In cooking, have you ever had your children or grandchildren help you make a cake – or perhaps you did this yourself? Put in a teaspoon of baking powder. No, that’s a tablespoon. Oh, that’s baking soda. Oh, my. Now we have to start over again with the recipe. If we continue to make it that way, the cake won’t bake right and it won’t taste good. The recipe has been compromised. The cake will turn out less than it should be.
In tactical warfare, if your troops are smaller in number than the enemy, you want a tactical advantage by launching a surprise attack. You stay hidden until the moment is right for the attack. However, if your position is discovered before you are ready for the attack, your position is said to be compromised. Your battle will result in an outcome that is worse than it should be, and you may well lose the battle.
From the Old Testament, we can obtain many life lessons that can be applied to our lives today. There are times in which we may be tempted to do things or have attitudes that interfere with our relationship to God, to others or to ourselves. To do so is called “sin.”
Let’s look at David for how this friend of God fell so far into sin and endured great tragedies as consequences to this sin. We will look at how he was compromised by his poor choices and became less than God intended. And we will examine how we can protect ourselves from falling into sin in the first place and become more of what God intended us to be.
Let’s look at 2 Samuel 11. David is the King of Israel. This is the same person who was out tending sheep and was chosen to be the King of Israel by the prophet Samuel to succeed King Saul. Saul was messing up and kept making his own decisions rather than relying on God. In short, God was not happy with Saul. It’s time for a change. This is also the same David who killed the giant Goliath, the fearsome warrior for the Philistines. And this is the same David who wrote most of the songs and poetry in the book we call Psalms. So throughout his life to this point, David pleased God. At least, until we get to 2 Samuel 11:
Now 2 Samuel 11: 1 from the New International Version (NIV) and following:
In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem.
What Christians call the “Old Testament” and what the speakers of the New Testament referred to as “Scriptures” is written in Hebrew, the language of the people who lived in those times. A modern version of Hebrew is written and spoken in today’s country of Israel. The Old Testament was eventually written to include marks to indicate pronunciation and emphases. One of those marks is called the “Athnah.” This mark was used like the fulcrum of a teeter-totter to indicate a balance between one side of the teeter-totter with the other. To balance a teeter-totter, the weight on one side must equal the weight on the other side. Every Hebrew verse has one, but sometimes in reading the Bible that is more literal in its translation (like the King James Version, the New International Version, the New American Standard Bible or the Revised Standard Version), you will see in a verse a short sentence – just as you see here at the end of verse 1 of 2 Samuel 11.
So what were kings doing in all the countries in that part of the world in the springtime? They were going off to war. No judgment – that’s just what they did in those days. Now then, where was King David during the springtime? Was he off to war like the other kings? No, he was hanging around in Jerusalem where it was comfortable and clean and he could sleep in his own bed. Instead, he sent his general Joab out along with his own personal troops and the whole army of Israel.
Now read verse 1 again. Do you see that? In the spring, da-da-dee-dah and so on, everyone is out fighting. Then the short sentence: “But David remained still in Jerusalem.” All the preceding part of the verse is on one side of the teeter-totter, and this short phrase is on the other side of the teeter-totter. It has a heavy weight. And when you as a reader see these short little sentences, it is an alert for you to start paying attention. David was still in Jerusalem. In doing so, he stepped outside of God’s umbrella of spiritual protection. Now to verse 2:
One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful,
Here’s David. He’s hanging out at the palace while his armies and his faithful general Joab are out fighting dangerous, messy, dirty wars. Its warm in Jerusalem at times in the spring. Perhaps this was a warm evening, and he got up from his bed in the night and went out for a stroll on the rooftop of his palace to catch some fresh air. This would be a like a terrace, and his palace – since he was king – was higher than the other buildings in Jerusalem.
Here is David walking around on his roof or terrace of the palace. In looking over the city, he sees a woman bathing. Now, if he were a smart middle-aged man, he would have said to himself the Hebrew equivalent of “Whoops.” He would have then stepped back from the edge of the roof and turned away. And that would have been the end of that.
But no, he apparently lingered long enough to see that she was beautiful. At that point, he has stayed at the edge too long. Oh, why, oh, why didn’t he just let it go? But desire had taken hold.
Then verse 3:
and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, ‘Isn’t this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite?’
Next, David – KING David – compounded things tremendously. He found out who she was and started pursuing her. What did the servant tell David? She is MARRIED to Uriah, the Hittite. Married, David. C’mon. Just stop.
Then verse 4 (Oh, David, David, David):
Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (She had purified herself from her uncleanness.) Then she went back home.
King David told his servants to go get her and make her an offer she can’t refuse. She came on over to his house (palace) and they had sex. A bit of a one-night stand. After such a night, she headed back home.
Now what? In the next blog, I will discuss the implications and ramifications of these four brief but meaningful Bible verses. I’m not entirely trying to lead you on and leave you hanging like a soap opera, but my back hurts – if the truth be known. I will continue this Friday or Saturday. Please come back and check out this amazing story – and most importantly, what we can learn from it for our own lives and steps we can take to resolve mistakes we have made.