"And David said to Uriah, ‘Remain here today also, and tomorrow I will let you depart.' So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day and the next. David invited him (Uriah), and he ate with him and drank, so that he (David) made him (Uriah) drunk: but that night he (Uriah) went out to lie on his bed with the servants of his lord and did not go down to his house."
II Samuel 11: 12, 13, Amplified Bible
"Temptation #2 - An Assault on the Senses"
"No man (or woman) can be brave who thinks pain the greatest evil; nor temperate, who considers pleasure the highest good."
What does it mean to live a temperate life?
How do I think I would have acted had I been in Uriah's place?
"We lead but one life here on earth. We must make that beautiful. And to do this, health and elasticity of mind are needful; and whatever endangers or impedes these must be avoided."
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
"Every temptation is great or small according as the man (or woman) is."
My dear friend Beverly sent me the following story that I found very amusing:
" A minister was completing a temperance sermon.
With great emphasis he said ‘If I had all the beer in the world, I'd take it and pour it into the river.'
With even greater emphasis he said, ‘And if I had all the wine in the world, I'd take it and pour it into the river.'
And then finally, shaking his fist in the air, he said, ‘And if I had all the whiskey in the world I'd take it and pour it into the river.
Sermon complete, he sat down.
The song leader stood very cautiously and announced with a smile, nearly laughing, ‘For our closing song, let us sing Hymn #365…Shall We Gather at the River.'"
As we look at our text today, we find that since David could not convince Uriah to go down to visit his wife just by gently trying to persuade him with flattering words, he attempted to get Uriah to do his bidding by stuffing him with food and wine. An intoxicated Uriah might be more pliable, or so David thought.
What a tragedy to find that God's anointed, the King of Israel, became the one who was trying with all his power to lead Uriah down a path that was not where he should go. David was trying to impair Uriah's thoughts and cloud his judgment with drink and food.
When I compare this particular story with the principled young David who wouldn't lay a finger on King Saul even when provoked beyond belief, it is difficult to believe you are looking at the same person. The merciful David had given way to an unyieldingly, unmerciful tyrant.
Having gotten nowhere in trying to convince Uriah to go home to his wife, David took another tactic when he appealed to the physical senses by pummeling Uriah with food from the king's table and wine from his vineyards. Although the Bible says that David got Uriah "drunk," he didn't get him into such a state of inebriation that Uriah was unable to make a wise decision. Consequently, instead of going down to his home, Uriah went to stay with the king's servants.
While the word temperance often brings to mind the images of prohibition's temperance movement, we would do well not to limit the idea of temperance just to the abstinence from "strong" drink.
I appreciate this broader definition of temperance: "moderation or self-restraint." As the author John Milton observed, "He who reigns within himself, and rules passions, desires, and fears, is more than a king" I chose these particular words for we find that David, himself, was an individual, who in his younger years, lived a life defined by self-restraint. However, as time passed, David began to feed his sensual physical longings with wives and concubines and all the possessions his wealth could afford, until the day came when not only did David's physical desires rule his life but they also spilled over into his domination of the lives of others. David could easily have spoken these words from Peter the Great, "I have conquered an empire but I have not been able to conquer myself." And in fact, as we continue to study David's interaction with his family, we will see that by not controlling himself, David's leadership of Israel and his family was also compromised for in the words of Hugo Grotius "A man cannot govern a nation if he cannot govern a city; he cannot govern a city if he cannot govern a family; he cannot govern a family unless he can govern himself; and he cannot govern himself unless his passions are subject to reason." And girls, this statement applies to the lives of all God's daughters, too!
"Save us, O Lord, from the snares of a double mind. Deliver us from all cowardly neutralities. Make us to go in the paths of Thy commandments, and to trust for our defense in Thy mighty arm alone; through Jesus Christ the Lord."
Richard Hurrell Froude
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil
"Don't let surface things delude us,
But free us from what holds us back
(from our true purpose).
Don't let us enter forgetfulness,
the temptation of false
(To the fraud of inner vacillation -
like a flag tossed in the wind -
But break the hold of unripeness,
the inner stagnation that
prevents good fruit.
(From the evil of injustice -
the green fruit and the rotten -
grant us liberty.)
Deceived neither by the outer
nor the inner - free us to
walk your path with joy.
Keep us from hoarding false wealth,
and from the inner sham of
help not given in time.
Don't let surface things delude us,
But free us from what holds us back."
Mediations on the Aramaic Words of Jesus
Commentary by Neil Douglas-Klotz
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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