Thursday, August 16, 2012

Red Light, Green Light

Red light, green light

Did you ever play that game as a kid?  I loved person would stand in front of a large group of kids and dictate how quickly the mob could move forward based upon the quick color commands of the leader.  The challenge for the leader was always to allow for movement among the troops, but not enough to let them reach the line too quickly.

When I was "it" I loved to switch from red to green as quickly as possible never allowing for a hint of yellow.  It was stop or go, no in between and I relished the chance to draw out the game as long as possible.

In the book of Second Samuel 11:1-27, King David orchestrated his own game of Red Light, Green Light.  While his Israelite Army was at war, the King stayed behind in Jerusalem.  He was enjoying his castle grounds one afternoon, and he took notice of a woman on a neighboring terrace and invited her over for a visit.  (green light)  The neighbor wasn't just any woman, it was Bathsheba, the wife of one of David's highest ranking officers, Uriah.  (green light) After an evening of dining together, Bathsheba ended up in King David's bed. (green light, green light, green light) Yes, King David committed adultery with Bathsheba all while her husband was off fighting the war.  The next morning perhaps the King panicked, because he quickly sent her home. (finally, red light)

Things were quiet for a while until word travelled to David that Bathsheba was pregnant.  Obviously, with her husband at war, it was clear that the baby must be King David's.  (green light) Now David had to find a way to explain the pregnancy away, so he called Uriah home from battle to sleep with her. (red light)  What David was not anticipating, was his soldier's loyalty and commitment to the battle.

When David sent Uriah home to spend the night with his wife, he refused.  His loyalty was to his men on the battle lines and he refused to be distracted by physical desires.  (this was obviously not a concept David had encountered before) (red light)  After a night of having Uriah as his guest, the king decided to up his game and he wined and dined him, hoping his intoxication would wear away his honor, but no such luck.  Uriah slept another night on a mat with the servants at the castle.  (red light)

King David was at his wits end.  He needed action and he needed it quickly.  King David sent Uriah back to the front line of battle with an executive order for Joab, Uriah's direct commander.  The note instructed Joab to place Uriah in a position that would cause him to be killed immediately.  (green light) Although Joab, might have wondered why, he didn't get caught up in questioning the King and he followed King David's orders and Uriah was killed.

Word of the death travelled back to Jerusalem quickly and the grieving began.  "When Uriah's wife heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for him." 2 Samuel 11:26.  (red light)  The appropriate length of mourning began and all the while Bathsheba's baby continued to grow.  "After the time of mourning was over, David had her brought to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son." 2 Samuel 11:27a
(green light) 

So it's a fairytale ending, right?  Guy sees girl, falls in love, marries her and has a child, perfect.  Except for the adultery, deception and murder.  To the passerby, King David might appear to be a hero who rescued and widow and raised another man's child.  But the story is not over, the moral of the story comes in the final verse of the chapter.  "But the thing David had done displeased the Lord." 2 Samuel 11:27b.

No matter how perfect things may appear, we can't escape God's view.  He sees what goes on behind closed doors when we think our small lies and go unnoticed.  His plan for us is detailed in red and green in the bible.  There is no screaming through a yellow light to escape a red mistake.  It is only when we walk in His truth that we can understand the grace of forgiveness that He offers and our desire to walk in God's light, whether it is red or green, is all we need.  

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