2 Samuel 11:1 “And it came to pass, after the year was expired, at the time when kings go forth to battle, that David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the children of Ammon, and besieged Rabbah. But David tarried still at Jerusalem.”
There are many schools of thought to this thing called ‘routine’.
Some say that routine is the boundaries by which we order our life. Others say that routine is the death knell to creativity. There are examples on both sides to make it quite an interesting debate; but, for today, I would like to put forth a simple thought.
Routine keeps me from the opportunity to sin.
We are indeed creatures of habit. At the simplest of levels, our habits of eating and sleeping become the very routine of life. Dietitians will caution us only to eat when we are hungry. Others would have us eat smaller meals at intervals throughout our day.
Routine can make us almost Pavlovian in our activity until we understand why it is we do what we do. Regarding our eating habits – some eat to live while others live to eat.
Depriving ourselves or gorging ourselves is not good. Living at the extreme of either end of the routine is destructive.
But when a good and right routine is decided on and lived out, it can help to keep us from straying into areas where we might otherwise be out of our element or in a place where we lack control.
David lived in a culture and society that had a season for war. It was expected that the king was to go out to lead that war.
“…at the time when kings go forth to battle”
Departing from or neglecting to participate in that routine may not have seemed much at the time, but God allows us to take a court-side view to David’s life to see how that one decision affected him, and the whole nation of Israel.
Call it laziness, call it was weariness, or just desiring a change of pace; David had some justification for staying home when it was expected for him to lead the armies of Israel into battle. We will come up with the perfect argument as to why we depart from the ‘routine.’
Whether it is the routine of our eating habits, sleeping, work, marriage, parenting, walk with God, church attendance, witnessing, or prayer; departing from those things we do routinely in our life opens the door for sin to enter in.
In our faith-based addiction program RU Recovery, we have a principle we teach:
Small compromises lead to great disasters or little sins lead to big sins.
It is supported biblically.
James 1:14-15 “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”
To lust is not sin.
To be enticed is not sin.
But starting down that path does lead to sin.
Our enemy, Satan, can only present an opportunity – he cannot make you sin. We are the ones who choose sin.
Routine can become that barricade to the path that leads to lust, enticement, and ultimately, sin. Going around the barrier opens the door to opportunities that routine would keep from us.
Sometimes it is seeing something or someone that God never intended for us to cross paths. We look, lust, and give in to the enticement of whatever or whoever is now in front of us.
You would never think that just browsing the internet would lead to a pornography addiction. But ask any porn addict as to how it started, and you will find the small compromise that led to their great disaster.
Ask the adulterer just where it began, and you will hear of a chance meeting; a workplace relationship or an acquaintance that became so much more because of the opportunities that presented themselves.
Ask the drug addict, and you will hear the story of how one small opportunity presented itself and the hook of drug addiction came hard and fast into their life like a freight train.
Ask a backslidden child of God just where things went wrong, and you will hear how church become boring, reading the Bible became mundane, and prayer seemed a chore.
Sometimes it is not the fact that we lack routine; it is because we do not have routine in the things that will keep our hearts and minds from that slippery slope that leads to sin.
When we are hit and miss in anything God tells us to do, it will result in failure. Whether it is terrible friends that pull us into behavior that leads to sin or departing from the routine of those things that keep us right; we must have the discipline and character to remove ourselves or allow others to come alongside us to strengthen that which we cannot do on our own.
Most often, it is because we have already failed in an area that we are presented with the opportunity again to make a better decision. Insanity becomes the result when we try to remedy the situation using the wrong solution over and over thinking there will be a different outcome.
David had the man of God that came to Him to point out his sin. What David did after the confrontation was up to him. You and I are no different.
Whether it is in our Bible reading, hearing a pointed message from a Spirit-filled preacher, or a song with a truth that grips our heart; we must choose to get right, to do right, and establish routines in our life to stay right.
If you have lived any length of time as a saved child of God, you have talked yourself into and out of situations and circumstances that have had both good and bad consequences. Take a lesson from David – stick to the routine and be in your place. Being in your place will keep you from being exposed to something God never meant for you to come into contact.
Proverbs 4:23-27 “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee. Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.”