Bible reading: 2 Samuel 11: 1-15
We look at the story of David and Bathsheba and as
we do, we concentrate not on David, but on Uriah.
Uriah comes, and goes in this story. Very little is known of him, but he
is central to the intrigue of the story of the great King.
I wonder, when David opened this lowest of areas in his life whether
he had any idea at all what was to happen. Presumably
not in the slightest.
As we saw last week, David was not above using people for personal
political or power gains. Michal showed us that.
But the story of Uriah is something else.
There are no political gains to be made at this stage, no more climbing
of the ladder of influence. This is something else altogether isn’t it.
I wonder if you have stopped and thought about what was to be gained
and lost through David’s actions after he slept with Bathsheba.
There is no law that allowed the King of Israel to be prosecuted – they
would not have been stoned for adultery.
David’s kingship was not under threat, His land was not under threat, His
life was not under threat. He could have any woman in the kingdom that he liked,
and not be under threat.
And on the flip side of things, once he has broken the laws that were
laid down as the ways of God, covering it up wasn’t going to
clear things as far as God was concerned His dealings with Uriah
weren’t going to clear the air:
There was NOTHING to be gained by what he did except his public
And for the sake of David maintaining a public image what must happen to
And what must happen to the other soldiers referred to in the
reading whose names didn’t even make it to the pages of history but
who were simply “the price of war”
Uriah stands before us as the reminder there is a cost in the life of real
lives when protecting people’s reputations comes too high up
Do you remember the defiant line from Bill Clinton:
“I did NOT have sexual relations with THAT woman”
and what those words must have meant to the life of “THAT woman”
Do we consider the enormity of the scale of tragedy as Jews were blamed
for the failing reputation and stability of the Post WW1 German
How many lives were lost in the most recent war (and others in
history) because the reputation of generals or secretaries of
state or PMs or Presidents stood just that little bit higher than
they should have.
How many former governments will continue to be scapegoated by new
governments as being to blame for actions that were long outside
their sphere of influence as the most convenient way to maintain
a positive reputation for a new treasurer?
How many of us have realised the danger of being caught and rather
than acknowledging a failure have seen if we could shift the blame
to someone or something else without worrying all that much
whether it caused that person, that place, that group damage,
The story of Uriah is not so much about adultery and murder (the story
of David and Bathsheba certainly is) as it is about people whose
lives are tarnished, squashed, ruined and ended. Because
it seems to serve others to protect a reputation whether or not
the reputation is deserved or worthy of protection.
Maybe some of the most significant words that could be uttered are
the works so often never heard.
“yes, I made a mistake.
A small one. A large one.
And though I haven’t YET had that mistake made public and I don’t
need to try and protect a reputation I acknowledge it.
I own it.
I was wrong.
And I rely now on the grace of God for my future.