Raking a Dunghill

Resurrecting the stench . . .

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:

Verses 1-3 How the army of the Ammonites and their allies was routed in the field we read in the foregoing chapters. Here we have the destruction of Rabbah, the metropolis of their kingdom (v. 1), the putting of their king’s crown upon David’s head (v. 2), and the great severity that was used towards the people, v. 3. Of this we had a more full account in 2 Sa. 11, 12, and cannot but remember it by this sad token, that while Joab was besieging Rabbah David fell into that great sin in the matter of Uriah. But it is observable that, though the rest of the story is repeated, that is not: a hint only is given of it, in those words which lie here in a parenthesis—But David tarried at Jerusalem. If he had been abroad with his army, he would have been out of the way of that temptation; but, indulging his ease, he fell into uncleanness. Now, as the relating of the sin David fell into is an instance of the impartiality and fidelity of the sacred writers, so the avoiding of the repetition of it here, when there was a fair occasion given to speak of it again, is designed to teach us that, though there may be a just occasion to speak of the faults and miscarriages of others, yet we should not take delight in the repetition of them. That should always be looked upon as an unpleasing subject which, though sometimes one cannot help falling upon, yet one would not choose to dwell upon, any more than we should love to rake in a dunghill. The persons, or actions, we can say no good of, we had best say nothing of. (Emphasis are mine)

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.

9 thoughts on “Raking a Dunghill

  1. Excellent! Too much of this in the media makes me sick of media. Must be that dunghill stench. It is the same when conversing with others. Those who rake dunghills are not those I pursue for friendship.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. How easy it is to look at the lives of others through a magnifying lens rather than looking into the mirror at our own..

    Abba used this passage to help rid me of my rake…

    “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 AND SUCH WERE SOME OF YOU. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God…1 Corinthians 6:9-11

    Great message Sis!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree. I see this 24/7 in the news media who restate facts they know are false. I do not watch TV because of this. I was taught, If you cannot say something good, keep your mouth shut and not repeat. TY Sweetie, for the reminder.:)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What you have said is true, Vickie. I remember that my dad always said to us to focus on the positives of everything, even in negative things and trivial things. A good example he would give is to say someone isn’t telling the truth as opposed to saying the person is lying. There, the focus is on truth, which is positive, thus giving one a better outlook as you have said. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

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