Summer time in Malta and it’s time to chill out and think of a vacation. The word ‘vacare’ from latin means ‘to be unoccupied’. This is fine if it means taking time off work, going on holiday abroad or to Gozo, heading to the beach for a relaxing swim and so on. It is not if it means taking time off from our relationship with God and living in compromise. So keep yourself afloat this summer by taking some lessons from King David. Read 2 Samuel 11 in your Bible or skip to the bottom of this article.
Be Careful about becoming lazy
In 2 Samuel 11:1-27 we read about King David’s ruined spring though it just as well could have been summer! He had probably been chilling out too much because we read that he got up in the evening!! It’s good to relax and have fun in summer but if we become too lazy, especially because of the heat, then we easily become spiritually lazy.
We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.
Hebrews 6: 12
Be in the right place
King David should have been with his army but instead he stayed at home. He was at the wrong place at the wrong time. Worse still, though a stroll on the roof can be harmless, one wrong decision led to another and the roof became the battleground where he was about to experience defeat.
Wrong places can lead to a path you would never have thought of going through. Also don’t give up the right places – Mass, prayer meetings and so on.
Avoid small compromises
King David should not have followed the first glance with a second and third glance. He should not have entertained temptation and let temptation entertain him. Small compromises have to be avoided early. If David had foreseen what would happen he wouldn’t have sinned. Compromise is often a sign of lack of self-control. Our sin also hurts others, not only ourselves. Summer is full of temptations especially against purity – the solution is don’t follow it up!
Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
2 Timothy 2: 22
Keep your spiritual life afloat
King David’s compromise ruined his summer, but more than that damaged his relationship with God. Some people leave God in summer to pick up the relationship in winter. But all the things we mentioned can ruin your summer in that it hurts your relationship with God.
So we need to keep our spiritual life alive and afloat. Find time to pray everyday because none of the things we are mentioning today are possible without the grace which comes only from prayer.
Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Hebrews 4: 16
Keep short accounts with God
Had King David recognised and confessed his sin, it would have prevented him from committing the next worse sin – murder. Sometimes when we fail, the next biggest mistake we can do is to let the debt grow. We need to put things right with God immediately who never runs out of mercy and grace and is always so willing to forgive us when we repent.
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
If we muck it up, Psalm 51 shows us David’s prayer for forgiveness and Psalm 32 the effect of that forgiveness. But we have to recognise and accept our responsibility and not shift the blame because otherwise it is useless. We need to take practical decisions too,
Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge.
Psalm 51: 4
2 Samuel 11
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, “Isn’t this 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. (She had purified herself from her uncleanness.) Then she went back home. The woman conceived and sent word to David, saying, “I am pregnant.” So David sent this word to Joab: “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” And Joab sent him to David. When Uriah came to him, David asked him how Joab was, how the soldiers were and how the war was going. Then David said to Uriah, “Go down to your house and wash your feet.” So Uriah left the palace, and a gift from the king was sent after him. But Uriah slept at the entrance to the palace with all his master’s servants and did not go down to his house.
When David was told, “Uriah did not go home,” he asked him, “Haven’t you just come from a distance? Why didn’t you go home?” Uriah said to David, “The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in tents, and my master Joab and my lord’s men are camped in the open fields. How could I go to my house to eat and drink and lie with my wife? As surely as you live, I will not do such a thing!” Then David said to him, “Stay here one more day, and tomorrow I will send you back.” So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day and the next. At David’s invitation, he ate and drank with him, and David made him drunk. But in the evening Uriah went out to sleep on his mat among his master’s servants; he did not go home. In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah. In it he wrote, “Put Uriah in the front line 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. Joab sent David a full account of the battle. He instructed the messenger: “When you have finished giving the king this account of the battle, the king’s anger may flare up, and he may ask you, ‘Why did you get so close to the city to fight? Didn’t you know they would shoot arrows from the wall? Who killed Abimelech son of Jerub-besheth? Didn’t a woman throw an upper millstone on him from the wall, so that he died in Thebez? Why did you get so close to the wall?’ If he asks you this, then say to him, ‘Also, your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead.’” The messenger set out, and when he arrived he told David everything Joab had sent him to say.
The messenger said to David, “The men overpowered us and came out against us in the open, but we drove them back to the entrance to the city gate. Then the archers shot arrows at your servants from the wall, and some of the king’s men died. Moreover, your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead.” David told the messenger, “Say this to Joab: ‘Don’t let this upset you; the sword devours one as well as another. Press the attack against the city and destroy it.’ Say this to encourage Joab.” When Uriah’s wife heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for him. After the time of mourning was over, David had her brought to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing David had done displeased the Lord.