Art of War: When the Battle Ceases

I Sam. 26- II Sam. 19


This morning we are going to take a brief moment to do an interactive online poll and I’m going to need you to take out your phones and open the camera app because I have some QR codes you may want to scan.

First, point your camera at the screen and hopefully your camera picks up the QR code for this poll — and if not, I have posted the link in our church announcement signal group so you can join in the poll.

Are you ready?  

  1. How are you feeling today?
  2. Have you planned a vacation this year?
  3. Where are you going — use just one word?
  4. Are you looking forward to your vacation?

Taking time off — it’s great! So great, that God built it into our weekly cycle and it’s called the Sabbath! A Day of rest every single week… No one can work forever, No one should work without some periods of rest. Imagine it friends, God is absolutely for all of us taking a vacation — and he wants us to vacate from our labor every week:

[Exo 34:21 NKJV] 21 “Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest; in plowing time and in harvest you shall rest.

[Lev 23:3 NKJV] 3 ‘Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day [is] a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work [on it]; it [is] the Sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings.

God even made plans so that the ground would rest:

[Lev 26:34 NKJV] 34 Then the land shall enjoy its sabbaths as long as it lies desolate and you

[are] in your enemies’ land; then the land shall rest and enjoy its sabbaths.

and then of course Jesus tells us that we are to come apart from our labor and heavy burdens and find rest in him.

[Mat 11:28 NKJV] 28 “Come to Me, all [you] who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

So vacations are needed, rest is important, and we should take advantage of the opportunities which God has given us to rest. But is there ever a time when the blessing of rest can change into a curse?

Right here is where I’d like to enter the story of King David — last week we left off with the well known story of David and Goliath, and from that moment David was catapulted into the national spotlight — how could he not become the most famous person in all of Israel. He had been used by God to defeat the Philistine army and save the nation — and had won the affection of all of Israel. While there was a sitting king in Israel, it was said of David: [1Sa 18:7 NKJV] 7 “Saul has slain his thousands, And David his ten thousands.”

A controversy ensued between Saul and David — and the majority of the chapters are devoted to describing Saul’s pursuit of David and David constantly on the run… Until finally Saul dies, and of course the nation of Israel has no qualms about crowning David king — and as a king God crowned David with success.  

He won battle after battle, expanded the kingdom, victory after victory fell into his lap — and David was active, fighting right there with his men, many times on the front line leading the charge. Listen to how the Bible describes the nations that fell one right after another to David and his armies:

[2Sa 8:11-13 NKJV] 11 King David also dedicated these to the LORD, along with the silver and gold that he had dedicated from all the nations which he had subdued– 12 from Syria, from Moab, from the people of Ammon, from the Philistines, from Amalek, and from the spoil of Hadadezer the son of Rehob, king of Zobah. 13 And David made [himself] a name when he returned from killing eighteen thousand Syrians in the Valley of Salt.

You don’t defeat: Syria, Moab, Ammon, Philistines, Amalek, and Hadadezer, by sitting on your laurels. But friends with great success comes a great danger — what is that danger? It’s this thought that is put in the hearts of kings by Satan:

“I’ve worked hard, built a large kingdom, made a name for myself, now let me take the foot off the gas, and take it easy and live in vacation-mode enjoying the fruit of my labor”

Jesus pointed out this danger in His parable

[Luk 12:15-21 NKJV] 15 And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.” 16 Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. 17 “And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ 18 “So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. 19 ‘And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, [and] be merry.” ‘

Now you say, what’s wrong with that? He needed a bigger barn, right? He had earned a great retirement, to take it easy, right? But who was this man thinking of when he said “Let me build a bigger barn”? We don’t have to guess, the Bible says:

  1. HE wanted take it easy
  2. HE wanted to drink
  3. HE wanted to be merry
  4. HE wanted to live off of his work for many years

But we assume that this man had a family, like any other in Israel — and that he had brothers, or sisters, or children, or maybe even grandchildren — Did he need to take it easy because he couldn’t work?

[Pro 13:22 NKJV] 22 A good [man] leaves an inheritance to his children’s children…

The trap that this man fell into in this parable was believing that he only needed to think about himself — and that his wealth was given to minister to his ease, his comfort, his enjoyment — maybe even at the expense of his children’s future — certainly while others around him suffered. Wasn’t it Jesus who told the rich young ruler:

[Luk 18:22 NKJV] 22 …Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven…”

One of the greatest truths taught than this, that God gives so that we may give — and the greater the gift from God, the greater the capacity to give to others…. and friends, when we live our life focused on others rather than just ourselves, we reach the highest level of attainment we could reach to be like GOD…  John 3:16 “For God so loved the world HE GAVE….

and so here is a man who is blessed by God with greater gifts than his fellow men, and what does he do — does he build the bigger barn so his children may inherit it? Does He take some of his crop to bless those who work in his fields and lighten their loads? The Bible says, he thinks to himself “I’m going to take it easy”… and then God responds:

[Luk 12:20-21 NKJV] 20 “But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ 21 “So [is] he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”

The principle Christ is laying out is that our life should be lived not to minister just to our own comforts and pleasure — We should purposely and intentionally look for the needs of those around us and seek to minister to others.

A second principle is that God has a work for each of us, and when we neglect that work that God has given to us — we neglect it at the peril of our own souls….  

and here is where king David was — a man increased with goods, and now tempted in this moment of success to turn his attention off the work of God, and to minister to his own ease.

[2Sa 11:1 NKJV] 1 It happened in the spring of the year, at the time when kings go out [to battle], that David sent Joab and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the people of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem.

I’d like to pause — Had David ever stayed behind while his people were at war before? Never!

