[forthright] Offside

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Sat, 9 Oct 2010 05:10:41 -0700 (PDT)
Forthright Magazine 
Straight to the Cross

When troubles come, no one knows better than Job. 'In
Search of Perfection: Studies from Job,' by Michael E.
Brooks. Click here:


 by Michael E. Brooks

   "It happened in the spring of the year, 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
   people of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But
   David remained at Jerusalem. Then it
   happened one evening that David arose from
   his bed and walked on the roof of the king's
   house. And from the roof he saw a woman
   bathing, and the woman was very beautiful to
   behold" (2 Samuel 11:1-2 NKJV).

This has been a summer of soccer (OK, of "football" for
all you non-North Americans out there). With the World
Cup earlier in the year, and KBC's students forming an
unofficial team and having some matches, I have gotten
more involved in the game than ever before, which to be
honest is still not saying much.

To prove my lack of expertise I will confess I still
don't understand the offside rule, at least not to the
point of being able to spot an infraction with any

But I do understand that in soccer, you cannot be in
certain places on the field under certain
circumstances. If a player is too far ahead of the ball
he is offside, and his team forfeits possession; if
they score a goal while a player is offside the goal is

That sounds a lot like life doesn't it? There are
places a person should not be. There are times when we
ought to be in a particular location, or ought not to
be somewhere else. We can easily be caught offside --
in the wrong spot.

David provides a good illustration. In the spring of
the year, the time to start military campaigns, he sent
his army out to fight Israel's enemies. But he stayed
in Jerusalem. One night he walked on the roof, where he
was tempted by the sight of a beautiful woman. That
temptation led to adultery and the adultery eventually
led to murder.

In this story, at least one person and maybe two were
off side. The writer of 2 Samuel makes it plain that in
normal circumstances a king would have been with his
troops. In previous years that had been David's
practice. But on this occasion he did not go out to

The writer does not specifically condemn him, but the
implication seems plain -- David was not where he
should have been. Had he gone with the army, the
incident with Bathsheba would not have occurred.

Perhaps Bathsheba also was off side. Was her bathing
more public than proper? Was she being deliberately
immodest and provocative? Again we are not told in so
many words, but the inference may be intended.

Two people were found in a situation that was conducive
to temptation and sin. They yielded to temptation and
great evil resulted with harm to innocent people other
than the two participants. Penalties were paid. It is a
sad and tragic story.

In many cases evil can be avoided if we simply insure
that we are where we should be at any given time, or
that we are never where we clearly should not be.

A maxim in sport is "Keep your eye on the ball." Watch
it, follow it, pay attention, and be where you should
be. That is a key to athletic success.

It is also a principle in life. If we continually focus
on our primary goal (the ball), and ensure that we are
always in the right place, we will be blessed.

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