"One evening David arose from his couch and was walking on the roof of the king's house, when from there he saw a woman bathing."
II Samuel 11: 2, Amplified Bible
"Staying In The Devil's Orchard"
"We have many leaders into temptation, but it is our fault if we follow them."
Has there been a time in my life when I lingered in a place or with a person who was tempting me to run off the path of God's purpose for my life?
"Better shun the bait than struggle in the snare."
"Temptation is not sin; it is the call to battle."
Frederick P. Wood
Over the next few weeks, we are studying in-depth, the story of David and Bathsheba, one of the most talked about stories in the Bible.
But as we continue this study, I want to remind us all of the words God spoke to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. We find God's warning in Genesis 2: 16, 17, K.J.V., which says: "And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."
These words were not some arbitrary threat, instead they were a kind warning to God's children that the knowledge of the toxic waste "evil", was poisonous to our health - body and soul. And so our loving Father, in His mercy, wisely advised His children to stay away from even the potential to fall into evil. How gracious could God be!
And as we've traveled together from Genesis 1 through to II Samuel 11, we would do well to think back on the times and events when God's love was expressed not by destruction of His children but protection of them. Frankly, there were times when God's children were so disobedient, He had every right to act with swift judgment. But during some of the most awful behavior, God's mercy was extended to those who least deserved it. And it is this backdrop of a merciful God, which illuminates our vision of David, whom we are told, decided to "tarry" at home and relax as his warriors fought the battles for him. Then on one particular day, temptation loomed before his eyes in the form of a bathing beauty.
Historians tell us that at this time in Hebrew history, "eventide", as it is referred to, began in the mid afternoon. In my husband's Spanish culture, this afternoon time is often referred to as "siesta" time - the time for a midday nap. When David arose from his nap, he went up on the roof of his palace, which we might assume was one of the highest viewpoints in Jerusalem, the city of David. From his vantage point, David saw a woman bathing.
Now it was not a sin for David to nap. It was not a sin for him to walk on the roof of his house. It was not a sin for his eyes to fall upon the sight of a gorgeous woman. But here's where this story takes a very sad turn. I find a great deal of wisdom expressed in the words of Doug Barnett when he noted, "If you don't want the devil to tempt you with forbidden fruit, you had better keep out of his orchard." David, during the excursion on his rooftop, made a decision to stay in the devil's orchard. Just like Eve and Adam could have walked away from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, so David could have made a quick exit back down into his house and the tragic consequences of an illicit affair and murder would never have taken place.
And, just to make another point, nowhere in the Bible does it say that Bathsheba was luring David in by bathing in some sexual way for all to see. I haven't, in all my study of this event, found one supportive Biblical passage that gives any credence to the notion that Bathsheba had designs on David. As we will learn later this week, her life was on the line as a "subject" of the king. In my view, and from what the Bible tells us, we as women have a different lesson to learn from Bathsheba. For today, the guiding light that pinpoints David's wayward rooftop walk is one that illuminates the fact that staying by and wandering into the devil's orchard leads only to heartache and pain.
How often I've found in my own life that the words of Franklin Jones are absolutely true when he expressed, "what makes resisting temptation difficult for any people is that they don't want to discourage it completely."
We would do well in our battle with temptation to keep these words of the Apostle James in the forefront of our thoughts and deeds: "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you" (James 4: 7, 8, K.J.V.). I like the way The Message Bible so definitively states this passage in James 4: 7, 8: "Yell a loud ‘no' to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet ‘yes' to God and He'll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin."
What a wise way to stay out of harm's way - quit messing with sin and heed our Father's warning that sin is toxic.
"No degree of temptation justifies any degree of sin."
Nathaniel Parker Willis
"O God, by Thy mercy strengthen us who lie exposed to the rough storms of trouble and temptations. Help us against our own negligence and cowardice and defend us from the treachery of our unfaithful hearts. Succour us, we beseech Thee, and bring us to Thy safe haven of peace and felicity."
Augustine of Hippo
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P.S. My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is now available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You can also go to www.whenawomanmeetsjesus.com and purchase the book through Paypal for $8.00. Or by calling Transformation Garden at 1-888-397-4348.
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.