112 - David and Bathsheba
April 22 - Nº 112 2 Samuel 11
Winter ended and spring came. It was time for the Israelites to resume their efforts to reclaim the territories God had promised them. Their first order of business was to defeat the Ammonites who had humiliated them and mocked their God just a few months before (see #111 - April 21). Although David normally went into battle with his men, this time he decided to stay in Jerusalem. He gave Joab full command of the troops. One evening, David got up and took a walk on the flat roof of his palace. As he looked down on the amazing city he had built, he happened to see a beautiful woman taking a bath. He asked his servant who she was. “Oh, that’s Bathsheba,” the man replied. “She is the wife of Uriah—one of your 30 Mighty Men (see #108 - April 18).” David sent messengers to invite her to the palace. She came and spent the night with him. Not long after this, David received word that Bathsheba was pregnant—and that the baby was his! David decided to cover up what he had done. He did not want anyone to find out—especially Uriah (who would know the baby was not his child since he had not been home for quite a while). So, David came up with a plan. He sent a message to Joab telling him to order Uriah to return to Jerusalem. When Uriah arrived, David pretended that he wanted a report from the “front lines” of the battle. He inquired about Joab’s leadership, how the fighting was going, and how the soldiers were doing. After Uriah’s account, David told him he could go home and spend the night with his wife before he went back into battle. But Uriah didn’t go home. Instead, he slept at the door of the palace with the king’s servants. In the morning, when David was told about this, he called Uriah in and asked, “Why didn’t you go home?” Uriah replied, “The Ark of God is in a tent, and all the Israelite soldiers are in tents. I can’t go home and eat and drink and make love to my wife while they are sacrificing for our nation. David insisted that Uriah spend one more day in Jerusalem before going back to war. He invited Uriah to eat with him that evening. During the meal, David got Uriah drunk, hoping he could convince him to go home. But Uriah still would not go. He slept on a mat at the palace door. David had one more sinister idea. The next morning, he wrote a letter to Joab. He sealed it and sent it with Uriah. In it he had written this command, “Put Uriah on the front line where the fighting is the fiercest. Then withdraw from him so he will be struck down and die.” Uriah loyally and naively delivered the letter. And Joab dutifully obeyed the orders. That day Uriah and several other soldiers were killed in the battle! When Bathsheba heard that her husband had died, she began grieving. When her time of mourning was over, David sent for her and had her brought to the palace. She became his wife and gave birth to their baby boy. God was not pleased with what David had done!
Do you feel like your faith is more at risk when you are struggling through tough times or when things are going smoothly in your life? David seemed to be in a very good place. He was no longer a fugitive; he was a powerful ruler who lived in a beautiful palace; he had many wives and lots of servants. Yet, when he took his eyes off God, He lusted for more. We need to find purposeful and tangible ways to keep our eyes on God every day!