BELIEFS THAT ARE KILLING US: I WON’T GET CAUGHT!

INTRODUCTION

We all know that attitudes lead to actions. Mindsets shape manners. Convictions give rise to corresponding conduct. And beliefs determine behavior. Our life is a reflection of the thoughts and philosophies that we live by.

Some of the things we believe and live by are genuinely good and true. Others we only think are genuinely good and true, but really are not. Our own human experiences remind us in sometimes painful and humbling ways that we’re not always right. We’re capable of being wrong. We’ve been wrong about some of the things we’ve believed and thought. It’s a hard and humbling pill to swallow and some people refuse to swallow it. They will always be right even though we know they’re wrong as wrong can be.

Just because we believe what we believe doesn’t make us right. This is another hard pill for some of us to swallow. But it’s nevertheless true. Our beliefs don’t make us right and they don’t mean we’re right. Our beliefs are right only when they line up with God’s Word. His truth is the plumb line that determines what beliefs are right and what beliefs are wrong. As the prophet Isaiah tells us in Isaiah 8:20, To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. When our beliefs contradict God’s Word we’re certain to be wrong whether we admit it or not.

Some of the beliefs that we hold dear in life are not good for us. We hold them dear because they allow us to live the way we want to live without repercussion or condemnation. They allow us to live with a free conscience and allow us to continue doing the things we love to do.

But the fact of the matter is, some of the beliefs that we hold dear in life are not good for us. They’ll end up killing us. Sin kills and damns us. And the beliefs that allow us to sin with seeming impunity put us on the road that leads to hell. Let’s look at one of these beliefs.

I WON’T GET CAUGHT!

I can’t believe how dumb—how really, really dumb—some crooks are. It’s like they’re really, really stupid. Seems like if they’re going to make a living on crookery they’d better learn the basics of the craft first.

But, of course, we’re a lot smarter than dumb crooks. We thinks to ourselves we’re smarter than that. We can succeed in sin, get away with it, and not get caught. We’ve got the bases covered. We’ve thought everything through. Ours is an air-tight, fool-proof plan. We’ll never get caught!

How dumb we are to think we’re so smart that we’ll never get caught! But let’s learn this at the start and let’s not ever forget it. IF YOU BELONG TO GOD YOU’RE GOING TO GET CAUGHT!  Here’s a case in point.

King David was out on his veranda late one afternoon or early evening when he happened to look out beyond the palace walls and, wouldn’t you know it, he saw a woman taking a bath in the river below. The sight of her naked bod got his hormones going. Sex was on his mind. The poor guy couldn’t think about anything else. Bathsheba was so absolutely beautiful and indescribably gorgeous, so dazzling and resplendent in that birthday suit of hers, that he absolutely had to have her!

Well, long story short, you know how the story unfolds. The King has Bathsheba brought to the palace and together they had the most wonderful, the most ecstatic, the most unforgettable, of evenings together.

The only problem with evenings such as this is morning comes soon enough. It always does. And when morning came Bathsheba had to go home.

A few days later, the King got the word.  Bathsheba was pregnant. This was a clear case of adultery. Bathsheba was married to Uriah. The King was well aware of this and both he and Bathsheba knew from the get go that what they were doing was wrong. By the requirements of the law, both the King and Bathsheba would have to be stoned to death!

What was David going to do now? What were his options? Fess up and end up getting himself and Bathsheba killed? Not on your life! The King loves this woman and he’s going to do whatever it takes to have her for himself. He’s going to marry her!

But what about her husband? No problem! The King comes up with an ingenuous plan. Her soldier husband is going to find himself in the thick of a battle, he’s going to get himself killed, and Bathsheba will be free to marry the King. Everything looked good to the King. It was a fool-proof plan. No one would ever know. He’d never get caught!

Just as David figured, everything goes according to plan. Uriah gets killed in battle. And when the days of mourning for her husband were ended, Bathsheba and the King had themselves a royal wedding and proceeded to live happily ever after.

But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord, 2 Samuel 11:27.  You see, we can think that everything’s cool. We’re alright. We’re adept at silencing our conscience and living without one. We can do whatever we want to do, we can live however we want to live, if we don’t bring God into the picture. If we conveniently forget all about Him.

But if we’re a true child of God, God isn’t going to forget all about us. He isn’t going to let us go scot free: He isn’t going to let our sin damn us. He loved us enough to die and save us. He loves us too much than to stand still and see us get ourselves damned. We may leave him out of our thoughts. We can blot Him out of our mind. But God isn’t going to stay hidden, unseen, or forgotten.  We can get rid of God. But God isn’t going to get rid of us!

God butts in. He gets involved. He confronts us and talks to us about what we’ve done. This is called reproof, rebuke, and conviction. God wants us to see, to admit, that we’ve done wrong. This is where Nathan the prophet comes in.

