Posts Tagged ‘Uriah’

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

Moral chaos breeds chaos.  David’s immoral behavior would bring calamity on his household.  David’s forceful taking of Uriah’s wife made it more likely that women in the palace would be vulnerable to another man’s violation.  Weakened from within, David was not able to protect those dearest to him.   What happened in the palace would be mainstreamed “in broad daylight for all Israel.”

Violence begets violence.  Despising God brings God’s judgment upon oneself.  How could David have fooled himself into believing he could “take” Uriah’s wife as his own!

Thus confronted, David repented.  Remorsefully he confessed,  “I have sinned against the Lord” (2 Sam. 12:13).  God accepted David’s sorrowful lament.  Nathan replied, “The Lord has taken away your sin.  You are not going to die” (2 Sam. 12:13).  David’s life could have been “taken” from him, even as he had taken Uriah’s.  David could have lost the right to rule as king, even as did Saul, whom David was anointed to replace.  David and Bathsheba would also endure the additional grief of their firstborn child’s death.

God doesn’t want us to visit the dark side. When we go there, he doesn’t want us to stay there.  Recovery through repentance from sin is the way out.  This good news applies to all sins; adultery is not excluded. Broken trust can be restored.  An afflicted husband and wife may have to work hard for years to get through the pain, but by God’s grace it is possible “to love and to cherish…for better or for worse” and go forward.

David wrote Psalm 51 in remorse for what he had done.  With guilt and shame, he owned up to his sins before God.  Re-establishing trust is built on remorse, repentance, and renewal.  Remorse stops us in our tracks.  Repentance turns us from going in a sinful direction to living godwardShuv, the Hebrew word for repentance means literally “to turn around and go in the opposite direction.”   Renewal is the result of our misdirected life being redirected.

Our life is determined by the choices we make at home, at work, and in our community.   Believers are sinners saved by God’s grace.  The work I do as pastor includes helping people who are caught in sin by showing them that there is a better way to live, and to begin living that way.  When Nathan said, “David, you are the man who has done this!”  He showed David  the consequences of his sins. But God’s amazing grace saved the shepherd king.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Have you become enslaved to habitual sin? Can you see God’s escape route? Are you feeling salvation’s joy at home, at work, and in your community? Are you enjoying life by dancing to the rhythm of God’s grace?

PRAYER: Lord, I get Your message.  The purer my heart, the more I can see of you.  By being with you in prayer, I trust that you will burn away the impurities in my  heart. Have your way with me so that I will live in your ways. David’s prayer becomes my prayer, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and renew a right spirit within me.” Amen.

A Note from Mark Roberts: This week’s reflections have been written by my friend and fellow pastor, Dr. Leslie Hollon, Senior Pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in San Antonio, Texas. Leslie (known also by the nickname Les) is a noted preacher, pastor, professor, and author. He is a gifted biblical teacher who connects the deep truths of Scripture to the realities of daily life. Every time I hear Leslie preach, I am encouraged to consider in new ways how the Word of God speaks to me. I know you will find Leslie’s reflections on temptation to be challenging and encouraging.

Uriah said to David, “The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in tents, and my master Joab and my lord’s men are camped in the open fields.  How could I go to my house to eat and drink and lie with my wife?  As surely as you live, I will not do such a thing!”

David chose to trust in his own power and mistrust God’s power.  That choice endangered his very soul.  He needed to be rescued from himself.  But this mess was of his own making, and he resisted calling on the promise of Psalm 23.  Have you been there?  Do you know what that’s like?

To enact his cover-up, David recalled Bathsheba’s husband, the great warrior Uriah, off the front line of battle.  Upon returning to the court of the king, David greeted him and said, “Go back to your home and wash your feet there.”  This phrase is a Hebrew euphemism inferring “to have sexual relations.”  It was made clear through Bathsheba’s purification bath that she was not pregnant before David “took her” (1 Sam. 11:2).  Her pregnancy was David’s responsibility.  David wanted Uriah and the public to think that the baby was Uriah’s.

The warrior remembered that King David had instructed the soldiers to abstain from sexual relations during seasons of combat.  So instead he slept in the servants’ quarters and did not go to his home.   The next night King David, trying to cover up further, got Uriah drunk.  Again Uriah refused to go into his own bedroom to be with his own wife. He was acting with honor, a Hittite more faithful than Israel’s King.  David feared that soon all the kingdom would be gossiping about his sins.    He then wrote a decree which Uriah delivered to General Joab. Ironically, the secret orders delivered by Uriah carried his death sentence.

