X Pentecost

July 29, 2018

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. AMEN.

A few weeks ago, we read the story of David and Goliath.  The young boy triumphs against the great giant, using only a sling shot and a smooth stone.  David figures prominently in both the Old Testament story of the Chosen People of God and in the New Testament as Jesus fulfills the Messianic prophecies.

The reason that Mary and Joseph had to leave Nazareth and travel to Bethlehem was because they were of the “House and Lineage of David”.  Indeed, Matthew and Luke trace the lineage of both Mary and Joseph to David.  Jesus is born in Bethlehem because it was the city of David and was the place where the Old Testament said that the Messiah was to be born.

All this is to say that David is held with very high esteem and great importance in both the Jewish and Christian traditions.  And then we have this morning’s reading from 2 Samuel!

David is on the roof of his house one day when he sees a woman bathing on a roof nearby.  The lesson says very clearly, “…and the woman was beautiful”.  David becomes interested in who this woman is.

The reading goes on to say, “And one said, ‘Is not this Bathshe'ba, the daughter of Eli'am, the wife of Uri'ah the Hittite?  So David sent messengers, and took her; and she came to him, and he lay with her. (Now she was purifying herself from her uncleanness.) Then she returned to her house.   And the woman conceived; and she sent and told David, ‘I am with child.’”

The plot then thickens as David tries to make sure that Uriah goes home to be with his wife so that the paternity of the child would not be in question.  What David encounters is a man of such loyalty to him as King that no matter what David does to get him to go home, Uriah will not leave his post.

The lesson ends with David writing a letter to the commanders of Uriah – “Set Uri'ah in the forefront of the hardest fighting, and then draw back from him, that he may be struck down, and die."

We know the rest of the story.  Uriah is killed and Bathsheba is with David.  The prophet Nathan says to David after telling him the story of a poor man with one sheep and a rich man who takes that sheep away from him: “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, `I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you out of the hand of Saul;   and I gave you your master's house, and your master's wives into your bosom, and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah; and if this were too little, I would add to you as much more.   Why have you despised the word of the LORD, to do what is evil in his sight? You have smitten Uri'ah the Hittite with the sword, and have taken his wife to be your wife, and have slain him with the sword of the Ammonites.   Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised me, and have taken the wife of Uri'ah the Hittite to be your wife.'”

David – the slayer of the giant Goliath.  David – the chosen king of Israel. 

David – the one from whom the Messiah was to descend.  This same David is also the one who has a man killed so that he could have his wife.

What do I take from this story?  Beginning with an aside – You can find anything in the Bible!  This story was the stuff of Hollywood and soap operas. 

But, more importantly, it shows me that the Lord can work through our sinfulness and accomplish great things through us poor sinners.  I think that this matches the words of St. Paul in his letter to the Ephesians read this morning:

“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with might through his Spirit in the inner person, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have power to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,  and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

If God can work through David, God can work through you and me, too.  What will He do in our lives?  What stumbling blocks to we put in God’s way?  AMEN.