We all like to have things our way. It’s a natural and normal thing that comes with being human. It’s not necessarily the best, safest, or healthiest thing for us. God has a better way. His way. But sometimes people just can’t tell us differently or convince us otherwise: our way is the best way! It’s this stubborn, inextinguishable belief that’s a huge part of the reason why we like having things go our way.

As you know full well by now,  things don’t always go the way we planned. It’s a real downer and a source of frustration, disappointment, anger, and tears. But that’s life. And we find a way to go on.

But when things don’t pan out the way God said they would, then that becomes a really really difficult thing for me. I’m a believer. I take God at His Word. When He makes me a promise and I take Him up on that promise, I fully expect Him to do what He said He would do. And when He doesn’t, I go through a serious time of reflection and questioning. Is God’s Word true or not? Of course it is, silly! Then why didn’t it work?

I like to have answers. Sometimes, the answers are easy. Sometimes hard to fathom or digest. Sometimes there aren’t any answers. At least, not right now. Maybe down the road. Maybe never. But whether I understand the reasons or not, I’m still a believer. God expects me to continue believing Him. Continue serving Him. Continue praising Him. And since I’m a preacher, God expects me to continue preaching the Word of truth and life.

The Biblical characters were very much like you and me. They were, in fact, totally human. Just like you and me. Life didn’t always pan out for them too. How they responded and dealt with the mess they weren’t expecting  can be a compass, or a lighthouse, to get us back on track with the Lord. So, from beyond the grave, the dead speak and show us how to continue being faithful when it looks as if God isn’t.


My sister-in-law came down with a really aggressive form of cancer a couple of years ago. She started getting really sick in November 2012 and by January 2013 she was in a real fight for her life. Things didn’t look good for her and my first inclination was to let her go to be with the Lord. But Doreen was believing for life. She had a promise of healing from God’s Word. And she wouldn’t have any talk or thought of dying. She was gonna get healed of cancer!

Well, if she was believing for healing and life, I felt we owed  it to her as a family to believe with her. So we took up arms against the devil, lifted up the shield of faith, and wielded the sword of the Spirit. We warred and sang our way from one battle to another. And God worked miracle after miracle! We were stunned! We maybe shouldn’t have been. But we saw God’s power working miraculously in response to the faith and prayers of God’s people. We were so humbled by God’s love and mercies towards Doreen and us. So encouraged by the fact that we were seeing God’s Word and power and faithfulness in action. So grateful that faith and God’s promises do work!

After another successful day of warfare and miracles, we went to bed Saturday night confident and hopeful that Doreen was on the mend. She was able to swallow again. That meant she would eat and drink more, get strength, gain weight, and mend back to health—just as God promised and just as we believed.

I was stunned when I woke up early Sunday morning with the news that Doreen had only a few hours to live. How can that be? She was doing good when we left her late Saturday night.

Then I remembered a dream that the Lord had given me that very early Sunday morning. Doreen’s husband, Jeremy, and I were in a boxing ring, the devil was on the canvas, and Jesus the Referee lifted up both of our arms and said, This fight’s over. This fight’s been won. Ominously, when I woke up Sunday morning, there was this dread, this knowing, that God was taking Doreen home. Sure enough, when the text message came, it was like a text message from God: It’s time to quit believing for healing and life. I want her home with Me. It’s time to let her go. This fight’s over. This fight’s been won.

Won? By dying? I couldn’t understand it. I still don’t. I’m hurt and grieved. But, I’m a believer and I still sing God’s high praises because He’s true and faithful no matter what happens.

I’m talking about what we do when things don’t pan out the way we thought or believed they would. A friend of mine was sharing her story with me recently. She’d been contemplating adopting another young child. She’d prayed about it and, one day, God gave her the go-ahead and told her the child would be a blessing to her every day of her life.

Life didn’t pan out for her the way God said it would—at least, not in the way she understood God’s words. The child was a handful and a trial in many ways. A lot of heartaches, disappointments, and tears. It contradicted what God told her. For years and years she didn’t understand.

Then one day recently, after years of enduring a reality that contradicted God’s promise, God showed her what He meant by the promise. The blessing that the child would be every day was not so much the child, but the work that the Lord would do in her through the child. The blessing was God’s transforming work in her.

In her case, when life doesn’t pan out the way you thought or believed it would, the problem is not because God didn’t keep His promise. He keeps it. He always does. The problem is our understanding of what He promised. We think we understand. But really we don’t. So what do we do when life doesn’t pan out? Whether we understand God’s ways or not, we keep believing God. God’s Word is true no matter what.

