On Being Cavalier

Recently, I have found myself in a few situations where I’ll say something like: Every time you encounter someone else’s sin, don’t examine them with a microscope in order to judge them, but look on them as a mirror reflecting your own propensity to sin and be warned by them. Such is the case as I hover over the story of David and Bathsheba in 2Samuel this morning.

Cavalier. That’s the word that comes to mind. Being indifferent or casual about important matters. Not really caring about something that really should be cared about.

I may not have the autonomy to pick and choose when I go into work or not. I may not have the power to call whomever I wish to fulfill whatever my lustful flesh desires. I may not have the clout to call someone off the front lines so they can sleep with their wife. I may not possess commander-in-chief status so that I can orchestrate the disposal of inconvenient truth through the General of one of my armies. But I can be cavalier.

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.

(2Samuel 11:1 ESV)

When kings go out to battle . . . David remained at Jerusalem. When David the king should have been doing what kings do, he didn’t. He called in sick that spring.

How come? I’m wondering if it wasn’t because he felt he had fought his fights, he had run his race and, having made it to the top of the food chain, it was time to coast. Sure, doing battle was important stuff, but not that important — Joab could handle it. Sure, he was to model for the people of God how God’s people should behave. But his press secretary would spin that. When kings go out to battle, David didn’t. That’s where, I think, David’s sin with Bathsheba started. And to quote the old southern gospel song sung by the Cathedral quartet:

Sin will take you farther than you wanna go
Slowly but wholly taking control
Sin will leave you longer than you wanna stay
Sin will cost you far more than you wanna pay

Not caring about stuff that should be cared about, that’s what I need to beware of. Feeling like I’ve put in my time, so let someone else do it. Kidding myself into believing that I’ve attained to whatever degree and so, willing to just let my past accomplishments and momentum carry me. Or, maybe just too tired to try.

But what happens when you stop doing what you should be doing? You start looking around for something else to do. I don’t have a balcony to peer out over lower balconies from, but I have an electronic device and, with the time I’m not doing what I should be doing, I can look at pretty much whatever I want. I may not be able to orchestrate as elaborate a cover-up as David could, but I’m just as capable of sinning in secret. So I say to myself, “Self, be on guard.”

Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. (Galatian 6:1b ESV)

We know how the story goes. Though a man dies, and a baby dies, God’s purposes prevail. Though a king sins, because a King died the grace of God puts away all his sin (2Sam. 12:13). And David is restored. David does again what kings should be doing.

So David gathered all the people together and went to Rabbah and fought against it and took it.

(2Samuel 12:29 ESV)

Father in heaven, keep me from a cavalier attitude when it comes to walking in the manner worthy of my calling. Convict me quickly when I become casual or indifferent about the kingdom. Protect me from even starting down a path on which I don’t wanna go.

By Your grace. For Your glory.

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