Monday, July 20, 2015

Do our lives cast a shadow on God's name?

"You are the man" - Artist unknown
"You are the man" - Artist unknown
TODAY'S SPECIAL: 2 Samuel 12:1-15a

TO CHEW ON: " … by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme…" 2 Samuel 12:14

David's outrage at the unfairness of the rich man stealing the poor man's sheep in Nathan's story, and his moralistic prescription, show how callous and blind to his own sin his heart had become.

Nathan's response to him: "You are the man!" must have felt like a plunge into cold water for David - Oh, oh! Busted!

It was during the time that David was cleaning this up and getting back into a good relationship with God that he wrote Psalm 51. It shows the depth of his regret and the extent of his repentance.

However, life events can't be undone no matter how sincere the "sorry" is. There are consequences. For David they were serious:
  • Killing and death would characterize his family (2 Samuel 12:10).
  • He would be humiliated by someone ("from your own house… your neighbour") having his way with David's own harem (2 Samuel 12:11,12.
  •  Because his actions brought disgrace on all God's followers and gave reason "to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme," the child Bathsheba had conceived with him would die (2 Samuel 12:14).

Thinking especially of the last one, these many years later it's not unusual for the sin of prominent Christians to cause God's enemies to continue that blasphemy. Just a few weeks ago another example of such a case came to light in Canada when a senator—a married family man and pastor of a church—was outed as having had an affair with a 16-year-old girl. All of Christendom gets a black eye from these cases.

However, before we get too self-righteous about this, we do well to examine our own lives for habits, reactions, and incidents that have contributed to bringing disgrace on God and His people. Things like lashing out in anger, spreading gossip, telling questionable jokes, small cheats in business or relationships are just a few examples of things that can be just as damaging to God's holy name as outright adultery (Romans 2:21-24).

If we have such things hiding in our lives, instead of waiting for a Nathan to come along and expose us, let's ask God to show us where we're kidding ourselves that everything is just fine. And then let's make it right—apologize, repay what isn't rightfully ours, clean up our mouths, end the questionable relationship—do all we can to thwart the enemy's opportunities to blaspheme because of us.

PRAYER: Dear God, please open my eyes to the sins in my own life that could cause Christians and non-Christians to disrespect You. Help me to deal with my own sins instead of judging others. Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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