David’s idleness in staying behind in Jerusalem resulted in him being tempted to sin
2 Samuel 11:1
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.
Think back to some of the times you’ve struggled with temptation or fallen into sin in your own life. I can certainly think of many! A common trend in the times when I have struggled with temptation is idleness – when I have a lot of spare time on my hands, and when I don’t find something else that captures my attention to fill that time.
This first verse of 2 Samuel 11 feels like the tipping point at which David’s reign starts to spiral downwards. It was normal practice at that time that the king would be leading his army from the front, and in most of the accounts of Israel’s battles leading up to this chapter, David is doing exactly that. But this time, we see that David sent Joab (the commander of his army) out with the army of Israel, while David remained in Jerusalem. We aren’t given a reason as to why he did this; but it is safe to say from the rest of chapter 11 that if he had gone with the army in this case, he would not have faced the temptation to sin by seeing Bathsheba.
Now, I don’t think many of us are in the situation where we must choose between leading the armies of our nation and staying behind. But there are many other situations in our lives where we are faced with decisions; and some of the options we choose can place us in situations where we are more likely to be tempted into sin. As I stated above, I am most prone to temptation when I have a lot of free time and I don’t actively fill that with activities that capture my attention. Some things that I have used to fill my spare time to keep me from temptation are reading my Bible, or other good books and podcasts – because what we fill our eyes and ears with will ultimately shape what is in our heart. And if we allow ourselves to fall into idleness, it can all too easily lead to falling into sin, as we see so clearly from the story of David in 2 Samuel.
Praise the Lord that Jesus resisted temptation for us and brought us forgiveness. As the people of God it is our desire to please him and express our thanks for the saving mercy that is ours in Christ. Being caught up in idleness and falling into sin is a poor response to that good news of Jesus.
Head: What excuses or reasons do you think David might have given for staying in Jerusalem? Can you see similar excuses or reasons for idleness in your own life?
Heart: In what areas of your life do you tend to be most tempted to fall into sin? What are the tendencies in your heart that make you most vulnerable in these areas?
Hands: How might you change the way you make decisions to empower yourself to fight (or minimise) temptation in your life?
Prayer: Father, I praise you that you are the God who created a world filled with good things. But so often I can drift into giving these good things a higher importance than they deserve. i pray that
you will keep me from idleness and help me to fill my eyes and ears with things that will be good and fruitful for my heart; and I pray that you would strengthen me by your Holy Spirit in times when I am faced with temptation, that I might bring my temptation before you. Please grow me in godliness and character through the temptations that I face.
In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.
A song to listen to: Mercy Mercy
Living Church Creek Road