ADVENT 13: GRACE FROM DISGRACE – THE WIFE OF URIAH
“When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.” – 2 Samuel 7:12-13
“and Jesse the father of David the king.
And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah,” – Matthew 1:6
The Un-named Grandma
When you read through the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew you’ll notice that there are 5 women who show up in the line of Jesus but only 4 of them are mentioned by name. This one is simply called, “the wife of Uriah”. Isn’t that interesting? Why wouldn’t Matthew mention the name of this woman? I think it’s because this isn’t a particularly bright spot in Israel’s history. This episode in King David’s life is not something that they were proud of. It gets even more interesting when you realize that Matthew was writing to a mostly Jewish audience who would have known all about who this lady was. The bottom line is that I think the reason Matthew didn’t mention her name is probably the same reason you don’t know many ladies named Bathsheba.
Wrong Place, Wrong Time
There are 2 things that everybody remembers about King David. The first is that he killed Goliath and the second is his relationship to Bathsheba. We hear all about this in 2 Samuel 11. At the beginning of the chapter, there is some not-so-subtle foreshadowing that should tip us off that something bad is going to happen. It says “In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle … but David remained at Jerusalem.” There you have it. David is the king of whom they used to say had “slain ten thousands”. He should be out there with his men,
leading them in battle
, but instead, he’s lounging around the palace in the middle of the afternoon. It’s pretty embarrassing.
A Man of Honor
The rest of the story is even worse. David sees a beautiful woman and asks about her. Even though he knows that she is married to one of his most valiant soldiers it doesn’t stop him from pursuing her. Soon afterward he finds out that she’s pregnant and tries to get her husband to come home to be with her so that everyone will think that he is the one who got her pregnant. This plan might have worked except for the fact that her husband was way more honorable than David. Uriah would not come home and enjoy the comfort of his normal life while the army was out in battle. How ironic is that? The king didn’t care that they were at war,
but the soldier did.
After all of this, when David couldn’t think of anything else to do, he sends Uriah to the front line of battle and orders everyone around them to retreat. Who knows how many people David ordered to their death just to cover up his sin?
A Paradigm for Repentance
No wonder the Jews wouldn’t want to mention this story. It records the failures of one of their most beloved kings. But in God’s crazy irony, not only do we get to see David’s sin, but we get to see his repentance. God sends a prophet to show David his sin and he repents. And I mean he repents hard. It is out of the depth of his repentance that he writes one of the most often read and quoted psalms in all of Scripture, Psalm 51. This little psalm is so rich because we get to see David’s genuine brokenness before God and it gives us the words to pray when we have sinned before God.
“Have mercy upon me, O God, According to Your lovingkindness; According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, Blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions, And my sin is always before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight— That You may be found just when You speak, And blameless when You judge. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me. Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me hear joy and gladness, That the bones You have broken may rejoice. Hide Your face from my sins, And blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners shall be converted to You. Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, The God of my salvation, And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, And my mouth shall show forth Your praise. For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart— These, O God, You will not despise. Do good in Your good pleasure to Zion; Build the walls of Jerusalem. Then You shal