Week of Monday, June 6 -June 12
Below the Surface – Man as Defender

“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. 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…. So David sent messengers and took her, and she came to him, and he lay with her… When the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she lamented over her husband. And when the mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord.” -- 2 Samuel 11:1-4a, 26-27 ESV
My sons and I enjoy fishing in Alaska every summer. One of the many fascinating things about Alaska are the glaciers that calve icebergs into the ocean. Some are quite impressive above the surface, but roughly 7/8ths of an average iceberg is below the surface and not immediately visible.[1] That fact gave rise to the phrase: “tip of the iceberg.” In the same way, our character below the surface is more important than that small part of our lives that everyone can see.
 As we read 2 Samuel 11, we begin to see some major flaws in David. The “tip of the iceberg” was his idleness. We find him “chillin” on his rooftop couch past noon when most kings were driving their chariots into the heat of battle (v 1). In days past, that’s where you would have found King David, on the front lines, leading the armies of Israel. However, while his committed and courageous men fought against the enemy, David was shirking his leadership responsibilities to take a “vacay.” But in all seriousness, idle hands are the devil’s workshop, and in this case, it led to David’s ruin. His relaxation turned into temptation as he laid eyes on another man’s wife.
 Below the surface, David wrestled with a giant even mightier than Goliath named “Lust.” The fact that David already had seven wives by this point is a major clue he had a problem. So, when he gave in to his desire by taking another man’s wife and sleeping with the beautiful Bathsheba, David, the giant slayer, was bested in this battle. Indeed, his selfish, sensual impulse ultimately propelled him to commit a series of egregious sins, each with horrible consequences, bringing death to an honorable man and innocent child, but above all, the displeasure of Holy God (v 27).
 The lessons here are too numerous to list, but the first one has to do with our role as Defenders guarding against too much idle time. David was in bed when he should have been in battle! Maybe David selfishly thought, “I’ve busted my tail for years, and it’s time to kick back and let the army go out and fight this battle.” Satan is subtle and sinister. When David shifted into neutral, the devil shifted into gear. You can be sure he is working under the surface, intent on bringing disaster into your life (1 Peter 5:8). He's simply looking for the opportunity. So as Paul put it, don’t give the devil a foothold, a beachhead, to invade and take your heart (see Eph. 4:27). If we stay busy doing what God has called us to do, Satan won’t have as much of an opportunity.
 Another obvious lesson has to do with our role as Defenders in guarding our hearts and minds. Notice David had a roaming eye. He looked down from the roof of his palace and caught a glimpse of a bathing beauty. It’s one thing to look and appreciate. It is another to look and lust. Lust kindled a fire in David’s heart; he stoked it and was ultimately consumed by it. Guys, take Job’s advice: “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look with lust at a young woman.” (Job 31:1 NLT). Keep your eyes from anything that might allow Satan to start a fire in your heart.
 Remember, when you see a man caught in sexual sin, suffering the sad loss of his family and reputation, know that you are only seeing the tip of the iceberg. Beneath the surface of his life, there was a mass of bad decisions and immoral choices that no doubt began in that man’s mind and heart. Be warned by David’s failure and take action. Allow your wife to hold you accountable for your media consumption. Ask a Battle Buddy to pepper you with questions about porn. Accountability is essential to successfully defending against temptation. Above all, work on your life “beneath the surface.” Fill your mind and heart with God’s word. Talk with God until you begin to love Him so much that you hate sin. Build a firm and reliable foundation of faith and obedience to Him so that when moments of temptation come, and they will, you will Stand Courageous!
  • What safeguards do you have in place to keep your heart and mind pure? Are there things you need to do to strengthen those systems? Do you have a trusted Battle Buddy to ask you hard questions, and for whom you can do the same? 
  • How are you pouring these principles of protection into the young men in your life you are mentoring and influencing to be Defenders?
  • Ask God to be your Defender against the devil’s schemes to seduce you to sin. Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you with a desire to please God and a love for your wife that far eclipses any desire to give in to lust.
   [1] https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/iceberg/