Flags have a lot of symbolism in them. They represent something by conveying meaning with the shapes, images, and colors they show. We show our patriotism by wearing the colors of our country’s flag or support our favorite sports team with their team colors.
When the waters are dangerous, red flags go up on the beach. A red flag is raised as a sign that there is a problem. In 2 Samuel 11, David was looking over the city from the roof of his palace when he noticed a woman named Bathsheba bathing. He had her brought to him, and they slept together. Later on, Bathsheba sent David a message telling him that she was pregnant. David’s mistake, which he probably thought would never be discovered, was going to be revealed. A red flag had been planted in his life, and now he was trying to hide it.
But David came up with a plan. He sent for Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband, who was a solider. If Uriah was to sleep with his wife, the pregnancy wouldn’t be questioned. Uriah, though, was very loyal to his fellow soldiers, and didn’t think that it would be fair of him to enjoy being home when the others were still out fighting. Even when David got him drunk, Uriah still refused to sleep with Bathsheba.
With his plan not working, David wrote a letter to Uriah’s superior that said, “Station Uriah on the front lines where the battle is fiercest. Then pull back so that he will be killed.” Uriah was killed in battle, and David took Bathsheba as one of his wives. But God was not happy with the way David had acted, so He sent Nathan to set him straight.
2 Samuel 12:1-7a, 13—So the Lord sent Nathan the prophet to tell David this story: “There were two men in a certain town. One was rich, and one was poor. The rich man owned a great many sheep and cattle. The poor man owned nothing but one little lamb he had bought. He raised that little lamb, and it grew up with his children. It ate from the man’s own plate and drank from his cup. He cuddled it in his arms like a baby daughter. One day a guest arrived at the home of the rich man. But instead of killing an animal from his own flock or herd, he took the poor man’s lamb and killed it and prepared it for his guest.” David was furious. “As surely as the Lord lives,” he vowed, “any man who would do such a thing deserves to die! He must repay four lambs to the poor man for the one he stole and for having no pity.” Then Nathan said to David, “You are that man!”…Then David confessed to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.”
David tried to ignore his red flag. When that didn’t work, he tried to hide it. Taking matters into his own hands didn’t fix things, either. What it took was David admitting that there was a red flag in his life and allowing God to take it out. David had to raise a white flag to show that he was surrendering to God and would allow Him to cleanse him of his sins.
Everyone has a red flag in their life—the Bible says that we’ve all messed up. But when we give our lives to God and allow Him to take control of our lives, He will restore us. In Psalm 51, David poured out his heart to God, asking Him for forgiveness and the strength to obey God. If you still have a red flag hanging over you, talk to God. No matter what you’ve done, He can cleanse you and use you to do incredible things.
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