When Life Is So Good -- Don't Forget God!
2 Samuel 11:1-2: "In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war,
David sent Joab out with the king's men and the whole Israelite army.
They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah.
But David remained in Jerusalem.
One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace.
From the roof he saw a woman bathing, the woman was very beautiful."
There is a saying that I have heard many times in my life:
"When hard times come people turn to God. When times are good, they tend forget Him."
I believe that most of us can relate to that.
It is been during the hard times that most of us have felt closer to God.
David was a success.
He was a popular king who extended the military power and geographical boundaries of Israel to its height.
Due to his great zeal for the Lord, worship reached an unparalleled height, as David's many psalms
But David's heart was prone to wander when his concerns were free from worry
and he experienced God's blessings and was enjoying his affluence
Easy street is no place to grow up.
David's love for the Lord is unquestioned, for God had described David as a man after His own heart.
However, enjoying the luxury of his affluence and with the security of his political power, David grew bored.
Even a challenging military campaign no longer interested him.
In the midst of a midlife crisis, David's loyalties were confused.
Success places its own built-in limitations on personal growth.
The rewards of success are often translated into an unhealthy lifestyle of indulgence and inflated desires.
In a Time Magazine of August 6:1984 there was an article about Bomber.
Bomber was a 22-year-old eagle that was being trained to fly in the main stadium
during the opening ceremonies of the Olympics.
Bomber did not make it; he dead during practice.
Unaccustomed to the strains of flight, the captive eagle suffered a massive heart attack
from the rigors of rehearsal.
Life completely free of stress is a burden rather than a blessing.
Romans 5:3-4 say is, "Suffering produces perseverance, perseverance produces character,
and character produces hope."
If we restate Paul's formula in the negative, the outcome is clear.
The complete absence of stress would result in the atrophy of our endurance.
The absence of endurance would rob us of moral strength.
Our lack of moral resolution would land us in hopeless situations.
"Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace
to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed." (1 Peter 1:13)
A consistently developed spiritual life during the good times affords tremendous strength during the bad times.
We are all familiar with "bad-weather" religion.
Though most people have "fair weather friends" -- people who stick closer
than a brother during prosperity
and then disappears during a crisis -- many people also have a "bad-weather religion."
They remember God's resources when they have none of their own.
When the skies of life for cloudless, they are too preoccupied with their fair-weather friends
to think of the God beyond the blue.
Bad-weather religion does not hold up in stormy times.
It is like the house of faith that is built on the sand.
Success often leads to excess.
A young boy told his father that he wished that he was rich.
The father asked him, "How would you know when you were rich?"
The boy thought for a second, and then said, "When I have more than I could take care of."
Looking around the boys pretty messy room, the father concluded,
"I would say that you are pretty wealthy already."
Material blessings have spiritual liabilities.
Jesus taught that It is not impossible for the rich man to enter heaven, but is like squeezing
a clumsy camel through the small "eye of the needle" gate in the city wall.
The way to the kingdom is a narrow way, the constricted requirements of righteousness leave
little space for materialistic baggage.
In spite of the relative wealth of our society in comparison to other countries,
we are adept at thinking of others as rich.
Indeed, the average American is a part of the wealthy elite of the world.
It is easy for us to get hooked into thinking that if we just had a bigger house, a newer car,
a larger salary, we would be content.
And we would be
for a while.
But assuming is our desires regained equilibrium, we would be window shopping for other items
just beyond our reach.
This was David.
Bored, sleepless, and dangerously successful, David was drawn by the sight of a beautiful woman
performing her cleansing ritual in the cloak of darkness.
She was figuratively and literally just beyond his reach.
Morally and spiritually speaking, he would have been better off going back to bed -- alone.
The more power and responsibility given to a person, the more potential exists for good and evil.
Different historians recorded the relationship between the majority of Israel's monarchs
and a spiritual level of the nation.
The king set the pace.
David's love for the Lord promoted a revival of worship in the land.
And his sin was cause for national morning.
Referring to David's romantic rendezvous with Bathsheba as a great sin is not to say
that such a sin in someone else's life would be of a lesser sort.
The point is that David sin had a great potential for damage due to his high position in government
and his heroic, spiritual status in the eyes of the nation.
However sin's damaging effects are universal among all people.
David's sin was great, for it was an audacious and gravely immoral act.
The debauched nature of David's adultery was high-lighted by the murderous plot to cover it up.
That David would stoop to such depths pointed out his brash disregard of the most rudimentary
of moral standards.
Sin has its consequences, and great sins have serious consequences.
One result of David sin with Bathsheba was that the sword of violence never departed from his house.
(2 Samuel 12:1)
The sword, as a symbol of David's violent act in covering over his sin, remained as a perpetual memorial
in the Davidic dynasty.
David's great success soon had a fly in its ointment.
Inner strife and heartache plagued his family for generations -- all stemming back to this one incident.
In seeking to satiate his overgrown appetite for pleasure, David had swallowed a bitter pill
with horrible consequences.
Success can make it easy to forget the God who gave it.
God's response to David's actions was swift.
Through Nathan's tactful approach, David recognized the magnitude of his sin.
David stood accused by his own words and standards.
Nathan reminded David of God's many gracious blessings, which only magnified the seriousness
of David's adulterous and murderous schemes.
"This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: 'I anointed you king over Israel,
and I delivered you from the hand of Saul.
I gave your master's house to you, and your master's wives into your arms.
I gave you the house of Israel and Judah.
And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more." (2 Samuel 12:7-8)
God's use of the first-person pronoun is obvious.
"I" emphasized God, "I gave you" all that you enjoy.
Such is the danger of material blessings.
The blessed forgets the Blesser.
How God's great heart must grieve when we become so engrossed in the benefits of His love
that we forget that He is the Giver of the blessings.
Toscanini was conducting the New York Symphony Orchestra in Beethoven's Ninth.
It was a stirring performance.
As the crowd roared its applause at the conclusion of the evening,
Toscanini turned to his orchestra and shouted above the applause,
"Gentlemen, you are nothing; I am nothing, but, gentlemen Beethoven is everything!"
As God's children we enjoy the blessed life given by our Saviour to us, and we must not forget
that He is the source.
Colossians 1:15-18: "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible;
whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.
He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
And He is the head of the body, the church.
He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead,
so that in everything He might have the supremacy.
Sermon adapted from several sources by Dr. Harold L. White