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January 2006 Archives

January 9, 2006

Intangible Sin

But the thing David had done displeased the Lord. 2 Samuel 11:27b

Have you ever read a story and realized your heart was racing - that your adrenaline was literally pumping?

The account of David's failure with Bathsheba and the subsequent deceit and murder of Uriah is one of those stories. One poor choice led to another, then another, then another. How easily David seemed to get caught up in the moment!

What surprises me in this story is how torrid it is: adultery, deception, murder. Yet it seems God's reaction is so tame.

He was "displeased."

Not "enraged"? Not "devastated"?

He was simply displeased. In some ways, I think this reaction makes the story even sadder.

How does a parent generally respond to a child who has really blown it? One's love often tempers the reaction. God's quiet response in this passage seems to indicate the depth of His love. And this makes David's sin that much tougher to accept. How could he have done such a thing - how could he have done such a series of things - knowing full well how much God loved him?

As David learned, sometimes sinning is easier than we would like to admit.

Adultery is what I would call an easy sin. Getting caught up in the moment seems to be a standard for it. It is almost intangible. The gravity of the act isn't completely felt until the sin is revealed.

Unfortunately for David, Uriah's murder was just as intangible. David was at the palace while his men were fighting. The shear distance he was from the battle made it unreal.

However, regardless how intangible our sins may seem at times, they are always completely real to God. He is timeless. He sees their effects. He knows the pain that will result from them. And oftentimes, instead of hell fire and brimstone, our sins only seem to result in His disappointment and displeasure.

Lord, there have been plenty of intangible sins in my life with which I know You have been displeased. Forgive me for discounting the depth of Your love. Thank You for controlling Your wrath. Like David, You must have a plan for me. Help me to honor Your trust with obedience. I want to please You. I want to live a tangible and righteous life.

Walk with me today.

January 14, 2006

Even More

"And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more." 2 Samuel 12:8b

The Lord provides for His children. He finds great pleasure in pouring out blessing, and if it is too little, He easily gives more.

David knew this. He had experienced it firsthand. Yet he took Bathsheba and ordered the murder of Uriah. God's blessing wasn't enough for him. He wanted more.

Lord, I confess that too many times, I want more. You have blessed me beyond measure, yet there are times when even that isn't enough.

Why is it so difficult to be content? Why do I want to call all the shots?

Father, give me eyes to see the fullness of Your blessing and a heart that is content with it. You have given much, and You will give more when I need it.

Your love is amazing.

January 15, 2006

The End Result

Then Amnon hated her with intense hatred. In fact, he hated her more than he had loved her. 2 Samuel 13:15a

No matter what we might think, sin is never satisfying for the long term. Oh, it can bring plenty of momentary pleasure, but when the dust has settled, the end result isn't what we had expected.

Adam and Eve learned this. The fruit was pleasing, but the consequence wasn't worth its taste.

In the story of Amnon and Tamar, Amnon learned this same lesson. He was all-consumed with what he thought was love for his half-sister Tamar. In truth, it was lust. In a plot concocted by Amnon's cousin, the stage was set for Amnon to express his love. What he did was to feed his lust. When Tamar refused his advances, Amnon raped her. Even then, he was not satisfied. Laying with her had not endeared him to her as he had probably convinced himself. Taking what he wanted was far from satisfying.

Eventually, it cost him his very life.

Tamar's full-brother, Absalom, waited two years for an opportune moment to avenge the defilement of his sister. As the story goes, Absalom's men murdered Amnon in cold blood - in the presence of all the king's sons.

Interestingly, there is someone else in this story who probably learned this same hard lesson - the lesson that sin will not bring long term satisfaction.

In an earlier time, David concocted a scheme to satisfy his own lust. The end result of his sin was disastrous. Bathsheba became pregnant. Uriah died. Soon thereafter, the very child conceived through David's lust was taken away from them. Even more devastating was God's promise that the sword would not depart from David's household. Now, this promise was realized. Amnon and Absalom had both learned lethal lessons from their father. Sex and murder didn't solve anything.

Father, there have been so many times that I believed the enemy's lies - that sin can be more satisfying than righteousness. Help me to seek after You. There is nothing on this earth that pleases like You, and the end result is always the same: LIFE - eternal life.

January 16, 2006

Irreconcilable Relationships

"Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But God does not take away life; he devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from him." 2 Samuel 14:14

The world wants us to believe that God is all about judgment - that He is ready to strike us down for the smallest infraction. But the truth is: God is about love and reconciliation. He will devise ways to draw us back to Him - no matter how far away we might be. If we feel estranged from God, the estrangement is our doing. He longs to have us close.

Lord, I am saddened by this. There are times that I feel estranged from You, but You stand with open arms. All it takes is a little movement on my part, and we embrace. Yet, there are those in my life with whom I am estranged and no amount of movement on my part seems to help. Why do I hold on to the hope of any response? Why do I continue to care? Help me to let go of those who refuse to be held. Help me to live a life that shines with Your light - a life that is no longer darkened by the shadows of irreconcilable relationships.

January 18, 2006

Self Worship

While Absalom was offering sacrifices, he also sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David's counselor to come from Giloh, his hometown. And so the conspiracy gained strength, and Absalom's following kept on increasing. 2 Samuel 15:12

It amazes me that Absalom could be so bold as to use worship of God as a cover for his conspiracy to steal the throne from his father.

