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;[a] 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.” ... 26 When the wife of Uriah heard that her husband was dead, she made lamentation for him. 27 When the mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife, and bore him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord,
*************************************** Poor David. David didn't start out this way. When Saul, the King of Israel sins and falls out of divine favor, God sends the prophet Samuel to anoint a new/future King to clean up the mess. David was the youngest of the sons of Jesse, handsome, bright eyes, red cheeks, with lots of hair. David is a shepherd and musician- his brothercalled impudent- cheeky- but when King Saul needed a musician, David played the lyre to soothe his sin sick soul. David rises to national fame when still a boy when, armed with only a sling and 5 stones and sinks one of them into the giant Goliath's forehead, cutting off and bringing that same head back to Israel as a git for King Saul.The king was so happy he gave him his daughter, Michael as a wife, and showered him with affection, for a while. But as David grows in power, Saul gets jealous and many years pass with Saul chasing David, David hiding in caves and writing songs (many of which are now in the book of Psalms) and as no small aside, lots of bloody battles. But though David had the opportunity to kill Saul at least twice, he didn't take it- hoping for the old King to come around. David continues to be successful in battle- and his passion for God is so great that he dances before the Lord until his clothes fall off- and when chastised by Michael, isn't embarrassed at all. "Oh yes, I’ll dance to God’s glory—more recklessly even than this. And as far as I’m concerned . . . I’ll gladly look like a fool." (2 Sam 6:22) He is known as a man after God's own heart, and by the time David becomes King has the favor of the people, and more important, the favor of God, and as we pick up the passage today, he sent his army to "ravage the Ammonites and besiege Rabbah."
David, from his palace, sees the beautiful Bathsheba- he does not know her, but he knows she is something he wants; he has the power to take it, and he does. And we have to stop here for a second because I know we have a tendency to call this story, David committing adultery. Which, yes, is true, but if you notice, there is no talk about a love relationship, or David falling in love, or Bathsheba consenting to sex. When the king calls a subject to their chambers, there is no consent required- the King can have whatever the king wants- the king's power says so. When David cant seem to get the loyal Uriah to abandon his post to go and sleep with his wife even for one night, he has him killed and takes Bathsheba as another of his wives- he has 3 already, and will have 8 before he is done. But the text says, "the thing that David as done displeased the Lord."
So we stop here. Because this is the no matter what, series- God loves us just the way we are, no matter what... but now we see God displeased with something David did- does that mean God stopped loving David? In fact, God loves David so much that he will send the prophet Nathan to help David realize the depth of his wrong and Nathan is successful. He helps David to recognize himself in a situation- to hold up a mirror and see himself in a way he had not before- and the wrongs committed that he may not have thought twice about, because it was the custom of Kings to take and ravage and kill for what they want. Thank you Nathan- for listening to God and setting David back on track...
But like I said, David didn't start out that way- Power does that to people. When we have enough of it, we can do whatever we want- take from whomever, rape whatever, amass for ourselves riches for the kingdom, despite what it may mean for others. Power manipulates the mind and steals the soul of a person; or a people, convincing us that we are deserving of and entitled to, whatever we desire. And most everyone in the room right now is no doubt identifying someone we know with a lot of power who seemingly can do whatever they want, with the power and wealth and backing to do whatever they want. We don't have to look far to find such an example, and wow, if we let ourselves think about that person too long, man, our blood boils! Where is the prophet Nathan to go and hold a mirror up to the person and let them repent- let them see the error of their ways, to re-magnetize their moral compass- help them acknowledge the crimes against humanity and the planet- please- God, send Nathan now!
Oh wait, I forgot to tell you how Nathan helped David. He told David a story about a rich and powerful person who could have whatever he wanted, and took it in the wrong way- leaving someone poor to begin with, even poorer. David was in sensed- his blood boiled-he wanted the person brought to justice and even said he should be killed for the crime he committed, and that the poor's resources should be restored four fold, and David added "because he did this thing, because he had no pity." And Nathan said "David, that person is you."
Remember the person we all just thought of who makes our blood boil? While it may be true that person is guilty of all of the things we just accused them of, my friends, that person is also us. We have taken what we desire with little if any thought to the consequences for others. We live a lifestyle in our country that means others around the world go without, the poor become poorer, the already marginalized disappear. Sure, it's easy to blame others for the situation we find ourselves in but if we are honest, we all need to share in the recognition of our part of the problem. Environmentally we rape our planet for her resources, taking what we want without thought to the dignity and integrity of creation- we manipulate the story so we can save face, we plant seedlings thinking we can replace ancient forests, and strategize ways to get rid of the plastic continent in our ocean- but earth is suffering, and sick, and pregnant with a child of our lust that will not live long unless we see ourselves both as powerful enough to have done such a thing, and humble enough to repent.
Here's why David is a hero- he gets it. He sees himself in the situation and he repents- humbles himself before God; prostrates himself before God- and confesses and receives forgiveness. And then, David lives out the consequences of his wrongdoing- and, instead of becoming bitter and jealous like Saul, continues to worship and work and serve and lead. His son dies, and you know what he does in the midst of his morning- he goes to the temple and worships. A second son dies, years later a third, his house is upside down, his family completely dysfunctional, yet he continues to serve God- he becomes a great King- and when his son Solomon becomes King he will be known as the Peaceful King, because of the groundwork laid by David. Is it any wonder that Jesus then, is born into the house of David?
May we too be humble enough to see ourselves as the powerful one in the story. Do you understand, David was far from perfect, but God still called him a man after God’s own heart- why? Because again and again he returned to the source. Again and again he would mess up, fall short, manipulate, take, fail, and fall- but he returned to God. That’s all it takes, my friends- and we saw it in Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, Tamar, Rahab, we see it through our ancestors, and the mentors in the faith- return to me, says the Lord, humble yourself and pray, turn from your ways, and I will heal your land…