I think we all have a drive to believe in something, to worship something. But at the same time, we like to do our own thing. We don’t like someone to dictate to us how we are to live. Thus, we go about trying to recast God in our own image.
We begin to change God around so that he becomes a sort of a user-friendly deity. “Let’s give God a makeover,” we say. “Let’s make God politically correct. Let’s make God someone who won’t demand anything of us, yet we can still have a religion that will satisfy the quest we have inside us. And it also will appease our guilt-ridden conscience.”
What we end up with is not the God of the Bible, however. It’s some other god that we have created in our own image. And it is this very idolatry that can ultimately lead to rationalizing our behavior and saying it’s really OK. It can be like a wildfire that quickly spreads, something that starts out small and then gets out of control, leading to total devastation.
The Bible shows us how this played out in one man’s life. King David’s story has been recorded for us in the Scriptures as a warning of what not to do. Here was a man who, at one point in his life, was very close to God. In fact, it was said of him that he was a man after God’s own heart. He also was known as the sweet psalmist of Israel.
We need not go any further than the book of Psalms to see how intimate David’s relationship with God was. He spoke of his love for the Lord, saying, “As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God. … The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. … Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips shall praise You” (42:1; 23:1–2; 63:3 NKJV).
David loved God in a dear and tender way, yet he fell into sin.
If I were to go out on the streets and ask people, “What do you remember about David from the Bible?” they probably would mention David and Goliath. And they also might bring up David and Bathsheba.
These two people marked David’s greatest victory … and his greatest defeat. In the Valley of Elah, David saw his greatest victory as he brought down Goliath with a single stone. And in Jerusalem, David saw his greatest defeat as he was brought down by Bathsheba.
Bathsheba is never presented as a villainess in their story. She is never presented as someone who set out to trap David. Really, David worked himself into this almost singlehandedly. Certainly Bathsheba cooperated, but David is primarily the responsible party. And for a few moments of pleasure, David had a lifetime of regrets.
It’s unclear as to whether David may have known where and when Bathsheba bathed – and intentionally put himself in a place to see her. Whatever the case, it’s what David did afterward.
Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:27–28 NIV).
In the Greek language, the word look used here doesn’t mean a casual, involuntary glance. It refers to a continuous act of looking, intentional and repeated gazing.
We can’t stop ourselves from seeing certain things in this world. It might be something on a billboard, on your television or computer screen, or someone who walks across your path. But there is a difference between seeing something and putting yourself in a place where you know you’ll see things.
David looked. And then the sin began to stir in his heart.
It has been said, “Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.”
This is why Job said, “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look with lust at a young woman” (Job 31:1).
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