“Why have you despised the commandment of the Lord, doing evil in His sight? You have slain Uriah the Hittite with the sword and have taken his wife to be your wife. You have murdered him with the sword of the Ammonites.”
II Samuel 12: 9
“Why Did You Despise My Advice?”
“Let no man be called good who mixes good with evil.”
If I truly recognized that my heavenly Father could see all I did, would I conduct my life in a different way?
Have I ever behaved like David, thinking I could somehow put up a false front and mix evil and good?
What do I think it means to “despise the commandment” of God?
“Man (and woman) does not rule over evil except when he (she) refuses to do it. When he (she) has truly done evil, he (she) is its servant.”
Hildegard of Bingen
“The descent to hell is easy, and those who begin by worshiping power soon worship evil.”
C. S. Lewis
It would be very easy to jump right over our text for today in II Samuel 12: 9, and get to the part of our story of David and Bathsheba where there is sincere repentance and forgiveness. But in order to completely understand how lovingly our Father forgave His wayward children, it would be extremely wise for us to look closely at II Samuel 12: 9 and for a moment put ourselves in God’s place. We need to try, just a little, to see what God saw and to feel what His heart felt.
When Nathan confronted David with his vicious act of betrayal and murder, he asked David a question that I think we have all asked, maybe many times in our lives. “Why?” Why was an innocent child murdered? Why do children die of hunger? Why did that father get cancer? Why? This is a question that I know plagues me. And in David’s case, the prophet Nathan asked the penetrating question, “Why, David, after all God has done for you, after all He has given you, why have you despised His commandment?”
To better understand not only the point Nathan was making but also the feeling he was trying to convey, I went to the Hebrew dictionary and checked out the word “despised”. I found that translated it means to “hold in contempt or disdain.” In modern language, the word “contempt” means to dishonor, to scorn, to openly disrespect or to willfully disobey. And if you add to that the modern definition of disdain, which means to be scornfully aloof, we get a clearer picture here of how David was acting, especially as it related to the commandment of God, or as the Hebrew says, “the advice and counsel of God.”
Lifted up on the throne of Israel, the aroma of power went to David’s head. The rules that applied to everyone else didn’t apply to him at all, or so he thought. He could side-step God’s advice and do his own thing.
Sound familiar? I know it does in my own life for way too frequently. We all like to think we can play by our own rules and do as we would like. And then one day, God sends a Nathan in the door of our lives to notify us that we have been aloof and scornful of our Father’s counsel.
Unfortunately, with his disrespectful attitude toward God, David began to disrespect others, too. He disrespected Bathsheba, another man’s wife. He disrespected a loyal soldier, Uriah. He disrespected those whom he employed for he involved them in his terrible act. And last but not least, David fell so low he disrespected himself. Oh, how slippery the downhill slope when we make a choice to “despise the commandment of God.”
But David’s evil behavior didn’t stop with his despising God’s counsel. Once David decided he was the one to make all the decisions, he resorted to violence to get what he wanted. Nathan reminded David that God had watched as he took Uriah’s wife Bathsheba with “a sword.” And then Nathan said, “But you wouldn’t use your own sword to do the evil deed, you used the sword of the enemy of God, the Ammonites, to get what you wanted.” How cowardly for the once mighty David. When he disrespected God, he fell so low he used somebody else, a “hit-man” so to speak, to wipe out what was in his way of getting what he wanted for himself. And all of this was done in plain sight of his Father who had put him on the throne; given him houses and lands; and given him a family and a place of security after years of wandering in the mountains. Yes, God had been gracious to David and what did our Father get back in return? Evil action from one who had been so blessed. Contempt for God’s kindness. Aloofness for God’s love. Disdain for God’s mercy. And as Nathan pointed out to David, “You did all this evil in God’s sight!” God saw it all!
Just imagine for a moment with me how God must have felt when He watched how His love was betrayed and His kindness disrespected. I want us to think about this, not to discourage us, for in my own life I have behaved no better than David more times than I’d like to admit. And no, I haven’t murdered anyone physically, but I know in my heart that there lurks those same “evil” qualities that have caused me at times to “despise the commandment of God.” Maybe you can relate to what I’m saying. And it is for this reason I want us clearly to recognize the fact that David fell to the lowest of levels because it will help us appreciate with more grateful hearts the heights to which our compassionate Father lifted him when he repented.
J. B. Phillips wrote, “People will never take evil seriously nor even see much need to tap the resources of God until they join in with the costly redemptive purposes of love.” This is the story of David and Bathsheba. A story of how far we can fall when we “despise” our Father’s advice and how high He will lift us when we return to Him.
“The terms for “salvation” in many languages are derived from roots like salvus, saos, whole…which all designate health, the opposite of disintegration and disruption.”
Roused By the Prowl of Grace
“My need is great as hope,
my longing, fierce as wonder,
and I stumble toward you,
drawn by the light of your promise,
roused by the prowl of your grace
in the far country haunt of my soul.
rush to embrace this prodigal me, O God.
Listen to my still-not-trusting babble
and help me accept my way home to you.
Save me from the shadowy, stifling folds
and give me a stunning glimpse
of some light-splattered possibility
to race my blood
and lump my throat.
of life’s struggles,
of its pleasure,
and from the illusion
that they’re separable.
Awe me into awareness
that I am one of the wonderment
of only human muddling beings,
a mix of treachery, reverence, mercy,
of grab, gift, gender, want, and whim
of live, meanness, confusing views
which roll around me, and within,
so as I would no more deny
the holy bafflement of me,
so would I deny no one their place
in my heart, or yours,
or in the just community
or the covenant of grace.
Deepen me, then, in wisdom that defies
the conspiracy of privilege,
the trap of dogmatic closure,
the lure of biases that enslave,
and distinguishes joy from success,
treasure from wealth,
meaning from busy-ness,
love from possession,
peace from comfort
release me from my victim’s cramp
to the discipline of freedom,
the passion of bold choice,
the dare of bold choice,
the courage of an honest voice
and to the faithful, dicey pressing on,
through a way I can’t quite see,
toward the home I never reach,
and the whole I’ll only be
who, even now,
is pressing home to me.”
Wrestling The Light
Dorothy Valcấrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
.S. My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, and www.Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free,
1-800-Christian. You may also call Transformation Garden at 602-368-1245.
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.