Posts Tagged ‘David & Bathsheba’

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

The leading cause of divorce in America is infidelity, according to http://www.marriage.com. Losing trust in the sexual fidelity of your spouse is one of the most difficult things from which to recover. While other issues such as money issues can cause divorce, they are more easily recovered from than sexual infidelity. It just seems that sexual infidelity hits us at our core of who we are as a person. It rocks our world in a way that any other potential divorce issue cannot. It sends the “cheated on” spouse into a spiral of distrust, self-doubt, anger and resentment that often cannot be unraveled. Because of the nature of infidelity and its affects on trust and self-image, it is no wonder that it is the leading cause of divorce. It is because marriages rarely ever recover from it. According to an article I read recently, only about 20% of marriages will survive infidelity. That means that 80% of marriages where there has been an affair that will not survive (and that includes couples that have reconciled for a period of time). It is, thus, by far the most damaging way for a marriage to encounter trouble.

You think about it too that sexual infidelity in 8 out of 10 cases will end in divorce and it is the single greatest cause of divorce in America, the damage does not end there. You may have an affair and it seems like your favorite chip and dip combination (you just can’t get enough of it). You get to see the person at their best and in limited ways so every encounter seems power-packed and emotionally charged. But home life is day to day. It is taking out the trash. It is taking kids from here to there. It is fixing the toaster. It is mundane, day-to-day life. Affairs are the playground from real life. The fantasy of affairs is intoxicating. But it is not real life. When real life crashes into the fantasy of an affair, real life wins. Eight out of 10 marriages where there has been infidelity end in divorce. Divorce is messy, ugly and costly. Divorce makes people bitter. Divorce damages children most of all. Unless you purposefully try not to do it, one of the marital spouses will use the kids as pawns in the game of “who wins the divorce!” Kids often have to pay the price. Children of divorce require counseling and their relationship with one or both of their parents is damaged for long periods of time and sometimes for a lifetime. The fun of an affair quickly turns into a lifetime of trouble. Even if one marries the person with whom they had the affair, that relationship enters real life and it becomes mundane. Second marriages end in divorce far more often than first marriages (67% vs. 50%). So, affairs though seemingly intoxicating while they are undiscovered always get discovered.

After discovery then it leads to a bee’s nest of costs both emotional and financial for your family. The financial costs of sexual infidelity by themselves are staggering. Studies have shown that the therapy and mental health costs alone add up to over $15,000 a year!!! Nope, there was no misplaced comma or zeros. The cost is seriously 15k annually. And of course this is a lengthy process. When all is said and done if will easily cost $60,000 and likely more than that. Often, life savings are altered and growth of retirement funds are stunted by dividing them and by using them to finance divorces and maintaining multiple households. Even before a divorce, sexual infidelity has its costs when carrying out affairs such as lost days at work, hotel costs, non-business expenses on business trips, and even the cost of getting fired and finding a new job. Detection costs such as private investigators, monitoring costs, and other detection methods such as detection software. The sexual infidelity detection business is a multi-billion industry just by itself.

That was the thing that I thought of this morning as I read 2 Samuel 11 for the fifth and final of five times before we move on to the next passage – how sexual infidelity is like the myth of the siren on the shore. She seems so beautiful and you steer your ship toward only to have your ship sunk on the rocks. It is a venus fly trap to a fly. It always ends badly and not just for the participants but the whole family. In fact, the ripples go beyond your own family. Two families are directly affected. And the ripples continue out from there. Friendships are affected. Battle lines are often drawn and people must choose. Groups of friends often split over an affair even if it did not occur between two members of the group. The implications of sexual infidelity are far-reaching and go far beyond the two people who were unfaithful to their spouses.

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.

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 the effects of sin are far-reaching as we will see in the prophecy by Nathan in the next passage. David’s giving in to his carnal lusts would ultimately have disastrous effects on the kingdom of Israel. The consequences for David’s sins were spelled out and fulfilled precisely. Because David used the sword to strike down Uriah the Hittite, God said the sword would not depart from David’s dynasty. The sword was often employed in David’s dynasty. Intrigue would not depart as well. Ammon rapes his half sister and then kicks her to the curb. His son, Absalom, would kill another son, Amnon. Absalom would seek to overthrow David, and thus David would have to fight against Absalom and his forces to defend his kingdom. Joab would kill Absalom. Adonijah would seek to establish himself as king in David’s place, and Solomon would eventually have him executed (1 Kings 1 and 2).

