Greetings Ladies! I have been thinking about our Christian Liberty lately. One area I was pondering is the gift and stewardship of CHOICE. Read on …
2 Samuel, the 11th chapter is a book the Bible to read when considering choices and consequences. God created man (and woman) with freedom to choose. He wants us to love and trust Him but He won’t force our love or obedience. Think of a marriage; do we want someone to love us if they are forced? You can force me to live with you; you cannot force me to love you. Great preciousness is to be found in the gift of choice and it deserves stewardship as do all things of value.
King David would have been a Christian in today’s world, a devoted man that loved God, a leader – the Bible calls him a man after God’s own heart. The Bible showed a man, a king that loved God, yet made bad decisions. He appeared thoughtless to the truths of choice and consequences, because we know he was not ignorant.
One of my favorite Bible verses is Philippians 4:8: Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Granted, David did not have this particular “verse” to consider but every admonition in the New Testament agrees with teaching David had access to. Here are some of the mistakes David made, and some of them presumed:
- Verse 1 says, “But David tarried at Jerusalem.” He did not go to war. I wonder why? The Bible says he tarried. This tells me that his reason was not important business of the state or the word tarry would not have been chosen. I think he had already seen Bathsheba and he wanted to see her again. Already he is not choosing well. He was not thinking on things that were of any virtue.
- Verse 2 tells us that David got up from bed in the night and went to walk on his rooftop. Call me suspicious, but the fact that he tarried behind makes me think that desire to see this beautiful woman again was the reason. David was the king. He could do as he chose. He chose to tarry; he chose to stroll his rooftop. He chose to watch Bathsheba bathe. These are not matters of good report.
- King David chose to send someone to find out who she was. The right thing would have been to return to bed and ask God to create a clean heart within him and to renew his spirit toward holiness. One poor choice leads to another if we don’t arrest them early. So far, David suffers no obvious consequence for his sin. Repentance at this point could have led to a beautiful drawing nearer to God. David was not thinking on things that are honest.
- This investigation into who Bathsheba was led to adultery. Despite knowing who she was he took her for pleasure. Consequences are evidencing themselves here in verse 5. She was with his child. Not true. Not pure. Not praiseworthy.
- David ultimately arranged the murder of her husband, who was an honorable man. Not lovely, and not just!
Think for a moment. King David was a man of God. Had he known that his choices would have taken him to the place of murdering a good man, would he have committed adultery with Bathsheba? Probably not. He lived with the consequences of this sin the rest of his life. What a burden to bear and as a woman; I can only imagine how Bathsheba suffered.
But David’s choices bore consequences beyond even what he could have imagined. David and Bathsheba’s child died. He grieved sorely. It all began by tarrying. This was a bad choice and cost David more than he wanted to pay, as people often comment about sin.
It is vitally important in the life of a Christian to keep in mind the necessity to be a good steward of choices. As a child of God, I make choices everyday. I embrace Christian liberty. It allows me to enjoy many things God has provided, but in order to enjoy them with abandon, I must remember that each choice I make has consequences, often beyond fleeting thoughts.
Every day we make choices:
- Shall we spend time with the Lord before we dash out?
- Would it be okay to watch this movie or does this movie dishonor God? Will it harden my heart to sin?
- Would I put this book in a guest room or might I read it and stash it?
- What do my clothing choices reflect?
- Can I cut a favorite food from my diet because it makes me tired and lethargic?
- Do my friends love God or love the world more? We can tell by who they talk about more.
- I want to see a rocket launch; shall I miss church this once to do it? (Yes; that was a real choice.)
Sharing some recent experience:
- This morning I dashed out early, but before dashing I was encouraged by Psalm 57. An affirmation in verse 8: I myself will awake early and up a few verses to 2, a reminder for my day: I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me. I lived those thoughts as I did an errand in a town I do not know well. I had good results with less effort or expense than I expected. Experience teaches, but experience combined with faith deeply affirms Scripture into our being.
- Recently I opened a twin pack of movies I’d purchased a couple of years earlier, just so they would be there when I wanted to watch a new movie. These movies were described as being heartwarming movies. Within the first couple of minutes of the first one, all I could think was “this will add nothing to my life. I don’t live this way. I don’t want this garbage in my mind.” I tried the second and was almost shocked. Bad language and behavior that the movie portrayed as real life. Jesus died for that! We do not have to live that way. I cannot watch it. Brand new movies into the trash equals another easy choice. Others would enjoy them, but long ago I made a choice not to give away things that would not be a blessing or God-honoring. Just as one bad decision leads to another, one good decision makes the next easier.
I’d like to think that I do not have anything in my home that I’d be ashamed for anyone to see. Obviously, I would have been embarrassed by those movies had someone chosen them before me, but they are not there now and I hope I have learned another lesson.
You get the idea. We can choose what we do but we cannot choose the consequences. And to be sure, consequences are often beyond what we would imagine had we taken time to think the thing through, if we thought about our choice in light of Scripture.
Making right choices does not ensure a trouble free life, but will ensure far less turmoil. Making right choices is one of the best ways to have happiness in our life and peace. Good choices bring more of what we want.
In closing, I want to remind you that one choice can change your life in ways you never imagined. This happens today just as surely as it happened to David. I chose to marry Harry and considered that we’d have a good life, a perfect marriage, build a fabulous home near our farm in Pennsylvania. Those were the consequences I dreamed of as I made the choice and yet God made the consequences. I can promise you today that I made a very good choice. Had I known the consequences I might not have chosen “yes” as the answer, because it has been difficult. But, still, I made the right choice. Choose well and ultimately you will not have to worry about the consequences. I am glad I could not have chosen my consequences because God gave me a better life than the one I imagined for myself.
Our lifestyle, language, attitudes, and manner of dress reflect on His name. He leads us in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Unless you are honestly convinced that the thing in question will bring glory to God, then don’t do it. Curtis Hutson