What We Must Do

2 Samuel 11.1-15

[1] In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab with his officers and all Israel with him; they ravaged the Ammonites, and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem. [2] It happened, late one afternoon, when David rose from his couch and was walking about on the roof of the king’s house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; the woman was very beautiful. [3] David sent someone to inquire about the woman. It was reported, “This is Bathsheba daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” [4] So David sent messengers to get her, and she came to him, and he lay with her. (Now she was purifying herself after her period.) Then she returned to her house. [5] The woman conceived; and she sent and told David, “I am pregnant.” [6] So David sent word to Joab, “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” And Joab sent Uriah to David. [7] When Uriah came to him, David asked how Joab and the people fared, and how the war was going. [8] Then David said to Uriah, “Go down to your house, and wash your feet.” Uriah went out of the king’s house, and there followed him a present from the king. [9] But Uriah slept at the entrance of the king’s house with all the servants of his lord, and did not go down to his house. [10] When they told David, “Uriah did not go down to his house,” David said to Uriah, “You have just come from a journey. Why did you not go down to your house?” [11] Uriah said to David, “The ark and Israel and Judah remain in booths; and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are camping in the open field; shall I then go to my house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? As you live, and as your soul lives, I will not do such a thing.” [12] Then David said to Uriah, “Remain here today also, and tomorrow I will send you back.” So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day. On the next day, [13] David invited him to eat and drink in his presence and made him drunk; and in the evening he went out to lie on his couch with the servants of his lord, but he did not go down to his house. [14] In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah. [15] In the letter he wrote, “Set Uriah in the forefront of the hardest fighting, and then draw back from him, so that he may be struck down and die.”

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The focus of this event is always on the faithful king David making a dire mistake by entering into a forbidden relationship with another man’s wife, in this case, Bathsheba the wife of Uriah, one of David’s soldiers.

We spend a lot of time thinking about why and how this could happen to someone so faithful and blessed by God. But we fail to notice a few things—things that are staring at us in the face and calling out to us from the pages to see just how to stay focused and faithful to God.

The first would be that David didn’t do what he was supposed to do. In the first few lines of the opening of the story, David does NOT go to war as is custom. While everyone else is off fighting, including the kings, David decides to stay back in Jerusalem. It is this action that leads to his sin. Because David skips a normal, run-of-the-mill duty as king, he opens himself up to something that changes the course of his life forever.

If any of you know the story of David well enough, you know that it is this event that leads him down a path that effects both his family and the kingdom of Israel. God’s promise to David, that his reign will be an everlasting one, will be kept in Jesus, but David experiences hardship that is brought on by his continued lack of putting God first.

For us, this translates to being sure we don’t miss out on the seemingly run-of-the-mill things that are actually life-sustaining practices. We underestimate the importance of things that seem small but are huge (like reading our Bibles, praying with our children, praying FOR ourselves, coming to church or small group). It’s all of the involvement and practice-type things that actually protect our faith, not just grow it.

Jesus said to His disciples in the gospel of Luke (9.23–24), 

“[23]…If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. [24] For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it.” 

Being a faithful follower of God doesn’t mean saying ‘yes’ one time or joining the church and then you’re done. Following Christ means going where He is going, and as a Pastor and Teacher I will tell you, Jesus moves around a lot! God is leading us to salvation and leading us toward others for salvation and we must follow Him, daily. If we hang back and skip-out on our duty, we may see the demise of our own spiritual lives and maybe even another’s.

Another thing that get’s passed over in the reading of this story is the undying commitment of Uriah. He is one of David’s best soldiers and the husband to Bathsheba. As the story goes, he is called home by David so that he can go and be with his wife. David’s design is that after coming home, the child that Bathsheba is pregnant with can be claimed by Uriah and this whole issue can go away. But look at what happens. Uriah is found sleeping outside the door of King David because he believes his duty is not yet complete. The wars are still going on, the soldiers are still in the field, and his job to fight and protect has yet to come to an end. Uriah has a sense of undying commitment to his duty and his king. Every moment matters…for Uriah and it should also for us.

I found this quote from a publication called The Gospel Trumpet from around 100 years ago. It says…

 

Our discipleship can’t take a break. There are periods of rest, revival, refreshment, and rejuvenation, but when we stop or act contrary to our usual way (the way of Christ), we open up our lives to all manner of evil. And this is a war that we are fighting, a war for our souls, a battle for the direction of our lives and our families’ lives. And so faith isn’t to be taken lightly or as trivial.

I love this line from a favorite movie of mine called “High Fidelity,” starring John Cusack. He says, 

“What came first, the music or the misery? People worry about kids playing with guns, or watching violent videos, that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands, literally thousands of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss. Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?”

Violence and unfaithfulness come from very sneaky, stealthy places. We want to blame the things that are loud and obvious, but what about the things that are subtle? If we aren’t careful, we’ll lose our souls and not even know it.

And lastly, David tries to cover up what he has done through actions that can never be taken back. Though David would repent of sending Uriah to his death and be forgiven by God, David and Bathsheba would lose the child. David’s family would experience unrest throughout his days, with one of his own children, later, trying to kill him and take his throne. We’re reminded here that though forgiven, there are still consequences to the choices we make and the lives we live.

And so, may we look to the life of Uriah, a life of faithfulness, of undying commitment and see what we must do. The war is not over, the fighting continues, the soldiers are still in the field, and our job is unfinished.

Let us fight for our families, for our communities, and even for our own souls. Remember that the Lord is with us but we must stay with Him. He will be faithful, but will we? 

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