David being one of God’s people and a generally wise man (except when it came to women) knew God’s law and I am sure that he had seen the effects of infidelity in Israelite society, but that did not matter to him when it came to that moment when he saw Bathsheba naked and bathing. Sexual desire can be so overpowering to us that we let it consume us and ruin us. David almost lost his kingdom over it. The seeds for the splitting of the kingdom into the northern and southern kingdom two generations later were sown here in his infidelity with Bathsheba and the family trees and troubles that it started. Just as many of us today in this society of serial marriages forget the huge financial, social and familial problems that extramarital affairs cause and plunge headlong into satisfying our sexual desires and carnal lusts. God does not condemn adultery just to be some capricious God but rather He knows full well what happens as a result. He has seen man destroy himself since the beginning of time with sexual infidelity. He condemns adultery because it has such disastrous effects on our lives.

So flee my friends from sexual immorality. It is not because it is prudish. It is dangerous and unhealthy in so many ways for you, your spouse, the one you are having the affair with, their spouse, your children, their children, your parents, their parents, your friends. Even our legal system is overburdened with the results of infidelity. Even our social service agencies are overburden with the results of broken families. It’s just not worth all the costs. God condemns adultery for these very reasons – not to hold us back from sexual freedom. God condemns adultery because it destroys families and societies.
It may sound crude but we must think with our heads rather than our sexual organs when it comes to slipping into affairs. Sure, it may satisfy some sexual curiosity or some personal worth issue or some other psychological deficiency that you may be suffering through but is it really worth it?

Lord help us to honor our spouses in our marriages. Help to be honest with them when things are not working. Help us to work through our problems rather than throwing the marriage away through infidelity. Help us to see that marriage is more than just sex. Help us to see the devastating affects of infidelity before we act upon it. Help us to learn from the mistakes of others such as David with Bathsheba. If we are suffering through the affects of infidelity in the past that caused divorce, help us to repent and restore those relationships by admitting our mistakes. Help us to forgive those who have hurt us deeply through infidelity in our pasts. Help us all to have a realistic view of the power of sex in our society and return to a biblical view of sex and of marriage. Help us to choose our spouses wisely. Help us to marry only when we know that the person that we are marrying is a person that we can be friends with in the living room as well as the bedroom. Help us to go into marriage knowing that its not all fantasyland. Help us to realize that marriage is real life and its has its highs and lows but that it is the most important relationship in the world. Help us to see our marriages as bigger than each of us individually. Help us to see our families as worth fighting for and thus be willing to work on our marriages. Help us to become best friends with our spouses. Help us with this thing called marriage.

Amen and Amen.

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2 Samuel 11:1-27 (Part 1 of 5)

David Sins with Bathsheba & Arranges Uriah’s Death

Yesterday, I was having a conversation with another church employee about potential leaders for Sunday morning teams. We discussed a few options and some of the people we discussed were already serving in multiple areas. That point led to discuss the fact that we needed to be looking at people who may have not been in leadership positions before. That point led me to discuss the fact that some of our volunteer teams are aging and that often in churches we count on the same people to most of the work because they are familiar and are known quantities and, as a result, churches often do not develop volunteer team members toward the goal of some being in leadership. That point led me to discuss that we as leaders of volunteer teams at church must constantly be recruiting new members for our teams. We cannot let up on that one point. Without constant eyes on recruiting new members for our teams, we handicap ourselves into (1) keeping people in the positions that they are in even when they may have leadership talents, (2) preventing rotations of leaders, (3) people suffering burnout from leading teams where burnout volunteers don’t show up because they are tired of serving all the time, and (3) not being able to replace leaders or volunteers when they get too old to serve anymore or when someone leaves the church. Recruiting is a constant must in churches.

