Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Uriah the Hittite

Even if you are not religious, even if you have had little or no exposure to the things of Judaism or Christianity, chances are you still may have heard of the story about David and Bathseba.  You remember, don't you?  King David - humble, "man after God's own heart," that King David - "in the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king's men and the whole Israelite army....But David remained in Jerusalem."

Why did he remain in Jerusalem?  Did he have a cold?  Was there a death in the family?  Did he just not feel like going to work?  Was his ego getting so big that he felt he could take the spring fighting off and just stay home?  Was he just tired?

God leaves those details out. He does that a lot, doesn't he?  Maybe if we knew WHY he stayed home it may change the way we judge WHAT he did because he stayed home.

The story is told:

"One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace.  From the roof he saw a woman bathing.  The woman was very beautiful, and David sent someone to find out about her."

David found out that it was Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.  But even when he knew who she was and whose she was he "sent messengers to get her.  She came to him, and he slept with her."

If you're a viewer of soap operas and current pop culture you already know what happened.

Yep.  Bathsheba got pregnant, David found out, and so what did the King after God's own heart do?

He brought Uriah, her husband, a loyal Mighty Man of the King after God's own heart  in from the war zone, told him to go home and spend some time with his wife.  But Uriah, probably having had taken notes from his fellow Mighty Men in the water for the king exploit, refused to go home.  He had one of those annoying honor among comrades things going - I've heard of many many guys who come home feel guilty for leaving their fellow soldiers behind.  Uriah was like that.  "The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in tents, and my master Joab and my lord's men are camped in the open fields.  How could I go to my house to eat and drink and lie with my wife?  As surely as you live, I will not do such a thing!"

It's a fascinating story.  One I hope you pick up and read.  It is a story that knocks King David off the pedestal we put him on when we realize that the man after God's own heart had it in his sin poisoned heart to take out Uriah to push down the feelings of guilt he surely was having.

Because Uriah was so honorable and David so human, Uriah was killed.  Not by David's hands, but by David's plan.

Uriah, honorable and loyal and trustworthy and selfless Uriah, died at the hands of someone else's sin.

U is for Uriah the Hittite.

2 Samuel 11

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