Friday, March 30, 2012

Out of Bounds

"But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord."  2 Samuel 11:27  (KJV)

When I was attending Bible College, I would drive the 180 mile trip home on the weekends to be with Mom and Dad.  The trip included a very long stretch of travel across Alligator Alley.  It earned its name.  While driving, it wasn't unusual to look over and see an alligator sunning itself on a log in the canal that ran alongside the road.  

It used to give me the creeps.  I would often think how horrible it would be to run off the road and end up in their terrain.  It was rightfully theirs.  They were on their own turf.  For me to enter and be in their space, would be a complete intrusion, and the result of whatever happened surely wouldn't be their fault.  It would be mine....should I end up there.

As long as I stayed on the road, I was safe.  I could view them from a distance, and I could drive in peace, knowing they were where they were supposed to be, and I was, too.  

At times, I could see the alligators.  I knew some of them were there.  Others were lurking...under the water...on hidden logs....camouflaged on the bank and hard to spot.  But, even though I couldn't see all of them, I knew they were there.  To pretend they weren' override the step into that water...would have been completely foolish and asking for trouble.

There are boundaries in nature that should never be crossed...such as the fence on Alligator Alley keeping the alligators away from humans.

There are also boundaries in life that should never be passed over.  There is a rightful place for each of us, and to step out of go beyond to step out of bounds and place ourselves in harm's way.....on the devil's turf and tramping ground.  Whatever happens after that....well, it is just too big of a chance to take.

God has placed the boundaries not to restrict our lives and trap us in, but to keep damaging influences out.  Boundaries provide an umbrella of protection.  They keep us safe.  

Unfortunately, we can't always see the danger spots.  We've all been warned to flee stay off it's turf.  Because even though some of it is out in the open and easy to identify, what about the hidden land mines and the ones lurking under the surface that are harder to spot?  

Isn't it just best to stay inside the boundary lines?  

Wouldn't it be wise to play it safe?  To not drift across the fence?  

The grass always looks greener...until you're standing in it....looking back over the what you used to have and where you used to be and who you used to be with.

Then it doesn't look so green anymore.

If we never cross the fence, we won't have to worry about the jeopardy of being on forbidden territory or the consequences that will ultimately ensue.

David found out the hard way that it just wasn't worth it.

It all started with him looking "over the fence" at something.....or rather someone, he shouldn't have.  

Bathsheba wasn't his.  She was another.  

It didn't stop him.  He gazed over the temptation.....past his boundaries....for too long.  

She was so beautiful.  His better judgment left him.  He must have her...for his own.

Soon, the fence was no longer important.  It became an obstacle that was keeping him from what he wanted.  So, he crossed over it.  He silenced his conscience, and he stepped out of bounds...way out of bounds.

Before he knew it, he had committed adultery, found out she was expecting his child, then called her husband, Uriah, home from a fierce battle to give him time with her to make it look like the child was his.  

David's carefully-laid plan backfired when Uriah refused to go home to Bathsheba overnight.  Uriah was a noble, loyal, good man.  He felt guilty even considering enjoyment, knowing his men were in the heat of the battle.  So, he slept away from home that uncomfortable surroundings, just like his men were doing on the battlefield.

Now what???

It would soon be found out that Bathsheba was expecting a child.

It would soon be found out that she had not been with her husband.

Then how would David look?  

He was the King of Israel.  He had a reputation to maintain.  His sin must never be found out.

David, what were you thinking??

His next move never ceases to shock me.  

Time was of the essence.  He had to move quickly.  He sent word to the battlefield to strategically place Uriah on the front a position that would guarantee certain death.  Sure enough, Uriah, being the loyal soldier he was, faithfully obeyed David's orders.  
And he lost his life.  

Ah!  Now, David would never have to look into his faithful servant's eyes and feel the guilt over what he had done behind his back.  

But, the cost?  Was it worth it, David?  Was she worth it?

Now that Uriah was out of the picture and after Bathsheba had completed her mourning, David married her.  Soon, her pregnancy was apparent.  But, no one was the wiser.  No one knew when the conception had taken place.

Except the One Who has an all-seeing eye.

In due time, the baby was born.

And as God would have it, He revealed David's deeds to the prophet, Nathan.  He came to pay David a visit and confronted him with the truth.  As was David's usual reaction, he humbled himself and came clean.  How could he hide?  For a whole year, he had lived with the heaviness of guilt and remorse and tried to keep it secret.  I think I detect a sense of relief in 2 Samuel 12 during his and Nathan's conversation...just to know that his sins were finally out in the open.  

God always sees....everything we do.  We can hide nothing from Him.

David's punishment?  Nathan told him what it would be, and sure enough, it happened.

The became gravely ill.  David's heart was broken....severely.  He spent all night face down on the earth praying and pleading to God to spare his baby's life.  For six, long, agonizing days, the child hung in the balance...between life and death.  

On the seventh day, the baby died.

I'm glad God is forgiving.  I'm glad He is merciful.  That even when we fail and fall short, He still loves us.  

He forgave David, but He did not take away the consequences of his actions.

He will forgive us, but sadly, the repercussions still remain.  The regret still torments.  The remorse still stings.

As I trace the path of David's disobedience, it amazes me how one sin just seemed to call for another.  

An adulterous, hidden, secret affair.  
An unwanted and completely unplanned pregnancy.  
Lies and living a lie.  
A wickedly plotted conspiracy.  
Cover-up and deceit for one full year.
Would he have ever dreamed he would go so far?  
The day he was on his roof?  
When he spotted Bathsheba taking a bath on hers?  
Could he have even comprehended the horrific lengths he would go to in order to make her his own?  

In Psalm 51, we read the prayer David prayed after it was all over.  After the dust had settled, the lust had been satisfied, the consequences had been dealt and carried out....he was a sorry, sad, penitent man.  

Giving in to temptation always ends up hurting us in the end.

Isn't it best just to walk away from it?  To turn and run in the opposite direction?  To stay off it's turf?  To not take chances of being bit?

At the end of the day, all things considered, no matter how tempting it looks, I think it is better to do the right the first place, don't you?  

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