(read this over the next two days)
2 Samuel 11 - 24 mark a new stage of David's life: sin, suffering, and struggle! David was given rest from every side with the exception of the Ammonites. Instead of going out to battle like other kings, David sent Joab out to battle to finish them off. This successful siege put an end to Ammonite power, and they were subject to Israel from then on.
While idle in the palace, David yielded to the temptation of a beautiful woman and committed adultery with Bathsheba, and she became pregnant. Then, he tried to cover it up by lies and deceit (by calling Uriah home from the battlefield and trying to get him to lie with his wife) and eventual murder! How far he had fallen from just a few chapters earlier when he had expanded the kingdom and expressed kindness to Mephibosheth!
David's sin was uncovered by the prophet Nathan through the story of the rich and poor man and the little ewe lamb. David's response to this story was to tell Nathan that the rich man deserved to die, and Nathan's response was swift and to the point:
"You are the man!" (12:7)
David was convicted by Nathan's words and immediately repented:
"I have sinned against the LORD" (12:13a)
I had you stop in your reading at David's repentance in 12:13a because we will go into the Psalms typically associated with David's repentance of his sin connected with Bathsheba and repentance in general (51, 38, 103, 6, and 32).
Sadly, Nathan prophesied of tragic and far reaching consequences that could not be reversed and would plague David until the day he died. Stay tuned.
When things are going well, we can be most vulnerable to sin and temptation! We can get lazy about little things in my life.
For some of us, pride may slowly slip in and we might say, "Well, aren't I special! Look what I have done with my life." Sometimes we fail to recognize that it is not because of anything we have "done" but because of what the Lord has done through us. We can slowly slip away from a tenacious dependence on God.
Then, we fall.
Also, there are times when we are "in the groove" with the Lord, and we become a "high maintenance" project for the enemy. (We are low maintenance when we are doing nothing of significance that would threaten the havoc he wreaks on the world.)
My best friend tells me that I am a major target for the enemy. I do not like to think that way because it seems pretty boastful, but sometimes the Lord does amazing things through us, and the enemy wants to stop that from happening. So, he prowls around like a roaring lion seeking to devour those whom God is choosing to work through (1 Peter 5:8).
David may have been approaching rest on every side from his physical enemies, but he would never have rest from his spiritual enemy and neither do we!
I have learned that the best way to fight temptation and stave off our spiritual enemy is to KEEP MY ARMOR ON! I pray through "Morning Affirmations" almost every day. They are Scriptures that remind me who the Lord is, who I am, who the Holy Spirit is, and how I can be protected from the enemy. When I get to the spiritual armor part, I visualize myself putting on every piece of armor. Then, I am ready to face the day.
Protection in Spiritual Warfare
O Lord, guard my heart against the temptations of the world and renew my heart and spirit:
Since I have been raised up with You, O Christ, I will keep seeking the things above, where You are at the right hand of God. I will set my mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. (Colossians 3:1-2)
I will be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving I will let my requests be made known to You, O God. And Your peace, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard my heart and my mind in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-8)
Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and anything worthy of praise, I will let my mind dwell on these things. (Philippians 4:9)
O Lord, guard my heart against the weaknesses and temptations of the flesh so that I may reckon myself dead to sin:
Father, I know that my old self was crucified with Christ, so that I am no longer a slave to sin, for he who has died is freed from sin. I will reckon myself as dead to sin, but alive to You in Christ Jesus. I will not present the parts of my body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness, but I will present myself to You, O God, as one alive from the dead, and the parts of my body as instruments of righteousness to You. (Romans 6:6-7, 12-13)
O Lord, guard my heart against the attacks of the devil and give me the strength to resist him:
As I submit myself to You, O God, and resist the devil, he will flee from me. (James 4:7)
I will be of sober spirit and on the alert. My adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But I will resist him, firm in my faith. (1 Peter 5:8-9)
I will take up Your full armor, O God, that I may be able to resist and stand firm. I put on the belt of truth and the breastplate of righteousness; I put on my feet the preparation of the gospel of peace; and I take up the shield of faith with which I will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one. I take the helmet of salvation and the sword of Your Spirit, which is Your Word, O God. With all prayer and petition I will pray at all times in Your Spirit and be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints. (Ephesians 6:13-18)
(Reprinted by permission from Face to Face: Praying the Scriptures for Intimate Worship by Kenneth Boa, pp. 7-9)