It was happening again. I am never quite sure what is the triggering factor. It may be lack of sleep, a stressful situation or boredom. Whatever it is, it is real and can be life shattering. It is a call from the depths of my soul whispering that something isn’t quite right.
What is calling is a desire, a temptation, for just a small step. A step that my mind says will not hurt anyone. The lie grows. I am convinced. I will stop later. There will be no negative consequences. The temptation becomes more appealing. I peer into the abyss. I step off the edge. I regret what I have done, greatly and deeply.
This is not a new phenomenon for me. I have lived on the rollercoaster of sin - repentance - forgiveness for my entire life. It has nearly destroyed me. The pattern became so prevalent, so unstoppable, it lead to constant anxiety and a dread of life. My rock bottom was when I realized I had to tell someone about that temptation, about the sins. If I did though, it meant I had to face the fears of shame, possible scorn and rejections. More so, it meant I would have to find an avenue of change.
As frightful and painful as the step toward redemption was, the consequences were far more damaging and far reaching than I realized at the time. Until I looked back, I didn’t see the trail of failings I was leaving behind. I couldn’t look back until I was able to stop being solely focused on the present.
I find comfort in knowing that many of God’s “greats” have been caught in the same rollercoaster of sin - repentance - forgiveness. One of those “greats” being King David.
David was anointed as King of Israel when he was teenager but it would be 25 years of preparation before he would finally rule all of Israel. These years were filled with many challenges yet David relentlessly pursued God, even when he failed. Even as King he fell into sin and he fell hard.
One infamous story is found in 2 Samual 11. It is likely one of the most widely known stories of David and sin. Mention to just about anyone the names David and Bathsheba and instantaneously their mind goes to adultery and murder. But that’s only the 30,000 foot view. David’s temptation began long before he strolled onto that roof top and allowed his eyes to gaze upon the beautiful woman next door.
Have you ever thought about how many wives and concubines David already had? We may not know exactly but we know it was many. David had a lust for woman that was the first “small thing” that had drawn him into this precarious situation.
We read in Genesis that God created a partner for man. This was a woman. As time went on, polygamy however became a commonly accepted practice of the day. We also read in Deuteronomy 17:17 that the standards for a king were different. A king was not to take many wives for himself. Why not? We are told because they will turn his heart away from the Lord. In other words they will be a distraction.
Distractions often become a vice we use to fill our soul. Only God can truly fill our soul. With many woman in David’s life, temptation now had a foothold and literally the story went downhill from there. You can find all the messy details in 2 Samuel 11:1-27.
What happened to David is not dissimilar to what happens to us. Just a small opening, a crack in the “everyone’s doing it” door that soon leads to another larger door. From there a bigger door, until we’ve gone through an opening the size of a barn door.
When this happens, there is hope, redemption and an opportunity to change. That was the case with David. This is the case for me. It can be for you too.
Today I have found that those big balls of messiness I had once travelled down unchecked no longer have the same appeal. I am able to recognize early on when the lies begin, who the source is and who I should turn too.
We know David was one of God’s greatest kings and a man after God’s own heart. These are great and wonderful qualities. This is not what makes him my “great” in the linage of Jesus.
I love the story of David because I can relate so fully to his failures and sins. It is his redemption and forgiveness that strengthens my heart and brings me to a place where I know I too can be forgiven.
God loved David relentlessly. David knew this and was drawn into temptation anyway. When he finally and fully acknowledged what he had done, he held himself accountable for his action and asked for and received forgiveness. I am like David.
Even with forgiveness there were consequences for David and there were for me too. But even so God stayed with David through it all. He has been with me every day, every minute. He will do the same for you.
Are you hearing the call of temptation or have you already responded to it and desperately want to get out of the stronghold? God is waiting and willing to forgive and bring change to your life.
Go to God.
Acknowledge your sin.
Stay with God.
Like he was for King David, God is there for you. Never forget that it was through David, one of God’s “greats” that Jesus was born into this world even though David was a sinner - just like you and just like me.
God redeemed David.
He redeemed me.
He can redeem you too.