Tuesday, January 20, 2015

David Had A Little Lamb


These past few days we have called the church to go “all in” on living in Christian Community. In Sunday’s devotional I gave you some connection opportunities. Here are a couple more that some of you may want to take advantage of (especially those of you living in the Mesquite area):

Saturdays at 6:00 PM | 2728 Spring Rain Drive Mesquite, TX 75181 | Craig and Socorro Brey 214-478-8299
Young Married Couples | Sunday Twice a Month | Next Meeting is THIS Sunday, January 25 | 2520 Woodcreek Mesquite, TX 75181 | Pastor Karl Tingle 214-448-1396

Today I want us to examine the theme of accountability. Some of you reading this are new to the Christian faith and may not understand exactly what “accountability” is. In short, accountability is the practice of Christians “looking out” for one another spiritually. This could be something as simple as checking in with someone to see if they are maintaining a healthy habit of prayer and Bible study, or something as aggressive as confronting someone about an egregious sin in their life. The truth is we all have the propensity to fall into apathy and compromise. Even the most committed among us need someone standing guard over their soul. While some Christians are resistant to the idea of needing accountability, the Bible is clear that even the godliest man or woman can fall prey to temptation. As Henry Ward Beecher says, “All men are tempted. There is no man that lives that can't be broken down, provided it is the right temptation, put in the right spot.”

I think this truth is most notably played out in the life of King David. Many people recognize David as the young shepherd boy who defeated a Philistine giant named Goliath. While this definitely looks good on David’s resumé, there is something else that is even more impressive. David has received the mother of all compliments from none other than God Himself. God, speaking of David, refers to him as “a man after my own heart (see 1 Samuel 13:13, Acts 13:22).” Wow! Is there any greater compliment in this life than to have God declare that your heart reminds Him of His own? Forget winning a Grammy or an Oscar. Forget the Nobel Prize. There is no greater honor that could be bestowed upon humanity. David’s heart is so God-like, that God can’t help but promote David from shepherd to warrior to king.

So what was it about David that caused God to look upon him so favorably? That’s an interesting thing to ponder because David is somewhat enigmatic. On the one hand he is a rough and rugged warrior. As a shepherd he killed lions and bears. On a stage bigger than a UFC headliner he absolutely destroys Goliath. It wasn’t enough to kill Goliath with a stone to his forehead. David followed it up by cutting Goliath’s head off with Goliath’s sword. Then as a warrior in the Israeli army, David becomes a legend. So awesome is David at kicking the butts of God’s enemies that people literally sing songs about how “David has killed his tens of thousands.” So I think we can all agree at this point that David is a man’s man. And yet this Braveheart is also a passionate lover of God. He is a worshiper. Wielding his harp, he composes beautiful songs to the Lord. David is Jason Bourne and Chris Tomlin melded into one man. And God loves this warrior-poet.

So let’s jump ahead in the story. As the King of Israel, David has experienced phenomenal success. His kingdom is thriving. His subjects love him and his enemies fear him. He is at the top of his game. Success is all he has known. But then the story takes a dramatic turn. All of David’s victory has caused him to become prideful and overly confident. Not only has he never backed down from a fight, he has never lost one. But on one spring afternoon he will be defeated by an enemy he never saw coming—his own lust. Instead of fighting on the field of battle, David decides to “sit this one out” and hang back at the palace. In this ego-driven state he takes notice of his married neighbor bathing. David doesn’t look away. No—he grabs his binoculars, throwing gasoline on the flames of his lust. He sends for her, then sleeps with her. He sends her away thinking his “dirty little secret” won’t be revealed. Wrong. Bathsheba is pregnant. David has to cover this up, so he summons her husband off the battlefield. When Uriah returns home to Bathsheba he will surely make love to her, right? Wrong. Uriah sleeps on the steps of his home. He does not have it in him to sleep in his own bed when his buddies are living in tents on the battlefield. David learns of this and makes another attempt at it. This time he throws a party and gets Uriah drunk. Surely any red-blooded man who is good and “liquored up” will go home to his wife, right? Wrong. Even in his drunken state, Uriah has more character than the king he serves. He again sleeps outside his front door. So now David has to bring out the big guns. He will send Uriah back to the battlefield. Before he leaves, David gives him a sealed letter and asks him to pass it on to the commander of the army, Joab. Uriah is unknowingly carrying his own death certificate. David has written to Joab, instructing him to have Uriah struck down in battle. Joab sees to it and Uriah is dead. So now David is safe, right? Wrong. God speaks to a prophet named Nathan, revealing the secret sin that David has committed. Let’s pick up in 2 Samuel 12:1-12:

