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Posts Tagged ‘David and Bathsheba’

“Blessed are all who fear the LORD, vwho walk in obedience to him (Psalm 128:1).”

“Now it’s my will against yours and you will lose”!  Clint Eastwood, portraying Sergeant Major Gunny Highway has just laid down the law in his new Marine platoon.

It’s Memorial Day weekend, and the Military Channel is running “Heartbreak Ridge”, the story of a crusty old Marine (Eastwood) whose job it is to train a group of young, immature slackers. He has his work cut out for him.

His men are rebels. They have no intention of obeying this anachronistic old man.

When Gunny Highway comes into their pool hall and throws things around, pulls noses and ears and insults them, they have a plan. They can’t wait for The Swede to get out of the brig.

When The Swede does appear, he is a foreboding figure. He is a huge hulk of muscle who looks like he could tear Gunny Highway in two. In fact, he tells Highway he intends to.

After Highway decks the Swede, the latter tells him softly,”I’ll wait outside for the MPs to come.” Gunny Highway replies,”Negative, Johannson. You’re going to become a Marine, right now.”

These boys learned some wisdom from Jim Croce: you don’t tug on Superman’s cape, you don’t spit into the wind and you don’t pull the mask off that old Lone Ranger. In other words,  if you have any brains you don’t take on persons with  more power, authority, experience and know-how than you.  You don’t mess around with the Gunny Highways of life.

Gunny Highway knew that if he didn’t train his men to be tough, hard, courageous fighting machines, they would get killed. Him, too.

These men weren’t ready to fight, but they didn’t know it. In fact, they didn’t even think of the possibility they might end up in one.

When Highway first meets the men from his platoon, a couple of them pretend not to speak English. As he is whipping the men in their introduction, he says to the two: “I don’t want to get my head shot off in some far away land because you don’t “habla”, comprende?”

Gunny Highway tells the men,”I’m here to tell you life as you knew it has ended”. He tells them to go into town, blow off steam and get rid of whatever it is in their old ways that may hold them back, because at 6 am the next morning they belong to him.

A problem I have as a believer in Jesus Christ is that I forget who I belong to. When I enlisted in the Christian life, I volunteered to live the way God requires me to.

When I forget whose I am, a grunt in God’s army, and that my old life is way over, I tend to revert back to my immature ways.  When I do, I am liable to get my head blown off.

This is because I am truly in a war. I forget this, too.

There are spiritual forces out there who wish to destroy  me. My immaturity could get be severly wounded, even killed.

God comes in and kicks butt like Gunny Highway and tries to get me ready and able to fight the His battles.  However, like the unprepared, lazy recruits in “Heartbreak Ridge”, I resist.

Gunny tells his new platoon in  that if they think they can “slip and slide” because their previous sergeant was a wuss…”Well, you’re going to start acting like Marines now.” This is exactly what I think.

I believe I can slip, slide, and maneuver around God’s will and still be a strong Christian. I am deluding myself.

A couple of weeks ago, I allowed myself the luxury of acting like an immature grunt in my place of work. Like The Swede, I thought I could tug on Superman’s cape and prevail. I let my anger get the best of me.

Now I find myself pinned to the floor. The only thing I can do is look to God, and say,”I’ll wait outside to be taken off to the brig, now.”

However, I think like Sergeant Gunny Highway, God is telling me,”No dice. You’re going to become a mature Christian now.”

David, like me now, learned that not doing things God’s way from the start will result in humiliation. He sent Nathan the prophet to rebuke him.

Nathan tells him a story of how a rich, powerful man humbled a poor man and took a dear possession from him. The Scriptures say, “David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, ‘As surely as the LORD lives, the man who did this must die’ (II Samuel 12:5)!”

David was pretty good at acting “high and mighty” and losing his temper at injustice. Then he was told by Nathan,”YOU are the man (v. 7).”

David had stolen the wife of one of his soldiers. Not only that, he arranged to have the soldier killed in a devious manner.

To David’s credit, he didn’t have Nathan beheaded.  Instead, he didn’t shoot the messenger, and acknowledged his sin (II Samuel 12:17).

I’ve had a couple weeks to reflect on my own actions at work and I have come to the conclusion that I blew it. This is because I didn’t follow God’s Army Field Manual, the Bible.

When I end up in a fight, I end up trying to slip and slide away. I think I know more than other people and God.

Paul Simon’s lyric explains my attitude:

“God only knows
God makes his plan
The information is unavailable
To the mortal man
We work our jobs
Collect our pay
Believe we’re gliding down the highway
When in fact we’re slip slidin’ away.”

