“Would you rather have a nose like an elephant or a neck like a giraffe?”
I was asking my children in the department store as we waited for my wife to make final selections for purchase. It really is not a fair question because you would rather have neither of those distortions, but life is full of paradoxical “would you rather” moments.
Between 2 Samuel 11-12 and 1 Chronicles 20, the question is would you rather slay the sons of Goliath or the seduction of the flesh? I think David would rather slay the seduction of the flesh and wait on God to give him victory over the physical giants another day. Could he really have victory both times? There are interesting contrasts between the two passages. In one the nine-foot nemesis is slain; the other the hero falls. In Chronicles 20, they were armed and prepared for battle; in Samuel 11, David was not armed nor vigilant. In one, the innocent were protected from the enemy; in the other, the innocent were ravished by the protector. In the latter, there was a reliance upon God and action to do His will. In the former, there was a repose in the lap of luxury and self-confidence. In Chronicles, David had servants helping him win victories. In Samuel, David had servants helping him complete his devious plot.
Charles Spurgeon said, “The armorbearer of Sin is Self-confidence.” The Apostle Paul said, “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12). When we are alone we are most vulnerable. David did not have to be alone. He could have surrounded himself with others who would challenge him to do the Lord’s bidding. Yet, he was alone and available. His love had altered. For when “the law of his God is in his heart, none of his steps shall slide” (Psalm 37:31). However, that was not the case.
We could not imagine facing our national enemy unarmed. America spends more than any other nation in the defense of our freedom. Yet, how naive we are to face a more sinister foe unarmed. We are caught unsuspecting and we pay the price. Spurgeon also said of this passage, “Woe unto those who go forth into the world, or even dare to walk their own house unarmed.” The question is would you rather enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season, or endure for the commendation of God? Would you rather indulge in the lust of the flesh and have the sword of regret discomfit your future, or do the will of God and have none of your steps slide?
Let’s avoid the awkward choice of “would you rather.” Don’t let a moment pass without being vigilant and armed. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood. Let us fight a good fight so that we may receive the crown of righteousness promised to those who love the Lord’s appearing and look for it unashamed.
“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” (1 John 2:16-17).