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Legends and Lessons

Legends and Lessons – Uriah: David’s mirror (2 Samuel 11:2-4)

Today’s Reading: 2 Samuel 10-12

Today’s Reflection: 2 Samuel 11:10-11

10) When they told David, “Uriah did not go down to his house,” David said to Uriah, “Have you not come from a journey? Why did you not go down to your house?” 11) Uriah said to David, “The ark and Israel and Judah dwell 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 this thing.”

Subject: Uriah

Background: The lesson Uriah provides is an important one, so much so that Uriah’s name is mentioned in the genealogy of Christ, even though he is not one of Jesus’ ancestors (Matthew 1:6).

Uriah was a Hittite, a native of Canaan.  At some point he became part of the assembly of Israel, taking on a Hebrew name (Uriah means ‘my light is the Lord’).  He fought with Israel against their enemies the Ammonites and even became an elite soldier, one of David’s mighty men (1 Chronicles 11:41).  Because of this he would have accompanied David while he was on the run from Saul.  Uriah would have seen many examples of David’s character firsthand—his integrity, his mercy, his faithfulness, his trust in God.  When David’s three mightiest warriors risked life and limb to get him a drink of water, David poured the water out as a sacrifice before God rather than drink it himself.  By doing so David demonstrated how much he valued the lives of the men who fought alongside him (1 Chronicles 11:11-15).  Uriah would have witnessed all of this.

What Uriah would not have witnessed, much less suspected, was David’s seduction of his wife Bathsheba, resulting in an unwanted and extremely inconvenient pregnancy (2 Samuel 11:2-5).  He suspected nothing when David recalled him from the war allowing him to go home and he suspected nothing when David sent him back to the war front and ultimately to his death (2 Samuel 11:14-21).

David’s Mirror:  When David learned Bathsheba was pregnant, he thought he could cover it up himself.  He recalled Uriah from the war expecting he would spend some intimate time with his wife and come to believe the child was his.  But Uriah refused to go to the comfort of his wife while his men were still risking their lives far from home.  Uriah was exhibiting the same integrity and respect for his men he had learned from David’s previous example.  And now that same integrity in Uriah drove David to murder him.  Uriah was a mirror, used by God to remind David of who he had been, and to show him how far he had fallen.  But instead of repenting and returning, David went even deeper into sin.  The man who once thought so much of his mens lives that he dedicated their acts of willing sacrifice to the Lord had now made one of his men an unwilling sacrifice in an attempt to cover up his own sin.

The Lesson: God will use people as mirrors in our lives.  To show us where we are in our relationship with God, to show us how we’ve grown, where we still need to grow, and at times to show us when we have actually fallen away from obedience to Him. When God holds up a mirror to you, look for what God is showing you. The key is how we respond.  Don’t act out in resentment when you should be drawing closer in repentance.  Use what you see, whether good or bad, as an opportunity to seek God’s clear instruction and act accordingly.

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