What I went through with Doreen and what my friend went through with her child reminds me of an incident in King David’s life. The King wanted Joab his General to number all the men of war. Joab, however, didn’t think that this was a good idea. Unless God told you to count, you didn’t count. That’s because you’d start trusting in your numbers instead of God to win your battles. Anyways, Joab knew this and advised the King not to do the census. The King, however, prevailed and Joab reluctantly did as he was ordered.

When the numbers came in, David felt guilty about what he’d done. But it was too late. God had His punishment in store for David. The King could choose one of three punishments: (1) three years of famine; or (2) three months on the run from his enemies; or (3) three days of the plague (2 Samuel 24).

Well, David knew the Lord to be a merciful God. With a merciful God, what could possibly go wrong? Sure, some people would get sick. Some might even die. But it isn’t going to be a catastrophe because God’s merciful. He isn’t going to let that happen! So David thought.

But the plague didn’t pan out the way David thought it would. In three days’ time, no thanks to David, seventy-thousand people were dead! Seventy-thousand! This clearly wasn’t what David was expecting! When David grasped the awful reality that confronted him, he, I’m sure bitterly, cried out to God and said, I’m the one who has sinned and done wrong! But these people are as innocent as sheep—what have they done? Let Your anger fall against me and my family (2 Samuel 24:17).

David was trusting in God’s mercies to spare him and the nation from the worst. God is merciful. But His idea of mercy doesn’t always line up with ours. Seventy thousand dead isn’t our idea of mercy. Evidently, for God, it was.

Grief-stricken and stunned beyond belief, David built an altar and worshipped God (2 Samuel 24:25). In doing so, he shows us what we do even when it seems as if God failed us or punished us disproportionately to our sin: we still believe, worship, and follow the Lord. No matter what comes. No matter He does or allows. No matter what’s happened. We still believe.

We don’t always understand. Sometimes we think we do. In either case, when life doesn’t go the way we thought or believed it would—the way God promised it would—it’s not because God led us wrong. Sometimes He lets us know why. Sometimes He doesn’t. No matter what, we still believe and worship God. Maybe, like Satan and Job, God just wants to show us off to the devil and prove to that liar that God’s people will still love Him, trust Him, serve Him, and praise Him, no matter what misfortunes come their way.



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 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. 


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!


We all have a tendency to blame other people when things go wrong or when bad things happen. To be sure, there are indeed times when other people are to blame. People make mistakes. And when they do they need to assume responsibility for their decisions and actions, accept the blame, and work to clean up the mess they’ve made. Not everything, I repeat, not everything is our fault!

But when we’re the leading characters in a tragedy, when we’re at the helm of a sinking ship; then passing the buck just isn’t cool. It doesn’t make us look good. We can find creative ways to look at an error or a disaster and make a scapegoat of others. But people aren’t dumb. They can smell a skunk when they see one. And they don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know who shot who when they catch us with a smoking gun in our hand.

In the anger and panic of the moment we seldom take the time to look at ourself and see if we bear any blame for the nightmare that we’re faced with. We’re so busy blaming others because it makes us look good. It makes us look innocent. But are we?

In these series of posts I’d like to step into the sandals of several Biblical characters. They were human like you and me. You can be dead sure they passed the buck, or were tempted to do so, when they found themselves in hot water.

By looking at these familiar Biblical figures I’m hoping we’ll learn from the mistakes and examples of our forebears. I hope we’ll learn not to pass the buck, but accept the guilt and blame that are rightfully ours. 

Why is that so important? Because assuming responsibility for our actions is the necessary first step towards fixing the mess we’ve made. We can’t fix something that we’re not willing to fess and face up to. It begins with summoning the courage to be honest with ourselves, with others, and with God. With the help of the Biblical characters, I believe we can be honest and say, God, it’s not your fault! It’s mine. And I’m sorry I fingered you for the bed that I made and slept in.


Hello. My name is David, King of Israel. I’d like to tell you about a time in my life when I was really ticked off at God. Through an unfortunate series of events, our enemies, the Philistines, captured the sacred Ark of the Covenant in battle (1 Samuel 4).

Well, it turned out, after seven months of nothing but misfortunes, the Philistines put two and two together and decided that the Ark was bad luck for them. So they put the Ark on an ox cart and sent it back to Israel (1 Samuel 5 and 6).

The Ark stayed in an Israelite village called Bethshemesh. But, there again, bad luck fell upon the townsfolk after some of them decided to take a peek into the Ark. This was something that you just couldn’t do. The Lord ended up killing over 50,000 men in that town because of this unfortunate peekaboo (1 Samuel 6). 50,000!