So the LORD sent Nathan the prophet to tell David this story: “There were two men in a certain town. One was rich, and one was poor. 2 The rich man owned a great many sheep and cattle. 3 The poor man owned nothing but one little lamb he had bought. He raised that little lamb, and it grew up with his children. It ate from the man’s own plate and drank from his cup. He cuddled it in his arms like a baby daughter. 4 One day a guest arrived at the home of the rich man. But instead of killing an animal from his own flock or herd, he took the poor man’s lamb and killed it and prepared it for his guest.”
5 David was furious. “As surely as the LORD lives,” he vowed, “any man who would do such a thing deserves to die! 6 He must repay four lambs to the poor man for the one he stole and for having no pity.”
7 Then Nathan said to David, “You are that man! The LORD, the God of Israel, says: I anointed you king of Israel and saved you from the power of Saul. 8 I gave you your master’s house and his wives and the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. And if that had not been enough, I would have given you much, much more. 9 Why, then, have you despised the word of the LORD and done this horrible deed? For you have murdered Uriah the Hittite with the sword of the Ammonites and stolen his wife. 10 From this time on, your family will live by the sword because you have despised me by taking Uriah’s wife to be your own.
11 “This is what the LORD says: Because of what you have done, I will cause your own household to rebel against you. I will give your wives to another man before your very eyes, and he will go to bed with them in public view. 12 You did it secretly, but I will make this happen to you openly in the sight of all Israel.” 13 Then David confessed to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.”

You want an unedited image of what accountability looks like? Here you have it. One believer is boldly confronting the other. Nathan crafts an incredible “tale” of a man who stole something very valuable from another man—his single beloved lamb. David is enraged! “This man must die!” he exclaims. But then the prophet turns the tables on him. “You are that man!” David is busted. There is no tip-toeing around it. No more hiding. His sins have found him out (see Numbers 32:23). So finally he quits hiding, pretending, and covering up. He comes clean and confesses.

Let’s land the plane. What is the take-away from all of this? It’s really simple actually. First off, all of us are capable of falling into sin. All of us includes YOU. If you are reading this and think you are incapable of falling into sin, can I lovingly tell you that you are thinking foolishly? Only a pride-filled person would believe that. The Bible warns us about the danger of our pride preceding our fall (see 1 Corinthians 10:12). And besides all that, didn’t we just read a story about a man “after God’s own heart” who fell into grievous sin? Don’t think that you are untouchable. Secondly, we see our need for people who will get in our face and confront our sin. Do you have anyone in your life who will love you this way? Or have you surrounded yourself with cowards who are more worried about you liking them? It takes a TRUE friend to call you out when you are sinning. That’s TRUE LOVE. Someone who sees you sinning and doesn’t speak up does not love you at all. Would you call someone a good parent if they let their child play in a busy street? Why would you call someone a “good friend” if they sat quietly while you play Russian Roulette with sin?

If a “man after God’s own heart” needed tough love and accountability, what makes us think we don’t? The great irony is that often times we get angry at people who see us drifting into sin and speak up. We claim they are “self righteous” or “judging us”. That could very well be. OR, and more likely, they are speaking up because they love you and don’t want to see you make a mess of things. Don’t resist accountability. You need it! I need it! One of the greatest gifts God can give you is someone who has the courage to speak up when they see you slipping. Do you have a Nathan in your life? Is there anyone who loves your soul at that level?

This is yet another reason to get connected to a small group. You need to be known. Can I echo what I said on Sunday—you will not find someone like this if you are on a “Sunday mornings only” plan. Take that next step and go all in on being more connected.

“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10).” 

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