In the last quarter of 2018, I began using a Bible plan to keep me focused on my Bible reading every day. I confess that I have not gone without skipping days, but by God’s special grace, I’m on track. Over the past four weeks, I have been between the books of 1 Chronicles and Nehemiah, and I have been challenged by the stories of the kings of Israel, their successes and failures, their devotion to God and their disobedience and Israel’s eventual captivity.
One day, while reading the 20th chapter of 1 Chronicles, I came across a verse that read like one in a previous book of the Old Testament:
In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, Joab led out the armed forces. He laid waste the land of the Ammonites and went to Rabbah and besieged it, but David remained in Jerusalem. Joab attacked Rabbah and left it in ruins. David took the crown from the head of their king —its weight was found to be a talent of gold, and it was set with precious stones—and it was placed on David’s head. He took a great quantity of plunder from the city and brought out the people who were there, consigning them to labour with saws and with iron picks and axes. David did this to all the Ammonite towns. Then David and his entire army returned to Jerusalem. 1 Chronicles 20:1-3
This account didn’t go like the one I was familiar with. In that one, in 2 Samuel 11, after we read that King David did not go to war, we are furnished with the tale of his adulterous/murderous encounter with Bathsheba and Uriah the Hittite. So why did the account of 1 Chronicles 20 skip that part?
To make sure both stories were talking about the same springtime, I decided to investigate it and stumbled upon Matthew Henry’s commentary that gave me a lot to think about, and brought back to memory something the Lord has been trying to teach me. Below is an excerpt of the commentary, and within it, you’ll find the portion I’m referring to in bold, which also inspired the title of this post:
I remembered an old post I wrote titled The Generation That Doesn’t Forget. In that post, I asked why we have become a people who choose to continue to make references to the sins and mistakes of others around us, even after they have repented or after they are dead. A person’s obituary cannot be covered by the media without us being reminded that he or she was the one who did such and such, leaving a taint on their names for the unforeseeable future.
. . . yet one would not choose to dwell upon, any more than we should love to rake in a dunghill.
Like I asked in my old post, when will it be okay to forget someone’s wrongdoing? The writer of 1 Chronicle decided not to dwell on the sins of David when writing his record of that account. Did the writer know that David repented? Most probably. Was that why the incident was ignored it? I don’t know. But irrespective of the reason, we have a lot to learn in dealing with the faults of others especially when they have turned a new leaf.
The persons, or actions, we can say no good of, we had best say nothing of.
Liking making reference to the sins of others to raking in a dunghill puts it in perspective. No one would ever love to rake up a pile of dung for the pleasure of it. Why resurrect a stench for no purpose at all, and for which there will never be a purpose?
I have caught myself in the act of raking a dunghill many times, and if I think back, I believe there were nudges in my heart, the alarm of the Holy Spirit cautioning me to stop wallowing in filth. Many times I ignored the nudge, other times I was sensitive enough to catch myself before falling flat in the dunghill. I hope I never pick up a rake ever again for such a purpose. I pray I don’t. But if the temptation ever arises, may I remember that I am royalty, and my place should never be in a dunghill.
Let’s all drop our dunghill rakes.