As you would expect, the Bethshemeshites got the holy fear of God. They didn’t want the Ark in their midst. They couldn’t afford to have any more of their menfolk dying because of the Ark. So they sent a message to their neighbors and the men of Kirjathjearim came and got the Ark. They put it in Abinadab’s house and there it remained for twenty years (1 Samuel 7).

Well, it didn’t seem right to me that a national treasure should be tucked away in someone’s house. It needed to be brought to Jerusalem, our capital city. So preparations were made for the move and on the appointed day, the Ark was brought forth out of Abinadab’s house, placed on an ox cart, and away we went. There was a huge procession of Israelites as we celebrated this momentous event. There was a band and music and dancing. We were in a really celebratory mood that day. You can read all about it in 2 Samuel 6.

Unfortunately, the merriment was cut short soon enough. As the ox cart was moving along, one of the wheels went over a huge rock. One of the drivers, a man by the name of Uzzah, saw the Ark starting to slide off the cart. So he stretched forth his hand to keep the Ark in place and that’s when the Ark’s infamous bad luck struck again. The Lord struck Uzzah dead right there on the spot!

In an instant, from the mirth and merriment of the moment, I was ticked! I was incensed! Uzzah had done a good thing. He was trying to keep the Ark from falling off the cart. He was doing his part to preserve a national treasure. He acted nobly with the best of intentions. I couldn’t understand why God would kill Uzzah for doing such a good deed.

For days after that, I was really riled up at God. It looked as if everywhere the Ark went nothing but bad luck happened to people around it. God, this is all your fault! You had no right killing Uzzah for doing a good deed!

It seemed to me that no one was safe around the Ark. Not even God’s chosen people! God was gonna kill everyone who dared to tamper with the Ark. So I left the Ark right then and there in the house of a fellow by the name of Obededom. I went back to Jerusalem, along with all the celebrants, downcast and afraid to have anything more to do with the Ark.

I was still fuming with God for some time after that until the priests and the Lord started talking to me. Come to find out, it wasn’t God’s fault that Uzzah got killed. Yeah, he was acting with the best of intentions. But THE BEST OF INTENTIONS DON’T AMOUNT TO MUCH WHEN YOU BREAK THE RULES. The rule was, no one was allowed to touch the Ark, plain and simple.

The Ark wasn’t supposed to be transported on a cart. It was carried about on the shoulders of the Kohathites. They were descendants of one of Levi’s sons named Kohath. Anyway, God chose the Kohathites to be the only ones authorized to pack, unpack, and transport the contents of the Holy Place, which is our Tabernacle. But even the Kohathites themselves couldn’t touch the Ark! There were rings in the Ark through which long wooden poles would be inserted. The Kohathites would grab each end of the poles and lift them up on their shoulders. That’s how the Lord ordained the Ark to be transported—on the shoulders of the Kohathites and not on an ox cart (see Numbers 4:1-15).

The Lord’s instructions for the transporting of the Ark were contained in the Book of the Law and they hit me like a ton of bricks. Here all along I was blaming God for killing kind-hearted Uzzah. But it wasn’t God’s fault that Uzzah was killed. It was mine! I was to blame because I was the one who ordered the Ark to be put on an ox cart. I had unknowingly violated God’s Law and Uzzah paid for it with his life. So when the dust of my anger settled and reason returned to my mind, I had to admit that Uzzah’s death wasn’t God’s fault. It was mine…because I didn’t do things God’s way.

So take it from me, dear friends, and don’t make the mistake I made. DO THINGS GOD’S WAY. DO IT THE WAY HE WANTS IT DONE. You might think you know a better way; you have a better idea of how things ought to be done. They may sound good and right to you (Proverbs 14:12, 21:2). But if your ideas don’t line up with God’s ideas, then, believe me, you’re all wet and wrong. God’s way is the only way to do things! So don’t listen to Frankie boy, the ole crooner with baby blues. And don’t let the burger joint fool you into thinking it’s alright for you to have it your way. It’s not. Uzzah’s death stands as an eternal, painful reminder to me that THERE’S A PRICE TO BE PAID FOR DOING THINGS YOUR WAY INSTEAD OF GOD’S WAY. I hope there won’t be an Uzzah in your life to remind you of the same.


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? For better or worse?

In these blog posts I’d like to look at the one good decision that some people in the Bible made that changed the course of their life for the better. By looking at ourselves in the mirror of God’s Word I hope we’ll all take comfort, courage, and hope in the fact that, despite the mess we’re presently faced with, we can still turn things around. A lousy past or dismal present doesn’t have to give us the same future. By God’s grace, our future and life can be changed for the better…if we only make the right decision today. May God help us do that on a daily basis!


