Cut It Off!

“You have heard that the law of Moses says, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust in his eye has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

So if your eye — even if it is your good eye — causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your hand — even if it is your stronger hand — causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.” (Matthew 5:27-30 NLT)

A life of following Jesus calls for us to be radical in our faith. Let’s dive in and deal with what He had to say about adultery…

Jesus dealt with the sin of adultery on several occasions, but in this instance, He spells it out for us. Most define adultery as voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and someone other than his or her lawful spouse. Jesus makes it clear that adultery is not only the act of having sex with someone other than his/her lawful spouse – it involves the heart and the mind. 

The thought that immediately leaps to my mind is King David and Bathsheba. David’s sin began before he sent for her. His sin began when he didn’t go to war like he was supposed to do… Then it happened in the spring, 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 sons of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David stayed at Jerusalem. (2 Samuel 11:1 NLT)

  • Lesson 1 – when we’re not doing what we should be doing, it is sin and it can lead to more sin…
  • Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it. (James 4:17 NLT)
http://www.ingodsimage.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/CityOfDavidFerrellJenkins.jpg

 Late one afternoon David got out of bed after taking a nap and went for a stroll on the roof of the palace. As he looked out over the city, he noticed a woman of unusual beauty taking a bath. (2 Samuel 11:2 NLT) 

Now, I’ve heard a lot of people give Bathsheba a bad rap for this… some have said she was bathing on her roof, but that is not what the scripture says! The Scripture says that David was walking around on his roof, and from the roof, he saw a woman bathing. If you look at the picture above, the rail at the top shows where David’s palace most likely was, so you can see, from this viewpoint, he would have easily been able to look down and see Bathsheba bathing, and she wouldn’t have had to be on a rooftop to be seen…

Regardless, David, who wasn’t where he was supposed to be, doing what he was supposed to be doing, was restless and got up out of his bed that evening and walked out onto his roof, perhaps surveying his kingdom, when he saw Bathsheba bathing. Now, if David’s heart had been in the right place at that time, when he saw the woman bathing, he would have looked away, perhaps gone back into his room or at least to the other side of the roof! But he didn’t. Instead, he looked a little closer and saw that she was beautiful.

  • Lesson 2 – When you accidentally see, hear, feel, smell or taste anything that tempts you to sin, don’t dwell on it or continue to look, listen, touch, smell or taste it – run from it!!!
  • Run from anything that stimulates youthful lust. Follow anything that makes you want to do right. Pursue faith and love and peace, and enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts. (2 Timothy 2:22 NLT)

He sent someone to find out who she was, and he was told, “She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” (2 Samuel 11:3 NLT)

Rather than running from the temptation before his eyes, David quickly ran to temptation.

Now, I have to be honest with you… David is one of my favorite biblical characters, because he has so much passion for the Lord! He didn’t care what anyone thought about him while he worshiped the Lord – he was more than willing to be undignified, and I love that about him.

The problem is, and I say this to caution myself and all brothers and sisters called to the ministry of the Lord, the people loved David and they flattered him. Now maybe that doesn’t sound like such a bad thing, but I have to be honest, when I’ve delivered a message from the Lord and seen His power at work, and people flatter me, I really struggle with it.

On the one hand, there is a part of me that longs for recognition and approval. I grew up in a home where it seemed that love and affection had to be earned, and there is still some of that little girl inside of me who craves affirmation. So when people flatter me, I get mixed feelings.

Yes, it feels good when someone admires something you’ve accomplished, but what if my ego gets puffed up? I can’t judge King David or anyone else who struggles against pride, because I constantly wage my own war with pride.

O Lord, I don’t want to shame You. I want to always glorify Your name and not my own. Please Father, keep me from stumbling and causing others to stumble. Hear my cries O Lord, keep me from shame.

  • Lesson 3 – don’t let the adoration and/or approval of others cloud your vision and make you prideful.
  • You younger men, accept the authority of the elders. And all of you, serve each other in humility, for “God sets Himself against the proud, but He shows favor to the humble.” So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and in His good time He will honor you. (1 Peter 5:5-6 NLT)

 Then David sent for her; and when she came to the palace, he slept with her. (She had just completed the purification rites after having her menstrual period.) Then she returned home. 

http://www.sftawareness.org/archives/modern-day-bathsheba/

Now a lot of people and a lot of books have painted a pretty picture of one of the greatest love stories of all time, implying that David and Bathsheba had consensual sex, but that’s not how I read the story. David was at home with too much time on his hands because he wasn’t where he was supposed to be, doing what he was supposed to be doing. So, in his boredom and restlessness, he wandered out onto his rooftop, probably surveying his kingdom, when lo and behold! He saw a woman bathing.

Scripture does not say that she was on a roof bathing. For all we know, she could have been in her own home, or at a bathing spot where women may have gone during that time. It’s unclear where she was, but I don’t believe that she was sinning as she bathed, and she had no way of knowing that King David was at home or that he had wandered onto his rooftop and that he would be observing her as she completed the purification rites after having her menstrual period. There is nothing in all of scripture that suggests Bathsheba was ever unfaithful to her husband prior to this episode with King David, nothing to suggest that she was promiscuous.

Now, imagine the fear and worry she must have felt when she was summonsed to the royal palace. Did she worry if something had happened to her husband, Uriah, or if perhaps she had unknowingly broken some law? And how do you think she must have felt when she arrived to the palace, and David looked at her lustfully, undressing her with his eyes?

Do you think that as she shivered with fear, David, who had already committed adultery with her in his mind, thought she was aroused? Did her mind desperately search for a way to tell him no, while he caressed her? Did she fear retaliation against herself? Her husband? Her family?

I can imagine how she felt, as her eyes darted around the room, looking for an escape, and her heart felt like it was about to beat right out of her chest. I can almost see her desperation, as it quickly dawns on her that this is the king, and if she fights him, he could very easily kill her or worse, and no one would ever even know about it. I submit to you, that David not only committed adultery with Bathsheba – he raped her.

My reason for believing this is not just what I’ve written so far, but because of Bathsheba’s response when her husband died and the Lord’s response.  When Bathsheba heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for him. When the period of mourning was over, David sent for her and brought her to the palace, and she became one of his wives. Then she gave birth to a son. But the LORD was very displeased with what David had done. (2 Samuel 11:26-27 NLT)

Bathsheba mourned for her husband. Does that sound like the response of a wanton woman? Also, please note that scripture says that the Lord was very displeased with what David had done. If they had committed adultery together, consensually, the Lord would have been displeased with what David and Bathsheba had done.

I praise God that David repented of his sin, but I can understand why Jesus so strongly said, “You have heard that the law of Moses says, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust in his eye has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

So if your eye — even if it is your good eye — causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your hand — even if it is your stronger hand — causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.” (Matthew 5:27-30 NLT)

It’s a lesson we can all learn from, and none of us should ever even dare think, “Well, I would never do that,” because scripture says, “The human heart is most deceitful and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? But I know! I, the LORD, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.” (Jeremiah 17:9 NLT)

© 2012
Cheryl A. Showers

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