Oh, he did all the right things. He said all the right things. All appearances would indicate that Absalom cared about Israel and her people. The truth was that everything he did had an ulterior motive. Everything he did was intended to honor only one person, himself.

Lord, there are many who use You as a cover for their schemes. There are churches filled with people who are only there seeking social status. Their worship, in truth, is for themselves. Help me to always seek You. Help me to live an authentic life that brings honor to You alone. Let my words and actions draw others to You.

January 21, 2006

The Enemy's Words

"It may be that the Lord will see my distress and repay me with good for the cursing I am receiving today." 2 Samuel 16:12

David understood what it was to be distressed. In order to avoid a bloody confrontation with his son Absalom, who was determined to seize the throne, he left Jerusalem in a hurry.

As if this wasn't enough, along the way David encountered Shimei, a member of King Saul's tribe. One can only imagine the things he said. The words Shimei used were probably sharper than the stones he threw.

Yet David received them without anger. He accepted all of this as part of God's plan. How could he reject what God had allowed? David trusted that God could repay him with good if He chose to do so. It seems David learned the hard lessons of seeking personal gain and control.

Lord, I feel distressed this morning. The enemy has been hurling harsh words of self-doubt at me since before the day began. He keeps telling me I am too small to accomplish anything. He keeps saying that I don't deserve to be noticed - that I should accept a life of invisibility, and anything I do will only leave me embarrassed and ashamed.

Why does he want to discourage me? What is it that You have planned?

Help me to accept the curses of the enemy - not as truth about my future, but as a reminder of what life is like without You. Am I too small to accomplish anything? You bet! Will I find myself embarrassed and ashamed because of the things I say and do? Probably so. But with You, no word will fall to the ground. No deed will go unnoticed.

May Your will be done. And if I am privileged to play a part in it, I thank You. What a blessing it is to be near You, Almighty God.

January 26, 2006

Putting Your House in Order

When Ahithophel saw that his advice had not been followed, he saddled his donkey and set out for his hometown. He put his house in order and then hanged himself. So he died and was buried in his father's tomb. 2 Samuel 17:23

Ahithophel was known as a wise man, an advisor to the king. Yet even the wisest among us can be revealed as a fool.

The choices Ahithophel made proved that he wasn't as wise as his reputation would suggest. He abandoned his post in King David's court to support Absalom in an attempt to take the throne. And at the first sign of Absalom's displeasure with his advice, Ahithophel went home and killed himself.

To be honest, the scene is pretty silly. Ahithophel traveled home, put his house in order, then hanged himself. Why does someone put his house in order before ending his life? Is he worried about what others might think of him? I think his final choice outweighs any other thought!

Interestingly, suicide has been on my mind a lot lately. A friend revealed to me a few days ago that he recently attempted to take his life - that he had put a gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger. Thankfully, in his altered state of mind, he forgot to take the safety off the gun. Before doing this, he took every step to put things in order - to ensure his death wouldn't be burdensome. But a tarp on the garage floor would never protect anyone from the mess he would have made of our hearts. Since then, he seems to be making wise choices. He is doing what he must to put his life in order - to heal from the pain that drove him to the edge. The whole incident has taught me something - that one's life is often judged by how it ends.

Lord, You know how much I have struggled in this life with thoughts of going over that edge. Yet something has happened. I can barely comprehend what matters enough to ever get to that point. I once understood the pain, but it seems so foreign now. Life is so much brighter than I realized. Help me to walk in this newness. Thank You for protecting my friend from himself. Thank You for giving me the strength to discount human opinion. Thank You for putting my house in order.

January 27, 2006

Rebellion

The battle spread out over the whole countryside, and the forest claimed more lives that day than the sword. 2 Samuel 18:8

There was a great rebellion in Israel. Absalom made it clear that he planned to take the throne. Many followed him. David fled. Yet in the end, God's will was accomplished. Absalom died, and David mourned.

The battle for Israel was fierce. David's men defeated the army they had previously served. Twenty thousand men died.

Interestingly, more of these men died at God's hand than at the hand of David's men. The forest claimed more lives than the sword. Absalom himself might have died alone, hanging in a tree, had Joab not intervened.

God doesn't take lightly those who rebel against His anointed leaders. Absalom's rebellion did not go unnoticed.

Lord, help me to always be on Your side. Help me to never be swayed from following those You have chosen. I long to be in Your will - no matter where that takes me. Keep me from the darkness of the forest.

January 30, 2006

Seeking Forgiveness

"For I your servant know that I have sinned, but today I have come here as the first of the whole house of Joseph to come down and meet my lord the king." 2 Samuel 19:20

Shimei was a bold man. First, he cursed the king as the king's entire court fled from Jerusalem. Then he was the first in line to seek forgiveness. David could do as he pleased. He could have order Shimei's death on the spot. Yet he chose mercy.

If a man like Shimei can so willingly seek out forgiveness from an earthly king, why do we sometimes seek to hide our sin from our Heavenly King, the most merciful one of all?

Lord, I need to learn from Shimei. Forgiveness that is eagerly sought is rarely refused. Forgive me for sometimes clinging to my guilt. Help me to lay everything at Your feet. Help me to accept whatever You choose. Be my King. I want to be Your servant.

About January 2006

This page contains all entries posted to The Potter's Hand in January 2006. They are listed from oldest to newest.

December 2005 is the previous archive.

February 2006 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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