Friday, August 13, 2010

Are You Ready?

“A rich man and a poor man lived in the same town. The rich man owned a lot of sheep and cattle, but the poor man had only one little lamb that he had bought and raised. The lamb became a pet for him and his children. He even let it eat from his plate and drink from his cup and sleep on his lap. The lamb was like one of his own children. One day someone came to visit the rich man, but the rich man didn’t want to kill any of his own sheep or cattle and serve it to the visitor. So he stole the poor man’s lamb and served it instead.”

This story was told to King David by Nathan the prophet in 2 Samuel 12:1b-4. When the king heard the story, he became furious and stated that the rich man deserved to die and even pay four times the worth of the lamb’s value. Nathan responded “You are that rich man!” (v7). If you’re confused, here’s the backstory: One day during the season of spring, it was known that the kings would wage war with each other for land, the king stayed behind. One afternoon, David was on the roof of his palace and he saw a woman. Her name was Bathsheba, and she was bathing in her courtyard. David saw her, and desired her (as she was a beautiful woman). He wanted her, and even though she was married he slept with her.

She had some great news for him sometime later: “I’m pregnant”. David freaked and had Uriah come home and sleep with his wife. Uriah was in the army and was concerned about his brothers, so he didn’t even go home to his wife. David then had another plan: send him back out to the battlefield, and set him up to be killed…this plan succeeded. David, once the greatest man of his time, was now an adulterer and a murderer. The Lord then sent Nathan to David to prophesy to him about the consequences of his deeds. Because of what David had done, not only will someone from his own family cause trouble (Absalom) and even take his wives to the bed chamber, but his newborn son (with Bathsheba) was going to die. David begged for God to let his son live, but God carried out what He said He would do.

Looking at America today, we can see the prevalence of the mantra “The end justifies the means”. Tax evasion to have more money, abortion to continue having sexual freedom, rejecting sinners so we can feel better about our own sins (I know that’s harsh, but it happens). Everywhere you look, there is someone who says “the result will be worth it” and then they leave a bloodied path of bodies as they go. There’s a piece of this mantra that should be added: “The end justifies the means, but the means justify the consequences.” Tax evasion leads to jail, abortion leads to physical complications and emotional torture, and rejecting sinners pushes us away from the Father. We, as the bride of Christ and the representatives of Jesus, need to look into the consequences of our actions to promote love and peace.

Bad choices tend to snowball into other bad choices; David first chose not to war for his kingdom and stayed home, he watched a naked woman bathe herself, he lusted for her and took her for himself (he had several wives at this point, mind you; it wasn’t like he wasn’t getting any action), tried to cover it up with a lie, and then finally chose to have her husband killed. A lot of bad things came from staying home…do any of you have the same problem? Sometimes choosing not to do anything is the cause of sin to creep in and tempt, because there is nothing to stop it. Then the snowball hits the rocks…regret, emotional trauma, feelings of worthlessness, and that’s only if no one finds out about your choices. Sometimes when others find out it can get even worse and the emotional disdain is terrible and it takes time to recover.

But recovery is there. The Lord says in 2 Corinthians that “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (v9) We make bad choices, they snowball, and we hurt people. Many times we aren’t even aware that we hurt someone. But God…that’s easily one of the greatest two words in the Bible…but God is powerful in our weakness. He is powerful when we fall. He is powerful when Satan comes upon us and tears us down for our mistakes. The key here is to know that God’s grace is sufficient for you…no matter what. David lusted after a woman, like some people lust through pornography or even just looking at people on the street, and God’s grace was sufficient to lead him from that temptation. David had sex with this married woman, like so many men in our modern day, and even young unwed couples who have sex and essentially commit adultery against the Bridegroom…but God’s grace is was sufficient to forgive and heal him. David murdered Uriah in the worst way: Uriah never knew the corruption behind his death…everyone thought Uriah was only a victim of circumstance. How many times have you done something manipulative to get your way and hurt someone? I know I have, and I’m only 22 years old; I’m sure I’ll do it again. But God’s grace is sufficient, even if you killed someone!

God also can redeem us and help turn the tables when the consequences come from the enemy. I’m a big fan of this show The Big Bang Theory, a sitcom about scientists who are extremely nerdy, awkward, and love all things geek (reminds me of a few people, myself included). One episode has the main one, Leonard, having a visit from his mother. He brings her along to his work, and one of his friends (Howard) begins to ask questions that tear down Leonard. Leonard’s mother excuses herself and Leonard takes this time to try to get them to stop. Howard says “You know the rules: you brought your mother to work and now you must suffer.” But Leonard turns the tables: his mother is a neuro-physicist (glorified psychologist), and so Leonard reveals information about Howard and his buddy joining in the teasing (Raj) that causes his mother to psychoanalyze them and bring out some unsavory and quite embarrassing aspects of their personality. They’re speechless, and Leonard is just smiling away. We have the ability to turn the tables on Satan when he comes to tear us down; God is our resource.

But wait a sec, J! The scripture you’re using is about God’s consequences. What about that? Well, there’s no easy way to this but DEAL!!! God gives us consequences in order to prune us and make us better. In your own devotional time, read into Job and his story. Also, be on the lookout for my sequel to this blog called “God’s Not Fair” concerning living with God’s choices for our lives.

May the peace of God be upon you, and may His love shine down and touch your very soul. Shalom and go forth, Beloved. Be the Bride of Christ.

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