2 Samuel 12:1-5 reads, The LORD sent Nathan to David. When he came to him, he said, “There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor.  (2)  The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle,  (3)  but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him.  (4)  “Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him.”  (5)  David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, “As surely as the LORD lives, the man who did this must die! He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.”

There are some things about ourselves that we don’t see. Things ugly, but real and truthful things, that we don’t want to see. Sometimes, a sermon just doesn’t cut it. It doesn’t work. So God uses a story because He knows we’ll listen to a story, especially a good one. And, unbeknownst to us, a story is a good way for us to get a good look at ourselves and see things that we ordinarily would refuse to see.

That’s what Nathan’s story did for David. He very readily saw that what the rich man did to the poor man was blatantly wrong. It was so wrong that the King was livid, he was incensed, by what the rich man did! By his royal power of the sword he was going to have the guy killed because he had no pity!

Now that David’s anger was aroused and his sense of right and wrong was restored, he was unwittingly ready to hear the sermon that he’d otherwise refused to hear.

2 Samuel 12:7-12, Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul.  (8) I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you all Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more.  (9) Why did you despise the word of the LORD by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites.  (10) Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.’  (11)  “This is what the LORD says: ‘Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity on you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will sleep with your wives in broad daylight.  (12) You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.'”

David kept the truth about his murder and adultery suppressed. The royal guards and the King’s henchmen were hushed and mute, on pain of death. No one would talk—not if they wanted to live. No one would know the truth. David wouldn’t get caught!

BUT DAVID FIGURED GOD WRONG. As long as God’s around—and He’s always around—you’re gonna get caught. And God Himself makes sure of that! YOU CAN HIDE THE TRUTH FROM MEN, BUT YOU’RE NOT HIDING ANYTHING FROM GOD. YOU CAN HUSH MEN, BUT YOU CAN’T HUSH GOD. YOU CAN FOOL MEN, BUT YOU AREN’T FOOLING GOD. God’s got a big mouth. And He has ways of letting people know what you’ve done. 

The moral of the story? IF YOU THINK YOU’RE GOING TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER, YOU’RE NOT. THE SINS YOU HIDE, MINIMIZE AND FORGET DO NOT GO UNSEEN OR FORGOTTEN BY GOD. GOD WILL BRING THE TRUTH TO LIGHT. YOU WILL GET CAUGHT! Thank the Lord for that! Because in catching you He’s trying to save you.

Hey, it’s just about story time! Grab yourself a seat. God’s got a doozy of a story He’s dying to tell you!

ONE BAD DECISION: AN AWESOME NIGHT IN BED

In the course of a twenty-four hour period we make gobs of decisions. Some of these we make with a serious amount of forethought and prayer. Others we make spontaneously with little or no thought as to the consequences or impact our decisions will have—not only for ourselves, but for the many others whose lives are intertwined with  ours.

Have you ever thought much about how a single decision can change your life forever? Sometimes a single decision will change us for the better. And sometimes a single decision will change us for the worse.

In these blog posts I’d like to look at the one bad decision that some people in the Bible made that changed their lives forever…for the worse. By looking at ourselves in the mirror of God’s Word it’ll give us reason to stop and think about both the long-term, and short-term, ramifications of the decisions we make. Lots of forethought and prayer, I’m convinced, will save us from the pain and regret of a hastily-made decision for the worse.

AN AWESOME NIGHT IN BED

King David was a mighty warrior, a brilliant General and superb military strategist. The nations of the earth trembled at his military prowess and victories. He restored a sense of national pride to Israel that had been lost during the long, dark period of the Judges. So, quite understandably, the King was very well respected and revered as a national hero. A living legend.

The winter rains had stopped. Spring was here. The flowers were in bloom. The fruit trees were blossoming. The water-logged fields were now dry. The ground could once again support the trampling of soldiers’ feet, chariot wheels, armament carts, and the countless horses of the cavaliers. It was that time of year when kings would go to war. And it was a time of war in Israel.

But the good King David, on this one particular occasion, chose to stay back in Jerusalem. Instead, he let his top General by the name of Joab lead the Israelite army into battle.

2 Samuel 11:1, In the spring, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab, his mercenaries, and Israel’s army to war. They destroyed the Ammonites and attacked Rabbah, while David stayed in Jerusalem.

As it turned out, unbeknownst to the good King, this decision to stay back in Jerusalem and not lead his army into battle would change his life forever. It was the beginning of troubles that would dog him for many years to come.

2 Samuel 11:2, Now, when evening came, David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the royal palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing, and she was very pretty.

