Thursday Dec. 12
Scripture: 2 Samuel 11-12
We return to a question that we asked a few days ago when we read about Judah and Tamar (Genesis 38): Why is there no moral dilemma for David? It doesn’t appear that he gives in to temptation, because in order to be tempted he would need a sense of right and wrong. David doesn’t exhibit that at all. He sees Bathsheba. He wants Bathsheba. He sends his men to bring Bathsheba to him. David isn’t tempted; he’s entitled (so he thinks).
Why does it all have to go so horribly wrong before David, with help from the prophet Nathan, shows any recognition of sin?
There may be many answers but surely one of them is power. David was the most powerful man in his and Bathsheba’s world. He always got what he wanted.
You may think that you’re nothing like David, that you couldn’t possibly be blinded to sin because of your own power. Consider this: A symptom of David’s power-corrupted life is that no one told him no. Not the men who went to get Bathsheba; not the military commanders who put Uriah on the front lines and then abandoned him to the enemy’s arrows; and, no, not Bathsheba. None of them told David no because none of them could. David had all the power. They were not allowed to say no. And that’s dangerous for the King as well as the people.
Many of us have more David-like power than we realize. There are few limits on our ambitions. Our culture encourages us to try to have whatever we want. That’s the goal of life, isn’t it? Make enough money, attain a certain status, so that you can have everything.
The only one who tells David no is God. No, David, you can’t have it all. You can’t treat people as a means to an end, whether that’s your own lustful gratification or a cover-up to preserve your reputation.
We, who are surely average people and not royalty, may have bought into this myth more than we realize. Most of us will end up treating some people poorly in pursuit of what we want. Sometimes this will be in our careers. Other times we do this socially. Occasionally, we do it in our own families.
In Advent, may we become more aware of our own power and privilege and ask God to help us surrender these things to God and God’s kingdom.
Prayer: Save us, O God, from getting everything we want and from believing that we are entitled to have it all. May we not have to wait for Nathan’s warning, when everything has already fallen apart. Thank you for this season in which we can hear the truth about ourselves and about you. Amen.