Reading: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9

Daily DevotionalsMid-life warnings can keep us from mid-life crises. Why did God permit David to fall so low and to sin so terribly? Among other reasons, I think we should see here a solemn warning to believers in middle life. Consider John Owen’s careful observation:

Many conquerors have been ruined by their carelessness after a victory, and many have been spiritually wounded after great successes against sin. David was so; his great surprisal into sin was after a long profession, manifold experiences of God, and watchful keeping himself from his iniquity. And hence, in particular, hath it come to pass that the profession of many hath declined in their old age or riper time: they have given over the work of mortifying sin before their work was at an end. There is no way for us to pursue sin in its unsearchable habitation but by being endless in our pursuit. The command God gives in Colossians 3:5 is as necessary for them to observe who are toward the end of their race, as those who are but at the beginning of it.

The sweet psalmist of Israel, a man after God’s heart, had enjoyed such long and close communion with God. But he still had the flesh to combat, and because he failed to mortify its lusts, he now flung away the joys of divine fellowship, defiled his conscience, ruined his soul’s prosperity, brought down upon himself (for all his remaining years) a storm of calamities, and made his name and religion a target for the arrows of sarcasm and blasphemy of each succeeding generation. Lord, help me remember that I am at my “best state . . . altogether vanity” (Psalm 39:5).

Self-examination will help the Christian that has fallen and bruised himself to heal the wound while it is fresh, before it is festered —George Swinnock