In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem.
-2 Samuel 11:1 NIV
SET UP BY OURSELVES
This is the first verse in the story of David’s unthinkable act. It shows us a problem that all of us have experienced: Idle hands.
Note the phrase “the time when kings go off to war.” This means that David’s rightful place, as King, was out on the battlefield with the men of his army. But he sent his General Joab out as the leader in the war. Why did David stay home? No one knows, but if Scripture is any indicator, it’s wasn’t because of any pressing matter in Jerusalem.
David did two things wrong here.
The first thing that David did wrong was to stay home and do nothing. He had no meetings, no urgent issues, nothing to do. He just strolled around his mansion with idle hands in his pockets just itching to stir up some trouble.
That is the easiest thing to do that can lead you down the path of sexual immorality. If you know you have problems looking at pornography (and other behaviors that go along with it), sitting around doing nothing means that you have nothing keeping you from doing it again.
That’s why, when you’ve made a decision to stop these behaviors, it’s important to keep yourself busy. Try not to have free time where you just sit around and do nothing. Live every minute on purpose. When you get off work or home from school, already have planned out what you will do with the rest of your time. Even if that means planning out how long to play Nintendo, how long to exercise, how long to hang out with the guys, but make it a point to do something anytime you find yourself with nothing to do.
This is by no means a cure for these bad habits, but simply one tool to use in the journey towards freedom. If you hands are busy, they’ll have no idle time to stir up trouble.
The second thing that David did wrong was that he put himself in a situation in which the odds were far and away not in his favor, when it comes to remaining sexually pure.
How so, you ask? Well, for a single town to have a large enough army to go to battle, it is reasonable to assume that most, if not all, of the men in the town were among the ranks. And since the army was off to battle, that means they weren’t home with their wives.
David put himself in a situation where it was just him and a town full of lonely women.
Not the wisest of ideas. However, we do not know if this was his intention or not.
Men can often initiate a sexual sin long before the actual act occurs.
For instance, when a man knows he’s going to be staying in a hotel room by himself a few nights later, and he already plans to order a dirty movie, just in planning the sin, he releases epinephrine into his brain, a high he will ride until the act is carried out.
So, it is quite possible that David knew exactly what he was getting himself into.
However, it is also just as likely that his staying home from the battle was entirely innocent. He could have been ill, tired, or there could have been a matter that needed his attention in the kingdom.
But either way, he was setting himself up for a fall.
This is a problem that is sometimes hard to avoid. It’s important when you make a decision to break these bad habits to not put yourself in situations that could compromise your integrity.
If you are working hard to not give in to sexual urges with your girlfriend, it would be wise to not spend a lot of time alone, at night, with Kenny G on the stereo. You see the logic?
I have a beef with a certain entertainment store that sells music, movies, games, books, and more. They have pornography everywhere. Yes, they’ve got it in their magazine racks wrapped in plastic, sure. But that’s not what I’m talking about. You just have to walk back to the art and photography section and you’ll find a large collection of Playboy compilations, erotic photography, sex position guides, etc. etc. etc., none of which are wrapped in plastic or even put on a high shelf away from the eyes of children. On top of that, in the comic book section (one of the first places children still run to), the have several Japanimation (Anima & Magna) graphic novels lined up, half of which are about sex, and show several scenes of nudity and sex within their non-plastic-wrapped pages.
Well, when I was in the battle against my pornography addiction, I had to make it a point for a long time to not go to this certain store by myself. In that way, I avoided putting myself into a tempting situation.
It’s very important for all of us to avoid situations where we know we are weak. There were some places that, for several years, I just couldn’t go by myself anymore, which included newsstands, video rental places, and the aforementioned entertainment store. It was a necessary inconvenience that helped me to guard my mind from impure thoughts.
Yes, even though I had been living in purity for quite some time, I still had to avoid those temptations for a few years before I felt I could be trusted there alone again.
There’s a very good reason behind that.
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.