David’s cover-up only made matters worse.  Satan (which means “the deceiver”) works through temptation’s distorted messages.  Sin harms.  Habitual sin destroys.  Once sin has its hooks in us, it won’t let go voluntarily.  We must yield to God.  Then our misdirected life gets redirected in God’s ways. Sin had its way with David, who then had his way with Bathsheba;  both of them were left in the dilemma of what to do next.  David had a choice to confess or to cover up by committing additional sins.

When we try to cover up sin in our own power, we fool ourselves.  Servants were involved in delivering David’s messages. People observed his behavior. They watched their king act in ways unbecoming of a king, and people began to talk. The rumors spread through all twelve tribes of Israel.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: When are you tempted to mistrust God’s power by trusting in your own power apart from his? Confess or cover-up, what is your preference? What are people in your home, workplace, or community seeing from your behavior?

PRAYER: Dear God, we live in a hard world.  Much of what goes on around us or in my own heart is directly opposed to you.  I am tempted to deal with this contradiction by hardening my own heart.  Please help me to lean into your strength so that I can be strong without being calloused.

A Note from Mark Roberts: This week’s reflections have been written by my friend and fellow pastor, Dr. Leslie Hollon, Senior Pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in San Antonio, Texas. Leslie (known also by the nickname Les) is a noted preacher, pastor, professor, and author. He is a gifted biblical teacher who connects the deep truths of Scripture to the realities of daily life. Every time I hear Leslie preach, I am encouraged to consider in new ways how the Word of God speaks to me. I know you will find Leslie’s reflections on temptation to be challenging and encouraging. Amen.

One evening, while Joab was besieging Rabbath Ammon, David rose from his bed and walked upon the roof of the royal palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing; and she was very beautiful. And David sent to ask about the woman; and some one said, “Is not this Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” Then David sent messengers to bring her; and she came to him, but later returned to her home.

Then David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it by Uriah. In the letter, he said, “Place Uriah in the front line where there is the fiercest fighting, then draw back from behind him, that he may be struck down and die.” So Joab, in posting guards over the city, sent Uriah to the place where he knew there were brave men. When the men of the city went out to fight against Joab, some of the soldiers of David fell, and Uriah the Hittite was killed.

Then Joab sent to tell David all about the war, and he gave this command to the messenger: “If, after you have finished telling the ruler all about the war, he is angry and says to you, ‘Why did you go so near to the city to fight? Did you not know that they would shoot from the wall? Who struck down Abimelech the son of Jerubbaal? Did not a woman cast an upper millstone upon him from the wall, so that he died at Thebez? Why did you go near the wall?’ then say, ‘Your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.'”

So the messenger of Joab went to Jerusalem and told David all that Joab commanded him. Then David said to the messenger, “Say to Joab, ‘Let not this thing trouble you, for the sword takes one and then another. Go on fighting against the city and capture it,’ and encourage him.”

When Bathsheba heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she mourned for him as was the custom. When the mourning was over, David sent for her, and she became his wife and she had a son.

What David had done displeased Jehovah and he sent the prophet Nathan to David. Nathan went to him and said, “There were two men in one city, the one rich and the other poor. The rich man had many flocks and herds; but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb which he had bought. He fed it, and it grew up with him and with his children. It used to eat of his own small supply of food and drink out of his own cup, and it lay in his bosom and was like a daughter to him.

“Now a traveller came to the rich man; and he spared his own flock and did not take an animal from it nor from his own herd to make ready for the traveller who had come to him, but took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for the guest who had come.”

Then David was very angry, and he said to Nathan, “As surely as Jehovah lives, the man who has done this deserves to die; he shall repay seven times the value of the lamb, because he showed no pity.”

Nathan said to David, “You are the man! Jehovah the God of Israel declares: ‘I made you ruler over Israel and I delivered you out of the hand of Saul. I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives to be your own, and I gave you the nations of Israel and Judah. If that were too little, I would add as much again. Why have you despised Jehovah by doing that which is wrong in his sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. Now, therefore, the sword shall never cease to smite your family, because you have despised me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.'”

