It is one of those chapters in the Bible that’s hard to read. You have been following the life story of the young shepherd boy who, with a sling and stone, silenced the threats of the towering giant. You have admired him in his respect for the king who repeatedly tried to kill him. You have been impressed with his magnanimous heart. The story of his faithfulness to the Lord and his confidence in his God has captivated you as you saw him finally being crowned king. And then, you arrive at 2 Samuel Chapter 11.

2 Samuel 11 would be shocking if we didn’t see the same potential in our own hearts. The urge and desire to please our own selves can go so far and so fast in the wrong direction that we arrive at a dark destination far more quickly than we could have imagined when our thinking was in sync with God’s will. The moment we take our first step down the road of pleasing ourselves, we are stepping out of the will of God. If we don’t apply the brakes and make a right-about-face, there is no telling how far or how quickly we will travel towards darkness.

David got what he wanted – Bathsheba. But he may have only wanted her on the short term. “Just this one time. I need to be pleased.” But one sin and pleasing self does not stop with one act. He ended up with her for the long term. One act of pleasing self can quickly turn into a complicated string of actions and consequences that take on a life of their own. If King David could have imagined beforehand how his one act would have snowballed – he would have been horrified. But temptation conceals the future – its focus is immediate. The here and now.

King David hit rock bottom and the dark chapter concludes with one final sentence:

But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD. 2Samuel 11:27

Dear child of God – remember that when we take actions to please ourselves rather than pleasing the Lord we can expect: tears, regrets, guilt and unwanted memories. King David’s act was sexual lust. But in our pursuit of pleasing ourselves, there are many things that can tempt us – not just sexual pleasure.

Can you identify anything going on in your life just now that’s all about pleasing yourself? When all the well-thought-out rationalizations and justifications are stripped away, at the core is your deep inner, concealed desire to please yourself.

Are you really going to go ahead with pleasing yourself at the cost of displeasing the Lord? Be sure of this, there will be consequences for going in that direction. There will be regrets and plenty of them.

Face the reality today. Fall to your knees. Expose the hidden desire of your heart in the presence of the Lord. Confess it to Him. Tell the Lord that underlying the whole thing is your selfish desire to get or do what you want. Ask Him for courage to abandon the plan immediately, to drop it like a burning hot potato and to scramble back into the path of the Lord’s will without delay.

Displeasing the Lord can only bring regrets. Consider Christ who said: “I do always those things that please Him (the Father).”  John 8:29

Walk carefully and closely with the Lord today.

Warmly in Christ
Peter Ramsay

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