If you wanted to get somewhere in the ancient world you needed royal blood and according to the people of ancient Israel there was no one more royal than King David. But in Matthew chapter 1, King David is identified with Uriah’s Wife in the genealogy of Christ. This is in reference to the adulterous / murderous story of David and Bathsheba. What are we being told?
First off, who was Uriah? Uriah was one of David’s best friends. If you go back and read through the Biography of David found in I and II Samuel, prior to when he was king, there was a fellowship of men who put their lives on the line for David. They were called his mighty men and because they sided with David they were considered enemies of the state. Uriah was one of those men.
Years later, David is now King and his armies are at war, we are told that David looked upon Uriah’s wife, he sent for her, slept with her and she became pregnant. When David realized that Uriah’s wife was pregnant he had to cover it up and he calls Uriah back from the frontlines hoping that Uriah would sleep with Bathsheba.
But Uriah is committed to king and country. He will not go home and sleep in his own bed and David is forced to take matters into his own hands. He writes to the front and tells Joab to put Uriah in the worst part of the war then withdraw from him so that he will be struck down and die. And that is what happens. David’s disobedience to God’s Law leads to idolatry, coveting, lying, stealing, adultery and ultimately murder.
What does all this teach us? It is this…
The capability of the worst possible deeds lives in every heart. That even the best people / that even the people who are most converted are capable of this. Do you consider yourself born again? Have you encountered God? Know this: You are capable of this kind of evil. Do we honestly think we are any better than King David?
Do we look at this incident and say I would never do that! The minute you say that you’ve taken an enormous step towards doing it because the worst thing you could possibly believe is that you are incapable of this kind of sinfulness. The seeds of this kind of depravity reside in all hearts. That under different circumstances, watered properly and allowed to grow, our hearts would produce the same kind of results that we see for King David or maybe even worse.
Think about the aftermath of what happened in Connecticut. It doesn’t get any worse than that. A young man hell-bent on destruction and in the process takes out over two dozen people, most who were children. The very pinnacle of evil. But do you want to know the difference between that murderer and the rest of us? It is not a qualitative difference. It’s a quantitative difference.
Who amongst us hasn’t had distaste or anger or bitterness or scorn for someone at some point in our lives? We are all guilty of this. It resides in all of us. The only real difference between us and a murderer (according to Jesus) is that a murderer has found his seed of scorn placed in the right environment / under the right circumstances and it was allowed to grow.
Until we realize that the same evil, that the depth of sin inside David is inside all of us– we still won’t get it. Look in your own heart. Do you see self-pity / resentment / envy and jealousy / hurt pride? Self-centeredness? Don’t you know what they have the potential of becoming if they fall in the right soil and plant down deep and get watered properly and are allowed to grow?
What’s interesting is that we are told in II Samuel 12 that the prophet Nathan confronted David about his sin and the text tells us that David immediately owned his sin and repented. Verse 13: Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” Nathan replied, “The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die.
Now this is not to say that David did not commit adultery or that David did not murder. David did both and He is guilty in every way. Nor is it to say that there aren’t severe consequences for David’s covenantal disobedience. If you read the rest of the narrative you’ll find out that Bathsheba’s baby does die and on the national scale, David loses his kingdom. It gets literally ripped in two. Yet God comes through Nathan and says to David I have taken away your sins you will not die. How can God give David pardon? How can God assure anyone of pardon no matter how wicked our depravity? Unfair?
The only way we can receive the kind of pardon that David received is the same reason why we celebrate Christmas. A savior came to earth in order to die for our wickedness.
For King David, this is as bad as it gets and yet there is assurance of pardon for David because of what is hoped for in the coming Savior. For us there is this same assurance of pardon because of what has been realized in the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. There is no sin so small that doesn’t deserve damnation. But there is also no sin so great that it can bring damnation on those who truly repent in Christ.