The Devil’s GPA whacked David. We are discussing this episode today in Sunday School in lesson 24 covering 2 Samuel 11-12. For those of you not familiar with the Devil’s GPA, it is my codename for the three major categories of temptations we find in scripture (and in life). I’ve posted on it a couple of times before. Here is a synopsis:
G: Greed and Getting Gain (plus the power wealth brings)
P: Popularity, Prominence, Praise of Men, Pride, Power (at least the influence part)
A: Appetites and Addictions
I originally based this segmentation of sin categories on the New Testament (Matthew) account of the temptations of Christ just prior to His ministry but later discovered that these are found all throughout scripture. In the NT tempations narrative the Devil’s game plan is laid for all to see.
A = Temptation #1
This is theoretically the least difficult to overcome. For Christ it was the temptation to eat after a 40-day fast. For Mormons it is the litany of appetites we are required to suppress in order to keep our covenants. Our Babylonian world constantly beckons us to partake in appealing but destructive and addictive behaviors – from drugs (of all kind), to gambling, to pornography and other sexual transgressions.
P = Temptation #2
This one is more tempting. For Christ it was the temptation to abuse His power. He was tempted to show off – to prove who He was and get the resulting respect and praise. For Mormons the requirements to get the respect and praise of men are ever at odds with the requirements to get the respect and praise of God.
G = Temptation #3
This is reportedly the most tempting and difficult to overcome of them all. For Christ it was the offer of all the treasures and kingdoms of the world in exchange for worshipping the Devil. For Mormons the basics of the offer remain the same: If we devote all of our time, talents and energy to obtaining wealth and its associated power and trappings we might get it – but we’ll lose our soul in the process.
So what happened to David? Well he was neck deep in all three of these categories as the king of Israel. At first glance one might say that he simply fell victim to his sexual appetites. But the fact is that if he were not filthy rich and supremely socially powerful the ability to satiate that particular craving may never have presented itself to begin with. But there is no denying that David’s freely made decision to satiate his appetite for the beautiful Bath-sheba is what set the tragic sequence in motion.
Idle hands strengthen “A”
Spying on Bath-sheba is an easy comparison to viewing pornography. David found himself on the slippery slope very quickly — not for inadvertently seeing her but for willfully lingering as a peeping Tom. But there is something to be said about the fact that he was probably bored and restless at home to begin with. In Elisabeth’s recent thread on pornography over at BCC several commenters made the excellent point that having a hobby one is passionate about is an important deterrent to pornography viewing or other destructive habits. A bored man or woman is far more likely to be overwhelmed by these sorts of appetites (“A”) than a busy man or woman. We should be anxiously engaged in good causes for defensive purposes as well as for the good causes themselves I think.
“G” and “P” sent David spiraling out of control
So the result of this adultery is that Bath-sheba got pregnant. David then decided that the best way to cover his sins would be to bring Uriah back from the front so he would be with his wife and no one would wonder about the timing of the pregnancy. But Uriah, out of loyalty to his comrades in the army, refused to be with his wife at home while they were fighting and dying in battle. After David’s attempts at plan A failed he moved on to plan B – that was to send Uriah out to the middle of the hottest battle and thus see to it that he was killed. Plan B worked. Now David was an adulterer and a murderer. But what was he really doing? Not murdering for fun, but rather murdering to protect “P” and “G”. He was willing to murder to protect his popularity, prominence, and pride (P). Further, doing so kept political threats to his wealth down (G). It started with “A” and adultery but the more intense temptations “P” and “G” quickly led David to be a murderer.
Yup, the Devil’s GPA whacked David good.
[Associated radio.blog songs: Young MC - Bust a Move (for David's unfortunate initial decision) and The English Beat - I Confess (for David's resulting remorse and anguish)]