2 Samuel 11:1-27 (Part 4) – Following God When It Might Cost You Something

Posted: June 20, 2018 in 10-2 Samuel

2 Samuel 11:1-27 (Part 4 of 5)
David Sins with Bathsheba & Arranges Uriah’s Death

Have you ever had to make a choice between right and wrong where doing the right thing may cost you your job, a friendship, a deal, maybe even your life. Here, in the passage that we have been studying for the past few blogs (2 Samuel 11:1-27), we see that Joab and Bathsheba are put in a no-win situation. What do you do?

Bathsheba, wife of an apparently successful warrior in Uriah, must have been living a life of luxury. If she and Uriah lived near the palace of the king, they must have been doing pretty good. That’s like living in the best subdivision in the suburbs or the best neighborhood in the city. They were doing alright! So, their lives were tied to the success of the kingdom – their home and Uriah’s livelihood were tied to the kingdom. So, Bathsheba knew the consequences to both her and Uriah if she did not submit to the king and have sex with him. It was a no-win situation. If she refused on the principle that the act would violate one of God’s commandments and also would violate her marriage vows, it might have had disastrous effects for both her and Uriah. She might have been imprisoned or killed or Uriah might be demoted or even dishonorably reassigned or discharged from the army altogether or killed. If she submits, she will have to live with the guilt for the rest of life with Uriah and she might get pregnant. It’s a no-win situation.

Joab, David’s military leader, was also put in a bad situation too. He is ordered to put an innocent man knowingly in harm’s way so that he will be killed. It’s one thing in military situations for men under your command to die in battle as a result of the calculated risks of military strategy but it’s a whole ‘nother thing to purposely put someone in the line of fire, so to speak, so that you know they will get killed. It is a commander charge to make sure that he has the greatest victories possible with the least amount of loss of life as possible. Joab most assuredly knew that the order given to him was equal to murder – a violation of God’s commandments. It is one thing to die fighting valiantly. It is one thing to die while knowing that your commander is doing his best to make sure that the most men possible survive the battle. It is just plain wrong do what he was ordered to do. Joab was under the command of the king. To refuse the order of your military leader, the king of the country, would have been bad for Joab. He would have lost his command, been imprisoned, and maybe even killed for having refused a direct order from the king. How would you like to be in that situation? It was a no-win situation.

In both cases, for Bathsheba and for Joab, they did not stand up to the king and just went along with his sinful requests. What do we do when we are asked to do something that we know is inconsistent with Scripture or is just plain out the opposite of what God commands us to do in Scripture? What if it meant losing your job? What if it meant being imprisoned? What if it meant being singled out for ridicule and social ostracization? What if it meant your life? I think of how easy we have it as Christians in America. Even though our beliefs are being attacked on all side in America these days, we still have more freedom to worship God freely that most any nation on the planet. What if we lived in China or North Korea or a predominantly Muslim country? What if we were required to renounce Jesus Christ to stay out of prison? What if we were to be socially ostracized for being Christian? What if we could not get a job because we were known to be a Christian? How many of us would be Christians then? Even here in America, there are times where we have to decide whether we are going to raise the flag that we are Christ followers and suffer ridicule or just go along wit the culture. Do we go along to preserve our comforts and not be singled out or do we stand on God’s Word even if it brings negative consequences to our lives?

That was the thing that I thought of this morning as I read 2 Samuel 11 for the fourth of five times – how we often keep quiet about our faith in a culture that is increasingly hostile to Christians just so we can go about our lives in comfort in our 3 or 4 bedroom homes with manicured yards, with two cars, a jet ski, a swimming pool, vacations at the beach, and all the other comforts of middle class America. How often do we just go along rather than stand up for what is godly.

Chapter 11
1 In the spring of the year, when kings normally go out to war, David sent Joab and the Israelite army to fight the Ammonites. They destroyed the Ammonite army and laid siege to the city of Rabbah. However, David stayed behind in Jerusalem.

