Friday, October 23, 2009

A New Perspective

Last year I did a year long devotional that took me through the lives of 52 women of the Bible. It was a great study, but I would recommend it to be done in addition to a Bible study since you only read out of the Bible once a week with this book. One week's lesson that really got to me was on B*thsheba. I don't think I will ever look at her the same way again, and I feel like I owe her an apology when I get to heaven for thinking the worst of her when, in reality, she was probably the victim. Unfortunately, because we live in a pretty sick world, I have put an * in the place of some letters to keep people who search for specific words from finding my blog. I'm sure you'll be able to fill in the blanks to understand the gist of the post.

I am sitting here with a cup of coffee and a new perspective about a familiar Bible account. I had always heard of the story of B*thsheba and David, and how they were both guilty of the act which this account is based on. My Bible, and most Bibles that I have seen, have "B*thsheba, David's Great Sin" as the heading (which, by the way, is not actually inspired- only the actual passages of Scripture are) of this particular section. But then in my devotions last week, I gained a whole new perspective of this great account- if you are looking for a good account to read that has drama, murder, sins forgiven, consequences doled, an innocent victim, and final justice, then this is the account for you. (Notice that I do not call them Bible stories, I call them accounts. Stories implies that they are not true or that they are fairy tales, and I believe with my whole being that the Bible and ALL that is contained in it is 100% accurate and true.)

The author of my devotional pointed out that B*thsheba was bathing, not to seduce the king, but rather in those days b*ths followed the time of uncleanness that women get every month (thanks, Eve). Next, when the King saw her, he had the choice to either continue watching or turn away- after all he was a married man. When the King inquired about this beautiful woman he had just seen (why didn't anyone question why he was watching her bathe?), he was told that she was "B*thsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the WIFE of Uriah the Hittite". The fact that she was the wife of another man should have stopped him in his tracks. However, according to verse 4, "And David sent messengers and took her,"- doesn't sound voluntary on her part to me. "...and when she came to him, he lay with her;"- Now in all honesty, this is where many self righteous people begin the, "She should have told the King 'No'" speech. But think about it. This is the most powerful man in the kingdom, and Bathsheba was literally alone. Her husband was out on the battlefield. She was probably younger than the King and couldn't imagine that this godly king of Israel could possibly do anything unrighteous.

When B*thsheba found out that she was pregnant, she let the king know immediately. She knew exactly who the father was. Doesn't this tell us that B*thsheba was not flirting while her husband was away? Then the Bible tells us that David is the one who tried covering up the whole situation- having Uriah return from the battlefield, trying to have him go home to his wife hoping that in the process Uriah might eventually think he was the father, and when all of his attempts failed, sending Uriah back to the front with a letter condeming him to death. B*thsheba is not mentioned in the Bible (the only solid authority on this account) as having anything to do with the cover-up. Then, after Uriah was killed, David fulfilled his duty and married B*thsheba. However, 2 Sam. 11:27 says, "But the thing that David had done was evil in the sight of the Lord." The Bible does not say "the thing that David and B*thsheba did". When Nathan confronts David, notice that he does not rebuke Bathsheba as well. In fact, B*thsheba is referred to in the parable that Nathan gave as "one little ewe lamb"- young, innocent, and greatly loved.

As punishment for his sin, the child that B*thsheba was going to have would die. David prayed and fasted, but God kept his word. However, B*thsheba became pregnant again, and this time God sent Nathan with a whole new message. God loved this child and gave him the name Jedediah which means, "beloved of the Lord." Now, this is the part that I could never understand. If you went into this account (like I used to) with the mentality that they were both equally guilty (and maybe you even thought that B*thsheba was somehow MORE guilty, like I did), than it doesn't make sense that God would bless this woman with a son that He loved who would become the next king of Israel. However, if you see B*thsheba as the Bible has portrayed her, a woman who was r*ped, whose husband was murdered to cover up the r*pe, within a few weeks married the man who r*ped her and killed her husband who loved her, had her innocent child die as the result of her new husband's sin, then you can see God's mercy towards B*thsheba with the gift of Solomon. Maybe the unfortunate death of her first baby was not just meant as a punishment towards David, but could also be seen as an act of Mercy by God. Everytime B*thsheba would have seen that child, would she have been reminded of all of the circumstances surrounding him? Maybe God in His mercy took that child to Himself to spare B*thsheba the harsh memories wrapped up in that small child, who through no fault of his own would always leave a terrible ache in his mother's heart.

I have learned through this journey to only see the Scriptures the way God wrote them. Yes, commentaries are good and headings are helpful for quickly finding things, but only God's Word accurately
tells the accounts of those who lived the lives recorded for our learning.

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