"One evening David arose from his couch and was walking on the roof of the king's house."
II Samuel 11: 2, Amplified Bible
"Time On His Hands With Nothing To Do"
"Idleness is the enemy of the soul."
Have I ever gotten into unseen trouble when I had time on my hands with nothing to do?
"To have too much to do is for most (people) safer than to have too little."
Henry E. Manning
"It is what you do when you have nothing to do that reveals what you are."
When I was young, I spent the hot summer months at my grandparents ranch in Arizona. While there was time for horseback riding and swimming in the creek, much of the day was spent working in the garden and then canning and preserving the fruits of our labors. Believe me, it was hard work. For a young girl, eager to relax and have fun, standing over hot pots in the kitchen wasn't exactly my idea of a life of ease.
One day, I began to grumble to my grandmother about all the work. Now you need to remember, Grandma was a person who had as her life's motto, "Idle hands are the devil's workshop." My grandma didn't know what it was like not to be doing something "industrious." She could literally make work out of relaxing. But as I mumbled under my breath about all the work, Grandma gave me one of those looks that made me clearly understand I had overstepped my bounds. Then she said, "Don't ever complain about work, Dorothy. It's a gift from God. Remember, God put His children in Eden's garden to "tend" it. That should tell you there's nothing wrong with learning to care for the gifts in our gardens." While I didn't really appreciate her words at the time, I certainly do now. Especially during these difficult days when so many of God's children are facing a tough economy.
As I've read about the incredible determination so many individuals have shown as they search for jobs in a tight marketplace and with a depressed economy, it only makes my blood boil to hear wealthy politicians, who have extremely easy work schedules, mock those who are trying so desperately to hold their lives together with meager earnings and long work hours, sometimes even carrying the responsibility of two or three jobs at a time. I understand this life, for my husband's parents struggled for many years - but through it all, their children never went hungry for idleness was not a word in their vocabulary.
Sadly, we too frequently are fed the false notion that idleness is a problem of the poorest members of society. What a misconception! If we read the Bible, we find that throughout the Scriptures, idleness was a demon that most often thwarted the lives of those with wealth. And interestingly, this is where the story of David in Jerusalem intersects with Lot in Sodom.
When we were studying about Lot and his family, I took some time to look up all the texts in the Bible that had to do with Sodom. Much to my surprise, I found one of the most informative passages in the entire Bible hidden away in the book of Ezekiel. The prophet Ezekiel was admonishing those living in Samaria, a city he called the "elder sister." This is what Ezekiel said, "She (Samaria) and her daughters who dwelt in the north and at your left hand; and your younger sister who dwelt in the south and at your right hand is Sodom and her daughters…Behold, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: pride, overabundance of food, prosperous ease, and idleness were hers and her daughters; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy." (Ezekiel 16: 46-50, Amplified Bible).
It was our gracious heavenly Father who looked into the city of Sodom and found that it was during times of wealth and affluence that it was prideful and arrogant. When those who had too much time on their hands, problems developed. We are frequently led to believe that it was specifically sexual immorality which was Sodom's downfall, when in fact, it was a haughty affluence that sustained an idle life-style that allowed for the misadventures of an idle society. The exact same thing happened to David. Living in the luxurious palace, in the lap of prosperity and success,, David found himself with time on his hands and nothing to do but walk off the purposeful path God had for him and for his life.
As I read our text for today, combined with the words of Ezekiel, I thought of all the times in my life when I've wished for an easier life. You can't help but be confronted with the images of those who seem to "have it all." As these pictures hit you in the face whenever you turn on a television or pass by a magazine stand, you can start to wish for what appears to be an easy life. While the media heralds the success of those who float around in yachts or fly around in jets, living off the excess that appeals to the covetous part of our hearts and says, "I'd like that, too" isn't God's way. This is why God, in His infinite wisdom, has left us the detailed stories of His children - especially David, whom the Bible tells us, had a heart "after God's," meaning he had a heart that longed to be like God. Yet, when plenty was laid before him - his free time became idle time. David fell into the very same trap that ensnared the residents of Sodom. These are the facts that serve as the setting for the story of David and Bathesheba. A story that serves as a warning that when wealth brings too much idle time, it can lead to a purposeless life.
"Some temptations come to the industrious, but all temptations attack the idle."
C. H. Spurgeon
"'My time', we say.
It's not ours:
we didn't make it,
we can't stop it;
no one can preserve it.
We can't hold the present moment,
it slips through our fingers.
We can't freeze it,
or bottle it,
to await our pleasure.
We can't even define it:
‘animal, vegetable or mineral'!
Does it exist?
If it does,
whose is it?
God, teach us to value it,
to love it,
to relax in its embrace,
and always to remember
that it's not ours.
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P.S. My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is now available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You can also go to www.whenawomanmeetsjesus.com and purchase the book through Paypal for $8.00. Or by calling Transformation Garden at 1-888-397-4348.
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.