Day 76-Soap Opera in Jerusalem—“”Prpphetic Character” 2 Samuel 11: - 14:39
March 17, 2021, 7:34 AM

Day 76-Soap Opera in Jerusalem—“”Prpphetic Character” 2 Samuel 11: - 14:39

I feel like I have been waiting for this day, the day we read about David’s classic sin of adultery with Bathsheba, and the ‘murder’ of Uriah, her husband to cover David’s sin. But so much more! The death of his first son with Bathsheba. The rape of Tamar, David’s daughter, by her half-brother. The murder of Amnon, Tamar’s rapist and David’s first born son by one of his other wives. Joab’s crazy and complicated plan, using a woman to act as a mourner, to help David understand that he needed to bring his son Absalom back to Jerusalem. The plot of Absalom to see and reconcile with his father. The hair on Absalom’s head that weighed 200 shekels when he had his annual haircut.  It does sound like a soap opera, doesn’t it? And it made for interesting reading today.

But here’s what happened to me on Sunday, during church. As we were kneeling and saying the decalogue (the responsive way we say the Ten Commandments during Lent), ‘Judgmental Laurie’ suddenly realizes “Hey! David broke a whole bunch of these commandments, practically at the same time!” You can imagine this is exactly what God wants me to be thinking about as I’m saying the Ten Commandments and leading a service, right?

However, it’s true. David, almost simultaneously, broke the last five commandments as he initiated his affair with Bathsheba. Interestingly the last five commandments are about our relationships with each other. The first five have more to do with our relationship with God. But let’s look at the last five:

David killed Uriah (or had him killed). He clearly committed adultery. He stole someone’s wife. He lied all the way through the whole shenanigans (false witness). And he clearly coveted his neighbor’s wife!! BAM! Five for five!!

And this all starts at the beginning of our passage today. Read the first paragraph closely: “In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle…David remained at Jerusalem.” (11:1) A few days ago I mentioned that it is not good for David to have time on his hands. This is a classic example. David he should be on the battle fields supporting his troops. The entire incident starts with David’s idleness, probably boredom, after he woke from his afternoon nap and was strolling about, surveying his property and the land, until he spied Bathsheba. Instant obsession. Instant ability for possession. Instant sin. Flash points, all of them.

Ok, so God, why David? How does he get to be the chosen one? He’s clearly a messed-up, egocentric man who now understands that power equals possession of anything he wants. In other words, he has come a long way from the ruddy-complexioned shepherd boy of long ago. He has sinned against God, and against his neighbor. He plotted his way around the sin so no one can find out what he’s done—and of course, people DO know what he has done. He has done away with a good and loyal man, Uriah, who wouldn’t even go home during a break in battles because his loyalty to David was so complete. This makes for good TV and a bad life.

So why David? Well, why not? First, the commandments David broke, the second five, were the human relationship commandments. The first five commandments have to do with the way we honor and recognize God in our lives. David did not break any of these commandments. Think of the first five commandments as wrapped up in this one that Jesus spoke: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; (Luke 10:27) Now, I’m not suggesting that this made his other sins less terrible, but the point I am making is that David, for all his flaws, never turned away from God, never stopped loving and honoring God. When Nathan pointed out his sin to him, David immediately understood the harm he had done and said “”I have sinned against the LORD,” (12: 13)  Whenever we sin, however minor or major the sin, that is exactly right—we have first sinned against God and turned our hearts away from God.

David’s repentance does not prevent him from suffering the consequences of that sin, as we still know today. We can be sorry, we can forgive and be forgiven, but there is a cost to sin because it affects us, and it affects the people around us.

However, David’s repentance was deep and profound before God. How do we know? I will close with Psalm 51, the psalm/song that David wrote to express to God his awareness of the sin he committed, and his abiding awareness of God’s presence. This is also the psalm that begins our season of Lent on Ash Wednesday.

David understood that the sins of which he was guilty affected not only his relationship with others, but more importantly, they affected his relationship with God.

So why David? “It is the sentiment King David expresses here [in Psalm 51] that assured his greatness, that set him apart from his predecessor, Saul, and that enables him to stand tall among Israel’s great heroes despite the grave sin that sits at the heart of this lament.”

Psalm 51—a song of repentance by David after his affair with Bathsheba—a psalm of the sinner:

Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin!

3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words
and blameless in your judgment.
5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
and in sin did my mother conceive me.
6 Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.

7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.

13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will return to you.
14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,
O God of my salvation,
and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.
15 O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

18 Do good to Zion in your good pleasure;
build up the walls of Jerusalem;
19 then will you delight in right sacrifices,
in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings;
then bulls will be offered on your altar.



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