What is truly humiliating, as I explained to my former supervisor yesterday, is that I am old enough to know better.When as a middle-aged man you discover you have been acting like a boy just out of adolescence, it brings great shame.

 But Simon wrote the truth about a lof of men my age when he penned the following:

“Slip slidin’ away
Slip slidin’ away
You know the nearer your destination
The more you’re slip slidin’ away.”

The result now is that in order to maintain my place in God’s corps, I have to get up off the floor like The Swede and become a good Marine.  I will have to eat some crow.

As someone told me yesterday, crow doesn’t taste very good, but it IS nutritious. Thus, I need to make the rounds and apologize to the people I offended at my work.

There’s no guarantees things will work out in my favor. When the baby he fathered with his stolen woman got sick, he humbled himself before God, fasted and pleaded for the child’s life. The child died.

David got up, asked for some food and went on with his life. When asked how he could do this, he replied: 

 “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, ‘Who knows? The LORD may be gracious to me and let the child live.’ But now that he is dead, why should I go on fasting? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me (II Samuel 12:22,23).”

It’s would have been better if David hadn’t went slip sliding away in the first place. The same with me.

However, like David and The Swede, I need to get up off the floor, quit trying to move and shake with the Lord, and obey His field manual. Then maybe I will be a good Christian soldier.

The thought reminds me of the old hym:

  • Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
    With the cross of Jesus going on before.
    Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe;
    Forward into battle see His banners go!

    • Refrain:
      Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
      With the cross of Jesus going on before.

His cross gives me the chance to confess my sin, get up off the floor and live my life for Him again. Thank God for that.

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“Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city” (Revelation 22:14).”

Along with others on the medical team, Dr. Taub is treating a female patient who is, as usual on the medical drama “House”, exhibiting unusual symptoms.   While treating the woman, Taub learns she is in an “open marriage”, in which she and her husband sleep around.

Taub already has had an affair, but at least gives lip service to faithfulness to his wife now.  However, he is tempted by a nurse at the hospital who is obviously attracted to him.  While having dinner with his wife, Taub brings up the patient’s open marriage, causing great insecurity in his wife.  Taub never discusses patients with his wife, and she wonders why in the world this subject is coming up now.

While diagnosing the patient, Taub and colleague Dr. Hadley discuss the former’s discussion with his wife.  Hadley, a woman, tells Taub he has guts to bring up that subject with his wife and that she thinks it is good he did so. She then notes a study she has read which indicates some men have a certain disorder which causes them to be unfaithful.

Hadley tells Taub, “Maybe you’re just one of those guys.” Taub replies sarcastically, “So my cheating is biologically pretermined. That’s good.”

Hadley says, “I thought you’d be relieved. It gets you off the hook.”.  Hadley goes on to tell Taub that it’s not good for him or his wife for him to deny his predisposition.

The Bible doesn’t agree with the esteemed Dr. Hadley’s diagnosis of her colleague Taub, except that it does say humans all have a disorder. It’s called sin.  It’s our inward inclination to break God’s rules and go against His order for our lives.

There are a multitude of sins Taub is committing in this episode, including the obvious ones of lust and unfaithfulness to his wife.  There’s one other sin that has not been mentioned so far, however: Taub is a workaholic.  Instead of being home with his wife, he spends all his time at the hospital working for the renowned Dr. House.

King David of Israel had the opposite problem. He was lounging around his palace when he should have been at work, out on the battlefield  fighting wars.  Instead, his idleness led him to his roof, which led him to gaze on someone else’s wife bathing ( a soldier’s wife who was out fighting). David’s intentional staring led to sending for the man’s wife, (prerogative of kings), which led to adultery, which led to a pregnancy, which led to the murder of the husband (II Samuel 11:1-16).

Neither David nor Taub had a biological issue, except for wandering eyes.  Those eye problems came from the erring heart, which is never satisfied (Proverbs 27:20).

It didn’t help them that they were in the wrong place at the wrong time, either.  Taub for one should have been at home more, developing his fractured relationship with his wife (Proverbs 27:8).

In the scope of eternity, we had better make sure we are in the right place at the right time.  One day we either will or won’t recieve an invitation to the marriage supper of Jesus, where he will take His people to Himself forever.   James Dobson, noted pyschologist, said to his son to “be there” when the book of life is opened during this period.  If we’re smart, we will be there too (Revelation 19:9; 20:15). 

As I entered the coffee shop to write this entry today, a man behind me was building a model ship with his elementary school-aged son.  Here was a man in the right place at the right time.

My son just called and wondered when I’m coming home. He wants to play a game with me.  It’s time to clean up my own act and go home where I belong.

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