– 2 Samuel 11:1-11 – “In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem. One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, ‘She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.’ Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (Now she was purifying herself from her monthly uncleanness.) Then she went back home. The woman conceived and sent word to David, saying, ‘I am pregnant.’ So David senthis word to Joab: ‘Send me Uriah the Hittite.’ And Joab sent him to David. When Uriah came to him, David asked him how Joab was, how the soldiers were and how the war was going. Then David said to Uriah, ‘Go down to your house and wash your feet.’ So Uriah left the palace, and a gift from the king was sent after him. But Uriah slept at the entrance to the palace with all his master’s servants and did not go down to his house. David was told, ‘Uriah did not go home.’ So he asked Uriah, ‘Haven’t you just come from a military campaign? Why didn’t you go home?’ Uriah said to David, ‘The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in tents, and my commander Joab and my lord’s men are camped in the open country. How could I go to my house to eat and drink and make love to my wife? As surely as you live, I will not do such a thing!’ ”
The story of David and Bathsheba effectively illustrates the danger involved in losing sight of your purpose. David was a warrior greatly blessed and favored by God. However, during the time of his success and luxury, he chose to lay down his arms. He willfully denied his God-given purpose to be a warrior (1 Samuel 16:18, 1 Chronicles 28:3) for a season, and ended up experiencing the most devastating failure of his entire life. David allowed a desire for comfort to draw him away from his responsibility to fight. Submission to comfort made him vulnerable to the attacks of the enemy. This story is a perfect example of what typically happens to Christian young men in America. We live in the lap of luxury here in the US; we live like kings compared to most of the world. For this reason, and also due to lack of biblical instruction, young men become entangled in the pleasures and distractions of this world. The pressure for high-school relationships, media, and destructive friendships become temptations that draw young men away from a focused attention on their God-given purpose. Young men come to desire temporary recreations and pleasures more than they do the fulfillment of their calling. Temporary, trivial privileges become more important that the eternal kingdom of God. This defines, by a modern example, what King David experienced on the roof of his palace. However, if we turn to Uriah, we see character that more accurately reflects the life of purpose-minded man. Here’s what we notice about Uriah: He is summoned back to Jerusalem to visit David, who encourages him to go to his own house, relax, and sleep with his wife. Contrary to what we’d expect from an exhausted soldier, Uriah refuses to go home and chooses rather to sleep on the ground outside David’s palace. It’s likely that he didn’t even say hello to his wife! David finds out about Uriah’s actions, and responds in disapproval, saying, “Haven’t you just come from a military campaign? Why didn’t you go home?” Uriah’s answer was this: “The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in tents, and my commander Joab and my lord’s men are camped in the open country. How could I go to my house to eat and drink and make love to my wife? As surely as you live, I will not do such a thing!” Now, if you just skim over this you’ll miss a powerful revelation. David’s sin came as a result of submission to a desire for comfort. Uriah, on the other hand, rejected comfort for the sake of staying focused on his purpose. Did you catch that? Think about this. Uriah had every right to go home and spend time with his wife; doing so would not have been sinful in any way. And yet, Uriah refused! Why? Uriah was a man who recognized the importance of staying purpose-minded. He understood that he was called to be a warrior, and therefore refused to participate in anything that would distract him from that calling. He refused to be ensnared by the affairs of this life. Uriah would not have been sinning if he went home to his wife, but sin wasn’t the issue…comfort was the issue. Uriah knew that if comfort became more important to him than his calling, his manhood would be compromised. He was faithful to stay on the battlefield, when comfort told him to abandon it. He was able to stand strong against temptation, because he never lost sight of his God-given purpose. David became weak against temptation when he lost sight of his purpose and abandoned his battlefield. Not every pleasure in this life is sinful. God desires that we enjoy the fruits of our labor and take pleasure in what He created for us (Ecclesiastes 5:18-20). It’s not wrong to love a wife in your youth, and it’s not wrong to enjoy prosperity. I’m sure that Uriah knew this. It was vigilance that kept Uriah from going home that evening—he saw what was most important in that moment, and resolved that he wasn’t going to sacrifice his purpose on the altar of comfort. Nothing that David proposed for Uriah to do that evening was sinful, but in Uriah’s eyes it was still wrong. Why? Because comfort is a weight that keeps men from running their race. Pursuing comfort over calling is like running a marathon with twenty-pound ankle weights—it’s going to slow you down, and eventually stop you altogether.
– Hebrews 12:1-2 – “…Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…”
In large, men fall into the traps of temptation because they’ve lost sight of their identity, their purpose, and their calling. Uriah was immovable in his integrity, because his eyes were fixed on his purpose. A man who knows and pursues his purpose will be strong against any temptation to compromise. Men who keep their eyes fixed on Jesus and His will, will not hesitate to throw aside any weight that slows them down from running their race. But where there is no vision or purpose clearly defined and pursued, men cast away their need to resist temptation and indolence (Proverbs 29:18 ). Men loosen their convictions and dismiss their responsibility to stand strong when they lose sight of their purpose.”
What about you? Are you a purpose-minded man? Do your character and convictions reflect that of Uriah’s? If not, in what ways have you allowed yourself to lose sight of your God-given purpose? Don’t expect your life to be remembered as one of integrity, conviction, and courage if you never had purpose established in your heart. I encourage you to seek the Lord about this. Ask Him to help you identify the reason why He put you on this earth, and get in the Word of God to receive His wisdom. Walking out your calling isn’t just a suggestion…it’s necessary to your manhood!