The Bible records not only that this was unusual for David, it was unusual for kings in general — Kings went with their armies to battle — and they did it every spring!

David had a DUTY! A Work to perform… Who put David on the throne? So who gave David this work? Didn’t it come from God…? In fact, when we go back to the garden of Eden, no sooner had Adam been created and God gave him a work to do:

[Gen 2:15 NKJV] 15 Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.

Labor, work, projects and missions — were given to us by the Lord to keep us out of the path of temptation — and to give us happiness… Even the work that seems like a curse was given for our sake:

[Gen 3:17 NKJV] 17 Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: “Cursed [is] the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat [of] it All the days of your life. Matthew Henry: “When we are out of the way of our duty we are in the way of temptation.”

Had David been out fighting with his men, he would not have been faced with such a temptation as he was now — additionally, because David was not with his men, he was all alone, and just like Eve in the garden of Eden, Satan knows that we are the weakest when we are alone.

So what did David do in his spare time while he was at the palace alone?

[2Sa 11:2 NKJV] 2 Then it happened one evening that David arose from his bed and walked on the roof of the king’s house.  

Several things I want to point out, when the Bible says it was evening, the Hebrew literally means “Sunset” — and where was David before the sun set? The Bible says he was “In Bed”!!! The night is for sleeping, and here is David sleeping away in the middle of the day and as the sun begins to set, he gets up from bed and walks out on his roof.

Dr Richard Davidson who wrote the most comprehensive book on sexuality in the Bible — and it took him 20 years to write it — says that every jewish man knew that this was the time of day that jewish women took their showers!!! And so no man would go on the roof of his house in the evening — Why, because he knew what he would see if he did…

Do you have the picture? — Step #1 The Devil leads David to take time off when he should have been working, Step #2 The Devil leads David to waste his day in bed, Step #3 The Devil leads David to the roof at the time of day that David knows he is likely to encounter temptation…. Step #4 The Devil places the temptation before David’s eyes, and he lingers with his looks…. And I want to emphasize this — He chose to linger.  

[2Sa 11:2-3 NKJV] 2 …And from the roof he saw a woman bathing, and the woman [was] very beautiful to behold. 3 So David sent and inquired about the woman. And [someone] said, “[Is] this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?”

David was not in this moment like Joseph who was caught by Potiphar’s wife and ran from sin — Friends when we recognize that we are staring at sin, it is not hopeless for us even in that moment. The battle may be strong, but we can through the Lord’s power find victory even here on the edge of the precipice. David could have turned, walked back inside, repented of his knowingly putting himself in the arms of temptation, confessed perhaps to his wife, put on his armor and resolved to go back to the battle…. There would still be a wound upon his conscience, but his character would not be wholly stained….

The devil wants to bring you step by step and friends when shame and guilt start filling your heart, the devil will say “It’s too late, just a little further, don’t stop now, you’ve already seen to much” but now is the time to run! Resist now, before the destruction is complete!

[Jas 1:14-15 NKJV] 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is fullgrown, brings forth death.

David Looks, David linger, David inquires into the woman, and finally David succumbs to his desires — and friends those desires did bring forth death.

The next step that Satan led David in was to conceal his sin

[Pro 28:13 NKJV] 13 He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes [them] will have mercy.

Isn’t this what Adam and Eve did? They sinned, and then they tried to hide it…

Illustration: Story of the broken gate and my desire to conceal my sin

[1Jo 1:9 NKJV] 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

[Psa 32:5 NKJV] 5 I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” And You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah

Isn’t it just like the devil to try to add even more pain, irreversible pain, to an already sinburdened heart? So now David is sitting in the pit of shame, in the destruction of his glory through his own work, but even now he has not sunk to his lowest depth —  

[Pro 6:26 NKJV] 26 For by means of a harlot [A man is reduced] to a crust of bread; And an adulteress will prey upon his precious life.

David was pretty low — but Satan desired to bring him even lower and through deceit David tricked the husband of Bathsheba and caused him to die in such a way that guilt would not be traced back to the king… But this only made the stain of sin darker!

It is always a good time to turn back to the Lord….

Through his sin with Bathsheba, David lost his kingdom for a time. He lost the child that

Bathsheba carried, he lost his glory, his crown, the allegiance of his people, and he lost his son Absalom….  

But the story of David does not end in total loss —

Through this experience David wrote a beautiful Psalm

[Psa 51:1-17 NKJV] 1 To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David when Nathan the prophet went to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba. Have mercy upon me, O God, According to Your lovingkindness; According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, Blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I acknowledge my transgressions, And my sin [is] always before me. 4 Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done [this] evil in Your sight–That You may be found just when You speak, [And] blameless when You judge. 5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me. 6 Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, And in the hidden [part] You will make me to know wisdom. 7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 8 Make me hear joy and gladness, [That] the bones You have broken may rejoice. 9 Hide Your face from my sins, And blot out all my iniquities. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me [by Your] generous Spirit. 13 [Then] I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners shall be converted to You. 14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, The God of my salvation, [And] my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness. 15 O Lord, open my lips, And my mouth shall show forth Your praise. 16 For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give [it]; You do not delight in burnt offering. 17 The sacrifices of God [are] a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart–These, O God, You will not despise.

The acknowledgement, confession, and humility of David after his great sin — and the love of Christ to restore David to the throne again and to once more bless him so that even today his sin is not as greatly remembered as his commitment to God — ONLY GOD”S GRACE…


  1. Are you walking on the path of Sin — recognize where you are in the steps and cry out to God for help and strength and courage to turn
  2. Determine to always ask the Lord if there is a work you should be doing, and a place you should be —