Friday, January 31, 2014

I would never

Today we read the sordid story of David and Bathsheba. If we strip away romanticized notions and cultural tendency to blame the woman, we are left with even more horrifying question of how willingly did she participate in this. The story tells us that she was sent for and brought to him but not much more. Regardless, the king simply took the wife of one of his soldiers. To compound the sin, when she is discovered to be pregnant, David arranges the murder of her husband.

While all of us could probably truly say "I would never" with regard to murdering someone on another level we are all capable of being David. He starts off with a comon feeling, sexual attraction. Then he rationalizies his desire for a woman who was not his. Then he engages in an extramarital affair. Then he's frightened by the discovery that she's pregnant. Then he tries to arrange to cover that up by having the husband come home and sleep with his wife. It is only when none of his attempts to cover up his sin work that he resorts to arranging to put the husband in a situation where he will probably be killed.

Does David kill Uraiah? No. 
Does David tell anyone to kill you Uraiah? No
But morally he is still responsible. 

At how many points could David have stopped the chain of events? All he would've had to do was acknowledge his sin. He was the king. Who could've punished him? He wasn't a US president that could be impeached.

Instead, like some many of us, he opted to dig the hole deeper and deeper. David was not a bad person. We go back to the beginning of the story and we remember that he was the one chosen by God.

David's downward journey began with a very ordinary human problem, lust.

Before we look at the story of David and think "I would never" think again!  My guess is that at least one of us right now is dealing with what seems to be a somewhat small and ordinary problem. We're either rationalizing it away, or simply choosing to ignore it.

David's story is a cautionary tale for all of us, a call to look into our own hearts and lives and see where we need to experience conversion, to change something while is still small. 

One of my favorite quotes from a 20th century author is from H Jackson Brown Jr, "Character is what we do when we think no one is looking."

We could all stand to perform a regular character check.