Dealing with Appetites
Merciful Lord, may Your Spirit be active in me today so that my life is useful and pleasing to You.
Read 2 SAMUEL 11:1-27
 In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem.  One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful,  and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, “Isn’t this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite?”  Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (She had purified herself from her uncleanness.) Then she went back home.  The woman conceived and sent word to David, saying, “I am pregnant.”  So David sent this word to Joab: “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” And Joab sent him to David.  When Uriah came to him, David asked him how Joab was, how the soldiers were and how the war was going.  Then David said to Uriah, “Go down to your house and wash your feet.” So Uriah left the palace, and a gift from the king was sent after him.  But Uriah slept at the entrance to the palace with all his master’s servants and did not go down to his house.  When David was told, “Uriah did not go home,” he asked him, “Haven’t you just come from a distance? Why didn’t you go home?”  Uriah said to David, “The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in tents, and my master Joab and my lord’s men are camped in the open fields. How could I go to my house to eat and drink and lie with my wife? As surely as you live, I will not do such a thing!”  Then David said to him, “Stay here one more day, and tomorrow I will send you back.” So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day and the next.  At David’s invitation, he ate and drank with him, and David made him drunk. But in the evening Uriah went out to sleep on his mat among his master’s servants; he did not go home.  In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah.  In it he wrote, “Put Uriah in the front line where the fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so he will be struck down and die.”  So while Joab had the city under siege, he put Uriah at a place where he knew the strongest defenders were.  When the men of the city came out and fought against Joab, some of the men in David’s army fell; moreover, Uriah the Hittite died.  Joab sent David a full account of the battle.  He instructed the messenger: “When you have finished giving the king this account of the battle,  the king’s anger may flare up, and he may ask you, ‘Why did you get so close to the city to fight? Didn’t you know they would shoot arrows from the wall?  Who killed Abimelech son of Jerub-Besheth? Didn’t a woman throw an upper millstone on him from the wall, so that he died in Thebez? Why did you get so close to the wall?’ If he asks you this, then say to him, ‘Also, your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead.'”  The messenger set out, and when he arrived he told David everything Joab had sent him to say.  The messenger said to David, “The men overpowered us and came out against us in the open, but we drove them back to the entrance to the city gate.  Then the archers shot arrows at your servants from the wall, and some of the king’s men died. Moreover, your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead.”  David told the messenger, “Say this to Joab: ‘Don’t let this upset you; the sword devours one as well as another. Press the attack against the city and destroy it.’ Say this to encourage Joab.”  When Uriah’s wife heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for him.  After the time of mourning was over, David had her brought to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing David had done displeased the LORD. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectHow might David have avoided this great sin (3, 4)?
How are the mighty fallen indeed. Yes, even the shepherd boy, the warrior, the psalmist, the king. This man has everything: strength, presence, divine favor and power. Yet there’s no evidence of the dependence on God we’re used to seeing in David’s life. The Lord had stated that kings were to have one wife (Deut. 17:17), yet David acquired both wives and concubines (2:2; 3:3-5; 5:13). Eventually satisfying this appetite involves taking a deployed soldier’s wife, telling lies, committing murder. This is David, who got so many things right, but these attitudes and choices shaped his family life and the latter years of his rule. What went wrong? Did life become so comfortable for David that he ignored his weaknesses? Did he not consider the implications of his behavior?
We could ask ourselves about our own appetites for love, intimacy and sex, food and drink, for approval and power, appetites which demand satisfaction. How do we handle them? Do we repress them, hoping they will go away, or indulge them guiltily and secretly? Do we admit our need and surrender our weakness to God? David indulged his appetites; a choice that cost him dearly.
Assess your appetites. How do you handle them? What might you need to surrender to God?
Lord, in Your kindness and mercy, keep me ever aware of my appetites and the dangers they pose.
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.