In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, [King] David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army . . . But David remained in Jerusalem.
2 Samuel 11:1
In 2010, a report from the British Psychological Society came forward with a curious finding of human behavior. The finding revealed two things. On the one hand, researchers had discovered that people are better off when they avoid idleness. On the other hand, researchers had also discovered that a majority of people will gravitate towards idleness when given the means and opportunity to do so.
This should not surprise us. Our fallen, sinful natures have been pursuing self-destructive habits for a long, long time.
Which brings us to the worst episode in the life of Israel’s most famous king―King David. You can read the entire sorry mess in 2 Samuel chapter 11. David has an affair with a married woman. She becomes pregnant with his baby. To cover it up, David arranges for her husband to be killed in battle, after which David quickly marries his widow. Adultery. Murder. Cover-up. David’s dark behaviors tumble out one after another.
But God’s Word also records how it all started. It started when David chose to remain idle. Instead of devoting his time to leading his army, David decided to let someone else do the work so he could stay home. And it was in this moment, when David had too much time and too little to do―David’s eyes began to wander.
There’s a fierce warning here. Thanks to the overwhelming conveniences of twenty-first-century life, the temptation is greater than ever to be idle as David was when he chose to stay home. And when that happens, the door is wide open for our minds to wander into some very bad places.
But that’s why Jesus came. He came for David and for us. On our behalf, Jesus devoted every moment of his time to his heavenly Father. In our place, he suffered and died for all we’ve wasted. As a result, not only do we stand forgiven through faith in him but his Spirit now empowers us to engage our time to his glory. Idleness rules no more. Jesus has taken its place.
Forgive my idleness, Lord Jesus. Wash me clean. Restore my zeal to live every moment for you. Amen.
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