Posted by Steven Sarff
In adding virtue to our faith, it helps to see the examples of those who have acted with virtue. Virtue, as I understand it, is a deep seated characteristic. The willingness to do what is necessary, what is right, doing whatever your task is and accomplishing it well. When we find examples of virtue, we need to point them out. Our sermon Sunday dealt with David and Uriah. Both men of virtue but in this one case, David’s virtue failed him and it serves for us a great example. Read 2 Sam 11 and 12 for a better understanding of this account.
David was at home during a time when the kings would go to battle. Why David choose to stay home is not clear, nor is it certain that anything was wrong in his choice but the events following might have led David to declare “If only I had gone to battle.”
Have you ever been in a small town or maybe a college campus when a major holiday comes. It is deserted, empty, lonely. A person who does not have a lot to do can become restless in boredom and I suppose for David, with his armies gone and many officials as well, may have felt a bit restless too. It was on one such occasion that David got up off his couch (an indication of ease) and took a walk on the roof. While that is not a problem, he may have declared later “If only I had not gone outside”
While walking, he noticed a woman bathing. Much is written to place the blame here on Bathsheba. The Bible is silent on that account and I think it is wise to be so too. What is noted in the text though, was that she was beautiful to behold. Such a statement, undoubtedly true, is to me an indication that David didn’t turn away. He continued to gaze in her direction and her beauty intoxicated him. Again, he may have declared “Why didn’t I turn away?” as would have been proper to do.
From there it just got worse. When he inquired about her, he found she was married. (“Why didn’t I leave it at that?”) He sent for her and brought her to the place, one thing led to another and they slept together. That she got pregnant should not be a surprise and is probably further reason why verse four tells us that she was completing the purification from her uncleanness. This is a likely reason for her bathing and lends more credence to the idea that she was not attempting to trap David. (see Leviticus 15).
When she notified him that she was pregnant, David sent for Uriah in clear attempt to cover this indiscretion.
A man with Virtue:
David called for Uriah to come and share out the battle was going. Can you hear that conversation? “How’s it going?” “How’s the weather?” “Go home and be with your wife!” David even sent a present with Uriah. (Chocolate covered strawberries, perhaps?)
But Uriah did not go home as expected, he stayed in the king’s court and when David was told of this, he made inquiry. Uriah’s response is really simple: “How can I?” His reasoning was that if the Ark of God and Israel and Judah are not in their homes, and the officers are camping in an open field that he did not deserve to be at home with his wife. It is not likely that his words were intended to be a rebuke to David who stayed in his home but the impact of this statement serves the same purpose.
David, as you know, had Uriah killed, married Bathsheba and probably breathed a sigh of relief thinking that the whole incident was over.
Of course, God called him out on it and in a brief blog, I will just note that David repented for his sin. God, did forgive him but the consequences of the sin continued for David for the rest of his life.
David’s confession of “I have sinned” is just the way we should confess our sin when we come to our senses (or God brings us to our senses). Repentance and starting over is the road back to virtue. Doing what it is that God wants us to do, a determination to do what is right regardless of the cost.
Uriah shows us a great example of concern for his fellow soldiers and in doing so shows his virtue. I will comment on this in the next blog.