June 28, 2009 in columns
By REV. LUNA DINGAYAN
Where could I go to escape from you? Where could I go to get away from your presence? — Psalm 139:7
One of the issues picked up by the media in the past weeks was about a sex video scandal involving some celebrities in the movie industry, particularly Hayden Kho and Katrina Halili. It was exposed for the first time by no less than Bong Revilla, a movie actor-turned-senator.
Perhaps, his intention to expose the matter was noble and genuine which was to help the victim and to punish the culprit and to come up with laws that govern the use, misuse, and abuse of uploaded video materials in the Internet. But there is more than that.
The sex video scandal is actually an eye-opener to all of us. It would show to us the sense of values of our leaders and of our society in general. It is interesting to note that what is considered scandalous by people is not the fact that these celebrities were engaged in pre-marital sex, but the fact that their sexual activity was recorded by a hidden camera and uploaded in the Internet. Perhaps, people think that it is alright to have pre-marital sex as long as it is not uploaded in the Internet and downloaded by people who would like to watch the sexual activity.
When Katrina Halili said “binaboy ako,” (I was treated like a pig) she seemed to be referring to the uploading of the video materials in the Internet, and not the fact that she and Hayden Kho desecrated the sanctity of sexual activity by doing it without the benefit of marriage. Human beings have a sense of decency and morality; they have a sense of what is right and what is wrong. Unlike pigs, human beings do not behave by their instincts. Their behaviours are governed by cultural norms and values. “Pigs” do sexual intercourse without the benefit of marriage, and in this sense she is right, and also in this sense both of them and all the others involved in the scandal were like “pigs”
David and Bathsheba
There is a very interesting story in the Old Testament that could help us glean insight into the issue on this recent sex video scandal. This is about King David and Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11-12). King David was known to be one of the greatest, if not the greatest, king of Israel. He was able to unite into one kingdom the twelve tribes of Israel and even expanded its territories into the land of the Moabites, the Ammonites, and the Edomites. He was able to conquer the various Canaanite tribes and integrated them into his kingdom, including the powerful Philistines.
But then, King David’s leadership deteriorated when he committed a sex scandal. Unlike today, there were no cameras yet at that time, but nevertheless he saw taking a bath Bathsheba, the beautiful wife of his Hittite soldier Uriah, and thus ordered his soldiers to bring the woman to his palace. Bathsheba got pregnant, and King David had to find a way to cover up his wrongdoing. Being an experienced military strategist, he had three operational plans.
Plan A: Bring home Uriah so that he would sleep with his wife. The order was executed promptly, but Uriah decided not to sleep with his wife. Uriah was a professional soldier and there was a code of conduct among soldiers that they were not allowed to sleep with their wives in times of war. Soldiers have to reserve their strength for battles. Unlike today, wars in those days were not waged by computers and missiles; they were done by physical strength.
Plan B: Bring Uriah to the palace. And they would have some drinking session until Uriah would get drunk, and perhaps would go home to sleep with his wife. That happened. Uriah went home drunk, but still did not sleep with his wife. Thus, King David was very much worried and anxious.
Plan C: King David wrote a letter to Joab, the commander of the Israelite army, ordering him to assign Uriah in the front line of battle so that he would be killed. He sent the letter through Uriah himself. Uriah never knew that the letter he was carrying with him was his own “death warrant”. Surely, Uriah was killed in battle. And so, King David took Bathsheba to be one his wives. It was a very clean military operation, indeed!
David and Prophet Nathan
King David thought that no one knew what happened. He never realized that God has a hidden camera watching and recording every move that he was doing as a king of Israel, even his personal life. The Psalmist says, “Where could I go to escape from you? Where could I go to get away from your presence?” (Ps. 139:7). The Psalmist believed that we could not really escape from the all-searching eyes of the living God. We may be able to escape from the eyes of people, but never from the eyes of God. Indeed, God’s knows what we are thinking and doing.
Prophet Nathan went to King David and confronted him with God’s message using a parable called the Parable of the Lamb. The parable goes that there was a man in the kingdom who was very rich; he had a lot of sheep. And he had a neighbor who was very poor; he had only one sheep. But when the rich man had visitors, instead of taking from his own sheep, he took the only one sheep of his poor neighbor and butchered it to feed his visitors.
King David listened intently to the Prophet’s story not knowing that he was the rich man being referred to. He got so angry that he ordered his execution. But Prophet Nathan gently made the King realize that he was actually the rich man mentioned in the story.
This is what is interesting with parables; they would help us make judgement for ourselves without knowing it. They would serve as mirrors for us to see ourselves.
God Working Behind the Scenes
It is not only Hayden Kho who has a hidden camera; God also has a hidden camera to see and to record what we are thinking and doing, not only those done in public but even those done in secret (cf. Eccl. 12:14). God is working behind the scenes. And in God’s own time, He would confront us through His prophets. Prophets are God’s messengers. They proclaim the judgement and grace of God. They expose the truth, and make people realize the truth. Today, this role is sometimes taken by the mass media; sometimes by church people and peace and justice advocates; sometimes it is done by events and circumstances that visit our life as a people and as a nation. And blessed are those who see clearly God’s searching eyes in these signs of the times!
What is remarkable with King David was the fact that he realized his sin and asked for forgiveness and tried to make amends. He accepted willingly with repentant heart the painful consequences of his wrongdoing and hope for God’s redeeming grace.
How we wish that those involved in the sex video scandal and all other scandals in our society would realize their wrongdoings, and endeavour to live a transformed life.# nordis.net