If you know the American comedian Flip Wilson you will also know his most famous punch line: “the devil made me do it!” It was his character’s way of avoiding personal responsibility for all manner of misdeeds. I don’t know that it was a particularly funny line, but I suspect it resonated with people because we all know we mess up – and what easier absolution can we have if it wasn’t our fault in the first place! The truth is we always have a chance to stop ourselves from committing sin, if we avail ourselves of the chance.
As noted yesterday, we know David was vulnerable because the text shows us something was wrong with his heart. The bible is not explicit in the narrative, but the prophet’s rebuke certainly implies a heart that is troubled: David was not content with what he had (2 Samuel 11:8), and even “despised the word of the Lord (12:9)”. From 11:1-2 we see he is lounging in the palace at a time when he ought to be leading his troops in battle. Thus, when he goes for a walk upon his roof and sees a beautiful woman bathing, his chance glance becomes a longing gaze. But before we get to his relations with Bathsheba in verse 4 we notice he takes several intentional steps: he saw, he desired, he sent, he inquired, until finally … he took. David had a chance to stop. He had a chance to recognize an upright woman performing a ritual purification bath. He had a chance to acknowledge this woman was already married. And finally, this woman was married to (of all people) one of his faithful men of valour; a man, unlike David, who was dutifully engaged away from home on the battlefield. But he didn’t, and his glance became a gaze.
Something to Apply:
1 Corinthians 10:13 tells us: “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
This is a great promise to all of us. Temptation does, sometimes, ‘overtake’ us. It can be something that flashes across our eyes, or through our minds. What we do next is critical. Firstly, remember it happens to everyone, temptation is “common to man”. Thankfully, God is faithful, and will provide the way of escape so that we may endure. Temptation has undeniable power, but Paul promises that the power that God supplies is more than up to the task! Think of the last time you blew it. Besides repenting, try to learn as well. What “way of escape” presented itself, and why didn’t you take it? Perhaps you didn’t recognize it, or you didn’t lean upon God such that you had the strength to take it. Learning about ourselves can help us understand the roots of our sin and why we yield to temptation rather than the Lord’s way of escape.