March 31

2 Samuel 13-15, Psalm 90

A recent picture was shown placing Hugh Hefner and Billy Graham side by side. The caption read: 2 men. Both died recently in their 90's. Both influenced the world. Both born into Christian homes. 1 saw only religion & led millions astray. The other saw the Savior and led millions to faith (Mark Varughese). Hugh Hefner is quoted as saying:, "One of the greatest ironies in our society is that we celebrate freedom and then limit the parts of life where we should be most free." He also said, "You're as young as the girl you feel." Billy Graham is quoted as saying:, "It is the Holy Spirit's job to convict, God's job to judge and my job to love." He also said, "God proved His love on the Cross. When Christ hung, and , and died, it was God saying to the world, 'I love you'." One was an example of what lust offers, the other what love offers. Lust takes, love gives and we must never forget this distinction. The world with the internet has elevated lust to unprecedented levels. Addiction to pornography is rampant in both Non-Christian and Christian circles.

We get one of the truest pictures of lust in today's reading. The story involves two of David's children from two different wives: Amnon and his half-sister Tamar. We read in 2 Samuel 13:1-2, "After this Absalom the son of David had a lovely sister, whose name was Tamar; and Amnon the son of David loved her. Ammon was so distressed over his sister Tamar that he became sick; for she was a virgin. And it was improper for Amnon to do anything to her". With the help of his cunning friend Jonadab, he found a way to trick her into being in his bedroom alone. We read the attack start in 13:11-12, "Now when she had brought them to him to eat, he took hold of her and said to her, "Come, lie with me, my sister." But she answered him, "No, my brother, do not force me, for no such thing should be done in Israel. Do not do this disgraceful thing!" We see the drama unfold in 13:14, "However, he would not heed her voice; and being stronger than she, he forced her and lay with her". We then see the truth behind lust as opposed to true love in 13:15,17, "Then Amnon hated her exceedingly, so that the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her. And Amnon said to her, "Arise, be gone!"...Then he called his servant who attended him, and said, "Here! Put this woman out, away from me, and bolt the door behind her." That is the harsh reality behind lust. Once the object of the lust is conquered the object soon becomes one of hate to be discarded. Tamar, the one Amnon "loved" was tossed aside no longer worth anything to him. Tamar was destroyed in the process.

Pornography, prostitution, the sex-slave trade only exists because of those who want it. Many marriages and lives have been destroyed because of lust. Jesus said in Matthew 5:28, "But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart." When David spotted Bathsheba on the rooftop in 2 Samuel 11:2, it wasn't the casual glance that resulted in adultery, it was the next verse in 11:3, "So David sent and inquired about the woman...", which did him in. James writes in James 1:14-15, "But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death." Lust in the area of sexual temptation is rampant, especially among men. This temptation must be treated as the cancer which it is. It's frequency cannot be a cause for a relaxed attitude about it. Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount said to deal harshly with this temptation. Paul in 1 Corinthians 6:18 said to, "Flee sexual immorality." It would do everyone well to remember this picture of how quickly Amnon changed from "love" to hate when confronted with lust.

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Marj Lancaster