Day One Hundred, II Sam. 21, I Chron. 18-19, Ps. 60, II Sam. 11-12, Ps. 51
Today’s reading contains what is, for me, the saddest reading of all about David.
The man after God’s own heart made the mistake of putting his own desires before those of the Lord, which led him on a downward spiral into a pit of sin that destroyed his family.
David sees something he wants…and because he can…he takes it. Even though it’s not his for the taking.
And he gets away with it. Or at least, it feels that way, for awhile. Then word comes to him, “David, I’m pregnant.”
Can you imagine how David’s heart must’ve pounded at that news? Surely the man of God, now facing the consequence of his sin with Bathsheba, will come clean. Surely the man after God’s own heart will pour out his heart to the Lord, asking for His forgiveness, trusting that the Lord is good! Right???
But he doesn’t. Instead, he lets that heart-pounding fear drive him deeper into sin. He tries to cover it up. He brings Bathsheba’s husband home from battle, tries to get him to sleep with her. After all, then everyone will just think the baby is her husband’s.
But it doesn’t work. Uriah, loyal to his brothers who are fighting in the field, refuses to go to the comfort of his own home and sleep with his wife. Sleeps instead outside the entrance to the palace.
David’s gotta be frustrated at this point. His scheme isn’t going quite like he planned. Plan B…get Uriah drunk, so he’s not thinking clearly. Then he’ll go home and sleep with his wife. But again, it doesn’t work. Uriah still refuses to go home. (And just as an aside, my wonderful preaching minister’s comment on this whole episode with Uriah refusing to go home: “It proves only that, at least at this point in David’s life, Uriah is a better man drunk than David is sober.” True that.)
Can you imagine David’s frustration at this point??? Now that Uriah is home and David has tried to scheme and plan and cover up the ugliness that is his sin and it hasn’t worked…isn’t now the time for him to come clean, not only before his God, but before Uriah, the man whose wife he has taken??? Now’s his chance to tell Uriah the truth, face-to-face, like the man of God that he, up until this point, has been known to be.
But he lets us down yet again. Instead of confessing to the Lord and to Uriah, whom he has wronged. He schemes to have Uriah killed. He gives Joab (remember Joab, the commander of David’s army, he gives me a really uneasy feeling) instructions to put Uriah on the frontlines of battle and then withdraw from him, so that Uriah will certainly be killed.
David puts this message in an envelope, seals it, and lets Uriah hand-deliver it to Joab.
Joab follows David’s instructions.
After unsuccessfully covering up his sin, David succeeds in murdering Uriah.
Joab sends messengers to report back to David. “If he starts to get upset with the amount of damage or the loss of life that you’re reporting back to him, be sure to tell him, ‘Uriah, the Hittite, is dead.’” So they follow Joab’s instructions.
Then, some of the most disheartening words in this whole reading…at least for me. David hears the reports of the messengers…and he feigns remorse and a message of encouragement to send back to Joab. After orchestrating the whole, sad ordeal, David offers the messengers a fake pep talk to give to Joab with these words, “Don’t let this upset you; the sword devours one as well as another.”
That’s not all of my thoughts on today’s reading. But time prevents me from devoting the attention deserved to the second half of today’s reading. So I’ll end here for now and will try to pick up with the rest of this day’s reading in the next blog.