““Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!””
–Deuteronomy 30:19 (NLT)
When you’re reading a good book, it may be tempting to skip ahead and see how everything will turn out. Sadly, we can’t do this in real life, but we do know someone who knows the end from the beginning, and that takes us to the next step in our thinking. While we don’t have the chance to turn life’s pages, we do decide whether or not to follow the One who has written them.
When we go through an especially rough chapter in our lives, we may say something like, “Why is God letting this happen to me?” But, my friend, that might not be the case at all. Because of the poor choices we make when confronted by challenges, we often get ourselves into jams, and then lash out at God.
In order to see how poor choices affected one famous biblical man’s life, let’s take a look at the story of King David and his girlfriend together. I’ve taken some modern liberties to make this tale a bit more contemporary, so please read on.
King David’s men were going out to battle, but David thought he’d stay behind for a little r-and-r. One day, he was observing everything from the screened-in porch on top of his palace’s patio when he saw her. His heart did flip-flops at the sight of such a beautiful woman, so he asked around until he found out her name and cell number.
David could think of nothing and no one else, and he finally got up the nerve to call her. Inviting her out for coffee was the turning point. As David and Bathsheba talked, he was further inraptured by her beauty. Bathsheba’s husband had gone off to war with David’s men, but the king didn’t care. He and Bathsheba had a fling.
About three months later, Bathsheba wasn’t feeling well, especially in the mornings. She started developing cravings for pickles and ice cream. Needless to say, she was petrified. She drove to a store in another town where no one knew her, and she bought a pregnancy test. When she finally got up the nerve to take it, her fear became a reality. Both of them were faced with the new choices that their actions had prompted.
Upon finding out about Bathsheba’s pregnancy, David sat there for hours with his head in his hands, flipping through TV channels. “What should I do now?” he thought, pacing the floor. “I’ve got a horrible headake, and these over-the-counter pain relievers don’t do a thing for me.”
Finally he sighed. “I can’t get Bathsheba off my mind. She’s even more beautiful now than when I first saw her. I have never met anyone like her before.”
That’s when David had an idea, which led him to make many more choices in this chapter of his life. First, he brought Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah, home from the battle. The king honored Uriah with the Golden Spear award, while wining and dining him. When the evening was almost over, David summoned Uriah.
“I’ve been concerned about you, and based on the reports I’ve heard, I think you might be experiencing battle burnout. Why don’t you take some time off, go home, and relax with your wife?”
Although he was given several opportunities to do this, Uriah declined and slept on the porch. When David confronted him about this, Uriah told the king, “Your majesty, I can’t go home to a comfortable memory-foam mattress when all my buddies are sleeping out in the cold.”
David’s next choice was disastrous. In an email to his general, Joab, the king gave orders for Uriah to be placed on the front lines. Uriah was killed during the intense battle.
After allowing her some time to mourn, David sent Bathsheba a text. He asked her if she would have dinner with him at Jerusalem’s best French restaurant, and he told her that no expense would be spared. She accepted, and the waiter led the couple to an intimate booth at a corner table. I can imagine David kissing her hand and saying in his best French accent, “You only grow in beauty, my cherie. No one has to know of our love. Climb aboard my chariot, and we shall run away tonight!”
“Oh, I don’t know. I’m prepared to be a single parent.”
“But why, my love? I can give you and the child everything you could ever want or need, and no one will ever know. If you won’t do it for love’s sake, my heart will be broken beyond repair.”
“David, I still don’t know if I want to get into another relationship.”
“Well, okay,” David sighed. “If you will not do it for me alone, think of the expense of Jerusalem Daycare. The price goes up every year. My sweet,” David continued, leaning forward, “I’m sure our love will only grow over time.”
As you know, David and Bathsheba ultimately ended up having the wedding ceremony, so let’s fast-forward from here.
David’s final choice came when he was under the conviction of the Holy Spirit because of what he had done. His friend and advisor, the prophet Nathan, shot him an email that said, “Hey Dave, we’ve got to talk. Let’s have lunch at the country club–my treat.”
As he fought the conviction that only grew heavier each day, David probably told Nathan he couldn’t come to lunch at first, blaming his busy schedule. But when Nathan persisted, David sighed and sent his advisor a reply. “Okay, okay, Nate. I’ll meet you there.”
When their lunch came, Nathan said between mouthfuls, “Let me tell you a story I heard the other day, my friend. There’s a very rich man who has just moved into our kingdom, and he lives beside his poor neighbor. He loves to throw extravagant dinner parties, and his specialty is leg of lamb. But one day he was running behind schedule, and while he had plenty of sheep on hand, he decided to speed things up. He told his servant, “Go out and grab that poor man’s lamb, and prepare it.”
““But what will he eat then?” the servant asked. “That lamb is all he has.”
““Just let me worry about that,” the rich guy scoffed. “Do as you’re told.””
Unable to listen to any more, David interupted, “That’s terrible, Nate! Who would do such a thing? He must be punished!”
Nathan set down his fork and looked David in the eye. “That rich guy was you, buddy,” the prophet replied.
The point of this story is that we all go through difficult chapters in our lives, leading us to make good or bad choices. The decisions we make shape us, and they change us for either the better or worse.
You may find yourself in an impossible situation today, but know that God specializes in doing the impossible. Instead of looking at the waves around you, keep your focus on the one who controls the waves.
In another place in scripture, we can see David refocusing on God when he was overwhelmed. He did this by encouraging himself as he thought about God’s character.
When you are facing difficult circumstances, you have two possible choices. To put it simply, you can look down, or you can look up. If you spend time in God’s Word, your troubles may only seem to increase, but you will find a new strength when you realize that the battle is the Lord’s.
If you find you have drifted from God, I encourage you to make the choice that David made today and re-focus on His Word. Fill your mind with scripture verses like, “I am the Lord: is anything too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 32:27) Or, “With God, all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)
Think about a God who will never leave or forsake you, and meditate on the Bible’s promise that nothing can separate you from His love. As your heart changes and you live a life of victory, you will see that what God has prepared for you far surpasses the trials you face now,
Thank you for reading this, and may the Lord give you a wonderful week! We are trying to reach people who are hurting, so if God lays it on your heart, please consider becoming a partner with us. If you would like to make a donation, please visit www.hcmachaplains.org and click on the Donate Now link. You can also send donations by mail to HCMA (Healthcare Chaplains Ministry Association). Our ID number is 560. The address is 101 S Kraemer BLVD, Suite 123A, Placentia, CA 92870.
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