You Mean it’s not all about Me?

A woman is bathing on the rooftop.  The king sees her and decides he must have her.  He sends for her, and so begins one of the biggest blowups in the Bible.  But what about the woman?  Was she looking for the attention of the King or was she an innocent victim?

We don’t know what Bathsheba’s intentions were.  I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what I was missing in my reading, and finally realized her intentions weren’t important to the telling of the story. The story wasn’t really about her. She became a very important figure in the Bible and was mentioned in the lineage of Jesus, but she was identified only as the wife of Uriah the Hittite.

Can you imagine being in her story, what it must have been like to lose her husband, then marry the King, then have a baby, then lose that baby?  And that was just the beginning of the tragedy that ensued.  I know in that situation I would have been crying out to God, “Why me?  Why are you doing this to me?”  But, you see, it wasn’t about her or we would know the details.

The story was about King David and his blowup.  Bathsheba played a part, but the story unfolding was his story.  I can’t count how many times I ask God why.  Very frequently, the answer is – it’s not about me. That place of asking why comes from a focus on myself, and comes from taking my eyes off what He wants for me in the moment. It comes from selfish pride, thinking the world revolves around me and I am here to be happy.

Oh wait, you mean I wasn’t put on this Earth to be happy?  Not exactly.  Sure, God wants us to be happy, but He first commands us to be obedient and serve Him.

Love the Lord your God and serve Him with all your heart and all your soul.  Deuteronomy 11:13 

I think Bathsheba got this. In the few verses where she is mentioned as taking action, that action began with bowing before the King.  She eventually gave birth to the wisest man on earth, and could have been either the inspiration for the author of the Proverbs 31. While we don’t know her intentions, we do see the fruit of her actions, and we see how God redeemed her circumstances.

But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more. Romans 5:20

For me, the story of Bathsheba is one of obedience, of service, and of grace. But today, she is a good reminder it isn’t always about me.

About the Writer:
Wendy is a wife and mother who works full time in Risk Management.  Here at First Dallas she serves in Sunday school, helps coordinate Angel tree, and teaches at Discipleship University.  Her greatest joy comes from discovering how following Jesus can greatly impact her daily life and the lives of those she cares about in innumerable, practical ways.

You are a God Who Sees

Then she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, “You are a God who sees.” Genesis 16:13 

An opportunity presented itself and I was more than eager to take it on. I was soon to begin a writing venture that I had so longed to start. I packed my bags and headed to Alabama to one of the most sought out vacation spots. As I pulled into the lodge, I was both intrigued and overwhelmed by all that awaited me. I pushed ahead of my emotions and plunged into the work that had been appointed for me to do.

As the production proceeded, day after day, more strength was needed as well as extra time to finish. Instead of the joy I thought I would experience, a dread was attaching itself to my heart. I loved writing, but it was becoming more of a chore than a delight and I couldn’t understand why.

My mind became captivated with the mere thought of finishing strong while the energy to continue the task was fading. Time was running out and so was my joy. However, as I continued to work hard on the job at hand, God was working intensely on the heart within.

I finally reached a point of what authors call, “writer’s block.” I knew I needed to remove myself from my room, in which I had been enclosed for days, and just take a ride in the car. Yet what I thought would be a time to clear my mind, God knew it would be an opportunity to clear my heart.

I was completely engrossed by a sermon on the radio as I pulled up beside a boat dock that over- looked a beautiful river. Tears began to stream down my face, as I sat there alone, listening and praying. God knew that submerged deep within me were issues that needed resolving regarding my life. As I poured my heart out to Him, I was deeply touched by the mere fact that His eyes saw me. I was in the middle of nowhere, tears pouring, yet my Lord took notice.

Now the angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, by the spring on the way to Shur.  He said, “Hagar, Sarai’s maid, where have you come from and where are you going?” And she said, “I am fleeing from the presence of my mistress Sarai.”  Genesis 16:7-8 

Sarai, unable to conceive a child, wanted desperately to have a family. While taking matters into her own hands, she resolved to give her Egyptian maid, Hagar, to her husband Abram in hopes of obtaining children. Yet immediately after Hagar conceived, a great friction took place between the two women and Hagar ran away.

While coursing through the desert, Hagar found herself sitting down by a well, broken, rejected and afraid. No sooner had she arrived that an angel of the Lord met her there. As He began to encourage her heart, she was engulfed with joy by the mere fact that God took notice of where she was and of what she was going through. She later sighed, “You are a God who sees.”

Just like Hagar, I too was overtaken by the goodness and mercy of God. And even though my journey was producing discouragement, earnestly imploring me to quit, God met me where I was and intervened in a battle raging strong within my heart. My God took notice and He took action!

