6 min read
By: Allie Joy Hudson
Lust and The Sin of King David
After a two-day reprieve visiting with King David, Uriah traveled back to where his fellow soldiers were encamped. The Israelites had been waging war against the Ammonites, and they had besieged Rabbah, one of Ammon’s major cities.
Uriah shook his head and tried to clear his thoughts. His mind was still hazy from all the wine that the king had forced him to down the night before.
“What a strange few days,” Uriah thought.
The king had unexpectedly called him back home to Jerusalem.
“Why did he even send for me?”
As Uriah trudged on, he remembered the letter in his pack and the strange look in the king’s eyes when David had handed it to him earlier that morning.
“Uriah, when you arrive, immediately deliver this message to Commander Joab. He must be the only one to break its seal.”
. . . . .
Uriah delivered this letter to his commander as he was instructed. The letter’s contents: “Place Uriah in the front line of the fiercest battle and withdraw from him, so that he may be struck down and die.” That day, Uriah delivered his own death notice.
The Love of Lust
The story of king David, Bathsheba, and Uriah is documented in 2 Samuel 11. In the NASB translation, this passage is titled, “Bathsheba, David’s Great Sin.”
This is a dark story that documents lust, adultery, murder, and deception. What makes this story so haunting, though, is that even though it took place thousands of years ago, we can see familiar patterns in David’s sin in ourselves. Let’s take a closer look.
Rather than going out and fighting the Ammonites alongside of his men, David stays back in Jerusalem. We aren’t told why he stays, but we do see that David’s self-isolation and refusal to battle opens the door to lust. One night, he gets up from his bed, walks around on his rooftop, and sees a woman, Bathsheba, bathing.
David doesn’t avert his eyes. He doesn’t return to bed alone. He sends for Bathsheba and sleeps with her.
Here, we see king David give lust a victory. He was out alone on the palace roof at night. Why would he choose to go there of all places?
So many times, lust is situational and depends on the environments and situations we place ourselves in. This story compels us to reflect and consider the question, “How are we pursuing lust and putting ourselves into dangerous situations?”
David’s actions also gave him tunnel vision. Once he sleeps with Bathsheba and finds out that she is pregnant, he shifts all of his focus onto covering up what he did. When his plans to persuade Uriah to go home and be with his wife backfires, he resorts to desperate measures. He sends Uriah to his death, and other men also die in the process. These deaths were insignificant to the king.
All that mattered to David was covering up his sins. David’s sin, much like ours, doesn’t end with him. It always impacts other people.
When we live lustfully, it is unbelievably easy to justify our actions. We think things along the lines of, “Everyone does it,” “This was my last time,” or “It’s only affecting me.” Here we also see Israel’s greatest king trying to justify his own behavior.
When he receives news of Uriah’s death, David instructs the messenger to go back and tell Joab, “‘Do not let this thing displease you, for the sword devours one as well as another’” (2 Samuel 11:25). Here, we see that David’s sin callouses his heart. Sin creates distance between us and God, and it diminishes our sensitivity to God’s Spirit.
When we look at the story of David’s great sin, it’s easy to see ourselves in his position. We pursue compromising situations, and then we get tunnel vision and only care about satisfying our lusts and covering our shame. We let ourselves become hardened to the real consequences of our actions and the heartbreak that they cause Jesus.
In this story, David shows us who we are at our worst, but Uriah shows us the kind of person we can become.
Though David stays behind while his men are out on the front, Uriah remains loyal to his station, even when David calls him home for a few days. Rather than going home and spending the night with his wife like David not-so-subtly suggests he do, Uriah sleeps at the door of the king’s house along with David’s servants. When David questions Uriah about this, Uriah replies that he felt an obligation to his companions. Uriah says,
The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in temporary shelters, 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? By your life and the life of your soul, I will not do this thing. (2 Samuel 11:11)
The next night, Uriah again sleeps at the palace door, remaining true to his principles, even after the king pumps him full of alcohol. We see in Uriah a humility and fierce devotion to his fellow soldiers, his cause, his country, and his Lord.
Uriah’s field of vision goes beyond himself; his purpose is grander than his pleasure. Rather than living out of selfishness, Uriah gives up what would be easy, comfortable, and indulgent to uphold what he believes in. Here is a noble role-model for us to imitate. But the nobility of Uriah only becomes more focused when we read about what he was…
David’s Mighty Men
Both 2 Samuel 23 and 1 Chronicles 11 list Uriah the Hittite as one of king David’s legendary, trusted “mighty men” or “men of valor.” This was a small, elite group of thirty to forty men that served the king well, performing epic acts in the name of Israel. Uriah was part of an elite, tight-knit group that was loyal to David.
It is likely that David and Uriah were well-acquainted with each other, even friends. Uriah was known throughout Israel and heralded as a heroic warrior. But, when presented with pleasure, king David caved in and abused his power to get what he wanted, even if that meant sleeping with the wife of one of his most cherished soldiers.
What Kind of Person Do You Want to Be??
What does this mean for us now? It’s chilling to draw parallels between the patterns in king David’s sin and our own. But don’t forget to look at this story through another lens and be encouraged as you look to the example of Uriah. Uriah was an ordinary man, and when presented with the temptation to do what was comfortable, he chose to honor God, himself, and those around him.
What kind of person do you want to be? Will you give in to living in the lust of king David or will you resolve to live in the dignity of Uriah? These two men are merely human examples, demonstrating the choices that we have when faced with the temptation to lust. But we have an even greater example, that of Christ. Jesus holds us to a high standard (see Matthew 5:27-28, for example). He lived a perfect life, but through the indwelling of His Holy Spirit in us, we are free from the enslavement of sin and given the strength to follow after this remarkable man, Jesus.
We are at war every day. Our flesh and the Spirit are completely opposed to one another, battling for the coveted ground of our eyes, mind, and heart. But Jesus died to give us the choice to resist sin and the resources to help us in our time of need. As temptation arises, call to Him, and He will lead you into light and life.
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Allie Joy Hudson is first and foremost a daughter of the King. She graduated from Liberty University with a Bachelor of Arts in English and minors in Spanish and Psychology. Allie completed her Senior Honors Thesis on the presentation of postmodern sexuality in short fiction and has also been published in two of Liberty University’s other online journals, The Kabod and Aidenn. She enjoys reading, writing, playing the viola, singing, musical theatre, photography, and Zumba. She is passionate about her ever-growing C.S. Lewis collection, cultivating relationships, and proclaiming truth in the twisted arena of postmodern sexuality. Allie was raised in Maryland and is overjoyed to be married to the love of her life.