“It happened in the spring of the year, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the people of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem” (2 Samuel 11:1).
Herein began the dissolving of godly order: David started to send others out to battle while he stayed home. It was as if he figured he had fought long enough; he had won enough victories. Perhaps he just wanted to stop and smell the roses for a while.
I can certainly identify with what David must have been feeling. I have had moments in my life when I wondered, “God, how long do I have to carry this weight? I have been fighting for so long. Can’t I simply enjoy things for a season?”
This is a common struggle among God’s people, particularly here in America. I cannot help but think about how we have largely vacated the prayer meeting and the personal work of God — personal holiness; personal evangelism. We gave our ten or twenty dollars a month to support the few missionary families that we sent out, and that became our contribution to the work of God. Meanwhile, we stopped going to the prayer meeting. We chose an easier way, saying, “God, You have blessed us and won marvelous victories for us. Your name is still being honored; some voices are still speaking for You, so I think I am going to stay home. I am just going to rest for a bit because I have worked hard all day. Why do I need to go out and pray?” We assumed that somebody somewhere else would carry the battle forward. Yet, once we left the prayer meeting, our diminishing began.
The Bible goes on to tell us what happened after David chose to stay home instead of going out to battle. “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 (or today might I say, “And from the Internet”) he saw a woman bathing, and the woman was very beautiful to behold” (2 Samuel 11:2).
David eventually ended up succumbing to lust and self-indulgence — another picture of what is happening in our day.
Carter Conlon joined the pastoral staff of Times Square Church in 1994 at the invitation of the founding pastor, David Wilkerson, and was appointed Senior Pastor in 2001.