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. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem. (II Samuel 11:1)
“The moment of greatest vulnerability is the instant immediately after victory.” These words of the famous French leader, Napoleon Bonaparte, have proven true many a time in military conflict. They also hold true in spiritual warfare.
When we think we have won the battle, we begin to relax. That gives the enemy the prime opportunity to counterattack. King David is an example of this.
It was not immediately after a victory that David was overrun by his enemy, but he was still living in the glow of triumph. The summer before had brought a string of victories to the army David had commanded in the field. But as David understood, this was not due to military strength or strategy. The success of David still rested in the hand of God. He had spelled it out for the giant Goliath, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty…” (I Samuel 17:45)
With sword and spear, he had attacked and defeated Philistines and Moabites and Ammonites. But the Enemy behind the enemies had always been Satan. The forces of evil counterattacked David in the spring of the year when he took some time off for R&R.
His troops went off to war, but he, the warrior king, chose to stay behind to live the safe and easy life in Jerusalem. It almost cost him his eternal life.
Walking on his rooftop in the cool of the evening, he spotted a beautiful woman taking a bath. Her name was Bathsheba. She was married to one of David’s top generals, now deployed against enemies.
Before this was over, David would become guilty of adultery and murder. Worse yet, he would close himself off from God. For a year, he lived in bitter denial as he rejected repentance.
Satan’s counterattack on David’s relationship with the Lord overran all of David’s defenses. He was rescued by reinforcements that he did not ask for or want. But God provided them anyway. God send Nathan, the Old Testament priest, to render the verdict of “Guilty!” for sins that David had successfully hidden from everyone else.
David’s repentance and re-grip on his faith stopped the counterattack cold. Once again he became the person who lived his life and fought his battles in the name of the Lord.
It makes us think, doesn’t it? How many Christian warriors have fallen in spiritual battle while on leave or R&R? How many times have we stumbled in faith when we let our guard down? How many “good times” could have been the death of us?
What’s a lesson from David’s life? Downtime can become the most dangerous time.
Watch for Satan’s counterattack.
Holy God, you see everything and know everything. Ordinarily this would scare us. But because we know that you are on our side against the Devil and all his works and all his ways, your omniscience brings us comfort. You can see where and how Satan is planning his next attack against us. You stand ready to prepare us for spiritual battle. You are willing to send in help when we are being overrun. Make us willing to accept your help. Guard us against counterattacks.
Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain
and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida
Provided by WELS Ministry to the Military