Anglican Morning Devotion, 25 June 2021 Anno Domini
A ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“And it came to pass, after the year was expired, at the time when kings go forth to battle, that David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the children of Ammon, and besieged Rabbah. But David tarried still at Jerusalem. 2And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king’s house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon. 3And David sent and enquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite? 4And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her; for she was purified from her uncleanness: and she returned unto her house. 5And the woman conceived, and sent and told David, and said, I am with child.”
(2 Sam 11:1-5; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
One of the most oft repeated events of the Old Testament is the story of David and Bathsheba. It is the account of sin, once conceived, leading into deeper and deeper dark sins until it ends in death. “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” (James 1:14-15)
David’s impulse to follow a carnal desire resulted in the death of an innocent man, Uriah, and the innocent baby of Bathsheba. You may read the whole sordid affair in 2 Samuel 11 & 12. As Psalm 1 points out, sin is a downward spiral – a gradually accelerated descent into the abyss of sin. “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.” (Psalms 1:1) In David’s case, the seed kernel of sin was shown in his heart long before the malicious fruit was made manifest. What led to David’s egregious sin of adultery and murder?
- He failed to take counsel of his duty as king to accompany his army in battle. Something in his heart urged him to remain in Jerusalem. Why?
- He arose from his bed when he should not have. He may have done so before. Perhaps he was already aware of the bathing habits of Bathsheba.
- He walked on his roof when he should have been sleeping. Looking down at the familiar sights of the locale about his palace, he saw Bathsheba bathing. He did not turn away, but feasted his eyes on her in lust. Had he seen her in times past engaged in bathing? Did sinful lust slowly take root in his heart as a voracious weed among better fruits?
- Surrendering to ungodly lust, David sent for Bathsheba and slept with her. She conceived, and the net of sin closed about David. Like imbibing too long at the wine bottle, sin, when it has conceived stings like the serpent of the Garden: “At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.” (Proverbs 23:32)
- Now David concludes his sinful descent by having Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah, killed in battle. Though sin had taken control over David’s heart up until this point, now, the judgment of God would result in the loss of the innocent child that was the product of David’s sin.
There is much to learn of the susceptibility of the unguarded human heart to sin as David had done; but there is also something to learn of the abundance of God’s grace to forgive David! A forgiven David later wrote: “Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings, (Psalms 17:8). If God is able to forgive the terrible sins of David, do you believe His arm is shortened to forgive those of you and me?
If Eve had minded the counsel of God, she would never have walked to the wrong tree, or stopped there admiring its deadly fruit, or conversed with the evil and tempting voice. The simple advice in an old children’s song should suffice for those who would refrain their eyes from lusting in sin:
“O be careful little eyes what you see
For the Father up above
Is looking down in love
So, be careful little eyes what you see