I don’t know how much you young ladies and single sisters know about the effect you have on men—on any man—whether they’re young and single, or old and married. But when a man sees the naked body of a woman it makes most men go berserk. It’d be comical if it weren’t so tragic. Seeing a woman’s skin (or her privates) makes a man do dumb, stupid, sinful things. And that’s exactly what King David did. He fetched the woman, laid with her, and had the most fantastic, memorable night with her in bed.

2 Samuel 11:3-4, David sent someone to ask about the woman. The man said, “She’s Bathsheba, daughter of Eliam and wife of Uriah the Hittite.”  (4)  So David sent messengers and took her. She came to him, and he went to bed with her. (She had just cleansed herself after her monthly period.) Then she went home.

The only problem with having such a wonderful night in bed is, (and don’t you just hate it!), night always ends and morning invariably, unstoppably, comes. In David’s case, morning came soon enough. Bathsheba had to go home. And David had to figure out how he was going to cover up his mischief.

2 Samuel 11:5-11, The woman had become pregnant. So she sent someone to tell David that she was pregnant.  (6)  Then David sent a messenger to Joab, saying, “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” So Joab sent Uriah to David.  (7)  When Uriah arrived, David asked him how Joab and the troops were and how the war was going.  (8)  “Go home,” David said to Uriah, “and wash your feet.” Uriah left the royal palace, and the king sent a present to him.  (9)  But Uriah slept at the entrance of the royal palace among his superior’s mercenaries. He didn’t go home.  (10)  When they told David, “Uriah didn’t go home,” David asked Uriah, “Didn’t you just come from a journey? Why didn’t you go home?”  (11)  Uriah answered David, “The ark and the army of Israel and Judah are in temporary shelters, and my commander Joab and Your Majesty’s mercenaries are living in the field. Should I then go to my house to eat and drink and go to bed with my wife? I solemnly swear, as sure as you’re living, I won’t do this!”

Well, David’s cover up didn’t go as planned. Uriah refused to go home and sleep with his wife. Bathsheba’s pregnant and Uriah’s gonna know that he’s not the father of the child. So David gets himself into more trouble. He comes up with a devious plan to steal this married woman away from her husband and get her for himself.

To make a long story short, he commanded General Joab to take his soldiers and this woman’s  husband,  who  happened to be a soldier, to the front lines. Once there, the army was to retreat, leaving Uriah by himself at the front line to fight the enemy by himself.

Well, you know what happened. Uriah got killed. And David got himself a new wife! How happy he must have been on his wedding day! There’d be many more memorable nights in bed! I can almost hear the King shouting Yahoooooo!, as he skipped gleefully throughout the Royal Palace.

But what David did was wrong. Sin has consequences. And when you choose to sin you automatically, unavoidably, choose to suffer sin’s consequences. You don’t choose what these consequences are. The only choice you have is to sin or not sin. And when you choose to sin, you’ve chosen to suffer the troubles and heartaches that sin brings. Unbeknownst to David while he lay with Bathsheba in bed, there’d be consequences he’d have to suffer.

God sent the prophet Nathan to David. What David hid, God brought to light. David thought he could get away with sin. But he got caught. You’ll always get caught! God misses no one! David had sown his wild oats. Now it was time for him to pay up. 

2 Samuel 12:7b-12, “This is what the Lord God of Israel says: I anointed you king over Israel and rescued you from Saul.  (8)  I gave you your master Saul’s house and his wives. I gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if this weren’t enough, I would have given you even more.  (9)  Why did you despise my word by doing what I considered evil? You had Uriah the Hittite killed in battle. You took his wife as your wife. You used the Ammonites to kill him.  (10)  So warfare will never leave your house because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.  (11)  “This is what the Lord says: I will stir up trouble against you within your own household, and before your own eyes I will take your wives and give them to someone close to you. He will go to bed with your wives in broad daylight.  (12) You did this secretly, but I will make this happen in broad daylight in front of all Israel.”

All that the Lord prophesied through Nathan the prophet came to pass. David brought civil war upon himself and the nation. And, to top it all off, the baby conceived in sin died (2 Samuel 12:14-18).

So the decision to stay in Jerusalem and not go to war with the rest of the army led David into adultery. Adultery led to lying. Then murder. A just and honorable warrior was killed. A woman sinned against husband. Then lost him. An innocent baby died. And the heretofore strong Israelite nation was subsequently weakened by civil strife. David’s sin not only affected him and Bathsheba, but it affected the entire nation! It’s amazing how ONE DECISION–JUST ONE!–CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE FOREVER AND AFFECT THE LIVES OF SO MANY OTHERS.

Brethren, don’t be hasty or short-sighted about the decisions you make. Think. Pray. Make the right decision. God’s decision. It’ll save you a heap of trouble, pain, and regret. And your future will definitely be brighter! God bless you and keep you from making a bad decision.