Advent Midweek 3: Bathsheba the Adulteress (2 Samuel 11:1-5)

Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Lebanon, OR
Advent Midweek 3 – December 14, 2016
Text: 2 Samuel 11:1-5

11 iIn the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel. And they ravaged the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem.
It happened, late one afternoon, when David arose from his couch and was walking on the roof of the king’s house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful. And David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, “Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” So David sent messengers and took her, and she came to him, and he lay with her. (Now she had been purifying herself from her uncleanness.) Then she returned to her house. And the woman conceived, and she sent and told David, “I am pregnant.”
In the Commandments it’s pretty clear: You shall not commit adultery, meaning:  “We should fear and love God so that we lead a sexually pure and decent life in what we say and do and husband and wife love and honor each other.” (Small Catechism)
Now, you’d think the Bible would be a great place to learn God’s morality.  What better place do we have to look for upright, moral behavior than the pillars of the faith like King David?  Wrong!   In this case, David was a horrible example and would even be criticized by unbelievers for what he did.
According to the Law, this is what they deserved: “If a man is found lying with the wife of another man, both of them shall die, the man who lay with the woman, and the woman. So you shall purge the evil from Israel.”[1]  Purge the evil, whether he be the king or a beggar in the street.
Then, the adulterous couple conspired to cover it up.  David called back her husband from battle, urged him to go lay with Bathsheba, and then nobody else would have to know.  When that didn’t work, he even conspired to have Uriah killed so that David could save face by marrying the poor widow Bathsheba.  Without TMZ around, it’s unclear how many in Israel knew the details of King David’s illicit affair, but God could not be fooled.
But God, whose steadfast love endures forever, intervened in this unholy union between David and Bathsheba  Yes, the first child died, for God chose not to justify their lust.  “Then David comforted his wife, Bathsheba, and went in to her and lay with her, and she bore a son, and he called his name Solomon. And the Lord loved him.”[2] 
Remember the promise which God had made to David by Nathan before all this happened? “When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.”[3]  Who would have guessed that this is how it would happen?   But out of this dead couple, God would fulfill His promise.  The Son of David would establish a godly kingdom, whose enemies would be defeated.  This kingdom and the Son of David who rules it would last forever.
But this promise was not fulfilled in Solomon.  It came in Jesus.  As Jesus Himself points out,
44    “ ‘The Lord said to my Lord,
                       “Sit at my right hand,
until I put your enemies under your feet” ’?
45 If then David calls him Lord, how is he his son?”
Jesus is the Son of David who is able to bear the sins of all mankind.  He is more than a special Child whom God loves.  He is the reason God is gracious and does not immediately put us to death when we deserve it.  The Son of David reconciled sinners to God and He is the assurance of forgiveness and love from God.  And that forgiveness is for the adulterer, drunkard, thief, or sodomite.[4]   The Son of David, Jesus Christ, is how every sinner is able to pray with confidence:
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
   Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
   Hide your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
10    Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
11    Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
12    Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit. [5]
[1] Deuteronomy 22:22
[2] 2 Samuel 12:24
[3] 2 Samuel 7:12-13
[4] All people whom God preaches repentance to: David, Noah (Gen. 9), thief on the cross (Luke 23), Genesis 19:6-8
[5] Psalm 51:7-12

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