Lessons from the fall of David

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And the woman conceived, and she sent and told David, ‘I am with child’…In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it by the hand of Uriah. In the letter, he wrote, ‘Set Uriah in the forefront of the hardest fighting, and then draw back from him that he may be struck down, and die.’” (2 Samuel 11:5,14-15)

In our Gospel passage today, Jesus compares the kingdom of God to a seed that a man scatters on the ground. While he goes to sleep, he does not how the seeds grow but he notices a gradual development, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain, and finally the harvest. The spiritual life is pretty much the same. The little seeds are actions that grow into habits; they can either destroy us or lift us up.

In our first reading, we encounter an idle king taking a walk along the roof of his palace. From idleness to lust, from lust to adultery, from adultery to murder. Sin progresses! Almost all the sins we commit can be traceable from one little temptation to another such as for instance, in the case of David, idleness (or boredom). As the saying goes; an idle mind is the devil’s workshop.

Perhaps if David had gone to the battleground himself as he would normally do, there would have been no occasion for this evil act. Rest is good. It is very important to rest and relax after working but while we seek out ways to rest our tired bodies, we must be on guard against temptations of the flesh.

David was taking a walk on the roof of his palace when he caught sight of a woman bathing. Unlike the three corrupt judges who hid in a garden just to watch Susanna taking her bath, David did not deliberately seek out this sight but instead of taking his gaze away immediately, he allowed himself to be tempted all the more. Jesus warned us: “Everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell.” (Matthew 5:28-29)

We live in a world where you do not have to climb any roof to see naked women. We live in a world where pornographic sites and apps are available at the click of a button. Be warned; merely looking at the nakedness of others is in itself a sin. Pornography is not harmless entertainment. As far back as the book of Genesis, we saw how Ham was cursed for looking at the nakedness of his father Noah. (Genesis 9:22-25). In Leviticus 18, Moses wrote several instructions regarding looking at the nakedness of others. In fact, in Leviticus 20:17 and following, Moses made it clear that it is a sin to look at the nakedness of one’s own brother or sister not to mention one’s parents, uncles, aunties, or other family members.

For refusing to fight the first temptation, idleness, David found himself with another temptation, pornography, and another temptation, lust for a married woman. He soon sent for her and had carnal knowledge of her. Given the power-differential between David and Bathsheba, it will not be out of place to say David forced her. If we don’t fight the small temptations, we soon find ourselves falling into big sins.

All his attempts to lure Uriah to go into his wife failed. Not even drunkenness could make him relax knowing that his colleagues were at the battleground. David made another grievous mistake, he gave Uriah an indirect death sentence. Isn’t it better to do what is right than to try to cover your tracks later on? Jesus told us that we are lights; there is nothing hidden that would not be revealed later on. (Mark 4:21-22). In all of these, David thought he was smart; little did he know that by his very actions, he had lost every iota of moral credibility and his secret deeds were known.

Keep your mind engaged and your thoughts clean always. Avoid pornography; do not seek out the nakedness of others and even if they are not properly dressed, do not look lustfully. Run. Run from sexual sin! Run from adultery. Run from fornication. “Every other sin which a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you?” (1 Corinthians 6:18-19). Above all, don’t be deceived, nothing is secret in this life.

Let us pray: Lord Jesus, may I continue to reflect your light and not be carried away by evil. Amen.

Bible Study: 2 Sam. 11:1-4,5-10,13-17, Ps. 51:3-7,10-11, Mark 4:26-34).

Fr. Abu.

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