When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you and have taken possession of it and settled in it, and you say, “Let us set a king over us like all the nations around us,” be sure to appoint over you the king the Lord your God chooses. He must be from among your own brothers. Do not place a foreigner over you, one who is not a brother Israelite. The king, moreover, must not acquire great numbers of horses for himself or make the people return to Egypt to get more of them, for the Lord has told you, “You are not to go back that way again.” He must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray. He must not accumulate large amounts of silver and gold.
When he takes the throne of his kingdom, he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law, taken from that of the priests, who are Levites. It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the Lord his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees and not consider himself better than his brothers and turn from the law to the right or to the left. Then he and his descendants will reign a long time over his kingdom in Israel.
-Deuteronomy 17:14-20 NIV84
When people think of King David, they usually remember one of three things: David – slayer of Goliath, David – author of the Psalms, or David – a man after God’s own heart. Few people think of King David and remember “David – Sex Addict who practically raped a married woman, got her pregnant, and had her husband killed to cover it up.”
But it happened.
This story isn’t brought up a lot in Christian circles, because it is a difficult one. Aside from Jesus and maybe Moses, David is widely considered to be THE hero of the Bible.
But I think that the story of David’s failure tells a tale that all men should hear about.
However, King David’s story started way back in the early days of the Chosen People, the Israelites, before David was even born.
FOR ALL KINGS
There came a time when the Israelites wanted a king to preside over them. God knew that this was going to happen and set out criteria for the King, as well as rules that the King was to follow in order to keep his heart on track with God’s Will.
The rules stem from the three root sins, the three sins that are at the heart of most sinful behavior: pride, greed, and lust.
The particular rule I want to draw your attention to is the one about lust. The King is not to collect a whole bunch of wives, because it will lead his heart astray.
It was not uncommon for kings or those in power to have several wives and concubines, despite God’s warning. It was a symbol of power, just like wealth. And this always caused problems, but some kings had more problems than others.
Before we begin to dive in to David’s story, I wanted to show you this message above and tell you that, today, it no longer applies only to kings, but to everyone. All men are kings who will be given a crown one day by our Lord. Therefore, we should all follow the rules given to kings.
This series will focus on only one: Don’t let your lust lead your heart astray.
FOR ALL MEN
All men have this problem, and most fail when it comes to keeping this rule.
The total revenue for the pornography industry in 2006 was $13.3 billion in America, and $97 billion worldwide. In a year.
More than 70% of men between the ages of 18 and 35 have accessed a pornographic website in the last month.
At a 2003 meeting of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, two thirds of the 350 divorce lawyers who attended said the Internet played a significant role in the divorces in the past year, with excessive interest in online porn contributing to more than half such cases. Pornography had an almost non-existent role in divorce just seven or eight years prior.
51% of pastors in America say that pornography is a possible temptation. 37% say that it is a current struggle. Over half of evangelical pastors have accessed porn in the last year at least once.
57% of pastors say that pornography addiction is the most sexually damaging issue in their congregation.
And, we all know the hot mess the Catholic Church was in a few years ago.
This all tells us what we all already knew: men have an obsessive love of sex. But when we don’t keep ourselves in check, it always leads to something bad.
Even if you aren’t technically a “sex addict,” if you are exhibiting a pattern of sexual behavior that goes against Scripture, it is acting like an addiction in your mind.
And like every addiction out there, it’s progressive.
So, for instance, if you only look at pornography once every couple weeks, thinking it’s no big deal, chances are, in the near future, that’s going to bump up to once a week, twice a week, once a day, and on and on.
Don’t roll your eyes. Don’t scoff. And don’t be so sure of yourself when you say “I don’t have a problem with this.” Be careful when you think you are on sure footing, because you are about to fall.
I don’t write this arrogantly.
I write this as a man who fell and nearly lost everything I held dear in this world, all because I convinced myself that my lusting was no big deal. It became a big deal out of nowhere and I never saw it coming.
It is my hope that you will learn from both mine and David’s failures to curb the lust and become a Man after God’s own heart.
More to come.
Matthew Coker is a Media Director at a church in his hometown, where he also is a leader at a Celebrate Recovery program. He’s a huge comic book nerd, Whovian, and Funko Pop Collector. Matthew and his wife live in New Mexico.