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Kill it now!

March 10, 2010 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

“The Mississippi’s mighty but it starts in Minnesota at a place where you could walk across with five steps down.” (Indigo Girls, Ghost)

This past Sunday, I preached on one of the most stunning passages in the whole Bible, the story of how King David, the man after God’s own heart, slept with Bathsheba, the wife of one of his best friends, and then had his friend killed to cover it up. That passage, in 2 Samuel 11, begins famously with these words: “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.” As the narrator makes clear, if David were only where he should have been, none of this would have happened. But instead, we find David arising from a late afternoon nap, wandering up to the roof of his palace, and seeing Bathsheba bathing naked nearby. One thing leads to another, and soon David has broken almost half of the Ten Commandments in an incredibly thoughtless escapade.

As the aforementioned Indigo Girls’ lyrics put it, even a raging river begins as a little stream.

My yard, like many yards in New England, can often get filled up with acorns from the oak trees that populate my property. I have spent many seasons of my life collecting bushels full of acorns that have fallen around the yard. It is staggering to believe that each little acorn has the capacity to grow into another giant oak tree. But even though picking up acorns can be tiresome work, think of how much easier it is to collect acorns than to cut down a forest of oak trees. Likewise, think how much easier it would have been for David to stop looking at the naked Bathsheba than to deal with the mess that would soon be created by adultery, murder, and the attempted cover-up.

Every raging river begins as a narrow stream. Every oak tree began as a tiny acorn. And every mess we find ourselves in begins with one bad decision, one poorly chosen word or action. How much easier would it be to collect the acorn than to chop down the oak tree? How much easier would it be to cross the narrow stream than to ford the raging river?

In each of our lives, there are problems and struggles that right now are the size of an acorn or a stream. They may not seem like big deals at their present size, but left unattended and not dealt with, they will soon become a mighty oak tree, rooted strongly in the soil of our lives, or a raging river, out of control and unable to be tamed. The misunderstanding between friends that eventually becomes an irreparable rift. The occasional drink that threatens over time to become a full-blown addiction. The simple drifting away from God that one day can become complete indifference or rebellion.

David learned the hard way that it is much easier to deal with sin before it becomes an irreparable mess. Whatever you are facing, deal with it now, before the stream becomes a raging river, before the acorn becomes an oak tree. Confess your sin. Make the relationship right. Tackle the habit head-on. Do it now, before it destroys your life.

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