Temptation: The Issue is Never the Issue

Two spicy stories in the life of King David can help you and your adolescent communicate better and navigate the turbulent waters of today’s temptations. One has to do with sex, the other with murder.

Your job as a parent is to help your son or daughter become an independent thinker. And in the fast world of technology, stopping to reflect on life and the deeper aspects of it is an uncommon thing. We’re really into the ‘play’ and the ‘stop’ buttons, but rarely ‘pause.’

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Insight from David’s life can make a lasting impression for our kids. He blew through several stop signs on one occasion, without pausing and reflecting, while in the other story, he reflected and consequently did the right thing. Two stories. Huge implications. Extreme results.

Story #1:  II Samuel 11:1-5 (David & Bathsheba)

If you skim this story you’ll likely think it has to do with sex. But it’s not until you stop and study it, dissect it and reflect that you’ll come to realize just how deep the human heart is.

  • Kings go to war in the springtime.
  • This spring, David didn’t go, but instead remained in Jerusalem.
  • David’s identity was closely linked to his military power.
  • He was restless, couldn’t sleep, got up from his bed, and paced the roof of the palace.
  • The palace was full of wives and concubines- lots of legitimate sexual options for a king at that time in history.
  • But instead, he gazed beyond the palace and saw a beautiful woman bathing. Her name was Bathsheba.
  • He then inquired about her and found out that she was married and that she was somebody’s daughter.
  • Nevertheless, he sent for her and had sex with her.

Don’t miss the tension of the story. Real kings go off and fight during the springtime. David’s male identity was under fire. And the surface issue became a sinful attempt to touch a core issue in his life. God was there for him. God was available. God was willing. Why did he miss the connection? Why do we? We miss the ‘pause’ button.

Story #2:  I Samuel 24:1-12 (David & Saul)

If you skim this story you’ll probably think it’s about murder. But that’s only the surface issue. On this occasion, David used the ‘pause’ button. But look at what was going on:

  • As a young man, David killed Goliath. But instead of King Saul honoring David, Saul became jealous
  • This jealousy caused King Saul to hunt David for 14 years. He chased him and kept David on the run for what must have seemed like ‘forever.’ To kill him.
  • And then the event happens. Saul enters the very cave where David and his warriors are hiding. Saul takes off his robe, puts it on the ground and steps away to pee.
  • David’s men urge him to kill Saul. They even quote something that God had told David. They say, ‘here he is. God provided this chance.’
  • David sneaks forward, cuts a corner piece off Saul’s robe, then pauses. Even feels guilty about cutting the robe.
  • David reflects and remembers. “God is God and I’m not.” It’s God’s job to take the life of an anointed king, not mine.

Pause button! David used it. And it became one of the defining moments of his life, where trusting God and trusting God’s timing ultimately propelled him to the throne as king. Imagine if David had been able to do the same thing when he was restless that one night, from not going to war, when he forcibly took Bathsheba.

The ‘pause’ button is a very powerful button. It links our surface temptations to the root energy behind them. And once we see the core issue, we can better gain control over surface issues.

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