A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest—and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man. (Proverbs 6:10-11)
Does today’s title strike you as odd? Whether we grew up in a Christian home or not, just about everyone remembers the story as being just the opposite: David slays the giant! The shepherd boy David was the anointed of God, chosen to be the next king of Israel. Along the way, David stepped up for his nation and accepted the challenge from the giant Goliath. Armed with only a sling, five smooth stones, and unwavering faith in his God, David slew the giant.
But there is another giant in David’s story. Let’s take a look.
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 . . . But David remained in Jerusalem. One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, “She is Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (2 Samuel 11:1-4)
Up until this time in David’s life, he had known only victory. Why? Because David was more focused on God than he was himself. David was living according to God’s will for his life rather than for his own will. But now something was different . . . very different. David was more concerned with satisfying his desires than living out his devotion to God. Many Christians see the giant that now confronted David as the giant Lust, and that is certainly true. But there was another giant that challenged David long before his lustful look at Bathsheba.
You see, springtime in the Near East was the best time to engage in a military campaign. The winter rains would have subsided and the fall harvest had not yet arrived. So when we read that David sent Joab and the entire Israelite army out “in the spring, at the time when kings go off to war,” the Holy Spirit intends to arrest our attention and cause us to look for the deeper meaning in the text. King David should have been leading in battle, but he chose to send Joab in his place and relax at the palace. David neglected his calling as king and his purpose in leading the Israelite armies in the battles of His Lord. Instead of doing battle in the fields of Rabbah of the Ammonites, David lounged in his bed in Jerusalem. The giant of Sinful Slumber slew King David long before the giant Lust unlimbered its deadly sword. When David abandoned his purpose he paid a very heavy price, as did all those he was responsible for leading.
We are rightly inspired when we read of David’s glorious victory against Goliath, but may his appalling failure also inspire us as we begin another year. Let us stay focused and committed to our calling, regardless of the cost or circumstance, knowing that “A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest” may very well lead us into ignoble defeat, just as the great king David was conquered by the giant of Sinful Slumber.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!