If you’ve ever been to church, then I’m sure you’ve heard the story about King David and Bathsheba.

There’s an important lesson for us, but one you might not expect. First, let’s back track and tell a quick recap of the story.

“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.” (2 Samuel 11:1)

Stop right there. We needn’t go further.

David was not in battle. He stayed home. He wasn’t where he needed to be–with his army fighting battles for the Lord. For whatever reasons, he stayed home. Some commentaries say that he became lazy in his disciplines of morning, noon and night praying and he was not exercising as he should be. He let his guard down.

Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible says this,

“Idleness gives great advantage to the tempter. Standing waters gather filth. The bed of sloth often proves the bed of lust.”

Do you remember the story from there? David sees a beautiful Bathsheba bathing, from his room. He asks one of his men to go get Bathsheba. He sleeps with her and even conceives a child. When David finds this out, he plots to kill her husband, Uriah. David went from the mighty king, little boy who killed Goliath and “man after God’s own heart” to an adulterer and murderer.

When we read this passage, the first thing we all think of is sexual sin, so where am I going with this? What does this have to do with your physical life?


My friends, are we being idle with our lives? Are we allowing the temptation of food, laziness, or even the lure of an unattainable self image to creep into our lives?

“Idleness gives great advantage to the tempter.”

The Marriage of Idleness and Temptation: www.claresmith.me

Does this mean we need to fill our days with unnecessary things that are meaningless to keep us away from that bag of chips? No.

Does this mean that we can’t stop and “smell the coffee” for a little while on a gorgeous afternoon. Not at all.

Does this mean we have to live in a constant state of motion, scurrying around from activity to activity. No way.

What this does mean is that we have to be aware.

“Idleness gives great advantage to the tempter.”

Let’s be clear. I’m not mistaking relaxation with idleness. Relaxation has a purpose-to rejuvenate and to refresh. Idleness has no purpose. It’s twiddling our thumbs and filling up time with empty nothingness. (Compare it with choosing an apple to a candy bar for your snack)

“We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies.” (2 Thessalonians 3:11)

If you are struggling with weight loss, overeating, or the lack of motivation to exercise, then I’d encourage you to review your daily schedule. Are you leaving open spaces there for you to be tempted? I know for me, when it’s late at night, I sit at the computer or tv. It’s there that I grab unhealthy snacks and eat with no care to what is going in my mouth. Other times, I get caught up in reading celebrity blogs or just cruising the internet “because” and before I know it, my exercise time has come and gone.

For others, the idleness doesn’t bring the temptation of eating, but emotional. You have romantic feelings for someone other than your spouse. You use idle time on the computer and start reliving feelings of an old boyfriend and remember the past. Others of you will read books that fill your mind with fantasy that only plants unhealthy expectations for yourself and your husband. You may watch tv programs that give you an unhealthy view of your body.

Do NOT give advantage to the tempter. Oh yes–there is a great tempter who is out to take you down. Let’s not forget that.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy…” (John 10:10)

Get a plan. Find a friend. Join an exercise class. Leave the house. Shut down the computer. Set a timer.

This is your life. Guard it with intense passion and see the fruit of joy and freedom come with it.