enlarge my heart.” Psalm 119:32
Aren’t you glad that God’s Word doesn’t picture the lives of Bible saints like some glossy retouched photos? God portrays people just as they were. They faced the same type of problems and responded in similar ways as we do. They were as susceptible as we are to sin. Looking at the life of David in our current on-air series, “Ordinary You; Extraordinary God,” we can learn where he erred and by God’s grace how we can make better choices.
Now, it was a lot easier to tell you how ordinary David was when he was just a shepherd growing up on the family farm. But at this point in our study, David had so much going on in his life that he didn’t seem very ordinary at all. David was a giant-killer. He was wealthy, he was king, he was a warrior. He was a great man of faith. From external appearances he seemed like some combination of Donald Trump, George W., and Arnold Schwarzenegger. The fact is, he was just an ordinary guy. He spiraled fast when he stepped away from the extraordinary—found in his relationship with God.
All that I need to say is: David and Bathsheba and you know the failure. Some would say that even in this moral breakdown David was far from ordinary. Didn’t he have these incredible drives and passions? Put that Hollywood video back on the shelf. David was not a womanizer or a pervert. David was an ordinary man who moved away from God’s extraordinary resources in his life, and went down fast. Just like any of us can.
If you find yourself thinking “Man, if David—the man who loved God so much—could walk away from God’s path, then anyone can.” Ding. That’s the right answer. Anyone can. Apart from God’s resources, we all become so ordinary, so fast. James 3:2 says that we all fall in many ways. We are weak men and women. Apart from God’s strength and grace in our lives, we can make such destructive and devastating choices. Let God’s Spirit warn us with this reality today.
In the message, “Ordinary Failure” on the broadcast this week, I will show you how David took five steps down to this decision. If you take these principles to heart, you can avoid David’s spiral path. Let’s look at the first one here.
Prosperous times produce passive wills.
“In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel” (2 Samuel 11:1). Winter was their rainy season and so because it was too hard to fight, all the armies went on winter break. As soon as spring came and the ground dried out, they were like, ‘Now where were we?’
God has commissioned Israel to defeat their enemies and had promised to support that work. But David didn’t fight that year; he sent the soldiers out. What’s wrong David? Why are you shrugging off the responsibility God has given you? He was their courageous, valiant warrior but something had changed.
The text doesn’t tell us why David stayed in Jerusalem; we can only surmise that he was thinking the ordinary thoughts that might tempt us. ‘You know, I’m tired. I’ve won a lot of battles, it’s somebody else’s turn. I want to have some fun for once. My life has been consumed with everybody else’s needs, what about me?’
Verse two oozes with passivity. “It happened, late one afternoon, when David arose from his couch and was walking on the roof of the king’s house, that he saw from the roof a woman . . .” Having everything he wanted at his beck and call, David was bored. The kingdom was united; Saul was defeated; Good things were happening. But David lost his edge.
Few of us can handle the temptation of inactivity. In our passivity, we wander around and start thinking, ‘Am I happy? I don’t think I’ve ever really had time to ask that question, but now that things are going so good I wonder, ‘Do I like my life? Do I like my wife? Do I like my house? Would I be happier in a different house or with a different wife or in another life?’
Ok, ok—so these are ordinary temptations. What’s the remedy?
Be proactive in your walk with God.
Seek after God with all your heart. God promises that ‘when you seek Me with all of your heart, you will find Me’ (Jeremiah 29:13). None of us can afford to be casual or indifferent about our walk with the Lord.
Often I hear people say, ‘I wish I was more fired up about God.’ Somehow they think they will wake up one morning and go, ‘Whoa, it happened! I’m so fired up about God today.’ That’s not how it works. It’s obedience first, then the joy of the Lord. Do right things, and right feelings follow.
So often when you hear of a person who’s had a moral failure, people will say it’s so shocking and so sudden. Buzz. It’s not sudden. The crises of life reveal what’s been happening for a long time. While it may appear that David drove over a cliff in about six minutes, he didn’t. He made a lot of bad choices over a long period of time. He allowed his heart to become casual, passive and indifferent, and as a result, he became vulnerable to a moral fall.
The engine of the Christian life is obedience, the feelings are the caboose. Get those two things confused and you’ll never be fired up for God. David came around. In Psalm 119:32 he wrote, “I will run the way of your commandments.” Why, David? For “you will enlarge my heart.” It’s the pursuit of obedience that guards your heart from failure.
Protect your life today, do the right thing even if you don’t feel like it. Seek after God with all your heart and you will find Him.
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