Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Man of Principle Who Refused to Bend

Not too long ago, David was an honorable young man, running for his life from the king. King Saul was committed to killing David, using whatever resources the state had. What had David done wrong? Nothing. He had simply saved the nation from defeat by stepping up in battle, and had gone on to be a battle hero - appreciated by the entire country.

Fast forward to today. (Today's story, that is)

Now David is king. He lusted over a married woman, and had her brought to him (while her husband was nobly fighting a war on behalf of the country). Don't forget, he had 6 wives and 10 concubines at the time. Any way, he had sex with her and sent her away. That should have been the end of the story.

But no - it was just the beginning...

"Before long she realized she was pregnant. Later she sent word to David: "I'm pregnant." (2 Samuel 11:5).

What did king David do? Well, he needed to fix the problem. The "fix" was really rather easy...

6 "David then got in touch with Joab: "Send Uriah the Hittite to me." Joab sent him.
7 -8 When he arrived, David asked him for news from the front—how things were going with Joab and the troops and with the fighting. Then he said to Uriah, "Go home. Have a refreshing bath and a good night's rest."
8 -9 After Uriah left the palace, an informant of the king was sent after him."

Bring the honorable soldier home, pay him some kingly attention (certainly a great honor for a rank and file soldier), then send him home to his beautiful wife. He couldn't resist her charms after a long time with the dirty smelly men, sleeping on the ground, eating military rations... Could he?

Well, the king sent an informant, just to make sure. Uriah has sex with his wife, she turns up pregnant, Uriah doesn't know he is actually raising the king's baby and not his own, and nobody is any wiser. The wife isn't going to say anything - her husband might divorce her and even disgrace her. So, the plan was flawless...

Oh, but there was a problem!

"But Uriah didn't go home. He slept that night at the palace entrance, along with the king's servants." (2 Samuel 11:9)

What is wrong with this guy? He calls the guy back in to see the king. (Wow, what an honor!)

10 "David was told that Uriah had not gone home. He asked Uriah, "Didn't you just come off a hard trip? So why didn't you go home?" (2 Samuel 11:10)

11 "Uriah replied to David, "The Chest is out there with the fighting men of Israel and Judah—in tents. My master Joab and his servants are roughing it out in the fields. So, how can I go home and eat and drink and enjoy my wife? On your life, I'll not do it!" (2 Samuel 11:11)

What is WRONG with this guy?

Incidentally, do you remember the Ark? David risked his life to get it. Celebrated so hard when it was brought into Jerusalem that he was dancing before the Lord? David seems to be in a different place spiritually right now than he was then. But Uriah - honorable, noble Uriah - had not lost respect for God, for the ark, and for his comrades in arms.

Of course, David is not done with Uriah. "Maybe if I get him drunk" David reasons, "then he'll forget his principles and go have sex with his wife. This shouldn't be SO HARD!"

12 -13 "All right," said David, "have it your way. Stay for the day and I'll send you back tomorrow." So Uriah stayed in Jerusalem the rest of the day.
The next day David invited him to eat and drink with him, and David got him drunk. But in the evening Uriah again went out and slept with his master's servants. He didn't go home." (2 Samuel 11:9)

So David - once a man of intense spirituality and conviction - is on the wrong side of everything right now.

He was lazy. He lusted. Now he is trying to coverup his sin. But he has run into a man of principle who will not bend. And David is frustrated.

More tomorrow...

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