King David's downfall
I've been thinking a bit about Bathsheba today, and all that went into her affair with King David. Some people think King David fell into sin because of pride. And I would agree that pride probably played a big role in his ability to give into temptations that he once could have ignored. Pride is a tricky, scary thing. Especially for one who holds absolute power over people. Of course, that wasn't always true in David's case. In the early days of his life, as a newly anointed shepherd, youngest of his father's family, he was humble. When King Saul offered his daughter's hand in marriage, his response showed how much he counted himself unworthy. But as the years went by and he sought to earn the affection of the people of Israel, to see God's promises to him fulfilled, his heart grew a little too used to celebrity. One look at the media attention of celebrities today shows us just how easily such attitudes can take hold of a person.
But such adoration is a two-edged sword. On the one hand, it must have felt good to be accepted, especially for a man who had faced enemies most of his life. That wasn't to say he didn't continue to have enemies (there are always those who allow jealousy to put them at odds with others), but on the whole, he was loved. That had to be a heady feeling. But it also came with a price.
Pride probably came subtly, as it usually does. He was king, and would have grown used to giving orders and seen them quickly obeyed. Such power is not handled well by most people. The king's heart is still a human one, and it would take a man or woman of great humility to hold such power without abusing it. David, despite his great qualities, lost his battle with humility when he needed it most. And his life changed forever by the actions that pride led him to do.
We've been discussing Christian celebrity among some author friends this week, and I've been thinking how hard it is to keep that humble spirit. How easy it is to look down on someone or to think we are better than we ought to think. There is no place in life for haughtiness. Not if we would follow Jesus' example, "Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!"
John the Baptist noticed Jesus' humility, but he also knew His greatness, that He came from God Himself. His response was one we all must take - "He must become greater; I must become less." Even if God gives us fame or fortune or power, we must remain only a reflection of Him. A background singer to His solo role, reflecting His glory.
One friend sent us a link to a YouTube video, a rap song by Lecrae titled "Background" that says it better than I can. Listen carefully to the words.
As I've listened and pondered these thoughts about pride today, I was reminded of what God really thinks of the sentiment. Isaiah says it best:
"The eyes of the arrogant man will be humble and the pride of men brought low; the LORD alone will be exalted in that day. The LORD Almighty has a day in store for all the proud and lofty, for all that is exalted (and they will be humbled),.."
Pride didn't end well for King David - or for any of us. It is a subject worth pondering.