David Chapter 18: David and 419

We don’t know exactly when he made the resolutions but at some point, David made some resolutions. They might have been new year resolutions. Please don’t think that’s January 1. The ancients used a lunar calendar not the solar one we use. It’s why the months in the Bible don’t correlate with ours. Tishri, the civil new year fell September/October in our modern calendar. Nissan (not the car) was the religious new year. It fell in March/April. Shebat is actually the equivalence of our January/February but it was the eleventh month. Their calendar was based on the cycles of the moon. In fact, the Hebrew term for “month,” Chodesh, means “new moon.” And the lunar month was thirty days though the lunar cycle was 291/2 days. Keeping the lunar calendar coordinated with the seasons required adding a thirteenth month to the lunar calendar seven out of nineteen years. You can see how convoluted that system of calendar is, but let’s leave all that. Whether January or any other month David made some resolutions. And he wrote them down. David wrote down his conversations with God. There were some fundamental assumptions in the keeping of that blog, the obvious one being God is literate.

In Psalm 101 we come across seven resolutions made by David. There were actually eight – the first being he will praise God. But that does not exactly fall into the template of modern resolutions. These are the seven resolutions of David:

  1. I will lead a life of integrity
  2. I will not look at porn
  3. I will have nothing to do with 419
  4. I won’t be corrupt
  5. I won’t tolerate slanderers
  6. I won’t be proud
  7. I’ll choose my friends carefully

He didn’t exactly use the term “419” of course. Nigeria had not been created. Section 419 of the Nigerian Criminal Code addresses the crime of fraudulent conversion. It’s how the phrase “419” came about. The words David used are, “I hate all who deal crookedly; I’ll have nothing to do with them.” Same thing.

It’s hard to be a Christian and be a 419er. It’s a huge contradiction. “What you get by dishonesty you may enjoy like the finest food, but sooner or later it will be like a mouth full of sand.” Proverbs 20:17 GNT. Alternative words for “dishonesty” from other translations include fraud, deceit and falsehood. Whatever you gain by fraud will turn into sand in your mouth is what the Bible is saying. And some translations read “gravel” instead of “sand.” In other words, you either vomit your gain or you break your teeth or worse if you swallow. According to the Bible therefore 419 doesn’t pay. But of course that will be debated by some but a smart person believes God. Funny how each generation thinks it can outsmart God. But God is like Vegas casino. The house always wins. Probably why Solomon wrote: “Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil.” Proverbs 3:7. And Proverbs 22:5 says, “If you love your life, stay away from the traps that catch the wicked.”

David’s seven resolutions represent the temptations in his life. He came from a poor background. Apparently some of his friends turned to 419. He made up his mind he won’t have anything to do with that. But the temptation was there. His simple solution was to cut off from all those guys. “A mirror reflects a man’s face, but what he is really like is shown by the kind of friends he chooses.” Proverbs 27:19 TLB.

If a temptation isn’t real it’s not really a temptation. You don’t tempt a teetotaler with alcohol for instance. It’s not temptation to him. But you tempt a glutton with food. The food is temptation to him. The three temptations of Jesus were all about power. Matthew 4:1-11. The first was transformative power. He was asked to turn stone into bread. The second was executive power – he was commanded to jump from a cliff to see if his bodyguards and secret service agents would catch him; the last was about direct political power – the glory of nations. The temptation of Jesus was over DISCIPLINE over executive privileges. When Peter sliced off that guy’s ear Jesus told him, “Put away your sword. Those who use the sword will die by the sword. Don’t you realize that I could ask my Father for thousands of angels to protect us, and he would send them instantly?” Matthew 26:52-53. It’s what the Bible was alluding to when it states, “When the time came, he (Jesus) set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became HUMAN! It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and died a selfless, obedient death – and the worst kind of death at that – a crucifixion.” Philippians 2: 6-8 MSG.

David made those resolutions because the issues were real to him. Who makes resolutions on issues that aren’t real? Porn was a real temptation for him. 419 was a convenient route to success. It seemed a way out of the ghetto. Of course he had to deal with pride. He was very talented – rapper, songwriter, poet, guitarist. And on top of all these he was handsome.

What are your temptations? What are you likely to succumb to given your background? Are your talents and giftings tripping you up? Paul’s temptation was pride. He was super intelligent. “Knowledge makes us arrogant,” he had written. 1 Corinthians 8:1. It’s why God gave him a “thorn in the flesh.” “Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given a gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations.” 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 MSG. He suffered constant harassment from Satan.

One of the big issues David had to deal with was entertaining slander. He made a resolution not to listen to slanderers. There’s that African saying that the thief who climbs in to the scuttle attic and the assistant who helps him lower the stolen item are equally guilty of thieving. If you lend your ear to slander you’re equally guilty of slander. Shut it down.

It’s even worse if you spread slander. “He who spreads slander is a fool.” Proverbs 10:18. “Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive.” Ephesians 4:31. It doesn’t matter that the slander is true! Slander is slander. That it’s true doesn’t make it any less slander. And Pastor Titus warned against “malicious gossip.” Titus 2:3. God obviously hates gossip: “Whoever slanders his neighbor secretly I will destroy.” Psalm 101:5. All that “Do not say I told you…”? Well, there you have it!

Even under the Law slander is condemned: “You shall not go about as a slanderer among your people, and you’re not to act against the life of your neighbor.” Leviticus 19:16. Perhaps the most pernicious form of slander is inventive slander, when you start concocting stuff to destroy your neighbor. It’s condemned under the Law: “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” Exodus 20:16. We may not be under the Law but the Law gives us an inkling into what God hates. It gives us insight into God’s mind, his feeling about particular subjects. We know from the Law God hates slander.

Gossip is not accommodated in Christianity. “Speak evil of no one.” Titus 3:2. Gossip is cowardice. Don’t be cowardly. If you have an issue with someone walk up to the person and say what it is. Matthew 18:15.

Bottom line, there’s no holy gossip.

I want you to give your life to Christ. Pray this prayer: “Father I acknowledge that I am a sinner, that Jesus died for me, that you raised him from the dead. Father please forgive me. I accept Jesus today as my Lord and my Saviour. Amen.”

© Leke Alder | talk2me@lekealder.com.

God is literate. #Illuminare Click To Tweet It’s hard to be a Christian and be a 419er. It’s a huge contradiction. #Illuminare Click To Tweet If a temptation isn’t real it’s not really a temptation. #Illuminare Click To Tweet The three temptations of Jesus were all about power. #Illuminare Click To Tweet What are your temptations? What are you likely to succumb to given your background? Are your talents and giftings tripping you up? #Illuminare Click To Tweet If you lend your ear to slander you’re equally guilty of slander. Shut it down. #Illuminare Click To Tweet Gossip is not accommodated in Christianity. #Illuminare Click To Tweet Gossip is cowardice. Don’t be cowardly. If you have an issue with someone walk up to the person and say what it is. #Illuminare Click To Tweet Bottom line, there’s no holy gossip. #Illuminare Click To Tweet