A Daily Dose of Good News
Monday, August 31, 2020
At 10:30 am today, this devotional will be offered online at https://youtu.be/8RvXfvlP4A4
A printer-friendly version of this devotion is available at DDGN 20200831
Good morning! It’s August 31 and it’s time for our Daily Dose of Good News, which is from 2 Samuel 11:2-26. So, I’ll read the first portion of this today, and then tomorrow I’ll start with verse 27 for the second portion of good news.
It happened, late one afternoon, when David rose from his couch and was walking about on the roof of the king’s house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; the woman was very beautiful. David sent someone to inquire about the woman. It was reported, “This is Bathsheba daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” So David sent messengers to get her, and she came to him, and he lay with her. (Now she was purifying herself after her period.) Then she returned to her house. The woman conceived; and she sent and told David, “I am pregnant.”
So David sent word to Joab, “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” And Joab sent Uriah to David. When Uriah came to him, David asked how Joab and the people fared, and how the war was going. Then David said to Uriah, “Go down to your house, and wash your feet.” Uriah went out of the king’s house, and there followed him a present from the king. But Uriah slept at the entrance of the king’s house with all the servants of his lord, and did not go down to his house. When they told David, “Uriah did not go down to his house,” David said to Uriah, “You have just come from a journey. Why did you not go down to your house?” Uriah said to David, “The ark and Israel and Judah remain in booths; and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are camping in the open field; shall I then go to my house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? As you live, and as your soul lives, I will not do such a thing.” Then David said to Uriah, “Remain here today also, and tomorrow I will send you back.” So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day. On the next day, David invited him to eat and drink in his presence and made him drunk; and in the evening he went out to lie on his couch with the servants of his lord, but he did not go down to his house. In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah. In the letter he wrote, “Set Uriah in the forefront of the hardest fighting, and then draw back from him, so that he may be struck down and die.” As Joab was besieging the city, he assigned Uriah to the place where he knew there were valiant warriors. The men of the city came out and fought with Joab; and some of the servants of David among the people fell. Uriah the Hittite was killed as well. Then Joab sent and told David all the news about the fighting; and he instructed the messenger, “When you have finished telling the king all the news about the fighting, then, if the king’s anger rises, and if he says to you, ‘Why did you go so near the city to fight? Did you not know that they would shoot from the wall? Who killed Abimelech son of Jerubbaal? Did not a woman throw an upper millstone on him from the wall, so that he died at Thebez? Why did you go so near the wall?’ then you shall say, ‘Your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead too.’”
So the messenger went, and came and told David all that Joab had sent him to tell. The messenger said to David, “The men gained an advantage over us, and came out against us in the field; but we drove them back to the entrance of the gate. Then the archers shot at your servants from the wall; some of the king’s servants are dead; and your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.” David said to the messenger,“Thus you shall say to Joab, ‘Do not let this matter trouble you, for the sword devours now one and now another; press your attack on the city, and overthrow it.’ And encourage him.”
When the wife of Uriah heard that her husband was dead, she made lamentation for him.
Here ends the reading.
Now you may hear all of that, and think ‘Goodness gracious! Where is the Good News in that?!’ I had a similar thought when I read that. And by process of elimination, let’s think about where the Good News is not, ok? The Good News is not present for Bathsheba, someone who was married to another man, who was called by the king, who it sounds like she didn’t have much choice on sleeping with the king. He’s ordered her there, she’s in his private home, left unattended with him. So, that’s not Good News. It’s not Good News that she becomes pregnant from that encounter when she’s married to another man and it’s not her husband’s baby. It’s not Good News that her husband was killed in battle, by David’s instructions, basically. So, it’s not Good News for Bathsheba in this, at this point.
There’s also not Good News in terms of David making good choices in this. Basically, he’s at loose ends, wandering around the palace, while his army is doing their duty, David is not, really. Instead he is noticing things that are tempting him to make choices that aren’t after God’s heart. David makes numerous choices that aren’t good in this. David ignores some pieces in front of him that could redirect him to better choices, and that is where I think the Good News is… Even in David being at loose ends, and not making good choices, there is still a component of examples being in front of David to help steer him towards God- and that’s Uriah.
Uriah is the one in this text who is oriented towards God, oriented toward his duty before pleasure. So, Uriah goes to fight. Uriah returns from fighting, he goes to see the king, at the king’s dismissal, he goes and he stays and sleeps with the servants. When David asks him about that, he basically says “the ark, and Israel and Judah are all in tents”. His focus is there. His focus is on that- the priority of the ark- of what’s holy for God. And also, what’s holy for God- God’s people- who are fighting. So, Uriah is a beautiful example for David, of being oriented in the right direction. I like to think of that of God sending Uriah as an example for David, as a reminder to David of ‘Hey, remember duty. Remember your allegiance to me, before your desire for pleasure and other things’.
Now, David doesn’t listen to it. David doesn’t adhere to it. But, I think that component of God sending reminders, of God trying to help steer us toward God’s orientation, is the Good News in this. That, even in our lives, as we’re wandering aimlessly about in this pandemic- and we might be tempted to do many things that aren’t necessarily God’s orientation for us, that aren’t in God’s best interest for us- God’s quite capable of sending us reminders. People to help orient us, situations to help orient us, reflections to help reorient us. So, the Good News is, in whatever you have in front of you today, that God has given you a mind and a heart that is capable of focusing on Him. So use those opportunities and components in front of you, to reflect and think ‘God, where are you orienting me toward? Where have I drifted, intentionally or unintentionally, into areas that aren’t Yours?” And that’s the Good News, that God forever seeks to help us live according to God’s ways for the best in our lives. Have a great day everybody. Bye-bye.