When Kings (Should) Go Off to War

Genesis 3:5Greetings

It has been waaaaaaaay too long since Michelle, Augie, and I have been here at the Antrim Church of Christ…and as I typed up my sermon notes I knew I could confidently say how great it is to see you all. We may live 2,000 miles away for now, but you are still our family and always will be. How is it that Paul said it? “For though absent in body, I am present in spirit” (1 Corinthians 5:3, in part).

Of course, let’s just hope I never have to continue with the rest of that verse and say “and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing.” 🙂

You will forever be a part of us, and if the Lord does not bring us back in Antrim again, we’ll make sure we put in for the same neighborhood in heaven. Well, we’ll do that even if God does return us here more permanently. 🙂

King David

Although I suspect I could spend a full sermon’s time talking about how much we miss you…that’s not what we are here for, is it? Instead it is to hear the Word of God from the Word of God…so let’s dive right in by turning to to 2 Samuel 11:1:

In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel. And they ravaged the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem.

That’s a curious verse, isn’t it?

Being spring…it is apropos to base a sermon on…but that’s not what is curious about it.

How many here think the “In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle…but David remained at Jerusalem” indicates David was doing something wrong? [Estimate count of hands.]

Well, then you ____ agree with John MacArthur:

Staying home in such situations was not David’s usual practice (5:2; 8:1—14; 10:17; but cf. 18:3; 21:17); this explicit remark implies criticism of David for remaining behind, as well as setting the stage for his devastating iniquity.1

Now, how many of you instead think the “In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle…but David remained at Jerusalem” is just a statement of fact…nothing positive or negative meant? [Estimate count of hands.]

Well, then you ____ agree with the Faithlife Study Bble:

This is probably not intended to be a disparaging remark toward David; in 10:7, he takes the same course of action (see also 3:22). The death of such a powerful figure in battle would likely spell defeat for the nation; David stays behind for his safety and the welfare of his kingdom (see 18:1—4; 21:15—17, especially 18:15 and note).2

Although I am an “assume the best” kind of guy, I have to admit I’m with MacArthur. Especially since what follows is one of David’s greatest failures…it really seems to be saying…

“In spring, when David should have been out valiantly leading his army, he instead was dilly-dallying back in Jerusalem.”

Let’s go back where we left off and read four more verses:

2 It happened, late one afternoon, when David arose from his couch and was walking on the roof of the king’s house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful. 3 And David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, “Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” 4 So David sent messengers and took her, and she came to him, and he lay with her. (Now she had been purifying herself from her uncleanness.) Then she returned to her house. 5 And the woman conceived, and she sent and told David, “I am pregnant” (2 Samuel 11:2—5).

So here we have king who God said was “a man after [His] heart” (see Acts 13:22, 1 Samuel 13:14) take another man’s wife and commit adultery.

And, of course, it doesn’t stop there…because Bathsheba got pregnant and her husband couldn’t be tricked into having sex with her (out of solidarity with those in the field of battle)…David had him killed in a cowardly, secretive way.

How does a man after God’s heart fall into such deep, dark sin?

The same way we humans have from the beginning. Continue reading When Kings (Should) Go Off to War

Episode 2 – Who Is Your “Midnight Man?”

Shayne LeightonWelcome

Welcome to the second episode of Traditores Higher Frequency. Here is hoping the previous week has gone well for you…

And that you are ready to dive into Scripture to take a look at this week’s topic, temptation.

But, before we do that I’d like to introduce you to someone you’ll hear now-and-then on these broadcasts. Sitting beside me is…

[ Let Augie introduce himself and banter a bit. ]

[ Ask Augie if he has ever been tempted to do something wrong…what he should do if he is tempted…etcetera. ]

Sin Is Crouching at Your Door

It’s not just young boys who are beset with temptations. For instance, the inspiration for this episode is a song by Shayne Leighton called “Midnight Man.” Its lyrics are about a woman who repeatedly has intimate relations with a male friend. One who coaxes her into falling for sexual temptation by assuring her, “It’s okay, it’ll be alright. It’s not forever, it’s only tonight.” She then repeats that mantra to herself…that it is “not forever, it’s just one night, just one night.”

Of course, “you’ll get yours, I’ll get mine” (also from the song) happens more than just one night. It’s not safe to open the door to sin even a single time. The Book of James has some strong advice about this. Let’s turn to James 1:14-15 and read it together:

14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

Now, Shayne Leighton’s musical character was “lured and enticed by [her] own desire” and was looking for an excuse to go ahead and hop into bed with her smooth tongued friend. Her desire conceived and gave birth to sin…a sin that clearly grew…and…without God’s intervention…fully grown would bring death.

