God, It’s All Your Fault! Really?

We all have a tendency to blame other people when things go wrong or when bad things happen. Naturally, 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 Bible 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.

PARADISE LOST

Hi there. My name is Adam. You all know me even if you’ve never met me. I’m the guy who got you into all the mess you find yourselves in as far as sin, suffering, sickness, and death. Sorry about that! I really didn’t mean for it to happen. I had no idea that this is how everything would turn out!

When you live in a perfect, sinless, peachy world like I did, you have no idea how life can possibly be different from the paradise you live in. Once outside of Eden, I learned soon enough how sin was going to make life a deplorable hell. Wow! Am I ever so sorry for what I did!

I wish I could turn the hands of time back and relive that fateful day in the Garden and not make the mistake I ended up making. But it’s too late and there’s no going back.

Honestly, at the start of it all, I didn’t think any of this was my fault. God gave me a woman to wife. She was the most beautiful thing in the world. I would have done anything for her—well, actually I did. She took a bite of the forbidden fruit, then gave it to me to try. In hindsight, I should have never listened to my wife. But when you’re crazy in love you just don’t ever think about crossing your wife. So I took a bite and that was the bite that changed the world and the course of human history.

When God showed up later that same day and asked us if we ate the forbidden fruit, I promptly told Him the truth, Genesis 3:8-12. God, this is all your fault! After all, it was You who gave me the woman to wife. If I didn’t have her around I’d never have taken that bite. I only ate it because she egged me on. So it was her fault. And Yours too! But definitely not mine!

When God questioned my wife about what she’d done, she blamed it on the snake. It’s all the snake’s fault! He fooled me into eating the forbidden fruit!

Well, God promptly pronounced a curse on the snake. Then He told my wife what her punishment would be. I blew a sigh of relief. I thought for sure I was off the hook. But God wasn’t done. He started talking to me and that’s when I knew my world was about to come to an end: Because you gave ear to the voice of your wife and took of the fruit of the tree which I said you were not to take, the earth is cursed on your account; in pain you will get your food from it all your life.  (18)  Thorns and waste plants will come up, and the plants of the field will be your food;  (19)  With the hard work of your hands you will get your bread till you go back to the earth from which you were taken: for dust you are and to the dust you will go back (Genesis 3:17-19).

His tone of voice told me there was no use arguing the point. God had spoken and that’s the way it was going to be. He told me not to eat the fruit (Genesis 2:16-17). I didn’t listen. I ate it. It didn’t matter if my wife, or anyone else for that matter, suckered me into it. I knew I wasn’t supposed to eat it. And when I ate it I disobeyed God. I had never done that before and it was a hard, bitter lesson learned—namely, DISOBEDIENCE HAS CONSEQUENCES AND THE CONSEQUENCES AREN’T PLEASANT. All of history proves it, as you all very well know.

I tried to pin the blame on God. But I found out God’s no fool. He isn’t taking the blame when it’s we who messed up, not Him. Paul puts it this way in Galatians 6:7, Don’t delude yourselves: no one makes a fool of God! A person reaps what he sows. Take it from me because I know what I’m talking about. I blamed God just like you! But God gave me all the time I needed to change my tune and admit the truth. Believe me, God knows how to get even you to change your tune!

So don’t fool yourself. You’re not fooling God. IF YOU HAVE A PART IN MAKING A MESS, THEN YOU’RE TO BLAME. AND THE SOONER YOU ADMIT YOUR GUILT THE SOONER YOU’LL SEE THE UTTER USELESSNESS OF BLAMING GOD FOR SOMETHING HE DIDN’T DO.

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.