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June 8, Day #160 – The Way It Ought to Be

We come now to 2 Samuel 11-12, and we see David’s great sin. In weeks gone by, we have addressed the problem of sin’s compounding nature (cf., January 10, Day #10; and January 15, Day # 15). Nowhere is this problem better illustrated than here in 2 Samuel 11, where we see that, “in the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and with the whole Israelite army … but David remained in Jerusalem” (verse 1). Notice how this sin began and how it progressed: “David saw Bathsheba bathing; he sent for her; and he slept with her” (verses 2-5). We recall that this is what Achan did (cf., April 25, Day #116). He saw, he coveted, and he took what was not rightfully his, and for this, Achan was put to death. But notice also how the sin compounds itself: “The woman sent word to David, saying, “I am pregnant” (verse 5). It gets worse, as David sent for her husband, Uriah, with the intent to cover up his sin – which failed – and subsequently led to duplicity with Joab, and then, finally, to murder (verses 6-21). We see here that even great believers - like David - are not immune to committing sin, to perpetrating deeper evil, and to carrying out cruel, violent acts. Sin is so insidious and deceptive that it leads us to commit acts of selfishness, jealousy, theft, adultery, and murder. Then, to lie about it, cover it up, and to say, “the sword devours one as well as another” (verse 25) is heinous. These were all David’s sins, “but the thing David had done displeased the LORD” (verse 27). In chapter 12, we see that God uses Nathan the prophet boldly to address these compounded sins head-on: “You are the man!” (verse 7). The consequences of David’s sin will be long-lasting. How long? God tells David, “The sword will never depart from your house …” (verse 10). Although David confesses his sin (verse 13), the child dies, but his death only is the beginning of David’s long line of consequences for his sins. Before the chapter ends, we see the birth of Solomon to Bathsheba and then the capture of Rabbah - the citadel of the Ammonites. How desperately we need to heed the Scriptures!

Psalm 71:1-8 can be divided into three sections that encourage us to engage in each of the following postures for our lives – [1] prayer (verses 1-4); [2] patience (verses 5-6); and [3] praise (verses 7-8). Verses 1, 3, and 7 reveal to us that God is a “Refuge;” He is a Place where we can find safety, security, shelter, protection, and care - away from “those who are evil and cruel” (verse 4). We live in a world – in an environment – that is totally surrounded by horrible evil and cruelty. But our God is a “Rock” and a “Fortress” to Whom we can always go, and He will provide “deliverance” from these evils (verse 4). I am so thankful for the truth of this Psalm, and because of it, we have an obligation to “praise” God and “declare His splendor” (verse 8).

In Acts 4:1-22, we see how “evil and cruelty” carry out their insidious work. “Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to the rulers and elders, ‘if we are being called to account today for an act of kindness …’” (verse 8). This accounting begs the question, “why would anyone want to stop the spread of any “acts of kindness?” (verses 8-17). They helped and healed a crippled man. What’s wrong with that? Of course, the correct answer is “nothing,” yet, this is the twisted world in which we live. Such conduct is especially true in our culture today. People face persecution, arrest, and prosecution for righteousness and for doing good, and it is shameful. Peter and John realized this opportunity to communicate a clear message about Jesus Christ – “Salvation is found in no one else” (verse 12). And what did the Sanhedrin do? They said, “We’ve got to stop this thing from spreading” (verse 17), even though they understood that “everybody knows they have done an outstanding miracle” (verse 16). Finally, “because all the people were praising God” (verse 21), “they let them go.” Peter and John also recognized their obligation to praise God when they stated, “We cannot help speaking about” Him (verse 20). That’s the way it ought to be.

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