2 Samuel 11:1-27 (Part 1) – The Day We Think We Have Arrived Is The Day We Begin to Decay

Posted: June 14, 2018 in Book of 2 Samuel
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2 Samuel 11:1-27 (Part 1 of 5)

David Sins with Bathsheba & Arranges Uriah’s Death

Yesterday, I was having a conversation with another church employee about potential leaders for Sunday morning teams. We discussed a few options and some of the people we discussed were already serving in multiple areas. That point led to discuss the fact that we needed to be looking at people who may have not been in leadership positions before. That point led me to discuss the fact that some of our volunteer teams are aging and that often in churches we count on the same people to most of the work because they are familiar and are known quantities and, as a result, churches often do not develop volunteer team members toward the goal of some being in leadership. That point led me to discuss that we as leaders of volunteer teams at church must constantly be recruiting new members for our teams. We cannot let up on that one point. Without constant eyes on recruiting new members for our teams, we handicap ourselves into (1) keeping people in the positions that they are in even when they may have leadership talents, (2) preventing rotations of leaders, (3) people suffering burnout from leading teams where burnout volunteers don’t show up because they are tired of serving all the time, and (3) not being able to replace leaders or volunteers when they get too old to serve anymore or when someone leaves the church. Recruiting is a constant must in churches.

I likened it to a college football team where recruiting is the lifeblood of great teams. If the coaching staff every loses focus on getting the best and brightest young men for their football teams, the football program will suffer. A perfect example of this statement would be when Steve Spurrier was the coach of the University of South Carolina Gamecocks football team. Steve became the coach of the Gamecocks in 2005 and slowly built up the program from the mediocre state that it was in when he took over. It took a while but by the 2011 season they began a three year run where they had three consecutive 11-2 seasons. Each of those seasons with a different bounce of the ball in the two losses in each of those seasons, they could have easily been a 12-1 or 13-0 team. They were that good during those three years. But something happened to Steve and his staff when they were in the midst of that three year run where they had some of the best and grittiest players in the country. They stop caring about recruiting it seems. The backups behind the stars of the 2011-2013 were not superstars and the recruits coming in were no longer 4 and 5-star recruits. By 2014, the Gamecocks fell to 6-6 in their record for the season. In 2015, they got worse and ended up with a 3-9 record and Steve resigned at mid-season. Any analyst will tell you, the problem was that Spurrier and his staff started slacking off on the recruiting trail and it came back to haunt them.

We must always remember that our purpose in churches is to disciple people to deeper and deeper commitments to Jesus Christ. When we give up on doing that right, we give up on recruiting people to being on service teams. We give up on developing new leaders. We give up and then we wonder why the church has aging leadership and fewer and fewer volunteers. We cannot forget to be always on the recruiting trail and that also forces us to be on the leadership development trail – not just counting on the same old crowd to pick our volunteers and leaders from.

That was the thing that I thought of this morning as I read 2 Samuel 11 for the first of five times this morning – David forgot his purpose and it caused him to fail just as when we forget that discipleship is our purpose in churches we will fail. Let’s read 2 Samuel 11 now:

Chapter 11

1 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 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. 3 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.” 4 Then David sent messengers to get her; and when she came to the palace, he slept with her. She had just completed the purification rites after having her menstrual period. Then she returned home. 5 Later, when Bathsheba discovered that she was pregnant, she sent David a message, saying, “I’m pregnant.”

6 Then David sent word to Joab: “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” So Joab sent him to David. 7 When Uriah arrived, David asked him how Joab and the army were getting along and how the war was progressing. 8 Then he told Uriah, “Go on home and relax.[b]” David even sent a gift to Uriah after he had left the palace. 9 But Uriah didn’t go home. He slept that night at the palace entrance with the king’s palace guard.

 10 When David heard that Uriah had not gone home, he summoned him and asked, “What’s the matter? Why didn’t you go home last night after being away for so long?”

 11 Uriah replied, “The Ark and the armies of Israel and Judah are living in tents,[c] and Joab and my master’s men are camping in the open fields. How could I go home to wine and dine and sleep with my wife? I swear that I would never do such a thing.”

 12 “Well, stay here today,” David told him, “and tomorrow you may return to the army.” So Uriah stayed in Jerusalem that day and the next. 13 Then David invited him to dinner and got him drunk. But even then he couldn’t get Uriah to go home to his wife. Again he slept at the palace entrance with the king’s palace guard.

