THE NEED FOR DAVID’S FALL
“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” [Mat 6:13]
For the saint of God, the housetop (like all other places) can either be a place of danger or a place of blessing. One saint of God was led up the stairs and saw a vision of God (Acts 10:9-16), while another, even ‘the man after God’s own heart’, was led up a similar set of stairs and fell into sin! [2Sam 11:2-4]
The same God who led the one saint led the other. As we read, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord” (Psalm 37:23), and again: “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps”. (Prov 16:9) And again, “Man’s goings (steps) are of the LORD; how can a man then understand his own way”? [Prov 20:24]
Before we proceed further, we would seek to affirm and establish beyond all doubt that GOD IS NOT THE AUTHOR OF SIN, NEITHER DOES HE MAKE ANY MAN TO SIN OR ENTICE HIM TO DO SO!
“But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of HIS OWN LUST, and enticed”. [James 1:14]
But though God does not tempt any man or ‘make’ him to sin, yet nevertheless He DOES lead men into temptation . . . or it would be pointless to pray – “lead us not into temptation”!
WHO was it who led Christ into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil? “Then was Jesus led up of THE SPIRIT into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil”. [Matt 4:1]
We recommend a sermon and an article: one by the late C.H. Spurgeon and another by A.W. Pink both titled – “Lead us not into temptation” for further light on this neglected aspect of God’s Sovereignty.
Here is an excerpt from A.W. Pink –
Note the truths that are clearly implied by these words – “Lead us not into temptation”
FIRST, God’s universal providence is owned. All creatures are at the sovereign disposal of their Maker; He has the same absolute control over evil as over good. In this petition an acknowledgment is made that the ordering of all temptations is in the hands of our all-wise, omnipotent God.
SECOND, God’s offended justice and the evil we deserve are avowed. Our wickedness is such that God would be perfectly just if He should now allow us to be completely swallowed up by sin and destroyed by Satan.
THIRD, His mercy is recognized. Though we have so grievously provoked Him, yet for Christ’s sake He has remitted our debts. Therefore, we plead that He will henceforth preserve us.
FOURTH, our weakness is acknowledged. Because we realize that we are unable to stand against temptations in our own strength, we pray, “And lead us not into temptation.”
The only reason many of us have not fallen into gross sin is because divine Providence has barred the way! John Flavel has much to say on this in his classic – “The Mystery of Providence”. And one of the reasons the apostle admonishes saints to “Flee fornication and flee youthful lusts” (1Cor 6:18; 2Tim 2:22) is because hundred to one you WILL FALL in the presence of such powerful sins! Joseph fleeing from Potiphar’s wife is a rare exception! [Genesis 39:12]
So WHO led King David up the stairs on that dismal day? It was the same Spirit who later led the Greater David into the wilderness to be tempted of the Devil! David until that point was almost looked up to by the people as a god! They had chanted, “Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands!” [1Sam 18:7] And the king himself was all too self confident of his integrity. He had boasted, “In my prosperity I said, I shall NEVER BE MOVED”! [Psalm 30:6] Also about the same time he boasted – “I WILL behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt Thou come unto me? I WILL walk within my house with a perfect heart. I WILL set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me. A froward heart shall depart from me: I WILL NOT know a wicked person” [Psalm 101:2-4]
Commenting on the above verse in relation to David’s fall with Bathsheba, A.W. Pink writes – “Note the repeated “I will” in the above passage, and learn therefrom how much the “will” of man is worth”!
In closing let me share this for whatever it is worth – There are two divine mysteries in the Scriptures which the Lord would reveal to us. One is ‘The mystery of Godliness’ [1Tim 3:16] and the other ‘The mystery of Iniquity’ [2Thes 2:7]. When we come into the Kingdom as newborn babes we are supernaturally taught ‘the mystery of Godliness’, But this ‘mystery of iniquity’ is something we learn as we ‘follow on to know the Lord’. [Hosea 6:3] There are lessons to be learnt, of which the soul at present knows little or nothing of.
A lesson, therefore, is to be taught which the soul can learn in no other way. Books here are useless, Christian friends of little value, ministers ineffectual, and the letter of the Word insufficient. A certain EXPERIENCE must be wrought in the soul, a peculiar knowledge be communicated, a particular secret be revealed, and all this must be done in a way for which no other can be substituted.
In order for a child of God to go through this experience, God in a certain sense ‘LEAVES HIM’! Now I am aware that this may sound contrary to what you may have been taught in the religious world. But it is truth all the same. Consider the following verse- ‘O LORD, why hast Thou made us to err from Thy ways, and hardened our heart from Thy fear? Return for Thy servants’ sake, the tribes of Thine inheritance’. [Isa 63:17] And here’s another one – “And Hezekiah prospered in all his works. Howwbeit in the business of the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon, who sent unto him to enquire of the wonder that was done in the land, GOD LEFT HIM, to try him, that HE MIGHT KNOW all that was in his heart. [2Chron 32:30,31]. That WHO might know? God? No! For God already knows what is in man! [see Jn 2:25]. It was for Hezekiah’s sake!
None of us know how weak we are till God withdraws His upholding grace (as He did with Peter) and we are left to ourselves. True, the Lord has plainly told us that “without Me ye can do nothing.” And we think we believe that Word, and in a sense we do; yet there is a vast difference between not calling into question a verse of Scripture, an assenting to its verity, and an INWARD ACQUAINTANCE WITH THE SAME IN OUR OWN PERSONAL HISTORY. It is one thing to believe that I am without strength or wisdom, it is another to KNOW it through ACTUAL EXPERIENCE. Nor is this, as a rule, obtained through a single episode, any more than a nail is generally driven in securely by one blow of the hammer. No, we have to learn, and re-learn, so stupid are we. The Truth of God has to be burned into us in the fiery furnace of affliction. [A.W.Pink]
The same Lord who stood with David in his slaying of the lion and the bear and especially in defeating the champion of the Philistines (Goliath), now LEFT HIM in his temptation with Bathsheba! And it was THIS which plainly taught him, that without God HE WAS NOTHING!
And hence the prayer – “Hold Thou me up, and I shall be safe: and I will have respect unto Thy statutes continually”! [Psalm 119:117]
Praise the Lord!