Thursday, August 6, 2015
Lather and lust -- it's all about getting clean (Bathsheba)
We've seen how Bathsheba's story unfolded; now we will see how she remained faithful to God through it all.
There's a great deal of sadness in her story: her husband was killed because the king decided he just had to have her. Her baby died, as well. These sorrows could have turned Bathsheba into a bitter person, but we see evidences that she remained a kind and loving wife and mother.
Let's dive in!
The prophet Nathan listens to David repent of his sin, and then says the Lord has taken it away. Although we still may not be clear on whether there is any sin in Bathsheba's actions, through Nathan's words we learn that David and she are restored to fellowship with God. Bathsheba became one of David's wives, and she gave birth to four sons, one of whom was Solomon, who would also be called "Jedidiah" or "beloved of God."
As the Lord had said, David's household became one filled with strife and power struggles. It must have been heart-wrenching to watch and to know that his own sins and mistakes were the roots of it all. It was Bathsheba who gently approached the elderly, frail King David and told him of his son's (Adonijah) plot to assume the throne. She reminded him of his promise to Solomon, and told him that she and Solomon would be in danger if he did not step in and thwart Adonijah's plans. Because she was bold, and Nathan's words echoed hers, Solomon was crowned.
If we look at other scriptures, it seems that Bathsheba maintained a close relationship with her son after he was crowned king. In Song of Solomon 3:11, it indicates that she placed his wedding crown on his head, and in I Kings 2:13-21, we read that she was given a seat of honor in his throne room. He listened carefully when she offered him advice about his kingdom. Did you know that we might even have the words of Bathsheba in Proverbs?
Many scholars say that King Lemuel is a pen-name for Solomon. He introduces Proverbs 31 as teachings from his mother. It's especially significant that Bathsheba would make it a real point to teach Solomon to "speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of those who are destitute." (Verse 8) We've seen in our study that no one had spoken up for her, nor had anyone defended her rights when she was taken by the king, her husband was murdered, and she was placed in the king's harem.
We can learn from Bathsheba: her life didn't take the course that she had anticipated. But her character is revealed; she discovered the purpose that God had for her, in spite of the suffering and sorrow that she endured. She faced tragedy head on: a king who ignored her marriage commitment, the murder of her husband, the death of her child. But she showed a strength of character that we can all aspire to; she did not become a victim of her circumstances, but boldly spoke for herself and her son, and honored God -- showing generations to come that God is not limited by the boundaries nor the actions of sinful men.
We may know of women who have been abused or molested. We may have been victimized ourselves. The feelings of shame and guilt must not be buried or absorbed. That pain must be shared by at least one other person -- a trusted friend or counselor. Also, make efforts to find other women who have endured similar circumstances and gone on to live fruitful lives. Be determined -- we can't allow someone else's sin to ruin our lives. Be a survivor. Help others. Even if we have not been abused ourselves, we can do what is needed to restore hope to someone who has.
And probably the most significant thing we can do is to forgive. We strive each day to be more like our Father . . . look at his attitude toward repentant sinners:
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and
pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear
from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
(II Chronicles 7:14)
For I (God) will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins
no more. (Hebrews 8:12)
It seems that humans today are obsessed with cleaning and cleansing. The commercials din our ears with products that will clean our hands, brighten our teeth, and disinfect our homes. But are we as interested in inward cleanliness as we are in outward cleanliness?
Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me and I will be
whiter than snow. (Psalm 51:7)
There's been a lot to think about in this story of lather and lust. And it truly is "all about getting clean." Clean on the inside, folks. I think we might need some time in prayer after this one.