Sunday, March 27, 2011

2 Samuel 10,11,12 David and Bathsheba

Francesco Salviati 001Image via Wikipedia
When referring to these chapters, one almost immediately thinks of Davis and Bathsheba, of an illicit steamy love affair.  Well, that is framework but the real theme is about David and his relationship with God.

One spring, David, an aging, tired monarch opted to stay at home rather than to go off to another battle.  After resting all day, he decided to step out on his roof to admire the sunset.  And then, not too far away, probably on a neighboring roof, he just happened to spot Bathsheba taking a bath. Without examining his heart or his conscience, David, seduced by her beauty, acted on his desires.

Even though he learned that she was married to Uriah, one of his most trusted generals, David asked his servants to bring her to him.  He jumped into an adulterous encounter.  Maybe David thought that it could be overlooked as a one night indiscretion; something no one had to know about.

Unfortunately, David had completely dismissed the impact his sin may have had on the lives of those servants who were party to his adultery.   Though his servants were not politically important individuals,  they were fellow Israelites who both witnessed and participated in a sin they knew was punishable by death.  David sinned, but the effects of that sin may have rippled in their lives perhaps by allowing them to regard sin as insignificant in God's eyes.  Maybe by thinking less of God, they could have slipped into some form of idolatry which would later ensnare Israel.

Though David thought that he sinned privately, God let the sin become very public.  At least a month later,  Bathsheba notified David that she was pregnant with his child.  David tried to cover up his culpability by bringing Uriah home from the battle.  But, Uriah would not spend time with Bathsheba because he felt that he would be disloyal to God and to his troops if he indulged himself while the battle was raging.  So, David  brought Joab into his web of deception by asking him to arrange for Uriah's death in battle.

David sinned by committing adultery with his eyes first.  Then, as David indulged his sin and then attempted to cover up for it, his sin grew in magnitude:  adultery, deception, conspiracy to commit murder, murder, and lies.  David thought that once he married Bathsheba, they would quietly have their child and then continue to live happily ever without ever being accused of any impropriety or sin.

God Himself seemed reticent.  Only, sometime after the child was born  God sent Nathan, the seer, to confront David about his sin.  When David saw the prophet Nathan, he did not rush to confess his sin.  It  appears that David thought that he somehow hid it from God's eyes or maybe he thought that God wouldn't hold him accountable for sin because he was such a good king or person.

Basically, David was so blinded by the deceptions he wove that he couldn't see his own guilt before God anymore.  Yet, God loved David so much that He gave Nathan a story to deliver which would pique David's sense of justice.  Once David understood how God saw his sin, he repented and received God's forgiveness. (2 Samuel 12: 13).

According to the Law, adultery was a sin punishable by death.   So, God extended His mercy by exacting the penalty of death from the child rather than from David.  No where in this account was Bathsheba blamed or held accountable for this sin.  She was probably as much a victim as David's servants were.

Though God forgave David, He didn't allow the consequence of this sin to go away.  In 2 Samuel 12:9, God asked David," Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in His eyes?  You struck down Uriah with the sword and took his wife to be your own."    If God allowed there to be no obvious consequence for David's sin, many of the people affected by this sin might have thought lightly of sin and of becoming estranged from God.  Sin piled high doesn't go away.

But God loved His own so much that He wanted David and others to understand just how grevious sin was and just how much it damaged the loving and intimate relationship God yearned to have with His own.

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