The Lord Was With Him
If you ask anyone to name some heroes from the Bible, David’s name will probably be one of the first to come up. According to The TopTens, a website with 150,000 interactive top ten lists as voted by people, the story of David and Goliath ranks #2 as the most famous Bible story, second only to the crucifixion of Christ. So David, knowing that God was with him, stood before the giant Goliath and struck him down with a stone. Eleven verses later we read:
“Whatever Saul asked David to do, David did it successfully. So Saul made him a commander over the men of war, an appointment that was welcomed by the people and Saul’s officers alike.” (1 Samuel 18:5)
David was famous in his own time too. The people would sing the song: “Saul has killed his thousands and David his tens of thousands.” After being promoted to commander over the men of war, we read about David’s many military victories. He defeated Philistines, Geshurites, Girzites, Amalekites, Arameans, and Edomites. He conquered Gath and Moab. He destroyed the entire army of King Hadadezer. From the beginning, David knew exactly why he was so successful in what he did.
“‘The Lord who rescued me from the claws of the lion and the bear will rescue me from this Philistine!’
Saul finally consented. ‘All right, go ahead,’ he said. ‘And may the Lord be with you!’” (1 Samuel 17:37)
“David continued to succeed in everything he did, for the LORD was with him.” (1 Samuel 18:14)
The Lord was with David and David knew this, but in chapter 11 of 2 Samuel we read of David making a curious choice, given that he knew the Lord was with him.
“In the spring of the year, when kings normally go out to war, David sent Joab and the Israelite army to fight the Ammonites. They destroyed the Ammonite army and laid siege to the city of Rabbah. However, David stayed behind in Jerusalem.” (2 Samuel 11:1)
Why would David choose to stay behind when he was so successful in battle? This was a specific time when kings would go out to war, yet David chose to stay behind. This would be like Larry Bird or Michael Jordan deciding to sit out the NBA finals. Of all people, of all the kings in all the lands to go out to war, it should have been David going out with his army.
“Late one afternoon, after his midday rest, David got out of bed and was walking on the roof of the palace. As he looked out over the city, he noticed a woman of unusual beauty taking a bath.” (2 Samuel 11:2)
David put himself in a place he didn’t need to be. He should have been out on the campaign with his warriors but he chose to stay behind. He put himself in a position to be in Jerusalem, while most (if not all) of the other men were away and he chose to go out onto the roof knowing what he may be able to see.
“He sent someone to find out who she was, and he was told, ‘She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.’ Then David sent messengers to get her; and when she came to the palace, he slept with her.” (2 Samuel 11:3-4a)
Throughout David’s life, he knew this simple, yet powerful truth: The Lord was with him. It’s what gave David such confident courage when he faced the bear, the lion, the giant, and the armies; but David forgot that God was with him when he faced the woman. He forgot that God was with him when he chose to stay behind, to walk up on the roof, to watch the woman while she bathed, when he invited her to his palace and when he commanded her to his chambers. But even in his sin, the Lord was with him.
We can be this way, too. We want God to be with us through the difficult times, through the scary diagnosis, through the uncertain times when our hearts have been broken, through the confrontations, through our fear. As David would write: “Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me” (Psalm 23:4). But we conveniently forget that God is close beside us when we want to engage in sinful behavior. We think no one is around and no one will find out so we put ourselves in positions we shouldn’t be in. After a long week, you don’t want to go shopping with the family on the weekend so you elect to stay home by yourself and soon enough it’s just you and the dirty movie or pornographic website. You choose to walk on the roof and see what you can see.
“This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
It’s comforting to know that we are never alone, that God is with us wherever we go. It is vitally important that we remember this truth when we are tempted to sin. When we feel we are alone, when Satan whispers to us that “no one will find out,” hold to the truth—that the Lord is with you wherever you go. Don’t put yourself in a position you shouldn’t be in, avoid temptations, flee when they arise, and remember that God is with you where you go.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.