I’m a father of young adults. I’m a grandpa. And I’m a Christian. The heart and prayer of a father for his children is that they turn out alright in life, make the right choices, be healthy, keep safe, have a good life, and most of all, give their life to Jesus. Life will eventually disrupt the family. Once the kids leave home the family will never again be the same. Life will separate the family by miles. And death will eventually rob us of the loved ones we hold most dear in life. Jesus alone holds the key to an eternal family reunion in Heaven. And that’s why I pray fervently that my children will love the Lord as I do, even more, and serve Him faithfully to the end of days. Having given you a father’s perspective on his children, let me put this train of thought on hold and let’s take a whirlwind tour of David’s life.

We’re all familiar with the story of David. He bursts on the scene in the Valley of Elah where he kills Goliath and leads the once fearful, demoralized Israelite army to victory in the ensuing battle against the Philistines (1 Samuel 17). From this point on, David is pretty much stuck by the King’s side: King Saul isn’t letting go of this young warrior and hero. He promotes him to General of the Army and David’s valor and victories in war become the stuff of legend. David’s so successful that King Saul gets really jealous of him and tries to kill him on many occasions. One of the King’s murderous plans, however, backfires on him and, as promised, the King gives David one of his daughters to marry as a reward for a successful expedition against the Philistines. So now, David is a member of royalty and that, as you can imagine, really infuriated the jealously-demented King.

Well, David was a good man and there was no way he was going to lift sword or spear against his King. So he goes on the lam and for the next several years he lives in exile in, of all places, the land of his enemy the Philistines (1 Samuel 19-30).

King Saul gets killed in battle against the Philistines (1 Samuel 31). David returns to his homeland of Judah. And there he is crowned King by his tribe (2 Samuel 2). He’s King for 7½ years in Judah.

During this time, in the aftermath of Saul’s death, his son Ishbosheth becomes King of Israel (2 Samuel 2). Ishbosheth reigns as Israel’s King for 7½ years. He eventually gets assassinated and that’s when all Israel came together and asked David to become their next King (2 Samuel 4-5). So altogether, David is King for 40 years. Under his military prowess he enlarges Israel’s Kingdom to its greatest extent ever. His enemies fear him. And Israel is established as a regional superpower.

All this began in the Valley of Elah when David pretty much came out of obscurity and dumbfounded the cowardly Israelite army. He made quick work of beheading the giant, then just as deftly and decisively, he went on to rout the Philistines in battle. In the Valley he emerged as a national hero. Became General. Then son-in-law of the King. Eventually King. And master of a regional superpower. Imagine all the good things that happened to David and all Israel just because he came to the Valley of Elah! If David had not come to the Valley, the course of history would have been drastically different! We would not be amiss at all in saying that the course, future, and destiny of the nation of Israel were forever altered when David showed up in the Valley of Elah!

Friends, do you know how David found himself in the Valley of Elah? What brought him to Elah? Well, David was a young shepherd boy living in Bethlehem with his family. He was tending his father’s flocks of sheep when, one day, his dad sent him on an errand. 1 Samuel 17:17-19 tells the story of how it went.  One day, Jesse told David, “Hurry and take this sack of roasted grain and these ten loaves of bread to your brothers at the army camp.  (18)  And here are ten large chunks of cheese to take to their commanding officer. Find out how your brothers are doing and bring back something that shows that they’re all right.  (19)  They’re with Saul’s army, fighting the Philistines in Elah Valley.”

Dad Jesse was getting worried about his sons. They were in the army. And, being the soldiers that they were, dad was all the time worried about them. He had every right to be. The Philistines were the most feared army in the world at this time and, realistically speaking, the Israelites weren’t much of a match against them. Pictures of death and defeat are probably racing through Jesse’s mind. Are my sons alive? Did they get killed in battle? Are they coming back home safe and sound? So, being the worried father that he was, Jesse sent his son David to Elah to see how his sons were doing. You’d be totally right to say that Jesse was checking up on his sons. Unbeknownst to him, Jesse sending David to Elah would change David’s life forever and alter the course of Israelite history. A worried father’s decision to send David on a domestic errand turned out to be his best decision ever!

As a mother or father, we make all kinds of decisions that impact and affect our kids for life. It’s not always the big decisions that affect them the most. Sometimes, it’s the smallest decision we make—like sending them on an errand—that starts a chain reaction that will change their lives forever. So, parents, pray for your kids. Pray about the decisions you make. With God’s guidance and help, like Jesse, you can make the best decision ever! God bless you with Jesse’s care and success!


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.


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.