Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Widow's Story: Bathsheba

Welcome to Wednesday's feature--a widows' story. Once a month or so I try to highlight a widow from the Bible who has marked her family, community or world in a God-sized way, beyond all that she ever believed possible.

You've heard the story of David and Bathsheba, right? King David was the type who wants what he wants when he wants it, so he slept with Bathsheba even though she's married to one of his loyal soldiers. Her husband was away at war--which is where David should have been, too. But David lounged in his palace, Bathsheba bathed on her rooftop, and they ended up in bed together, just like in the movies. But then, Bathsheba found herself pregnant. She sent word to David. He devised a perfect cover-up and ordered her husband to come home so he'd sleep with Bathsheba and everyone would think the baby was legitimate. However, Bathsheba's husband was too honorable a soldier. Unlike the king, he wouldn't imbide in sexual pleasure while his platoon was in the field. David's only other alternative was murder by proxy; he ordered Bathsheba's husband to the front line of battle where he was needlessly killed.

You'll find the complete story in II Samuel 11 and 12-- David was convicted of his sin by the prophet Nathan . . . Bathsheba's baby died shortly after birth . . .

Do you ever wonder how Bathsheba must have felt when she found herself widowed and pregnant with another man's child? In less than twelve months all this happened to her: had sex outside of marriage (this is a vague way to put it but the culture was too different from ours; I don't want to call it a willing affair nor an unwilling rape), she got pregant, her husband was murdered, she married royalty, her baby died. The question is: how did she handle all that?

Scripture doesn't tell us how she handled it, except that she mourned for her husband. (II Sam. 11:26). Scripture does tell us that God laid the guilt of the affair upon David, but Bathsheba bore some of the penalty, too, with the death of both her husband and child. After Bathsheba's baby died, she had another son, Solomon. He grew up to be King Solomon, the wisest man in the world.

Here's the good news: Scripture also shows us that Bathsheba experienced God's grace throughout her lifetime.
II Sam. 12:24--after her baby died, David comforted her and she had Solomon
I Kings 1 and 2--she's involved in politics
I Kings 2:19--Solomon seats her on a throne
Matthew 1:6--Bathsheba (Uriah's wife) is in the royal lineage of Jesus Christ!

Here's the good news for widows today: Bathsheba's story can encourage us because her life wasn't perfect either. She experienced trauma and sorrow and judgment for David's sin. But glimpses of her life show that God had a bigger purpose and happiness in store, just as He has for each of us. Bathsheba suffered, but she also experienced the glory of royalty on earth, her future held the lineage of Christ, and today she experiences the presence of the King of Kings in her heavenly home.

I think she would join the Apostle Paul in his statement:

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
Romans 8:18

If God could redeem Bathsheba's life after all she'd been through, do you think there's some glory that God wants to reveal in you today, too? Think about it.
ferree

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