2 Late one afternoon, after his midday rest, David got out of bed and was walking on the roof of the palace. As he looked out over the city, he noticed a woman of unusual beauty taking a bath. 3 He sent someone to find out who she was, and he was told, “She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” 4 Then David sent messengers to get her; and when she came to the palace, he slept with her. She had just completed the purification rites after having her menstrual period. Then she returned home. 5 Later, when Bathsheba discovered that she was pregnant, she sent David a message, saying, “I’m pregnant.”

6 Then David sent word to Joab: “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” So Joab sent him to David. 7 When Uriah arrived, David asked him how Joab and the army were getting along and how the war was progressing. 8 Then he told Uriah, “Go on home and relax.[b]” David even sent a gift to Uriah after he had left the palace. 9 But Uriah didn’t go home. He slept that night at the palace entrance with the king’s palace guard.

10 When David heard that Uriah had not gone home, he summoned him and asked, “What’s the matter? Why didn’t you go home last night after being away for so long?”

11 Uriah replied, “The Ark and the armies of Israel and Judah are living in tents,[c] and Joab and my master’s men are camping in the open fields. How could I go home to wine and dine and sleep with my wife? I swear that I would never do such a thing.”

12 “Well, stay here today,” David told him, “and tomorrow you may return to the army.” So Uriah stayed in Jerusalem that day and the next. 13 Then David invited him to dinner and got him drunk. But even then he couldn’t get Uriah to go home to his wife. Again he slept at the palace entrance with the king’s palace guard.
David Arranges for Uriah’s Death

14 So the next morning David wrote a letter to Joab and gave it to Uriah to deliver. 15 The letter instructed Joab, “Station Uriah on the front lines where the battle is fiercest. Then pull back so that he will be killed.” 16 So Joab assigned Uriah to a spot close to the city wall where he knew the enemy’s strongest men were fighting. 17 And when the enemy soldiers came out of the city to fight, Uriah the Hittite was killed along with several other Israelite soldiers.

18 Then Joab sent a battle report to David. 19 He told his messenger, “Report all the news of the battle to the king. 20 But he might get angry and ask, ‘Why did the troops go so close to the city? Didn’t they know there would be shooting from the walls? 21 Wasn’t Abimelech son of Gideon[d] killed at Thebez by a woman who threw a millstone down on him from the wall? Why would you get so close to the wall?’ Then tell him, ‘Uriah the Hittite was killed, too.’”

22 So the messenger went to Jerusalem and gave a complete report to David. 23 “The enemy came out against us in the open fields,” he said. “And as we chased them back to the city gate, 24 the archers on the wall shot arrows at us. Some of the king’s men were killed, including Uriah the Hittite.”

25 “Well, tell Joab not to be discouraged,” David said. “The sword devours this one today and that one tomorrow! Fight harder next time, and conquer the city!”

26 When Uriah’s wife heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for him. 27 When the period of mourning was over, David sent for her and brought her to the palace, and she became one of his wives. Then she gave birth to a son. But the Lord was displeased with what David had done.

In this passage, we see that David put both Bathsheba and Joab in difficult situations. Bathsheba knew that it was wrong to commit adultery, but to refuse a king could mean punishment or even death. Joab did not know why Uriah had to be killed but it was obvious that David wanted him killed. All of us at various points in our lives face situations where each option of response to us is wrong or has negative consequences for ourselves or others. What that happens, we must not lose sight of what God wants. The answer may be to seek out other options through prayer and through consultation with friends that you know who have great discernment and wisdom.

Father help us to seek to please you rather than our creature comforts. Father help us to stand firm on your Word even when it may cost us something. Father help us to be more than fair weather Christians. Help us to be a Christ follower even when being a Christ follower produces no earthly benefits or material blessings. Help us to have an eye toward the eternal things of You rather than the temporary trappings of this life. Help us to remember that we must seek you will and do it even if it means that we are unpopular in our culture, shunned socially, even imprisoned or killed. Help so see how small our earthly life is compared to the vastness of eternity. Help us to seek to always place our first priority as being our vertical relationship with you over and above any power of the horizontal, earthly relationships that we have here that are temporary at best. Help us to seek your will always, Lord.

Amen and Amen.

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