Remember, discouragement and hopelessness will always beg for entrance to your life. Yet when you allow God to flip on His light switch to your heart, you will be amazed at what transpires, as He takes center stage of your spirit. Hopelessness will quickly bow out.

There is nothing which you and I will ever face that God will not take notice of. God met Hagar sitting by a well. He met me sitting by a river. And He will meet you wherever you are today.

About the Writer:
Shea is the mother of two and nana of five and enjoys both roles tremendously. She loves the opportunity to serve through various ministries at First Baptist Dallas as well as Entrusted Hope Ministry.  She also speaks to women’s groups, assists with biblical counseling when opportunities arise and is constantly working to develop women’s Bible studies. Shea received her bachelor’s degree in Christian Ministry from Blue Mountain College in Blue Mountain, Mississippi; her master’s degree in Biblical Counseling from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas; and began her doctoral work at Southwestern this past fall.

Cray Cray!

Have you heard the newer expression “cray cray” or “cray”? It’s used to describe someone or something that is crazy on another level, the ultimate crazy. It surfaced a few years ago and is now part of my personal vocabulary, especially at work where I am an emergency room nurse. The days in the emergency room can get cray!

Noah’s Ark riding on a swell after the Great Flood

To every living person on the Earth, Noah was cray cray. This guy was building a massive boat for an impending flood that only he knew about, in a land where there was no rain in sight.  And why was he building the boat? Because God told him to. That reasoning did not fly with his culture, much like it does not hold much merit in ours today. But Noah did not care. Day after day he built that boat despite enduring what I can only imagine as some intense persecution. Undergoing name-calling, jeering, and bullying on top of extremely hard physical labor must have been grueling. In Hebrews 11:7 NIV, the Bible says that out of “holy fear” Noah built the ark.

The Bible gives us some insight into what the people were like in Noah’s world. From Genesis 6, the Bible says that they were evil, that they thought evil all the time (with the exception of Noah.) The Bible goes on to say:

And just as it happened in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man:  they were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Luke 17:26-27

This means that our culture is going to continue to get worse until Jesus Christ comes to reign. My question is this:  As our culture becomes increasingly depraved, will we have the faith and perseverance to stand up for righteousness or will we succumb to the ways of the world because it’s easier to do so? For example, God said in 1 Corinthians 6 do not have sex outside the bonds of marriage. Yet, sexual relations outside of the marriage bed are common even among those who are Christians.

Doing the right thing is rarely easy and honoring God with a “holy fear” of His instructions is not popular. But, if we can’t do it now when our culture is not “evil all the time” how can we expect to do it later when it is? When the persecution increases, what will be our response? I pray that I have a holy fear like Noah and follow God’s commandments, even if it means I look cray cray.

About the Writer:
Natalie is a stay at home mom to two young boys. Additionally, she occasionally works as an emergency room nurse and is studying to become a Nurse Practitioner. She and her husband have been called into the medical mission field and are excited to see what the Lord has in store for their lives.

Keep Your Eye on the Ball

Recently I attended my three year old grandson’s Blast Ball game. Blast Ball is the precursor to T-Ball. The athletes are three or four years old and the object is for them to learn the basics of the game.  Their coach is constantly telling them to keep their eyes on the ball.  It is a very simple instruction, but if it is not done, they can’t play the game well.

King David is described in the Bible as being a man after God’s own heart.  David loved the Lord and wanted to follow Him, but even David is guilty of taking his eye off of the ball.  Scripture tells us:

Then it happened in the spring, 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 sons of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David stayed at Jerusalem.  2 Samuel 11:1

One of the worst choices David ever made was simply to stay at home and not go to war with his men. It was a simple choice that he was entitled to make, but it was a choice that took David’s eye off of the Lord and the business that the Lord had for him to do.  David’s decision not to go to war with his men set the stage for the temptation that followed, and a series of events that drastically affected David’s future as well as the future of his entire family and his kingdom.  If David had gone to war with his men, he would not have fallen into sin with Bathsheba.  He would not have needed to resort to having Uriah (Bathsheba’s husband) killed in battle.  It would have changed the future of his family and his kingdom.

Can you identify with David? Have you ever made a decision that didn’t seem like a big deal at the time but later came back to haunt you? Taking our eyes off of what the Lord would have us focus on always leads to disobedience and sin.  In hindsight, we can always see clearly where one simple choice got us headed in the wrong direction.

The good news is that the Lord is always willing to forgive when we are willing to admit our failure.  David wrote Psalm 51 after he sinned with Bathsheba.  Take a moment to read and reflect on Psalm 51 and remember to keep your eye on the ball!

About the Writer:
Anna is a mother to three grown children, Nana to four grandchildren and enjoys coordinating Prison Ministry for her church. Her desire is to finish this life well by pointing others to faith in Jesus Christ and to a deeper reliance on Him.