FEBRUARY FAST #1: THE NEED TO DRAW NEAR
There’s nothing quite like drawing close to God… Oh, how we need to do this! We need to humble ourselves daily (Lu 9:23) and also escape to be with Him (Mt 14:23), on a regular basis.
One of the reasons we need to fast is to humble ourselves. (Ps 35:13) Not only do we enter this life filled with the pride that comes with original sin, but it seems like everything on planet earth wants to feed it. Nothing is more devastating to our spiritual (and natural) growth as pride. What’s more, pride blinds us, so we don’t see the enemy of our souls.
Scripture touts David as ‘a man after God’s own heart who will fulfill His will.’ (1 Sa 13:14; Ac 13:22) However, he did not always walk that way. One of the most telling episodes involves Bathsheba and Uriah.
2Sa 11:1 NLT In the spring of the year, when kings normally go out to war, David sent Joab and the Israelite army to fight the Ammonites. They destroyed the Ammonite army and laid siege to the city of Rabbah. However, David stayed behind in Jerusalem.
Kings normally go out to war, but David didn’t. While the Bible doesn’t tell us why, we are left to wonder… Maybe he didn’t feel well? Maybe he just didn’t feel like going? Maybe he didn’t think he needed to, because he had competent people who could do the job? Whatever, his reasoning, David felt like it was okay to take his ease, while the others went to war. He was, after all, king. He could do what he wanted – right?
David got in trouble, when he stayed home. He found Bathsheba and lusted after her, though she was another man’s wife. Actually, she was the wife of one of his most loyal soldiers! Surely, he knew that was wrong on every level – but he commanded that she be brought to him, anyway. He was the king; he could do that.
Not only did he sleep with her, but when she was found to be pregnant, he tried to cover it up by calling Uriah home. He was the king; he could do that.
Of course, that backfired, because Uriah was more righteous than David! He wouldn’t stay in his own bed, while his men were in the field. So, David sent poor Uriah to the front lines, where he would surely be killed in battle. He was the king; he could do that. Problem solved.
No… the real problem was that the little shepherd boy had grown up to be a king who forgot that he had a King. God trusted David with the authority to do as he pleased, but sadly, David was not pleasing to God.
Enter, Nathan the prophet!
Seriously… ?? A prophet has to tell David that taking another man’s wife and having him killed is wrong?! What is wrong with this picture?
Wisely, Nathan doesn’t just confront David head-on. That would have been like casting his pearls before swine. (Mt 7:6) No, if you try to help someone in that much deception, you just might get trampled in the process. Instead, God moved Nathan to spin a heart-wrenching yarn to convict David. It was like God had to sneak up on him and trick him into seeing his sin! (2 Sa 12:1ff)
Wow. What does that say about David’s relationship with God? Weren’t they close? Couldn’t God have simply spoken to him? How do you go from being someone with an amazing personal relationship with God – to this?
Pride comes before a fall. (Pr 16:18) That’s how David’s relationship with the Lord could deteriorate to the place where he would stay home from battle – and then sin so openly. That’s also how David could be so utterly blind to his sin.
When God got through to David, because he had a ‘heart after God,’ he repented…deeply…to his King. Though he had sinned against Bathsheba and Uriah (and really, all of Israel), it all boiled down to facing the One who matters the most. (Psalm 51)
Pride and rebellion go together and can really sneak up on us, if we’re not careful. That is why we need to make sure we humble our souls. We don’t want to be blindsided by “secret faults” and commit “presumptuous sins.” Listen to David speak from experience…
Psa 19:12-14 NKJV Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults. (13) Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; Let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, And I shall be innocent of great transgression. (14) Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.
Each of us, no matter who we are, needs to humble ourselves to draw near to the Lord, because that’s the only way we can be close to Him!
Psa 138:6 NLT Though the LORD is great, He cares for the humble, but He keeps His distance from the proud.