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“Rise Up From the Ashes”
2 Samuel 11
Over the last six years, God has called me to serve as a pastor of two congregations, and a volunteer police chaplain for two departments. Through these ministries, I have met many people and been able to serve them in a variety of ways. Unfortunately, there are times when I have had to sit with people through some very difficult times and situations – the loss of homes, jobs, freedom, hopes, and loved ones. Sometimes the hurt, loss, and pain come from mistakes that they themselves made, and sometimes it seems to come from nowhere, and for no reason. Whatever the cause, these experiences have taught me a few things. One, life can get hard, and life can seem out of control. Two, this can lead people to great despair and hopelessness. But, three, God can work through the worst of circumstances to bring about his purposes in restoring, redeeming, and saving what seems lost.
These realities are definitely true in the story of Bathsheba and David in 2 Samuel 11. Up to this point, Bathsheba is not known in the story, and David has been through a lot in his life. He has gone from the youngest of seven brothers, to a lowly, yet courageous shepherd, from the teenager who killed Goliath with a slingshot, to a servant of King Saul’s, and from a mighty warrior, to a man on the run. Now in chapter 11, David has been king for about 17 years, and is currently reigning in Jerusalem. Yet, as verse one notes, come springtime, David did not go out with his army like most kings usually do (11:1). Instead, he is living in the comfort of his own palace in the city of Jerusalem.
One evening he goes onto his roof to cool off and relax, when he sees a beautiful woman taking a bath (11:2). He lusts in his heart for her and sends his servants to find out who she is. Once it is known who she is, she has her brought to him and Kind David sleeps with her. After this, Bathsheba purifies herself and goes home (11:4). We do not know all of what she is feeling, but I am sure there are great emotions of fear, guilt, and shame. Not long after this, she finds out that she is pregnant. While we do not know Bathsheba’s response to this, we know David gets very worried and tries to cover up his mistake and sin, once he finds out.
Right away his sends for her husband, Uriah, a part of David’s “30 mighty men” (23:39), to come back to Jerusalem. He makes small talk with Uriah and then sends him home with the hopes that he will sleep with his wife, which might cover up whose baby it is. This does not work, as Uriah does not want to dishonor himself (11:6-13). This angers David, and he sends a letter by Uriah’s hand (!) to Joab, commander of the army, to put Uriah at the front lines so he is killed. By doing this, David more-or-less commits murder, and all of this is very displeasing in God’s sight! Therefore, Nathan the prophet comes to David and confronts him on his sin. God says that because he did these evil things, the “sword will never depart from his house,” his wives will be violated, and the child that Bathsheba gives birth to will die (vs. 10-14).
Can you imagine how awful they both must feel? Can you imagine the guilt, the shame, and the sadness? They must have felt hopeless, yet God had a plan. After Bathsheba is done mourning for his fallen husband, David takes her as his wife and they conceive another son. David names him Solomon, which sounds like the words for “peace” and “replacement” in Hebrew, but God tells Nathan to name him Jedidiah, which means “beloved of the Lord” (vs. 24-25). Not only does God love this child and restore some of the hurt and pain, but this child will go on to be king of Israel and a descendant of the Messiah!
Thus, God uses the awful mistakes and circumstances of two people to bring out hope and redemption. Bathsheba, a married woman, who is taken advantage of by the King of Israel, loses a husband by murder, and then a loses an innocent child. But she becomes part of a much grander story of redemption and hope. God uses her to bring about his purposes, and includes her in the lineage of Jesus, to show us that the salvation and the forgiveness of sins is open to all through the coming Messiah.
Maybe you have lost hope. Maybe you are hurting and in deep despair. Maybe you think God can’t fix the mess you are in. But, have hope! God is in the business of restoring and redeeming lives and circumstances, especially for those who trust in him. God can, and does, rise up from the ashes, messages of hope, peace, joy, and love. To him be the glory!
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