MARCH 11 – Great sin
2Sa 24:10 And David’s heart smote him after that he had numbered the people. And David said unto the LORD, I have sinned greatly in that I have done: and now, I beseech thee, O LORD, take away the iniquity of thy servant; for I have done very foolishly.
There may be a time when we are overcome by temptation. We yield to it. Then as we reflect on what we have done or maybe a friend or enemy lets us know that we have sinned, remorse sets in and we begin to feel sorry. We know that God will bring retribution. This should bother us and cause us to seek forgiveness.
Prayer is the answer to forgiveness. We should humbly appeal to the Lord for His mercy and grace. David’s heart smote him. There are times we sin and become very callous about that sin. Even to the point that we say we would do it again. David had gone against the direct command of God. Do not count the people. O how we resist the Lord at times. We are stubborn and intractable in our relationship with the Lord.
Even worse David’s sin involved the people also. Even with repentance and forgiveness, punishment was meted to David and the people. David was offered three punishments. David knew that God was full of love and mercy. Knowing the love and mercy of God, David said, “let us fall now into the hand of the LORD; for his mercies are great: and let me not fall into the hand of man.”
David put his trust in the true mercies of God and not man. The people were punished for David’s sin. Have you ever considered how your sin might affect others. We must realize the effect our sins have on others.
May we trust in the Lord, his punishment for sin and his forgives because of his mercy.
William Andrew Dillard
Parson to Person
The alluring power of sin creates temptation. As it was in Eden, so it is today. Truly, an appeal from the devil, and the resident sin nature within to transgress in deference to the flesh is powerful. John summed it up as “. . .the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. . .” I John 2:16 Since all men are sinners; temptation is common. Much then is penned in Holy writ to warn, to guide, to provide escape, and to triumph over the power of temptation. 1 Cor 10:13 (There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.). The bottom line is that no power can negate the free moral agency of man. Thus, it is incumbent upon every individual to be proactive in guarding what is received and entertained. Paul put it like this: “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” Phil. 4:8. Control, control, control what is mentally entertained at all times!
Certainly, temptations are strong or they would not be temptations. Somehow, they seem to hit in the weakest moments; hence, the necessity of the power of Christ. Temptations may be effectively countered by identifying present blessings. Why should I fall for the slimy pits of sin when I have a spouse who loves and respects me; children who look to me for guidance and example; fellow Christians whose fellowship is priceless; a Creator God who loves me even in my unlovely state so much that He left heaven and died for my redemption and eternal well being, I am a child of the King. My Father owns the universe, and I am a sharing owner in Him, I am in a brief experiential training environment designed to prepare me to rule and to reign in this grand universe we own, and graduation time draws near. Should I throw all this away for what I cannot keep; for what will benefit me nothing?!? That is just crazy! But some have done it; others will, but I choose to not be one of them. Sin knocks at my door, but I invite Jesus to answer the knock! Oh, yes, God’s people have power over temptation! They just need to exercise it more often!
1 Corinthians 10:13
“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it,” 1 Corinthians 10:13.
The church at Corinth was saturated by a culture where sin ran rampant and all types of idolatry were present. Temptation was a very real part of the life of the new believers that lived in this unbelieving society. Paul gave them strong encouragement to keep on course for God. We are called to live lives that are pleasing to Him, even during the most challenging temptations. God has called us to rise above temptation. He has also given us the means to overcome temptation and bring glory to Him.
To do this, it all begins with knowing. Paul told us in 1 Corinthians 10:13 that temptation is “common.” We all face temptations. The greatest news is that God has provided a means for us to overcome temptation. If you are a child of God, you no longer have to be overtaken by sin. You have a way of escape. Knowing this is the first key to overcoming temptation.
Secondly, we have to act. It is one thing to know the right choice, but to act takes action. We must also understand that we cannot do this on our own. We seek God and His direction during these times of decision. With God’s direction there will always be a solution or direction that is pleasing to Him.
JUST A THOUGHT
Are you seeking God when trying to overcome temptation?
1 John 2:15-17
“And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever,” 1 John 2:17.
The United States Declaration of Independence states that “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” are our God-given, “Unalienable Rights.” I am thankful for the freedom we have in this country and for the men and women who have fought to protect them. I also really have no problem with the pursuit of happiness; I think everyone is on that journey. The question we need to answer is, What provides the most happiness? The answer to that question is found in God; that is, the utmost enjoyment to be had in life is found in the presence and pursuit of God. Unfortunately, many people are trying to satisfy their hunger for God with worldly pursuits.
In The Weight of Glory, C. S. Lewis put it like this, “It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
The world, along with its desires, is fleeting. The way to overcome the temptations of the world is to find ultimate satisfaction and pleasure in the person and will of God. Do not be satisfied with merely worldly pursuits and pleasures. The pleasures of God are eternal.
JUST A THOUGHT
Will you find ultimate satisfaction in God today?
“And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat,” Genesis 3:6.
Temptations come in many forms and every one of us has a weakness or two. What are your weaknesses? Maybe you lack strength to resist the temptations of power, wealth, possessions, food or lust; whatever our weaknesses may be, it is important to remember that temptations do not come from God (James 1:13). Maybe you are thinking, Well, of course, God does not tempt me to sin! That is not too difficult to understand. The problem, however, lies in the fact that we are led astray by our desire to play the role of God in our own lives. When we sin, we decide to take control of our lives out of God’s hands because we think we know better than He knows.
Think about Eve’s temptation for a minute. What was it that led her and Adam astray in the garden? It was the idea that, somehow, God was cheating them by forbidding them to eat from one tree in the garden. There were thousands of trees from which they could eat, but only one that was forbidden, and that was the one they wanted. They were tempted by their own pride, desiring to be in control of their own destinies.
Every temptation we face begins in the same way. We think we know better than God, and, instead of humbly trusting Him, we venture down the path governed by pride, giving in to our own desires. What do we find at the end of that path? We find disappointment, discouragement and despair. Why? It is because we make terrible gods.
“Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold,” Deuteronomy 17:17.
Long before the nation of Israel requested and received its first king, God prescribed the qualifications for the king. God told the people of Israel that once they had occupied the Promised Land and had begun to enjoy living there, they would desire a king to rule over them. God allowed for that provision, but with a few caveats. Their king must be an Israelite, he must not acquire too many horses, he must not lead the nation back to a dependence on Egypt, he must not have more than one wife and he must not become too obsessed with wealth.
At first glance, these seem to be odd qualifications, don’t they? Upon further inspection, however, we can see that the negative kingly qualities God spoke against are the same qualities that existed in every king of the surrounding nations. What did God want for the leaders of His people? He wanted them to be distinct from the world so that the light of His glory could shine more brightly.
How did David stack up against the other kings? He started humble but ultimately caved in to the temptations of power, prominence and wealth. He was still a man after God’s own heart, but imagine how much greater God’s glory would have shined had David been able to resist the temptations of lust, money and power.
JUST A THOUGHT
Will you resist the temptations of this world so that God’s glory can shine through you today?