I was looking through our family photo albums this past weekend and happened to run across some fun pictures of my two oldest kids when they were only 8 and 6 years old.
These snapshots were taken at High Rock Lake in North Carolina during the drought of 2002. Normally, the company that controls the dam keeps the water level high enough for recreation during the summer and occasionally allows it to drain down during the winter, but 2002 was different. By mid-summer, the lake was so low that grass had grown up where water was supposed to be making it impossible to do any water activities. All that remained of what was usually a place of busy summer recreation was a small stream of water down the center of the lake basin.
When the kids asked to play in the water, I didn’t see any reason not to let them splash around in what amounted to a large creek, but I didn’t account for how muddy a lake bed actually could be. And before I realized it, my kids found that playing in the mud was more fun than the water. After an hour of squishing around in the ooze, they were covered from head to toe. When they returned to the house to get clean, what I realized was that the mud they were playing in was not just the ordinary mixture of dirt and water you might find in the yard. It was really a thick, sticky, oily paste, and getting it off was a lot harder than expected. We ended up dragging out the hose and using grease cutting soap to strip the residue off their skin and hair, and it took even longer to get the grimy stuff out of their bathing suits. What seemed to be harmless fun ended up being a real mess to clean up.
You know, these pictures reminded me of the story of David and Bathsheba. I’m sure that when Israel’s most famous king lingered a little too long on the rooftop of his palace watching a beautiful woman while she bathed, he thought it was harmless to have her come up to the palace for a night of secret romance. But what he (and we) discover in the chapters that follow 2 Samuel 11 is that David’s indiscretion created an immensely sticky situation. In fact, the consequences of rolling in sin for a moment left a residue that clung to him for the rest of his life. (And the mess he stirred up stuck to a whole lot of other people TOO!)
Scripture is full of warning about the dangerous and certain result of sin.
After desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. – James 1:15
For the wages of sin is death, – Rom. 6:23
Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? – Rom. 6:16
The sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in us, so that we bore fruit for death. – Rom. 7:5
Regardless of the warnings of the inevitable results of indulging our sinful pastimes (even those that don’t look too bad to OUR eyes like pride, materialism, unforgiveness, etc), we often intentionally play around in the world’s mud pit, believing that we can quickly clean ourselves up once we’re done. But scripture clearly teaches that simply isn’t the case.
Galatians 6:7 exhorts us to “not be deceived” because “God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” Remember, there are always consequences to disobedience and to ignore the predictable outcome is to buy into the enemy’s temptations and begin a journey to your own destruction.
God calls us to mediate on His Word, to believe His warnings, and then choose to avoid dangerous mud pits and voluntarily live a clean life knowing that “godliness with contentment is (the ultimate) great gain.” (1 Tim. 6:6)