Everyone knows the story of David and Goliath. David confronted this giant of a man in the name of the Lord and with his shepherd’s sling and one stone he was able to topple Goliath as he challenged Israel. But there was another giant that David met later in life that killed two of his children, introduced violence into the generations that followed, took his wives from him, and it drove him from his throne in Jerusalem! Read about this giant with me:
2 Sam 11
1 … at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants … but David remained at Jerusalem.
2 Then it happened one evening that David arose from his bed and walked on the roof of the king's house. And from the roof he saw a woman bathing, and the woman was very beautiful to behold.
3 So David sent and inquired about the woman. And someone said, "Is this not Bathsheba … the wife of Uriah the Hittite?"
4 Then David sent messengers, and took her; and she came to him, and he lay with her … and she returned to her house.
5 And the woman conceived; so she sent and told David, and said, "I am with child."
Giants are not always tall, rugged men of battle. Some of the greatest giants are those who war within us and struggle to conquer our soul. There are giants of greed; giants of lust; giants of control, and more. Know this, when the “giant” wins there is always devastation! The recent story of Ted Haggard, the pastor of New Life Community Church in Colorado Springs, is a reminder to us all that giants still exists!
In the 1980’s, another minister by the name of Gordon MacDonald found himself involved in adultery. After a lengthy time of repentance and restoration he is now involved in teaching others how to overcome their giants. In an article written about the moral failure of Ted Haggard, Gordon MacDonald wrote …
I am no stranger to failure and public humiliation. From those terrible moments of twenty years ago in my own life I have come to believe that there is a deeper person in many of us who is not unlike an assassin.
Wallace Hamilton once wrote, “Within each of us there is a herd of wild horses all wanting to run loose.”
(Some) seem to have been (searching) —addictively? —for more thrills or trying to meet deeper personal needs, and the normal ways that satisfy … became inadequate for them.
When I see a (person) who becomes stubborn and rigid, who becomes increasingly less compassionate toward his adversaries, increasingly tyrannical in his own (family), who rouses anger and arrogance in others, I wonder if he is not generating all of this heat because he is trying so hard to say “no” to something surging deep within his own soul.
So when we pray for our brother, Ted Haggard, we pray not out of pity or self-righteousness but with a humble spirit because we stand with him on level ground before the cross.
It’s not difficult to see the high price that men in leadership have paid for their transgressions. Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart, President Bill Clinton, Gordon MacDonald, and Ted Haggard were all humiliated publicly, lost the respect of their peers, and their families were traumatized. We too should count the cost of letting the wild horses loose which stampede across the recesses of our imagination? The result is sin.
The first response from those who have loosed the wild horses is to cover their sin. They blatantly lie. The words “I have never … “ sounds rather hollow when the confession finally comes … “I have sinned.” But if the lie isn’t sufficient … some find other ways to cover their sin. King David attempted to hide his sin by killing an innocent man.
2 Sam 11
6 Then David sent to Joab, saying, "Send me Uriah the Hittite."
14 … David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it by the hand of Uriah.
15 … saying, "Set Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retreat from him, that he may be struck down and die."
Poor Uriah, a friend of David who was listed among his Mighty Men, faithful to David and to his own wife, he was a real man of integrity. But he was forfeited in David and Bathsheba’s passion. Uriah was murdered by the hand of his king.
But along with the loss of integrity, the loss of the life of a friend, David also throws away the respect of his closest men in leadership.
2 Sam 11
25 Then David said to the messenger, "Thus you shall say to Joab: 'Do not let this thing displease you, for the sword devours one as well as another. Strengthen your attack against the city, and overthrow it.' So encourage him."
Respect is one of the highest qualities that most men desire from those they work with, live with, and care deeply about, but David casually threw his desire for respect out the window. Joab’s disrespect for David showed up as a spirit of rebellion on more than one occasion and in David’s later life … Joab was rebelled against him as his king.
Who among us is willing to throw away our own integrity, the value of a loyal friend, or the respect of our family and friends? May the Lord remind us of these as the wild horses in our mind demand a time for running loose in life. But this was only the beginning for David.
2 Sam 11
27 … But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD.
Is there ever any question in our minds that sin displeases the Lord? No. I think we understand that, but somehow we see God as being gracious to forgive and we forget that even when we are forgiven that there are consequences to our sin which may never be resolved. With David and Bathsheba there was a baby which could not be denied. Plus there was the death of Uriah which could never be undone.
God sent the prophet Nathan to David to confront him about his sin and tell him of the consequences:
2 Sam 12:7-15
7 Then Nathan said to David , "You are the man!
The Bathsheba’s baby died
David’s son Absalom rebelled
David fled from Jerusalem
Absalom took 10 of David’s wives
Absalom was killed in battle
Solomon has 700 wives
And 300 concubines
David’s grandchildren were violent men
The result of David’s sin was felt for generations after him.
Could it have been different? Yes. Can the wild horses of our mind be tamed? It would have been different for David if he had followed his own writings!
17 Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice.
Maintaining a consistent devotional life is a first requirement if we are to overcome the wild horses. God knows your weaknesses! Talk to Him about them and He will give you wisdom and strength to overcome. Stay in fellowship with him! Stay in church!
A living devotional life helps maintain a watch over your mind and over your eyes. If David had been praying instead of looking over the wall … things would have been different! But it’s more than prayer! It’s living in the presence of Jesus. It’s taking Jesus with you wherever you go. It’s talking to Him and listening for His reply. It’s about obeying what He tells you to do. It’s praying … “Lord, thy kingdom come in my life!”
We need Jesus … and we need some flesh and blood people to help us.
9 Ointment and perfume delight the heart, and the sweetness of a man's friend gives delight by hearty counsel.
17 As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.
Make it your goal to develop a couple of close Christian friends. A close friend is someone who has Christian values like yours and you are able to share your heart with him. It is someone of the same gender as you! A close friend is some who knows you well enough to “read you” when things are wrong. And he is close enough to you to hold you accountable. Friendships are a vital connection to integrity! It can be dangerous to have intimate friends who are not Christians … or worse … to ignore the need for intimate friendship!
It isn’t enough for your spouse to be your only friend! If you are in difficulty you tend to shut out your spouse … control the relationship … and ignore their counsel. To walk strong through life we need spiritual and emotional strength which can only come from someone of our same gender. Make a commitment to make a friend or two that you can let see inside of your heart!
Have a continuing devotional life … develop deep friendships … and don’t ever quit!
2 Tim 1:12
For I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.
One of the easiest … and most costly … things you can do when you are into a difficult period in life is to quit. Don’t quit! You have made a commitment to yourself to succeed in life! You have made a commitment to your family to bless them! You have made a commitment to God to walk with Him! Don’t quit!
There is more of life to come in your tomorrows. What looks like disaster now will ultimate be the story of your glory! What seems to be a snare laid by Satan is actually a stepping stone to your success. Find the place of victory. Be an overcomer.
Have a continuing devotional life … develop deep friendships … don’t ever quit … and learn to forgive!
4 And if (someone) sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, 'I repent,' you shall forgive him."
We have all been damaged in some way. The path of healing is forgiveness! But the one most in need of our forgiveness is for us to forgive ourselves when we fail. Overcoming the wild horses demands the act of forgiving yourself for the faults you see within you. We hinder the healing of Christ when we don’t forgive ourselves! Forgive!
Overcome hidden sin with a continuing devotional life, by develop deep friendships, by a commitment to never quit, and by learning to forgive! God will help all along the way!