I was reading one of my journal entries the other day, dated of 3/19/99 (yes, I’m definitely getting old). I was struck by what it said:
“Looking out at the beautiful sunshine today I was again filled with a deep remorse of how we are blessed here in the USA, and the majority of people don’t even realize it. We are spoiled little babies, able to travel around freely; and have choices of just about everything we buy (yellow or pink tissue? Nalleys or Dennisons chili?).
Then I read of people in other countries who go to the store and are grateful they can buy tissue – and then there’s only one kind to buy!
And how about the countries where little children are living in trash dumps, and trying to sell the things they find through their rummaging – perhaps even finding their only food of the day there?
Oh, how blessed we are here in the USA – what is going to happen when God runs out of patience with us?”
Don’t worry, this post isn’t going to be another writing about the effects of COVID-19; but at the same time, I can’t help but marvel at how things have changed here in the USA since I wrote that entry.
Because especially in the first months of the COVID pandemic, there were many times when we had no choice of what tissue to buy – or even if there was any tissue at all!
Soap was hard to come by; and meat and dairy products were limited.
What about going to a restaurant to eat? Forbidden, except for some restaurants who provided takeout or drive-throughs.
And, even though at first most of us Americans handled it pretty well, after awhile it started getting on our nerves. And we started complaining. About everything.
Why? We longed for our old ways of freedom. And through that, we forgot the many blessings we still had…
Is that part of what happened to King David in 2 Samuel 11? You know the story I’m talking about. David and Bathsheba…
King David usually went with his troops when wars were looming. Why not this time? Yes, certainly he was getting older. Was that part of the reason? Was he just feeling more fatigued with each passing day?
Or was a type of boredom entering into his life? The type that can come easily to all of us when we fail to spend the necessary time with our Heavenly Father like we should.
Was he perhaps longing for the freedom he used to have during his golden years of leading Israel – before all the heaviness of being their king got to him? Was he longing for a new type of victory? A new thrill in his life?
Or had he just gotten downright complacent?
All we can really do is speculate.
But let’s think about David a little bit. He certainly wasn’t born with a golden spoon in his mouth. He was the youngest of his brothers, and was relegated to taking care of his family’s sheep. Yet God chose him above all others to become the king of Israel (1 Samuel 16:1-13).
How mindboggling that must have been to the young shepherd boy! And how hard it must have been to be patient and wait upon God as year-after-year passed him by, but he still had not yet been crowned king. Instead he found himself on more than one occasion running away to save his life, hiding in caves because King Saul was out to kill him.
However despite his fear and confusion, David did his best to keep his eyes on God – because he trusted and loved Him.
And because of that? Once he was finally anointed king, God began heaping blessing after blessing upon him. What he wanted his Lord provided. War-after-war was won; enemy-after-enemy was defeated as King David led his troops into battle. He was revered by his people.
But then came the day…
The perilous day when King David decided not to join his troops. Instead he stayed home.
His eyes began to roam away from God. Suddenly he finds himself staring at a beautiful woman bathing on her rooftop close to the palace. Lust for her enters him, and he orders his servants to go and bring her to him. He sleeps with her and she becomes pregnant.
David finds out she’s married, and discovers her husband is Uriah, a trusted commander in his army. But rather than do the right thing, he devises a deceitful plan so that Uriah would be killed in battle. Then he takes Bathsheba into his palace as one of his wives.
But this did not make God happy (2 Samuel 11:27).
When you come to 2 Samuel 12, you see that God sends His prophet Nathan to David to confront him of his sin. Nathan tells the king a story about a poor defenseless family who was taken advantage of by a man who had riches beyond imagination. David becomes angry – how dare that man treat the poor family like that!
Then Nathan drops the bombshell. The story about the rich man is actually the story of King David himself. Through the prophet, God reminded the king that He had given him everything, and if he had wanted more, He would have provided it for him.
Yet David had allowed himself to become blinded to the truth. He had abused his position as the king of Israel by taking matters into his own hands, instead of turning to God in repentance.
Nathan reminds him that it was God who had chosen him to be the king over the nation; but that did not mean that he was the King of Kings. He was not God Almighty.
The blinders suddenly come off David’s eyes. He recognizes the horrible things he has done by abusing his power, and finally repents.
And yes, his Heavenly Father forgave him.
However there was a price to pay, which was he and Bathsheba’s baby. The child was not going to be allowed to live because of David’s disobedience.
Just as it says in Numbers 32:23: “You may be sure your sin will find you out.”
So here we are in the present. Our nation, the United States of America, has been called the land of plenty. Immigrants have flocked from all over the world to reside here. We have been the nation of the free.
But in our freedom we have allowed ourselves to turn away from our Creator, just like King David did. We’ve turned our backs on God, deciding we don’t need Him to run our country and our personal lives. We can do things better than He can.
And we have failed miserably.
Now please don’t think I’m saying that God “caused” the calamities that have come upon us, as well as the whole world. Rather, what I am saying is that He has “allowed” destruction to come upon us because of our own disobedience – because of our pride and willful disrespect.
It says in Galatians 6:7, God will not be mocked. We harvest what we plant.
However remember, friends, just as the Lord sent the prophet Nathan to come alongside David to open his eyes on the sins which were consuming him, so He is continually sending us reminder-upon-reminder that He is certainly always totally in control; and He is ready and willing to come alongside us when we repent and call out to Him. Why? Because of His love. His mercies never end, and His faithfulness is forever to those who put their faith and trust in Him (Lamentations 3:22-26).
Are we listening to Him? Are we trusting Him?
I was reminded again the other day of one of my favorite verses, which is Isaiah 40:31: “… those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
Oh Lord, Jesus – may we turn our eyes back to You, for only You can restore us to health.