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LET THE FIREWORKS BEGIN

July 4, 2017

*Happy Fourth of July! May it be a great day! Last night Melody, Ryan, Zander and I watched a fantastic fireworks display at the Appalachian Power Park in Charleston. The show followed the baseball game between the West Virginia Power and the Hickory Crawdads. For my out of state friends those teams are affiliates of the Pittsburg Pirates and the Texas Rangers respectively. Speaking of fireworks, the sparks are about to fly in Jerusalem as David is about to find out the consequences of his actions. You remember what those actions were, correct? Yes, David slept with another man's wife, got her pregnant and then had the husband killed. Think about it: In a brief moment David broke at least four of God's commandments. Let's see; You shall not covet? Check. You shall not commit adultery? Check. You shall not steal? Check. You shall not murder? Check. Who knows? David may have even had a Ten Commandments plaque hanging on the wall of his palace. Good King David, the one often described as "a man after God's own heart," has his woman, has his baby, has the people on his side, therefore has it all going for him. All is well, right? Wrong!

"Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own. This is what the Lord says: 'Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity upon you.'" (II Samuel 12:10-11a)

David may have fooled everyone else, but he didn't fool God. Hey, we even see that David may have even broke a fifth commandment; the one that commands the people to have no other gods before (Yahweh). Perhaps David became his own god. Now, what has happened in this passage that I have quoted above is that Nathan the prophet has been sent to David by the Lord. Nathan tells David a parable about a rich man and a poor man. All that the poor man had was one little ewe lamb. This lamb "grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him." (II Samuel 12:3b) Then one day the rich man took the poor man's lamb and prepared it for a traveling guest. He did this in spite of the fact that he had many lambs from his own flock to choose from. When David heard about this he "burned with anger against the man." Then David said to Nathan: "As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this deserves to die!" (II Samuel 12:5) Nathan then said to David "You are the man!" (II Samuel 12:7) Now, I can just hear David: "That's right! Yep! I am the man! I've got my palace, my kingdom, my people, my women, my....Yep! I'm the man!" Of course David is the man in the parable who David declared should die for his actions. David had previously excused himself for his actions and became blinded by his own sin.*Yet he was still perfectly able to point out the sins of others (the man in the parable). Now, his sins have found him out. Everything that is going to happen to David will be in the open. "You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel." (II Samuel 12: 12b)

 

So David now knows that, while he may have gotten by with his sin before the people, he has not fooled God. David then says: "I have sinned against the Lord." (II Samuel 12:13)  Wow! This begs the question: Did David repent because he was truly sorry, or did he repent because he got caught? Or, I guess we could ask, Or both? David is then told that "The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die." (II Samuel 12:13b) O.K., this causes me to ask: were David's sins not just as serious as Saul's? In my opinion, yes, if not even worse. Did Saul not try to repent? Yes, he did! But, for Saul it was all to no avail. But, will God abandon David? No! Why? Because God has made a covenant with David that the kingdom of David will be without end. So, it looks like David has gotten away with murder. Umm...well...not so fast:

"Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will lie with your wives in broad daylight...the son born to you will die." (II Samuel 12: 11b, 14b)

Wow! David's own sins will be duplicated within his own family, but in a more heinous way. The baby that Bathsheba is carrying dies (verse 18). Before David's actions with Bathsheba and Uriah everything he touched turned to gold, then he touched Bathsheba (yes, a chuckle here on my part) and now, all (you know what) breaks loose in the house of David. Brother abuses sister, brother kills brother, and it gets worse from there. Oh, but wait! There is a bit of good news.

"Then David comforted his wife Bathsheba, and he went to her and lay with her (David! This is what got you into this mess to begin with!). She gave birth to a son, and they named him Solomon." (II Samuel 12:24)

Well, I guess that's one way of handling one's grief. Notice the name given to the child. Perhaps the name Solomon is one you have heard of. Solomon becomes a very prominent figure in the Bible and the history of Israel as we will soon discover. But, before we get to him, we need to see something else.

 

This whole story is such a mess. Wow! Solomon would have to live with the fact that his mother was once married to Uriah the Hittite who was one of David's most loyal soldiers, if not the most loyal. Then Uriah was "murdered" by David (indirectly, but still murdered) who then married the widow. (Solomon's mother) Hmm...sounds like a story on a soap opera. (Or Jerry Springer) Oh my! Biblical characters sometimes had stories just like many of us. Oh, wait! Do you remember where we have discovered that in the genealogy of Jesus that there are women? We have already looked at three of them. If you recall these three were unlikely figures to be found in the genealogy of Jesus. They were Tamar (played a prostitute), Rahab (who was a prostitute) and Ruth (well, I'll let you decide what she really did at Boaz's feet). (If you still don't think that Ruth did anything at the feet of Boaz other than just sleep, remember David told Uriah to "go home and wash his feet" meaning "go home and have sex with your wife")  Hmm...but there are four women in the genealogy of Jesus. Who do you suppose is the fourth one? Yes, the mother of Solomon. Oh, notice I did not say Bathsheba. This is so interesting. Yes, Bathsheba is the forth woman. But, the way the genealogy is written is interesting:

"David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah's wife..." (Matthew 1:6b)

Did you notice that Uriah even made it into the genealogy of our Lord even though he was not actually in Jesus' genealogy? Perhaps this is a way of honoring the faithfulness of this man. Why is Bathsheba not named? Well, I don't know. How about that? I admit that I don't know! But, here's an idea. Perhaps it was because Bathsheba was completely innocent. Remember, the other women made it into the genealogy because of their own actions. Bathsheba, does nothing of her own. David is the one who takes every initiative in the story of Bathsheba. Bathsheba is in the genealogy because of the actions of another (David).

 

Well, that's enough for today. I hope you have a safe and happy Fourth of July. -Pastor Rick

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Madison United Methodist Church is affiliated with the West Virginia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. To learn more about WVAC, please visit www.wvumc.org. 

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