I likened it to a college football team where recruiting is the lifeblood of great teams. If the coaching staff every loses focus on getting the best and brightest young men for their football teams, the football program will suffer. A perfect example of this statement would be when Steve Spurrier was the coach of the University of South Carolina Gamecocks football team. Steve became the coach of the Gamecocks in 2005 and slowly built up the program from the mediocre state that it was in when he took over. It took a while but by the 2011 season they began a three year run where they had three consecutive 11-2 seasons. Each of those seasons with a different bounce of the ball in the two losses in each of those seasons, they could have easily been a 12-1 or 13-0 team. They were that good during those three years. But something happened to Steve and his staff when they were in the midst of that three year run where they had some of the best and grittiest players in the country. They stop caring about recruiting it seems. The backups behind the stars of the 2011-2013 were not superstars and the recruits coming in were no longer 4 and 5-star recruits. By 2014, the Gamecocks fell to 6-6 in their record for the season. In 2015, they got worse and ended up with a 3-9 record and Steve resigned at mid-season. Any analyst will tell you, the problem was that Spurrier and his staff started slacking off on the recruiting trail and it came back to haunt them.

We must always remember that our purpose in churches is to disciple people to deeper and deeper commitments to Jesus Christ. When we give up on doing that right, we give up on recruiting people to being on service teams. We give up on developing new leaders. We give up and then we wonder why the church has aging leadership and fewer and fewer volunteers. We cannot forget to be always on the recruiting trail and that also forces us to be on the leadership development trail – not just counting on the same old crowd to pick our volunteers and leaders from.

That was the thing that I thought of this morning as I read 2 Samuel 11 for the first of five times this morning – David forgot his purpose and it caused him to fail just as when we forget that discipleship is our purpose in churches we will fail. Let’s read 2 Samuel 11 now:

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.

 

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’s sin started off by him no longer remembering his purpose as king. He got lazy and stayed home. He felt that he was too important now to be out with his army. He got proud of his accomplishments and was resting on his laurels. There is a danger in anything when we think we have “arrived”! In any job, when you think you have all the knowledge and skill that you will ever need, you will stop paying attention to details. You will stop learning or be willing to learn. You will stop thinking that others may have the ability to teach you anything particularly those that are organizationally below you. You will begin too thinking that those above you are idiots and that you could run the organization better than they can. When you begin resting, you begin decaying. When you begin resting, you do not grow. When you begin resting, you become prideful. When you begin resting, you become defensive instead of offensive (meaning that you protect the present turf rather than trying to expand it). When Rome began building walls around their empire was the moment that they began decaying as an empire. When the Romans were at their best was when there was an urgency to expand the kingdom. Just as David here make the mistake of becoming prideful and resting on his achievements of the past, that was when he became most susceptible to decay. That decay expressing itself in indulging in his selfish desires.

 

That’s the takeaway for today. As Christ followers, we can learn from David. We can learn from Steve Spurrier. We can learn from the Romans. The day we rest on our achievements and stop working to expand God’s kingdom is the day we begin to decay. When we stop recruiting new people to our ministries, when we stop sharing the gospel, when we stop evangelizing, because we think we have it made is when we start decaying and settling into sinful pride and all that it entails. That is when we start excluding people. That’s when it becomes us vs. these new folks coming in our church. That’s when it becomes religious arrogance. That’s when it becomes about the color of the carpet. That’s when we start defending our turf instead of expanding it. That’s when we think we don’t have to read the Bible anymore because we got this Christ follower thing down cold. That’s when we think we do not have to grow anymore because we have “arrived” at that place where we do not want to move on from. That’s when we get comfortable. That’s when we are ripe for the temptations of sin – it’s OK for me, I’m a king, I’m a long-time Christian, I’m a mature Christ follower. I’m a…

 

Father in heaven, please help us to read this story of David and realize that pride can enter into the lives of each and every one of us no matter how long we have been Christ followers. Please help us to stay humble. Please help to stay hungry for you just as we were on the day of our salvation. Please help us to seek you daily in prayer and in studying Your Word. Please help to see that following you is a journey and not a destination. Please help us to always see that we can learn much from the infinite God that you are. Please help us to understand that only you are perfect and holy and that we are prideful and sinful such that we understand that we never have it made, that we are imperfect beings incapable of perfection in the absence of the covering of the grace of Jesus Christ. Help us to remember our position in relation to you. We are sinful. You are sinless. We need help daily from the grace of Jesus and to have the humility to always put you first in our lives and to give you glory in everything that we do.

 

Amen and Amen.