"In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah. And he wrote in the letter, ‘Put Uriah in the front line of the heaviest fighting and withdraw from him, that he may be struck down and die.'"
II Samuel 11: 14, 15
"Morality is not merely the purity patter of preachers - it is the law of God."
W. E. Sangster
How could David's moral compass have gone so severely astray, until the day when he ordered the murder of an innocent man to cover-up his own sin?
"As the sailor locates his position on the sea by ‘shooting' the sun, so we may get our moral bearings by looking at God."
A. W. Tozer
The sun had set. Darkness was settling on the city of
But for David, an uncooperative soldier named Uriah, who staked his life on ethical behavior, became an immovable roadblock. Uriah believed that when it came to righteous living, there were "no pastel shades," as Arnold Lowe wrote. And so David had to come up with a new plan before Uriah departed in the morning to go back to the battle.
Just contemplate for a moment how you would have felt had you been David. Think how you would have struggled as you penned a letter to the General of your army - a letter which in plain language instructed Joab to put Uriah in the front of the battle line where the most vicious fighting would be taking place and then, "withdraw" any support that surrounded this valiant soldier.
It is difficult for me to believe that a man who penned the words, "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want…surely and goodness shall follow me all the days of my life and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever," was the same man who wrote, "that he (Uriah) may be struck down and die" (II Samuel 11: 15). But it was. David had a side of his heart influenced by God. A heart after God. But as we so sadly see, he also had the potential to sink to the lowest level possible.
As I read this painful passage in the Bible, there were two distinct lessons that called out to me
The first is found repeated throughout the Scripture but expressed best by the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Corinthians, "Therefore let anyone who thinks (they) stand, who feels sure that (they) have a steadfast mind and are standing firm, take heed lest (they) fall into sin" (I Corinthians 10: 12 Amplified Bible). Moral fortitude isn't a gift or quality of only the strong. Moral behavior is not an activity based on the "survival of the fittest." As Friedrich von Schelling so aptly stated, "Only he (or she) who knows God is truly moral." This is the key to our standing morally fit at all times, even when we are the very weakest, and even more so, when we think we are strong.
Unfortunately, we find that David's moral bearings had been off for sometime. He had been extremely disrespectful in his treatment of women as he took one wife and concubine after another into his bed. And while this behavior only mirrored that of the rulers in surrounding nations, it was not part of God's plan. In fact, it was behavior that defied God's moral law.
But there's also another lesson we need to learn. David began to rely on his army, his wealth, his prowess and his power. David not only let go of his moral Guide, he decided he could guide himself, quite fine - thank you! He acted as though he could go it alone. He believed he could figure out a way to get out of the problems in his own life. And sadly, he found that when we go through our lives with a "do it myself" attitude, we are bound to fall into a trap we can't get ourselves out of.
Recently, I saw a program on television about old abandoned mines and the hazard they are for unsuspecting individuals who come upon them without warning only to fall into them, often losing their lives. As one rescuer noted, if you fall into a deep mine shaft, there is no way you can rescue yourself. You have to get help and often the only help that is truly effective comes from an individual who is experienced in this type of rescue work.
This is exactly the kind of assistance David needed when, with Uriah still under his roof, he wrote a note to Joab his army general and ordered him to murder Uriah. At this moment, David needed to look to his heavenly Father. But, he didn't.
Looking back on his behavior, I'm certain David wondered how in the world he could have sunk so low and don't we all when we allow our moral orientation to be swayed by what others are doing and how others are making decisions.
"When you feel unlovable, unworthy and unclean, when you think that no one can heal you:
When you think that you are unforgivable for your guilt and your shame:
When you think that all is hidden and no one can see within:
And when you have reached the bottom and you think that no one can hear:
Remember my dear Friend,
And when you think that no one can love the real person deep inside of you:
Remember, my dear Friend,
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.