When Uriah’s wife heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for him. After the time for mourning was over, David had her brought to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing David had done displeased the Lord.2 Samuel 11:26-27
The story of David and Bathsheba is a story of how one man, David, saw something beautiful, Bathsheba, which fuelled a passion overriding all sense of what was right and wrong. (Read the story here)
This picture by Artemisia Gentileschi depicts King David looking on from his balcony as Bathsheba bathes and is attended to.
There are couple of things worth considering at this point, why is David looking on? Why if he was innocently taking some air did, he not leave Bathsheba in private?
As we read the text of the story, we discover that David thought Bathsheba incredibly beautiful (v2). We also discover that David was not content in admiring her beauty from afar (as wrong as that would have been). He sent someone to find out about her and then someone else to have her brought to him and then he slept with her. (read here)
David knew his actions were wrong. He was breaking several commandments. Not least do not commit adultery, he was placing his desire for Bathsheba above his desire for God and so he broke the first commandment. He was jealous for his neighbour’s wife (Bathsheba was married to Uriah) and so he broke another commandment.
His way of dealing with the consequences of his actions was at first to get Uriah home hoping he would sleep with his wife and so deceived into thinking the child was his, breaking the commandment about not bearing false witness. Ultimately David committed murder by proxy to deal with the problem. There weren’t many commandments David didn’t break in this episode.
At the heart of David’s problem was his desire for his pleasure above all other things. He wanted Bathsheba, she was commanded to come, her marriage, which David knew about in verse 3 did not stop him. His knowledge of the law did not stop him, his love for God did not stop him. Respect for human dignity and life did not stop him. (Both Bathsheba’s dignity and Uriah her husband were ignored.)
This lack of respect was summed up well by Nathan the Prophet who exposed David’s sin with the story about a rich man who instead of taking one of his many sheep to feed a traveller took the only lamb from a poor man. (Read 2 Samuel 12)
Sin has not changed. The sin we are beset with is the same as David faced. Our desire set above God. Our wants set above God’s law. We place ourselves at the centre of our universe neglecting the God of all creation, believing his purpose is serve us and not the other way around.
The lesson we should learn from David’s encounter with Bathsheba and apply to the sin in our lives is incredibly simple. ‘But the thing David had done displeased the Lord.’ Ultimately this one action destroyed David’s reign. His life became a battle against one rebellion after another. He had to fight for everything he had and to hold on to it. Even his own family, his own son would rise in rebellion against him. Perhaps the most cutting consequence of all was the death of the child conceived in sin.
Sin destroys everything, nothing good ever comes from sin. Relationships are damaged, life is changed or polluted in a way that we cannot undo. The only remedy to sin is the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. John the Baptist said of Jesus, ‘Look the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!’ (John 1:29)
What areas of life do we put ourselves before God? What are the things we must have above all else? Is it respect, love, family, to win an argument? What’s the cost in terms of our relationship with God and one another? Is now the time to confess and seek the remedy of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
Prayer Heavenly Father all to often you come second in my life because my desires come first. Forgive me. Forgive my selfishness, my god complex where I act as though I am you. Help me to re-order my life, to love the Lord my God with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength and then to love my neighbour as myself. Lord help me to understand that in putting you first I am not putting myself second, but last, because others will come before me. In Jesus name, amen.