I had a huge revelation the other day.
It’s all about saying “NO.”
I mean, of course I’ve always known it was all about saying “no,” but I think I finally get why.
Let me put this puppy in reverse for a few minutes so you can see where I’m coming from…
I was in prayer a few days ago when I felt God prompting me to fast from food the next morning until Noon. “Okay God” I smiled, “that’s not a problem.”
I woke up that day and only one thing was on my mind: I wanted a doughnut. I mean, I REALLY wanted a doughnut. I starting thinking about the doughnut shop down the street and literally starting drooling. As I got out of bed and walked out to the kitchen, my mind wandered to a far away land filled with warm chocolate doughnuts. I wondered if I had time to make it down to the shop before my shift at work started that morning…
Then it hit me: I was fasting till Noon.
Suddenly, that delightful doughnut began to look demonic. I looked at the clock praying that I’d somehow slept in five extra hours, that maybe it was 11:59 and I could just hop in the car and go grab a doughnut.
It was 6:15. It was gonna be a long morning.
“Come on” I said to myself, “you NEVER have this issue. What’s the deal today?”
I got to work that morning trying to keep the stupid doughnut off my mind. I mean really, besides the fact that I’d promised God I would spend that morning in prayer, it’s not like I really needed a doughnut. It was fattening and sugary just plain not good for me.
“Yeah” I nodded to myself, “I don’t need some stupid doughnut!”
That worked out well. For about ten minutes. Then, wouldn’t you know it, one of my co-workers walked into work with a treat for the other employees…. you can guess what it was.
Yup. A hot pink box full of a dozen freshly made warm, chocolate doughnuts.
That’s when it hit me: I was being tempted! That stupid devil was trying to tempt me! With a DOUGHNUT of all things!
I began to think that maybe, the enemy didn’t want me fasting because God was getting ready to tell me something that required my full attention… and boy, was I right.
Temptation is ugly. Even the word “temptation” is ugly. I think the ugliest example of temptation we have the bible comes in 2 Samuel 11, where it talks about David and Bathsheba.
I’m gonna be honest with you: I couldn’t read this story for years after I became a Christian. It always broke my heart and left me angry. David was one of the first biblical figures I really had an interest in learning about. Growing up in Sunday School, I’d always heard that King David was “a man after God’s own heart,” but wasn’t till I began seeking after God’s own heart myself that I could really connect with him. Hearing the stories about of how he rose from being a neglected child to slaying Goliath to becoming the King of Israel --his was the true underdog story! And coming from an underdog mindset myself, I couldn’t help but love the guy!
But then, came 2 Samuel 11. Ugh… 2 Samuel 11...
David is King at this point. He has all the money, prestige, power and control any man could ever ask for. He’s got a family, a grand palace and a kingdom that adores him. Basically, the dude could do no wrong. It all didn’t come overnight however. It came after many, many years of tirelessly obeying, trusting and seeking the voice of God.
Which kiiiiiinda makes me wonder what in the world happened next…
David was walking on the roof of the palace one day when he saw a girl in one of the houses below taking a bath. This would have been a good time for him to close his eyes, turn away, go inside and watch some SportsCenter, but alas, he didn’t. He looked over at one of his assistants and asked who the girl was. They said “that’s Bathsheba. She’s married to one of your solders, Uriah.”
He asked one of his messengers to bring Bathsheba to the kingdom, and ultimately, they did something they’d both regret.
A few weeks went by, the two of them pretending nothing happened, when all the sudden, David gets a bombshell: Bathsheba is pregnant…. and he the baby daddy.
Let’s just say I’m happy shows like “Maury” didn’t exist back then.
David freaked. At this point, he wasn’t as bothered by the fact he’d sinned against God, than that he’d done something wrong against one of his friends and now he needed to clean it up. FAST.
“Bring Uriah out of the battlefront” David laughed nervously to one of his servants, “ya know, I haven’t seen him in a while, thought it might be nice to catch up and let the dude have a breather.”
Uriah was one of David’s Mighty Men. He was one of the most loyal, faithful and trustworthy solders in the world. He would have happily taken a bullet for David had he a barrel pressed against his chest.
And here was David --jacking around with his wife.
“Uriah,” David looked at his friend over dinner, “you work SO hard! Why don’t you go home for a few days, huh? I got this! You go ahead and clean yourself up, lounge on the hammock, catch up on your Facebook notifications and spend some time with that delightful Bathsheba of yours.”
In other words: “I need you to go home and have sex with your wife. That way, then when she tells you she’s having a baby, you think it’s yours.”
Harsh ya’ll, but factual.
The next day came and went and one of David’s servants came to him spazing out. Uriah never went home that night. He went back to the military command post and stayed there with his army buddies.
“What the heck?!” David asked Uriah as he brought him back to the palace that night, “I give you two weeks paid vacation to go spend with your hot wife, uhh, I mean, your darling companion, and you go back to the war?!”
Uriah shook his head, “sir,” he started, “those men are out there every day risking their lives for this country. They are my partners and my friends. Who would I be to just go home and laze around? There is work to do, and I will NOT stop till this war is finished.”
Uriah was legit. REALLY legit. Which made me even more ticked at David.
David’s first plan didn’t work, so he moved on to Plan B --he asked Uriah over for dinner again and got him nice and drunk. “Surely this will work” he thought to himself, “he can hardly resist her sober.”
Yet again however, Uriah didn’t go home. He went back and stayed the night with his war partners. Although, I can imagine he had a pretty wicked headache the next day.
Bathsheba was starting to get nervous. People were starting to ask questions. David was at the brink of his desperation. To him, there was only one option left.
