Saturday, September 12, 2015

Fear or Faith?

The chronology of the book of 2 Samuel has left me with questions. Clearly, when you delve into some of research involving the timeline of the book, there is some jumping around, some things that appear out of order. Then something clicked in my mind: the story of Bathsheba.

"In the spring, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab with his officers and all Israel, and they ravaged the Ammonites and besieged Rabbath. But David stayed in Jerusalem." 2 Samuel 11:1

It always bothered me that the great king of Israel, the man after God's own heart, didn't go out to battle. That he sent his men out to war, while he stayed in safety in his palace. But then, I ran across this scripture.

"Once when David and his men went down to fight the Philistines David became exhausted, and Ishi-benob, a descendant of the Rephaites, who had a bronze lance weighing eight and one-half pounds and new armor, fastened by a belt, intended to kill David. But Abishai, Zeruiah's son, came to help him, struck down the Philistine and killed him. Then David's men promised him with an oath, "You will never go out into battle with us again; you must not put out the lamp of Israel." 2 Samuel 21:15-17

His men, who had fought them for him for years, would not let David go out to battle. He had squared off against a giant, it's no wonder that he was exhausted. Surely, he had been exhausted before, battle is fundamentally exhausting from the start. Was it just because he was king now, or was this just a closer call?

Whatever the reason, they didn't want to lose him, and they let that fear have a place in their lives. And they used that fear to pressure their king to stay home, leading to what might possibly be David's worst sin and mistake - taking a married woman to have as his own, and killing her husband to keep her.

Fear is a few steps removed from David's actions here, but fear is what put him on this course. If fear did this to King David, what could it to to us? It could ruin us, like it almost did David. How hard would it have been for him to turn his back on God because of the death of his child? We have all heard stories like that; it is not far-fetched.

When we walk in fear, we don't walk in faith - they are dynamically opposed. Fear leads us to the places that we aren't meant to be. It takes us off of God's path and puts us in the way of temptation, seeing things that we wouldn't see if our eyes were fixed on God.

Don't let fear pull you out of the fight. Stand strong in your faith that the Lord is with you.


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