3rd Wednesday of Advent
2 Samuel 11:1-17
Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father, and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! In the name of Jesus, dear friends in Christ, Why does God give us certain commands? Why does God want us to obey what He tells us? Is it just God’s way of holding us back, does God just want us to miss out on the fun that the sinful world has to offer? Does God just not understand how much better it would be for us to sin than not to sin? Is God just restricting us? Why does God give us certain commands? If we think those things, we don’t truly know who our God really is. Yes, God is the ultimate and final King, so if He tells us to do something, we have no right to question Him in any way. But there’s far more to it than that. Our God is also a God of love. So, even the commands that God has given us are expressions of His deep care and love for us His people.
Disobeying God and sinning always bring about pain and heartache. And we see that in this familiar account of David and Bathsheba. Well, what do we know about Bathsheba? For the few things that we do know about her, there’s a ton that we don’t know. We know that she lived in a home that wasn’t that far from the king’s palace, perhaps that indicates that she was part of circle of people close to the king. We know that she was the daughter of Eliam, an important official of David’s. We also know that she was the wife of Uriah the Hittite, who was also one of David’s royal guard, his mighty men, an excellent and devoted soldier, a close friend of his, who happens to be gone fighting for His king and country. And we know that she was very beautiful.
And one evening David’s at home and he has nothing better to do, so he looks out over the city and sees her bathing. Well, first we must ask, “Why was he at home?” Where should he have been? He should have been off at war with his fellow soldiers- that’s what kings were supposed to do. But, David is at home. He’s unfaithful in something rather small, but look where it leads. As he sees her he covets, he lusts, he inquires about her and sends for her. What’s going on with David? This is how sin often begins, isn’t it? Can you just picture David spinning a web of rationalizations, defenses, self-deception as he concocts a plan? “I deserve this, I’ve been such a hard worker, I’ve been so faithful, I deserve this “little” self-indulgence, no one will know about it, it will happen only this once, after all I am the king, after all God clearly loves me- I can do what I want.” That’s not a little baby step towards unbelief, that’s a huge leap! “God loves me, I can do what I want.”
What happens next? Bathsheba comes. Now, we don’t know exactly what’s going on with her. We don’t hear about her protest or refuse to come or even try to turn him down in anyway. But we also have to understand that David was a king, he was a dictator, there weren’t any checks and balances like we have in government, he was king and when the king summoned, you came. He used his power as king to commit sin and include someone else in his sin! She goes to him, she sleeps with him, and she finds out that she’s pregnant. And what’s the punishment for adultery? Death for both the man and the wife.
Then what follows is David’s attempt to cover everything up, first he brings Uriah home, hoping he’ll go home sleep with his wife and no one will know the difference, but when Uriah doesn’t go home, David gets him drunk, still doesn’t go home, David sends him back to battle with directions to essentially murder him (and the other soldiers with him). And when it happens, David responds callously, “Well, that’s what happens in war, people die.” And then takes Bathsheba as his wife and nine months pass.
But the pain begins. Sin always, always brings pain and heartache. We hear about some of David’s pain throughout this nine months from the Psalms. David talks about how when he kept silent his bones wasted away, groaning all day long, God’s hand was heavy upon him, his strength was sapped. That’s what guilt does. When we try to hide our sins it eats us away spiritually, emotionally, and even physically. But there was going to be more pain too. His child was going to die, in fact, he was going to end up losing 4 children and deal with all kinds of trouble in his family. Sin always, always brings pain and heartache.
What about Bathsheba? Is it fair to say that she, too, struggled with guilt from their sin? She, too, would experience the loss of her child, something I’m sure she would never be able to completely forget about. Sin wreaked havoc on her life too: adultery, involved in the corruption of power, loss of a husband by a violent act of murder, loss of a child.
There’s a saying which says, “You can choose your sin, but you can’t choose its consequences.” As believers we face choices every day. We have choices to either obey God or sin, God or our sinful nature. And while we can choose to do evil, we can’t forecast all the pain, hardship, and heartache that it will wreak in our lives or the lives of others. The reality is that sin always has consequences.
You see, all this started when David broke God’s commands: Do not covet, do not lust, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not murder. God’s commands are not here to restrict us, burden us, cause us to miss out. God’s commands really exist for our blessing, to protect us from the pain and consequences of sin. You see, it’s sin that separates us from our God. But God in His grace wants nothing less than to draw ever closer to us.
So what does God do? He allows there to be consequences to sin. If David didn’t feel any consequences for his sin, he would have kept going down a path that leads away from God and finally to unbelief and hell. By God’s grace, God doesn’t abandon David or Bathsheba, but He sends the prophet Nathan to confront David with his sin and by the power of God working through His word David was convicted of his sin, repented and immediately forgiven. That’s the grace of our God, He wants nothing less than to draw us to Himself with His forgiving love.
And yet after confronting them and forgiving them, God does something even more! He blesses them with another child, Solomon, and how fitting that his name means “the peaceful one” and we’re told was loved by the Lord. In spite of their sin, their rebellion against God and His commands, God forgave them and blessed them with another child, the peaceful one. What was it that was going to cleanse them from the guilt of their sins? What was going to sustain them through the future painful consequences of their sin? What was going to motivate them to follow God’s laws in the future? It was knowing who was coming. And in the genealogy of Jesus in Mathew 1 we’re told that Jesus, the Savior, descended from Solomon, the peaceful one, whose father was David and whose mother “had been Uriah’s wife.”
Do you see the grace of God? He brings the Savior into the world from sinners in order to save sinners. God took all the filth of David’s sin, all the filth of Bathsheba’s sin, all the filth of your sin and my sin, and put it on Bathsheba’s son Jesus who paid it in our place on the cross. Yes, Bathsheba suffered because of the sin and lust of someone else, but Jesus was totally innocent and yet He suffered all the pain and punishment of the sin of everyone else. Yes, David was a king who used his power to commit sin, but Jesus is THE king who used His power to NOT sin and to pay for and forgive the sin of all.
That’s the son we’re preparing to receive this Advent season. And we prepare by listening and obeying the gracious commands of our true King and live to thank our true King for the real peaceful one, the one of whom angels sang was born to bring peace and pardon to people on whom God’s favor rests. That’s Bathsheba’s Son, our Savior and our King. Amen.