2 Samuel 11:1 is one of those verses that make me cringe every time I read it. It foreshadows a terrible catastrophe. I read the words, "Then it happened in the spring..." this morning and prayed, "Lord, I'm not sure I can stand to read this story again." But I did.
You know the story. It was springtime. The skies were the bluest ever. The temperature was perfectly comfortable. Flowers were blooming. Steps were quickened. Hearts were full of joy. Just like the spring we're having now.
It was also the time when kings and their armies go to battle.
That particular spring, David decided to stay home in Jerusalem and send Joab and the army to battle without him.
David, however, was a warrior and warriors are born for battle.
I don't know why David decided not to go with the army. Maybe he thought he was getting older. Maybe he was tired of the hardship and privation of battle. Maybe he thought he was too valuable to the nation to put himself at risk.
One thing I do know. It's not likely that David asked God about staying home.
David's downfall with Bathsheba didn't begin on the rooftop. It began in the council room when he decided not to do what God had created him to do. It began when he relinquished his God-given battle authority to Joab.
Nothing good came of it.
There's so much more that can (and probably will) be said about this passage, but for today, let's focus on one fact.
For God's warrior, the safest place to be is in the midst of battle.
The battleground is not free of danger, but the palace is full of temptation and snares, as David soon found. There's danger at every turn.
There are things worse than death. Had David died on the battlefield, it would have been an honorable death in defense of his nation.
Instead, he stayed home and dishonored one of his most loyal servants, Uriah. He committed adultery and murder. Innocent men died. His infant child died. A cascade of destruction began in his family that could not be stopped.
The fallout from that one decision to stay home in the spring was immense.
When we decide to "take a pass" on doing the work God has called us to do, we set ourselves up for trouble. For temptation. For failure.
Some years ago, I was in the midst of a very tough time. It was a battle for me. I was asked to take a position as chairperson of a 3-day prayer room. It was a serious battle position that would require months of preparation, incredible sacrifice, and focus on the lives of the people for whom I was to pray. It was a sweet job, but a hard job.
I didn't want to do it. I was tired. I felt defeated already. I didn't think I could bear to do another hard thing.
I said no.
I still thank God that the one in charge wouldn't take no for an answer. "All I want you to do is ask God. Don't decide for yourself." It was wise counsel.
That's what I did. I surrendered my will, my fatigue, and my hurt, and chose a willingness to do whatever God desired.
He sent me to the prayer room, and I went.
It was one of the sweetest sacrifices I've ever made.
Warriors are born for battle. Not for staying home and licking their wounds.
Today, let's look at the work God has called us to do as a place of protection, a safe harbor that keeps us away from the opportunity to make terrible decisions. No matter our age or physical capacity, God has work for us to do in the Kingdom. Time is short, and we must be about His business.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters. Colossians 3:23 niv
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