“Send Uriah back into the battle lines” David commanded his chief solder, Joab, “but put him in the place where the battle is fiercest and then abandon him. I want him dead.”
Joab did just that. He waited till the battle got the ugliest, then told all but Uriah to leave --he was murdered brutally in a matter of seconds.
“Tell David about the battle we just fought” Joab told David’s messenger, “tell him it was bloody, brutal and we lost a few key men, but also tell him Uriah is dead.”
David was furious when he heard about the fight. “Why in the world did you do this?! Why did you go that way?! Why were those men on the frontlines?!” he screamed, “don’t you want to win this war?!”
“Your Highness,” the messenger said softly, “you should also know… Uriah is dead.”
What David says next leaves me in tears every time I read this story.
“Oh” he acted shocked, “well, you know how war is. Don’t be too upset about it. You win some, you lose some. There are 1000 other men like Uriah out there. You can’t go crying over spilt milk.”
After this had happened, Bathsheba lost it. She mourned for her husband, but because of the situation, she couldn’t grieve for long. Within days, she and David were married, and a few months later, had their son.
The very first time I heard this story, whatever respect I had for David went down the toilet.
“Man after God’s own heart, pssh!” I’d think to myself, “That’s real honorable.”
I stayed mad at David for awhile. (Yes, it is possible to get mad at biblical characters.) Even when I’d go to read some of his triumphant feats, I’d secretly roll my eyes and call him a loser… I’m just being honest with you.
Thankfully as of late, God has changed my heart.
I was flipping through my bible recently when I landed across 2 Samuel 11. I sneered. This was the LAST thing I wanted to read, but I figured if God has led me to it, I’d give Him the benefit of the doubt. As I read on, I remembered why it grieved me so much. It’s such a horrible story. The fact that it actually happened makes it even worse. This wasn’t just some movie… it was reality.
“She could have said no.”
I listened to the voice of the Lord and did a double take, “huh?”
“Bathsheba could have said no. David could’ve to.”
Like so many times with God, I had a Mac Truck moment.
We give David a lot of flack for what he did. Granted, it sucks. He messed up big time and that’s non-avoidable, but much like every good story, it has two sides. The second was of a young girl who had just as big a role in this as her counterpart. Her name was Bathsheba --and she could have “NO.”
“No” to what?
“No” to the handsome young King who made a pass at her, “No” to the choice to be unfaithful to her husband, “No” to the idea of hiding what she’d done, and “No” to the fact that getting rid of him was the only way out.
I got over what David did that day. I realized that, although it took he and Bathsheba’s child dying to realize what he’d done was wrong, he repented and God had forgiven him. Sure, he faced endless family issues after this. There was arrogance amongst his wives, which led to division amongst his kids, heck, his son raped his own half-sister. How more screwed up can you get? There were generational consequences because of his selfish actions that are clear throughout the bible, but I think because of it, it made him even more so a man after God’s own heart. He no longer wanted to be like God, he NEEDED to be.
This story isn’t in the bible to show us how “perfect” we think we are and how wicked David was, but rather, to sober us. To show us that it doesn’t matter how long we’ve been Christians, that we are STILL gonna be tempted and we STILL need to turn away from it. We might not face as many challenges as David had to afterwards, but NOTHING is worth the pain you face from surrendering to a moment of weakness.
See, temptation isn’t all about what comes at you. It’s how you RESPOND to it. You can either run to it, or run FROM it.
“You make it sound so simple” you laugh.
No offence but: IT IS, DUH!
1 Corinthians 10:13 states it the best: “no temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man, but God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation, He will also provide a way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
“Why does He allow us to be temped at all?” you might wonder, “why does He wants us to love Him so much but allows us to face so much garbage?”
Think you’re alone? Let’s look at one more story…
After Jesus was baptized and anointed as the Messiah, God led Him out to the wilderness to be tempted for 40 days and 40 nights. Uh-huh. God even allowed JESUS to be tempted. Even as a man born to be sinless, He still faced the option of sinning.
“Hey, psst, Jesus!” the devil whispered one day as He walked through the wilderness, “I know You’re kinda doing the whole ‘wilderness fast’ for the next 40 days, but I’ll tell you what, You bow down and worship me, and I’ll give You bread to eat.”
Yes. The devil offered Him a doughnut.
“Back off, bro” Jesus responded with a laugh, “I shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes out of God’s mouth. That’s the real quencher.”
The escape God has given us to run from temptation is HIS WORD
And I don’t just mean the Bible, which is part of it, but also, the personal words He has spoken to YOU.
This is a personal one for me every day in a lot of areas, relationships even. I have two options: I can either throw myself at every cryptic wink a guy offers me and regret what I‘ve done the next day, OR? I can trust God for the man He has promised to bring me, do things His way and have an awesome marriage full of unforgettable moments.
Sure. One sounds easier and the other sounds downright fairy tale-ish, but God never said the choice would make sense. That’s why He calls us to have called FAITH. The reason temptation exists is for us to chose in whom we will place our faith! Knowing all Jesus endured for me just so I could have in freedom what God has promised me? His way is what I pick.
Every time you say “NO” to temptation, you’re choosing the better “YES.”
What has your number? What tempts you and makes you think twice about where you need to be? For some of you it’s money, or lust, or control, heck, it might even be a doughnut.
I challenge you to remember what God has done for you, what He’s sworn to give you, and to run the opposite way when anything less than that would try to call you out. You have the ability to say “NO,” even when it’s tough. He’s given you an escape… I dare you to use it.