It was several months ago that I stumbled across a verse of scripture that I had read hundreds of times before. Yet somehow, as if all of a sudden struck with a “Fifty First Dates” knock on the head, everything became different, and I took a pause to reflect on this pearl of great price I had now found. It appeared to me as I read the following words in the book of II Samuel, highlighting the beginning journey of a man after God’s own heart now taking a very serious turn for the worst. This insightful text reads,
“In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel. And they ravaged the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem”[i].
It was then that this thought leapt off the page and into the very sinew of my bones as to what really led to the beginning of the great King’s ruination, and not as we at first might conclude. For those unfamiliar, it is in the very next verses, that as he is at ease in Zion with nothing else to do but drink fine wine and eat chocolates tucked neatly under his pillow that the great King happenstances upon what no married man should ever gaze upon and then look twice without paying the piper dearly: that of a woman bathing with the glow of her endless curves glistening in the erotic moonlight, and then back into the lustful eye of a man temporarily diverted from the very purpose for which he was born.
There are of course a whole lot of lessons here to pull from, but the one I missed for far too long is laid out for us like a deer in the scope of a hunter’s rifle: When a man no longer has a battle, or something to strive for, he is as lost as a ship in the devil’s triangle, and this fantastic distraction will eventually become the tragic story of a man who has been found permanently “Dead in Absentia”. Yet the sadness lies in the fact that a prophet (Nathan) is the only one sending out an SOS, while the inattentive male now slips into irrelevant oblivion!
You see every man has something to conquer, something to do, and something to say clearly and forthrightly. Yet oftentimes, like a dog who quits chasing cars once the “family jewels” are removed, a man’s devolutionary emasculation pilgrimage happens slowly like the boiling of the frog in the kettle. Yet when it is complete; the easy chair, cold beer and Sunday football usher him into the status of a dead man walking, not easily observed until the Dr. calls much later with the dreaded news.
I know so many like this, and I’ve become somewhat of an expert in its reflection, because I too have been summoned by the subtle call of a meaningless life of endless commentating on the sidelines, away from the fear of a “Clowney-like” hit. After all, we are afraid of failure, and yet equally afraid of our possible success. We start to listen to the voices that tell us not to give it a college try, to play it safe, and to leave our appendage at the door for the wife to keep in her purse until we return. Passivity becomes comfort food for the couch potato who has now become content to play video games and watch the fight on TV, rather than find a battle of his own that requires full engagement instead of capitulating to Sunday buffets and a slow death by gamma rays.
Oh to be sure this is happening across our country like a freight train coming through our front door, yet even those of us men who call ourselves Christians have also become spiritually impotent. We chuckle as fat men with big cigars, ear hair and “no life” admire the likes of Hugh Hefner, while continually denigrating Tim Tebow and Mark Wahlberg for taking a moral stance, and amidst a culture who spent more time mourning the death of Princess Diana than Mother Theresa. We’re afraid to say we follow the carpenter and His cross in public at least, and we leave it up to our wives to take our kids to church. We even succumb to electing our wives surrogate Dads, now left alone to try and teach our young men what it means to be a man of conviction and purpose. Young men who gladly wear chivalry in their very being as a badge of honor, and who would gladly take a bullet for their wife and kids on any given day. Meanwhile, the emasculated Christian male settles down to our own endless private screening of women bathing in the buff, using all kinds of excuses for the need to do so; secretly scratching our head as to why the spark left the bedroom long, long ago–leaving our wives to the slippery slope of Fifty Shades of Grey.
The truth is men; the safety and pleasures of Jerusalem are no place for us to be when the invitation to ravage the Ammonites and besiege Rabbah is before us. This is not what Kings do!
So Men, get off the damn couch! It’s time to chase cars again!
[i] 2 Samuel 11:1 ESV