David and Bathsheba…

24 06 2011

DAY ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY-EIGHT : 2 Samuel 11 v. 1 – 12 v. 31; Acts 4 v. 1 – 22; Psalm 71 v. 1 – 8


2 SAMUEL

David and Bathsheba – Okay, here we go – David’s BIG downfall!
It’s springtime (the time when kings go to war….really?) and David’s men are out fighting the Ammonites (‘How much better if David had gone with his army into the field…Idleness opens the door to temptation’).
One night, David is up on his rooftop and sees Bathsheba taking a bath. David notices how beautiful she is, and sends for someone to find out more about her.
Although David is told that she is the wife of Uriah the Hittite, he still sends messengers over to bring her to him, and he sleeps with her.
Bathsheba becomes pregnant, and gets the message back to David.
David arranges for Uriah to be brought back from the army, to get him to sleep with Bathsheba and make it look like the baby who is to be born will be his. Uriah returns but doesn’t actually go to sleep in his house, explaining that he can’t bring himself to ‘go to my house to eat and drink and lie with my wife’ whilst Israel (and the ark of the covenant) are out there engaged in battle. David even keeps him a second night, and gets him drunk, but still he won’t lie with his wife. Uriah is showing integrity and thought for his fellow-men, whilst David is seen to be deceitful and manipulative.
When Uriah returns to the fight, David sends the message to Joab that Uriah should be put frontline where the fighting is the fiercest, and that the troops should withdraw, leaving Uriah exposed.
Joab follows David’s instructions and Uriah is abandoned and killed.
When David hears the news he sends word back to Joab telling him not to be upset, but to press on in battle against the city to destroy it.
Bathsheba hears of her husband’s death and mourns his tragic death. Then, she is taken into David’s palace, making her his wife (another one), and she bears him a son
‘But the thing David had done displeased the Lord.’

Nathan Rebukes David – and oh, the art of storytelling to get a great point across !
Nathan, God’s prophet is sent to David by the Lord.
Nathan tells David a story about a rich man and a poor man.
The rich man owns loads of cattle and sheep, the poor man owns just one small ewe lamb, which he cared for as if it were a member of his family (feeding it, letting it sleep in his arms).
When the rich man receives a guest travelling through, he doesn’t want to kill and eat one of his own animals, but rather he takes the ewe lamb from the  poor person, kills and prepares it for the banquet.
David sees the injustice in this story, and feels anger towards the rich man – ‘the man who did this deserves to die’.
Nathan delivers the killer punchline
‘You are the man!‘, and goes on to do the work of the prophet, bringing God’s word to bear on the situation –
God anointed David king; God delivered David from Saul; God gave David a great place to live, great wives and the ‘house of Israel and Judah’; God would have given more, more, more.
‘Why do you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in His eyes?’

Notice how doing wrong implies a disrespect for, mistrust in, despising of God’s Word.

God spells out exactly what David has done wrong (hard for David to hear this from the prophet, Nathan), and the punishment which will result – ‘I am going to bring calamity upon you’. David’s wives will leave him for other men.
David, at last, confesses his sin to Nathan.
Nathan reassures David that the Lord has taken away his sin (amazing grace), but there are consequences for that sin, and his son will die.
The boy Bathsheba had given birth to became ill and died, even though David fasted and prayed for him for seven days.
(David’s servants were too afraid to tell him when his son died, but David guessed because of their strange behaviour).
David stops his fast and comforts his wife, Bathsheba.
Some time later, Bathsheba gives birth to her second child, named Solomon – ‘the Lord loved him’ – and Nathan suggest the name Jedediah (‘Beloved of the Lord’).
Joab continues to fight against the Ammonites, capturing their royal citadel and David sends the entire army out to capture Rabbah, and placing their king’s crown on David’s head. The inhabitants of the city were put to labour, brickmaking, and David and his men return to Jerusalem.

ACTS
Peter and John Before the Sanhedrin – Peter and John are still speaking to the people, when they are interrupted by the priests, Sadducees and the temple guard, unhappy with their teaching about Jesus’ resurrection.
Peter and John are placed in jail, but not before many had turned to faith in Jesus, believing their message (the number of believers now up to around 5,000).
There’s a big council of Jewish leaders the next day, under Annas, the High Priest, and other members of the High Priest’s family.
Peter and John were brought out to them from behind bars, and asked where their authority to do these things had come from.
Peter, ‘filled with the Holy Spirit’, tells them boldly that Jesus of Nazareth is the name by which the crippled man had been given his mobility back (‘this act of kindness’).
Peter proclaims the Jesus they had crucified but God had raised as
‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone’. (Ps. 118 / Is. 28)
‘Salvation is found in no-one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.’
Peter and John are noted for their courage, as ‘unschooled, ordinary men’, who the Jewish leaders are astonished to hear talk like this. The difference identified by those listening was that ‘these men had been with Jesus’.
They confer amongst themselves about their next step with these men, and they decide to warn them to no longer speak of Jesus.
Of course, Peter and John can agree to no such thing :
‘Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God.’
They hear many other threats before being dismissed, for the leaders fear that too many people are praising God for this miraculous healing, for the man…wait for it…was more than forty years old !!!

Is that meant to sound quite old ?
I was 43 this week….how is that meant to make me feel ?
Even at ‘over 40’, we are not too old to experience a miracle from God.

PSALM
‘In You, O Lord, I have taken refuge…be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go…
for You are my rock and my fortress…
You have been my hope, O Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth…
my mouth is filled with your praise…’

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