David was a man of many talents he was an incredible musician, a poet, a writer, he was an excellent military leader, a faithful friend to Jonathan, an inspirational king and greatest of all he was a man after God’s own heart.
David’s life is fascinating; full of principles we can learn from but 2 Sam 11 brings us to a time when sadly David fell as a leader.
It happened in the spring of the year, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the people of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem. Then it happened one evening that David arose from his bed and walked on the roof of the king’s house. And from the roof he saw a woman bathing, and the woman was very beautiful to behold. So David sent and inquired about the woman. And someone said, “Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” Then David sent messengers, and took her; and she came to him, and he lay with her, for she was cleansed from her impurity; and she returned to her house. And the woman conceived; so she sent and told David, and said, “I am with child.”
It is around this time that things start to decline spiritually in David’s life. He starts to make some poor decisions. He takes his eyes off God and in a matter of one story he breaks half of the 10 commandments becoming an adulterer, a murderer and a liar. He had his friend Uriah killed and took his wife. Uriah was one of David’s mighty men, someone who David owed his life to. This whole distasteful episode of sin came about because of what it says in verse one –
It happened in the spring of the year, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the people of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem
For some reason David didn’t go to war when he should have. He stayed in Jerusalem. This did not make him a sinner it just brought about the opportunity for him to sin. You will remember the king before him (there was only one) who would not take up his responsibilities! Saul would not fight Goliath, and now in a strange twist of events the hero from that story David is the king who is not living up to his responsibilities. He is not where he belonged, on the battlefield. All his troops are out of the city and he is there resting. There is no urgent kingdom business to attend to, no excuse for him to stay at home, he should have been at war and he chose not to go. He was sleeping when he should have been fighting. This is my fear, that in church some people may be sleeping when we should be fighting.
There could be lots of reasons why David felt justified in his decision. Maybe he thought over the years he had done his bit, he is now mid forties, no need for him to keep fighting, let the younger ones do it. That sounds spiritual but it is not. Our responsibilities to the kingdom of God will never stop. At times they may change but they will never stop. I am worried that people are sleeping and they should be fighting. Husbands could be sleeping when they should be fighting for their families. Wives could be sleeping when they should be fighting for their home.
The Bible says David was napping and became restless. A restlessness came over him and he began to walk on the roof. There is no doubt that spiritually God can put a restlessness in us to want more of him, a restlessness in us for change. But there is the other end of the scale where the flesh and the enemy can put a restlessness in us for something that doesn’t honour God. Our eyes wander to other things.
David rested on past victories. If we rest on past victories we are in trouble. David now did not want to risk his life in battle, yet we read in his younger years there was a time when he would not have given it a second thought. He would fight a bear, a lion or a giant because he knew the living God was with him. He had now traded that courage for the comfort of the palace.
Another factor that probably led to the decision to stay at home was he may have listened to advice from Joab. It is very possible he took the advice of his captain, when that man only wanted power. David was losing his ability to discern.
After everything he had been through why does he become the sleeping king? He got his eyes on something else, someone else. We can do it too. It does not have to be a person; we can take our eyes off God and his plans for our lives and future and put our eyes else where. We see through this story that David was only one move away from disaster, one bad call away from destruction. Although David’s desire for more wives had started long before this, his choosing the easy option to stay at home allowed the enemy in. We should never try to avoid or dodge our responsibility to stand and fight. It is time to fight for our marriages, families and our church.
Isaiah 62 says ‘I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; they shall never hold their peace day or night. You who make mention of the Lord, do not keep silent, And give Him no rest till He establishes, And till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.’ V 6-7
God said He has set himself watchmen; he is the one who appointed them. Watchmen are people who will attend and guard the city, people who will stand at their post even at irregular times. Watchmen are people who understand their responsibility and are committed to their duty. And as church it is time for us to take our place on the wall as a watchman. The church needs not sporadic guards, not people positioned then no-one else for 100’s of miles. That would leave huge gaps with no one keeping guard. God said I will set the watchmen. They will stand their post irrespective of feelings. They will be people who understand the importance of them being in their place and in their position. They will have a duty to prayer that is not decided by how they feel.
Watchmen are always people who keep their eyes open. For two reasons: one is to see the attack of the enemy and the second reason is to see blessing on the horizon. What happens when watchmen abandon their posts? The enemy gets in and equally devastating we also miss what God could be doing. We could miss blessing because we have no watchmen!