David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against Jehovah!” Then Nathan said to David, “Jehovah has also put away your sin so that you shall not die. Yet, because by this deed you have shown contempt for Jehovah, the child that is born shall surely die.” Then Nathan went to his house.

And Jehovah smote Bathsheba’s child so that it fell sick. David prayed to God for the child, and ate no food but went in and lay all night in sackcloth upon the earth. The older men in his house stood over him to raise him up from the earth; but he would not rise nor eat with them. When on the seventh day the child died, the servants of David were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they said, “While the child was yet alive, we spoke to him and he paid no attention to our voice. How can we tell him that the child is dead, for he will do some harm!”

But when David saw that his servants were whispering together, he knew that the child was dead, and said to his servants, “Is the child dead?” They replied, “He is dead.” Then David rose from the earth, washed and put oil on himself, changed his clothes, and went into the temple of Jehovah and worshipped. After that he went to his own house; and he asked for bread, and when they set it before him, he ate.

His servants said to him, “What is this you have done? You ate no food and cried for the child while it was alive, but when the child died, you rose and ate bread.” He replied, “While the child was yet alive, I ate no food and cried aloud, for I said, ‘Who knows whether Jehovah will have mercy, so that the child will live?’ But now that he is dead, why should I eat no food? Can I bring him back? I am going to him, but he will not come back to me.”

As a boy, I used to ride a go-cart that was steered with a rope. On one occasion, as I propelled my way down the driveway, my parents’ warning came to mind: “Always look up and down the street for cars.” But I rationalized: It’s okay not to do that just this once. Then I heard the sound of screeching tires as a car came to an abrupt stop to avoid hitting me. Thinking I could break my parents’ rule nearly cost me my life.

The Bible has many examples of those who knew better but who chose to break God’s rules. From boyhood, David had meditated on the law of God while he tended his sheep. He knew that the seventh commandment condemned adultery, yet when he saw a beautiful woman bathing he used his royal power to take the wife of Uriah for his own. This sin resulted in terrible consequences (2 Sam. 11–12).

The psalmist wrote: “Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins” (Ps. 19:13). Have you felt tempted to do something “just this once” even though you knew it was wrong? Glancing at Internet pornography, “borrowing” money from an account at work, or stretching the truth may each seem like an isolated activity but can lead to terrible consequences. With God’s help, turn from sin and find His way of escape (1 Cor. 10:13).

Prone to wander—Lord, I feel it; Prone to leave the God I love; Here’s my heart, O take and seal it, Seal it for Thy courts above. —Robinson
Temptations will knock at your door; don’t ask them to stay for dinner!

“I have sinned against the Lord.” — 2 Samuel 12:13

What defines greatness? When we think of great individuals, we think of those who have accomplished many things in their lifetimes and succeeded in reaching their goals. Greatness is mastery and flawlessness. According to our Scriptures, however, greatness is defined by failure.


That’s right. The words that transformed King David into one of the greatest men of all time are the words “I have sinned against the Lord.” In other words, “I seriously messed up.” This was the response given to the prophet Nathan who had come to explain to the king that he had done something wrong when he took a beautiful woman named Bathsheba to be his wife.

Bathsheba was married at the time, and while King David did not exactly kill her husband Uriah, he did have Bathsheba’s husband sent to the front lines of battle and that was the end of Uriah. So King David’s greatest and defining moment is the minute that he realizes that he has failed and the confession he voices a split second later. Jewish tradition teaches that it was his ability to admit his mistake that made King David worthy of everlasting kingship.

Everyone makes mistakes, but our mishaps are not what define us. It is our response to our lowest moments that transform us into better or lesser beings. If we own up to our mistakes and take responsibility for them, we can learn from them. Ironically, our failures can end up our greatest catalysts for positive growth.

Take Thomas Edison, for example. He failed 1,000 times before he successfully invented the life-changing light bulb. When asked how he felt about failing 1,000 times, Edison replied, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention that had 1,001 steps.” Greatness is born out of failure. More specifically, mistakes provide us with the opportunity to become great. The choice is ours.

How would your relationships be different if every time you wronged someone you owned up to it? Three little words —“I was wrong”— are the best gift that you can give to anyone. And as we learn from King David, it’s may just be the greatest gift that you can give yourself.