"In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah."
II Samuel 11: 14, Amplified Bible
"Temptation #3 - When No One Else is Watching"
"It is better to go straight than to move in the best circles."
What would I do differently in my life if I thought no one was watching or would find out what I had done?
On a personal level, how would I define the word, "Integrity"?
"Live among men as if God beheld you; speak with God as if men were listening."
"My worth to God in public is what I am in private."
Not long ago, I saw a television program where answers to test questions contained in envelopes,were given to individuals. The people with the envelopes were told, in no uncertain terms, that they were not to look inside the envelope that contained the information.
Instead, they were to get on the elevator on the floor where they received the envelope, go up several floors and present the envelope to a person who would be waiting to receive it.
Here was the catch, though. The envelope was not sealed. Every person had the option of opening the envelope, looking at the answers to the questions, then reinserting the sheet of paper in the envelope, and as far as they knew, no one would ever be the wiser.
There was just one little surprise! It seems the producers of the program had installed a hidden camera in the elevator, which recorded the behavior of the individuals who had promised not to look inside the envelope at the answers to the test questions as they rode up several floors.
As you might already have imagined, over 50% of the people sneaked a look at the answers. But what's more, they didn't just look at the answers. When they arrived at their destinations and turned in the envelopes, when asked if they had opened their envelopes, they all denied doing so. With a straight face they looked another person in the eye as they lied. Seems one sneaky action made it easier for another.
In my own life, I've always found one of the most probing questions to be, "How would I act if I thought no one was watching? What would my behavior be like if I really thought I could do something I knew I shouldn't and yet get away with it?" I think for each of us this is an extremely critical question and I'll tell you why.
In God's perfect universe, where the toxin of sin had not ravaged the lives of any of God's sons and daughters, there was a perfect trust that was unlike anything you or I know or understand. Right behavior was the routine of the day, not because of a fear of punishment or God's wrath, but because it was right. I call this doing right for the right reason. But once the bond of trust was broken and Adam and Eve chose to do their own thing, regardless of the consequences, an entirely different atmosphere developed. Fear entered the equation. A fear that brought with it actions such as Adam and Eve hiding from their own Creator.
Ever since that day, with the quality of trust fragmented, God's children have "hidden" their sins, afraid of the consequences of their behavior. Instead of being open about our faults with our Father, we try to cover them up or hide them from the scrutiny of those around us.
And this brings me to Temptation #3 which Uriah faced. After spending several days with the king; after being solicited for advice on how things were going in the war; after being asked about his personal opinion of Joab; after having the king enquire as to the thinking of the people about the war effort; and finally after spending time in the palace, being wined and dined by the king, Uriah could easily have been led to believe he had won the Israelite lottery! Seems he had the king's ear. Add to this the fact that in the morning, before Uriah left to go back to the war, King David called him in and asked him to take a private message to Joab, leader of the king's army. What an honor. What a trusted soldier. And it was at this moment Uriah could have let the king's adulation go to his head. He could have thought he could get away with something, maybe even take advantage of the king.
When no one was looking, Uriah could have run over to see Bathsheba for remember, she lived close enough to David's palace that she was visible from his rooftop. Nobody needed to know.
But there's also another thing Uriah could have done when no one was watching. He could have read the note he was carrying and then when he found out what was in it, he could have chosen never to deliver it to Joab. But remember, to do so would mean that trust between the king and his valiant soldier no longer existed. So rather than shatter the bond of trust, Uriah took the note, never stopped on his journey until he got back to camp, and in doing so, we find he delivered his own "death instructions" to the king's general.
The author Susannah Centlivre made this astute observation, "Nobody can boast of honesty till they are tried." It was in the greatest moment of trial when Uriah faced three temptations, presented to him by King David. Here we find the real worth of this man, Uriah - a man of integrity who when no one was watching, chose to behave as though the God of heaven and earth had His eyes upon him.
I've always appreciated the words of William Shakespeare in the tragic play Hamlet for they are oh, so true: "This above all to thine own self be true. And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man (or woman)!"
What would I have done? What would you have done if you'd been Uriah and nobody else was watching? It's a daily question we face - "How do I act when no one else is watching?"
"Live so that the preacher can tell the truth at your funeral."
REPUTATION AND CHARACTER
"The circumstances amid which you live determine your reputation;
the truth you believe determines your character.
Reputation is what you are supposed to be; character is what you are.
Reputation is the photograph; character is the face.
Reputation comes over one from without; character grows up from within.
Reputation is what you have when you come to a new community;
character is what you have when you go away.
Your reputation is learned in an hour; your character does not come to light for a year.
Reputation is made in a moment; character is built in a lifetime.
Reputation grows like a mushroom; character grows like the oak.
A single newspaper report gives you your reputation; a life of toil gives you your character.
Reputation makes you rich or makes you poor; character makes you happy or makes you miserable.
Reputation is what men say about you on your tombstone; character is what angels say about you before the throne of God."
William Hersey Davis
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.