 

14 So the next morning David wrote a letter to Joab and gave it to Uriah to deliver. 15 The letter instructed Joab, “Station Uriah on the front lines where the battle is fiercest. Then pull back so that he will be killed.” 16 So Joab assigned Uriah to a spot close to the city wall where he knew the enemy’s strongest men were fighting. 17 And when the enemy soldiers came out of the city to fight, Uriah the Hittite was killed along with several other Israelite soldiers.

 18 Then Joab sent a battle report to David. 19 He told his messenger, “Report all the news of the battle to the king. 20 But he might get angry and ask, ‘Why did the troops go so close to the city? Didn’t they know there would be shooting from the walls? 21 Wasn’t Abimelech son of Gideon[d] killed at Thebez by a woman who threw a millstone down on him from the wall? Why would you get so close to the wall?’ Then tell him, ‘Uriah the Hittite was killed, too.’”

 22 So the messenger went to Jerusalem and gave a complete report to David. 23 “The enemy came out against us in the open fields,” he said. “And as we chased them back to the city gate, 24 the archers on the wall shot arrows at us. Some of the king’s men were killed, including Uriah the Hittite.”

25 “Well, tell Joab not to be discouraged,” David said. “The sword devours this one today and that one tomorrow! Fight harder next time, and conquer the city!”

 26 When Uriah’s wife heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for him. 27 When the period of mourning was over, David sent for her and brought her to the palace, and she became one of his wives. Then she gave birth to a son. But the Lord was displeased with what David had done.

 In this passage, we see that David’s sin started off by him no longer remembering his purpose as king. He got lazy and stayed home. He felt that he was too important now to be out with his army. He got proud of his accomplishments and was resting on his laurels. There is a danger in anything when we think we have “arrived”! In any job, when you think you have all the knowledge and skill that you will ever need, you will stop paying attention to details. You will stop learning or be willing to learn. You will stop thinking that others may have the ability to teach you anything particularly those that are organizationally below you. You will begin too thinking that those above you are idiots and that you could run the organization better than they can. When you begin resting, you begin decaying. When you begin resting, you do not grow. When you begin resting, you become prideful. When you begin resting, you become defensive instead of offensive (meaning that you protect the present turf rather than trying to expand it). When Rome began building walls around their empire was the moment that they began decaying as an empire. When the Romans were at their best was when there was an urgency to expand the kingdom. Just as David here make the mistake of becoming prideful and resting on his achievements of the past, that was when he became most susceptible to decay. That decay expressing itself in indulging in his selfish desires.

 

That’s the takeaway for today. As Christ followers, we can learn from David. We can learn from Steve Spurrier. We can learn from the Romans. The day we rest on our achievements and stop working to expand God’s kingdom is the day we begin to decay. When we stop recruiting new people to our ministries, when we stop sharing the gospel, when we stop evangelizing, because we think we have it made is when we start decaying and settling into sinful pride and all that it entails. That is when we start excluding people. That’s when it becomes us vs. these new folks coming in our church. That’s when it becomes religious arrogance. That’s when it becomes about the color of the carpet. That’s when we start defending our turf instead of expanding it. That’s when we think we don’t have to read the Bible anymore because we got this Christ follower thing down cold. That’s when we think we do not have to grow anymore because we have “arrived” at that place where we do not want to move on from. That’s when we get comfortable. That’s when we are ripe for the temptations of sin – it’s OK for me, I’m a king, I’m a long-time Christian, I’m a mature Christ follower. I’m a…

 

Father in heaven, please help us to read this story of David and realize that pride can enter into the lives of each and every one of us no matter how long we have been Christ followers. Please help us to stay humble. Please help to stay hungry for you just as we were on the day of our salvation. Please help us to seek you daily in prayer and in studying Your Word. Please help to see that following you is a journey and not a destination. Please help us to always see that we can learn much from the infinite God that you are. Please help us to understand that only you are perfect and holy and that we are prideful and sinful such that we understand that we never have it made, that we are imperfect beings incapable of perfection in the absence of the covering of the grace of Jesus Christ. Help us to remember our position in relation to you. We are sinful. You are sinless. We need help daily from the grace of Jesus and to have the humility to always put you first in our lives and to give you glory in everything that we do.

 

Amen and Amen.

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