Guard your heart
Published 6:00 pm Friday, July 22, 2022
“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. So David sent and inquired about the woman.” — 2 Samuel 11:2-3a (NKJV)
Then, (because David remained at Jerusalem) it happened. The greatest warrior king that Israel would ever know, was tempted by the sight of a beautiful woman, and sin began to multiply in his heart.
The fact that David even saw Bathsheba from a distance (a soldier’s house would not have been in close proximity to the king’s palace) suggests to me that he was looking for just such an opportunity; bored with his absence from the action and adrenaline of battle, he found Bathsheba, and sin was already stirring in his heart.
When we are not where we are supposed to be, engaged in our proper actions, we are more susceptible to temptation than usual. Rev. Bill Poole, a dear friend of mine, often told me to “guard your heart” when we spoke of some trying circumstance. By being out of place, king David was not guarding his heart against temptation, and he was defeated it seems, without a struggle. A warrior who had never been defeated in battle, lies vanquished at the feet of temptation without the slightest notion of his defeat. Even though he has not yet “known” Bathsheba, the intent of his heart is clear; David has already sinned, and as sin always does, it grew rapidly and overwhelmed his judgment.
Much has been said about Bathsheba’s responsibility in David’s temptation; her actions here are absolutely immaterial, she was in her place but David was the one who had abandoned his post. Had he gone to battle as was the normal behavior of kings, he would not have been on his roof looking about, he never would have seen Bathsheba, and history would be much different for King David.
Another lesson for men from this passage is that we, men and women, must guard our hearts against even the most innocent of temptations, for they can quickly overwhelm us in sin. Solomon wrote about the “little foxes that destroy the vineyard” (Song of Solomon 2:15). It is the little temptations that, when given in to, allow sin to destroy our lives.
Guard your heart, always, guard your heart!
Rev. Bobby Thornhill is a retired Methodist preacher.