As I began to try to pursue Jesus I read anything that crossed my path surrounding the need to heal. Angie Smith wrote a devotional surrounding what she learned while carrying a baby that doctors had determined would not survive long after birth. In her book Mended Smith writes:
“I came across a sentence that explained how this certain type of bird learned how to sing. I didn’t finish reading it before the tenderness overcame me. And this particular bird cannot learn to sing in the daylight because it is always concerned with the chatter around it. Instead, its cage must be covered so that it is in complete darkness. Then, it is able to hear its master and will learn to sing. More than a sparrow. More than the pitch-black darkness. He loves me.” A little digging of my own confirmed the depth of the symbolism Smith had stumbled upon. In All About Birds it says “White Sparrow: Young White-crowned Sparrows don’t just learn any song they hear, however. It is as though they are predisposed to learn their own species’ song. If housed with a Song Sparrow and a White-crowned Sparrow, the young bird will learn the song of its own species. If only housed with a Song Sparrow, however, White-crowned Sparrows sometimes learn to sing as a Song Sparrow does. Most songbirds seem to have what is called a “sensitive period” for song learning. It is during this brief period that birds are best equipped to memorize details of a tutor’s song. For the White-crowned Sparrow, this period is between about 15 and 50 days of age. After that, learning becomes more difficult.”
Do you see the distinction? When housed with their own species a White-crowned sparrow will learn the song of its own species. Isn’t that how humans are also? When we are surrounded by the chatter of other humans we buy into their words as truth, even when those words contradict scripture. Yet when we focus on the words of God alone, we learn to sing HIS song.
“Then it happened in the spring, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him and all Israel, and they destroyed the sons of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David stayed at Jerusalem.
2 Now when evening came David arose from his bed and walked around on the roof of the king’s house, and from the roof he saw a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful in appearance. 3 So David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, “Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” 4 David sent messengers and took her, and when she came to him, he lay with her; and when she had purified herself from her uncleanness, she returned to her house. 5 The woman conceived; and she sent and told David, and said, “I am pregnant.” “
Reflect: Oh David. There is so much in these two chapters of 2 Samuel! Chapter 11:1 kind of says it all doesn’t it? “the time when kings go out to battle…David stayed in Jerusalem”. David was the King and in many ways untouchable. His word was the final say on anything, so when he said go without him his soldiers headed off to battle, and David was left surrounded by people who would let him do whatever it was he pleased, and a lot of space to do things without being seen.
As the story continues, Nathan confronts David and his perspective is righted. David was called a man after God’s own heart and Psalm 51 is an example of why. Theologians believe David wrote this in response to Nathan’s rebuke.
Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity
And cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions,
And my sin is ever before me.
4 Against You, You only, I have sinned
And done what is evil in Your sight,
So that You are justified when You speak
And blameless when You judge.
5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
And in sin my mother conceived me.
6 Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being,
And in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom.
7 Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Make me to hear joy and gladness,
Let the bones which You have broken rejoice.
9 Hide Your face from my sins
And blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from Your presence
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation
And sustain me with a willing spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners will be converted to You.
14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, the God of my salvation;
Then my tongue will joyfully sing of Your righteousness.
15 O Lord, open my lips,
That my mouth may declare Your praise.
16 For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it;
You are not pleased with burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.
18 By Your favor do good to Zion;
Build the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then You will delight in righteous sacrifices,
In burnt offering and whole burnt offering;
Then young bulls will be offered on Your altar.
Record: Do you agree David’s own choices opened the door to poor choices?
Do you have someone in your life who can help you change your perspective?
Review: One of the things that kept me in my seasons of wilderness thinking was that I surrounded myself with people who saw things the same way I did. My experience with women is that I can always find someone willing to join a pity party or agree. I also found that I had a habit of seeking out people who agree with me instead of trusting the advisors I’ve built into my life.
It’s a funny thing, I’m willing to trust someone as long as they agree with me or disagree on something that I don’t feel to passionately about, but as soon as I need someone to affirm my choice (regardless of how bad it is) I no longer trust the same people I trusted just a few weeks prior! This is actually something I’ve worked hard on changing. It may seem silly, but I actually talk to myself and remind myself of all the ways I have trusted an advisor and tell myself I can’t dismiss their opinion. The willingness to consider the advice of those who disagree or see things from a different perspective has kept me out of the wilderness on multiple occasions!