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Thursday, November 9, 2017

Becoming Truly Human – Norma Prescott Preaching

David and Bathsheba2 Samuel 11

I love David. It’s hard to dislike the man after God’s own heart. David is everything Saul could have been but wasn’t. He had a heart for God as well as for God’s people. In spite of multiple opportunities to kill Saul (before Saul killed him), David would not do it. When David’s men spoke a false word from the Lord claiming God had delivered Saul into David’s hands to do as he pleased (meaning repay Saul for his murderous intent), David’s response was “The Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my lord (master), the Lord’s anointed, to raise my hand against him; for he is the Lord’s anointed” (1 Samuel 24.4- 7). This is a noble David we can admire.

In 2 Samuel 7, God inverted David’s desire to build a house for God by promising to build a house (dynasty) for him. And David’s response is typical David; he responds with a prayer of praise and thanksgiving.

When we get to 2 Samuel 11, we see David at his worst. Instead of going out to fight the Lord’s battles, David stays in Jerusalem where he sees Bathsheba bathing on a rooftop. David doesn’t fall in love with Bathsheba; he is consumed by lust. Lust is a strong desire for something or someone. Some would sanitize lust by saying you don’t lust after someone or something you don’t care about. But make no mistake; lust is about desiring something or someone for one’s own gratification. David’s lust for Bathsheba resulted in rape. How does one say “no” to someone more powerful than they are? We’ve been hearing a lot about that lately and I have no wish to visit those stories here, but when you have an imbalance of power, there is no consent. Bathsheba is a mere object, a means to an end. David is dismissive, I’m done with you, you can go home now. Not so fast.

Of course, David not only dehumanizes Bathsheba, he dehumanizes her husband Uriah, who has been a faithful soldier in his army. When David calls him from the front, Uriah doesn’t fall for any of David’s trickery. He is loyal to David and to his fellow soldiers, fighting the battle David should have led, to the very end. David covers himself, and Bathsheba’s pregnancy, by arranging Uriah’s murder. David may be the man after God’s own heart, but he isn’t acting as such here.

O Lord God, I may not be guilty of David’s gross sins but I do sin in word, thought and deed. Do with me as David prayed after Nathan confronted him, Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me (Psalm 51.10). In Jesus’ name, Amen.