And a traveler came to the rich man, who refused to take from his own flock and from his own herd to prepare one for the wayfaring man who had come to him; but he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.”
II Samuel 12:4
I like analogies because they explain one concept through the lens of another. The comparison between two similar/dissimilar things can reveal new insights and open our understanding.
This post is about a comparison between a traveler and our fleshly lusts.
Then the Lord sent Nathan to David. And he came to him, and said to him: “There were two men in one city, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had exceedingly many flocks and herds. But the poor man had nothing, except one little ewe lamb which he had bought and nourished; and it grew up together with him and with his children. It ate of his own food and drank from his own cup and lay in his bosom; and it was like a daughter to him. And a traveler came to the rich man, who refused to take from his own flock and from his own herd to prepare one for the wayfaring man who had come to him; but he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.” So David’s anger was greatly aroused against the man, and he said to Nathan, “ As the Lord lives, the man who has done this shall surely die! And he shall restore fourfold for the lamb, because he did this thing and because he had no pity.” Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your keeping, and gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if that had been too little, I also would have given you much more!
II Samuel 12:1-8 NKJV
David had taken Bathsheba, slept with her, got her pregnant, conducted a scheme to cover his tracks, and had Bathsheba’s husband executed. This happened in the spring time “at the time when kings go out to battle.” (11:1) Instead of being where he ought to be – at battle – David stayed home.
When I observe Nathan’s parable, a question arises. The identity of the rich man and poor man seems clear. David represents the rich man and Uriah the poor man. When Nathan speaks about the “exceedingly many flocks and herds” versus the poor man’s one little lamb, this seems to refer to David’s multiple wives and concubines. Uriah, on the other hand, had only one wife, who, apparently, he loved and cherished for a long time. These comparisons are fairly clear. But there is one question that remains: who is the traveler?
And a traveler came to the rich man, who refused to take from his own flock…
I think the traveler is a representation of our fleshly lusts. Imagine David in the middle of the night, with nothing productive to do, (because he should have been doing his calling but instead he was idle). Lust comes upon him, and he goes up on the rooftop. Did he go on the rooftop intending to look at naked women bathing in the moonlight? I do not know. Regardless if the lust drove him up there or came upon him while he was there, the lust was present. Instead of satisfying this lust, feeding this traveler, in a God-honoring manner (scripture tells us the marriage bed is undefiled), he instead takes Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba.
Now, is this analysis not true? Does lust never operate this way? Whether it be sexual or some other kind of passion, doesn’t it come upon us like a traveler? It doesn’t stay for long. In fact, once satisfied it quickly goes away. As believers, this traveler doesn’t really live here anymore, but it still makes visits. Uncleanness, greed, hatred, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, envy, etc… These fleshly lusts used to have control over us. Yet, we no longer practice them! For those who practice such cannot inherit the Kingdom of God! (Galatians 5:21) And we now live in the Spirit!
Yet, don’t these travelers still visit us? I think it is important to understand that we can avoid the traveler! David was not where he was supposed to be. He was avoiding his call, so that left him open to entertain the traveler. When we neglect the ministry God has given us or the call God has placed on our lives, we leave ourselves as playground for fleshly lusts. We ought to present ourselves to be used by God instead of presenting ourselves to fleshly lusts. (Romans 6) Our hearts and bodies must remain in a position to serve God! When Cain didn’t offer God his best, murder and envy traveled right to his front door. And Cain received them as guests because his heart wasn’t in a position to avoid them.
I think it is important to understand that we can outlast the traveler! The next time one comes, go ahead and take a walk! The traveller is in a rush because it knows it can’t stay long. Thus, it tries to rush us into committing sin. Resist it! Outlast it! Joseph resisted and outlasted! When the time was ripe, and he was alone with Potiphar’s wife, he continued to resist and took a walk! In fact, Joseph probably didn’t just walk, he ran! Outlast the traveller!
I think it is important to understand that we can defeat the traveler! For greater is He, the Holy Spirit, that is within us, then the spirit that comes from the world! We can rebuke it! Jesus told Satan, “Get thee behind me!” Jesus quoted scripture as the devil, in all his deception, tried to tempt Jesus! So let us arm ourselves with the Word of God and defeat the traveler when it refuses to obey the will of God!
Altogether, is this not true? Does not fleshly lusts act like travelers? What do you think? And how will you deal with the traveler when it tries to visit you?
16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.