We all love a day that has no drama or undue stress. We can relax and enjoy the day. Oftentimes we look toward vacation days or weekends for such respites from the daily challenges of life and work. There is something about being able to let down our guard and just chill out that appeals to most of us.
Even when we plan for such days or times away, many of us have had these plans and desires upended. Flights get delayed or canceled, construction on the highway sends us on an endless detour, a sudden storm halts all modes of transportation, or someone gets sick. Our hope for an easy day, weekend, or vacation disappears like a vapor.
We continue to long for easy days, lazy days. We want someone else to be in charge for a while.
Sometimes when such a day comes together, we lean back in a hammock and let thoughts roam, or we sit on a patio as dusk falls and listen to the sounds of the night commence as the last rays of the sun slip below the horizon.
We stop paying attention and cuing into anything but our own reverie.
It can be natural to forget there is an unseen world around us where a battle is raging for our soul. Our archenemy never sleeps and is always seeking who may be off guard and lured into his devices.
It can happen to the best of us who love and serve the Lord. If it happened to Kind David, it can happen to any one of us.
David, the Goliath slayer, the one about whom songs were written and sung throughout Israel, was a mighty warrior undefeated in battle with God on his side. But then in 2 Samuel 11 as spring came and all the kings were going out to battle, David sent his chief of military operations, Joab, and all his servants and mighty men out to battle while he remained at home. Didn’t he deserve a day off now and then? He had trained mighty men of war, certainly they could manage without him this time. Perhaps they could, but maybe he couldn’t manage to handle his leave from battle as well as he thought.
Here he is relaxing on his roof on a beautiful day and the archenemy sees his chance. David’s eyes gaze upon the beauty of woman bathing and lusts after her. He sends for her to be brought to him. She is Bathsheba, wife of one of his mighty warriors, but no matter. The enemy has already stirred David’s lust to a fever pitch, and he takes her to his bed and then sends her home. Did he really think no one would notice and that he would not get caught?
Even if no man or woman saw the deed, did David think God was off on vacation and missed what he did?
As I was reading this passage, I took note of the wise comments in the footnote to this story in my Bible:
“There is no point in life’s journey so dangerous as when one has arrived at a comfortable place and lowers one’s guard.
Sin seldom shows itself all at once, or even as sin at all. The temptation to sin is usually more subtle than that. But once in its grip, one is taken to places one never intended to go and held longer than one ever intended to stay.”
It’s been said that any fool can lose a battle. You just need an opponent who is weaker, but it is a questionable talent to lose a battle when you start off with all the advantages.
History gives us numerous examples. It happened to Lt. Col. George Custer at the Battle of Little Bighorn despite his strategies and belief that the attack he planned would be a surprise. It happened to Napoleon when he ran short on supplies and sought to retreat from Moscow after he decided to invade Russia. It happened at the Battle of Antietam during the American Civil War as well and the list of such battles could go on and on. Over and over again when one side was underestimating the opponent or resting and not on watch, a rout took place.
You may be saying that our archenemy in the spiritual world is far stronger than you are and if you do, the enemy knows he is likely to win. He knows then that you have forgotten that our triune God and all his angels fight on our behalf. Our responsibility is to stay on watch and call on Him when those subtle temptations begin.
Peter understood that well. He had a history of faltering when the enemy was sneaking around. His recommendations are key to keep in focus on easy days:
“8 Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping.
9 Keep your guard up. You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith.
10 The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ – eternal and glorious plans they are! – will have you put together and on your feet for good. 11 He gets the last word; yes, he does.”
1 Peter 5:8-11 (MSG)