The Bible starts of with two perfect examples of how temptation grows into sin. The first is the one that got us into this mess to begin with, where Eve’s “Midnight Man” was a serpent and the temptation wasn’t sex, but a forbidden apple. Continue reading Episode 2 – Who Is Your “Midnight Man?”

Missing the Bus


Today's sermon is going to be brief and a bit short on scriptural references. That's because I think the testimony it includes from a friend of mine is so powerful it's best to let it almost entirely stand on its own.

First, about my friend. I can't say he and I were close…but he was more than just an acquaintance. We worked together at CVS/Pharmacy in West Lebanon, New Hampshire…and if you have ever have had a similar experience…you'll know that you develop a type of bond with anyone you've regularly worked at 3:00 in the morning with…especially if you, he, and another person always shared an "on the edge of freezing" two liter Mountain Dew when you really should have been sleeping.

Don't worry…we used separate cups. 🙂

His name is Mike (as was the name of my other 3AM compadre)…and he was close enough to my wife and me to help Michelle out when I left two months ahead of her for a job in Atlanta with ProTix (working on the Olympics). Michelle was pregnant with Mikey…hard to believe such a grown man ever was just an embryo, eh?

Michelle was pregnant with Mikey…and we had two Siamese cats, Simon and Garfunkle. Pregnant women aren't supposed to get near kitty litter, so Mike came over to our apartment in West Lebanon and changed it as needed.

No, he wasn't a very close friend…but as I said…he was a good friend…as shown by that repeated act of kindness.

Continue reading Missing the Bus

We Are Comfortable in Our Misery

Why? Why? Why?

Abuse in relationships…

We’ve all heard the horror stories of a woman whose husband abuses her physically and emotionally…yet she never leaves. No matter how many times she has to wear glasses to hide a black eye…no matter how many excuses she has to make for a bruise or a break…

She stays with her tormentor.

Even worse, sometimes when the police finally get enough evidence to intervene, the woman actually physically defends the man who has been assaulting her.

As a quick, but important caveat, in no way is this meant to blame the victim

Continue reading We Are Comfortable in Our Misery

What You Need

Battle of the Bands

This week I had a singer named Aloe Blacc playing on my iPod…probably because Augie really likes one of his songs and asked for it earlier. The title is "I Need a Dollar"…but Augie refers to it as the "Hey Hey Song" since he likes doing that phrase in the song with me:

I need a Dollar
A dollar is what I need
Hey, Hey

I like that song quite a bit myself, especially when Augie is accompanying it. 🙂

But that wasn't the tune that inspired this sermon, instead it is one named "Miss Fortune," where Miss Fortune's dad is discussing her with a suitor…and admitting he has messed her up by spoiling her just as he did her mom. This line in the song jumped out at me:

But the problem with having everything you want
Is you never really know what you need1

[ Repeat a second time ]

Now, I'd played that song before…but I have a habit of really only listening to the music…not the words…although I'll often pay some attention to the chorus. I'm glad this time I was actually aware of what he was singing…there seemed a lot of wisdom in such a simple statement (and in the tune itself…where the suitor doesn't listen to his soon-to-be father-in-law and sure enough, daughter turns out like mother).

Continue reading What You Need

Finishing the Race

Men racing(Written 11/11/2010) As I mentioned in a previous article, I am in the midst of a nine week “Couch Potato to 5K” (C25K) program. Today was week 5 day 3–the first session comprised entirely of jogging (outside the five minute warm-up and cool-down walking periods). Twenty minutes may seem humorously minuscule to an accomplished jogger, but I knew that it was going to be difficult, partially because I am still so out of shape, but also because the genes my parents bequeathed me include flat feet, and my knees receive a tremendous amount of abuse.

From previous torture sessions I discovered that although my exhaustion increases, the physical pain actually decreases after the first jogging interval. So, this morning I tested a theory and jogged for sixty seconds before the five minute warm-up…and sure enough the discomfort was reduced.

I am not alone, when faced with a task, in figuring out ways to work around the most difficult aspects. When failure isn’t an option (for whatever reason), humans can be quite creative. It may just be that my ego was in control, but I was going to do whatever I could to make sure I didn’t bail-out of today’s run! Continue reading Finishing the Race