Lesser known characters :: Uriah


2 Samuel 11 and 12 records the story of king David’s adultery with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, the Hittite and many a times, we hear of this account from king David’s perspective. Often told as the Sin of David that displeased the Lord (1 Samuel 11:27), seldom do we see this account from the perspective of Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband. Uriah was a soldier in king David’s army, fighting against the Ammonites along with Joab, when he had his wife stolen from him by the very king for whom he fought. And when king David learns that Bathsheba was with child, in an attempt to cover his sin, he summons Uriah from the battlelines and attempts to have Uriah lie with Bathsheba. When Uriah refuses to do so by stating that he could not go to his own family to rest and relax with pleasure (eat, drink and lie), when God’s ark, his people (Israel and Judah) are in tents and the servants of the Lord (soldiers in the army) are in open fields. To this, David invites Uriah for drinks and food and gets him drunk hoping that Uriah would go to his wife, but even under the influence, Uriah remained focused and did not go to his house, but instead slept at the door of the king’s house, with the servants of the Lord. Realizing that his plans were failing, David plots to have Uriah murdered and commands Joab to have Uriah placed in the battle, where the fighting is fiercest, where only valiant men (2 Samuel 11:16) are placed and to pull back from him, when the battle is in full swing. Joab obliges and Uriah, the Hittite, the husband of Bathsheba is murdered.

What can we learn from Uriah?
Uriah, the Hittite, was a principled man, with his priorities set right as we can learn from his response. He put God first (referring to the ark of the Lord in tents). Then he put God’s people (Israel and Judah in tents) next, following which he thought about the soldiers in king David’s army, whom he refers to as servants of the Lord. Interesting to note, that to be a soldier in the army of God is to be a servant of the Lord. In other words, our responsibilities to God, the Lord and Master (John 13:13-14), is to adorn the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18) and fight for Him. Only after God, God’s people, God’s servants, does Uriah even think about himself and his family. Even under the influence, Uriah had a clear mind regarding his principles and priorities. To the point of death, Uriah remained faithful and died amongst valiant men. Uriah means “God is my Light” and in light there is no darkness. It is recorded that what David did, displeased the Lord, and I wish that it had been recorded, that what Uriah did, pleased the Lord.

Can we be like Uriah, a faithful and valiant man/woman of principles and priorities, in whom God and his people and his work (as servants and soldiers) comes first, before our personal needs?

2 Samuel 11:1-27 (KJV)
1
And it came to pass, after the year was expired, at the time when kings go forth to battle, that David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the children of Ammon, and besieged Rabbah. But David tarried still at Jerusalem.
2 And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king’s house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon.
3 And David sent and enquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?
4 And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her; for she was purified from her uncleanness: and she returned unto her house.
5 And the woman conceived, and sent and told David, and said, I am with child.
6 And David sent to Joab, saying, Send me Uriah the Hittite. And Joab sent Uriah to David.
7 And when Uriah was come unto him, David demanded of him how Joab did, and how the people did, and how the war prospered.
8 And David said to Uriah, Go down to thy house, and wash thy feet. And Uriah departed out of the king’s house, and there followed him a mess of meat from the king.
9 But Uriah slept at the door of the king’s house with all the servants of his lord, and went not down to his house.
10 And when they had told David, saying, Uriah went not down unto his house, David said unto Uriah, Camest thou not from thy journey? why then didst thou not go down unto thine house?
11 And Uriah said unto David, The ark, and Israel, and Judah, abide in tents; and my lord Joab, and the servants of my lord, are encamped in the open fields; shall I then go into mine house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? as thou livest, and as thy soul liveth, I will not do this thing.
12 And David said to Uriah, Tarry here to day also, and to morrow I will let thee depart. So Uriah abode in Jerusalem that day, and the morrow.
13 And when David had called him, he did eat and drink before him; and he made him drunk: and at even he went out to lie on his bed with the servants of his lord, but went not down to his house.
14 And it came to pass in the morning, that David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah.
15 And he wrote in the letter, saying, Set ye Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retire ye from him, that he may be smitten, and die.
16 And it came to pass, when Joab observed the city, that he assigned Uriah unto a place where he knew that valiant men were.
17 And the men of the city went out, and fought with Joab: and there fell some of the people of the servants of David; and Uriah the Hittite died also.
18
Then Joab sent and told David all the things concerning the war;

19 And charged the messenger, saying, When thou hast made an end of telling the matters of the war unto the king,
20 And if so be that the king’s wrath arise, and he say unto thee, Wherefore approached ye so nigh unto the city when ye did fight? knew ye not that they would shoot from the wall?
21 Who smote Abimelech the son of Jerubbesheth? did not a woman cast a piece of a millstone upon him from the wall, that he died in Thebez? why went ye nigh the wall? then say thou, Thy servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.
22 So the messenger went, and came and shewed David all that Joab had sent him for.
23 And the messenger said unto David, Surely the men prevailed against us, and came out unto us into the field, and we were upon them even unto the entering of the gate.
24 And the shooters shot from off the wall upon thy servants; and some of the king’s servants be dead, and thy servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.
25 Then David said unto the messenger, Thus shalt thou say unto Joab, Let not this thing displease thee, for the sword devoureth one as well as another: make thy battle more strong against the city, and overthrow it: and encourage thou him.
26 And when the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she mourned for her husband.
27 And when the mourning was past, David sent and fetched her to his house, and she became his wife, and bare him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD.

Blessed “Be” attitudes :: Be Pure (in heart)


Matthew 5:3-12 lists eight Beatitudes that were spoken of by Jesus. Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8)

To be blessed, one must have an attitude of being pure (in heart).

The Creator God is not interested in an outward showing of piety or penance as many doctrines of men and world religions prescribe, but God is interested in inward purity i.e., purity of the heart. When the scribes and Pharisees in an accusatory manner questioned Jesus that his disciples did not wash their hands before breaking bread, Jesus astutely yet sternly cautioned them of their double standard and hypocrisy, and expressed a fundamental truth, that it is not what one consumes that defiles a man, but what comes from within (from the heart) (Matthew 15:11). Later when his disciples approached him and asked him if he was offended by the Pharisees and sought clarification of his response, he asked them “Are you also yet without understanding?” before explaining that out of the heart proceeds evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies; things which defile a man (Matthew 15:19-20).

So if by nature our heart is prone to defile, then how is it that one can be pure in heart? To be pure means to be untainted, unstained, unblameable, unreproveable, without spot or wrinkle. In other words, to be pure is to be set apart and it is to be holy. This is an impossible edict for man to accomplish by his/her own efforts. No matter how impressive and thorough a self-help program prescribes, no one can be holy by his or her own accord, for in sin are we conceived (Psalm 51:5). There is one only Way to be holy. Jesus said He is THE WAY (John 14:6). The Bible teaches us that Jesus, who is the image of the invisible God, can present us unblameable and unreproveable in the sight of God (Colossians 1:22), because he who knew no sin, became sin for us, and died in our stead, so we can be imputed the righteousness (purity/holiness) of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). In other words, only Jesus can make us holy i.e., only Jesus can make our hearts pure and clean; without spot or wrinkle. King David’s recognized that out of his heart came thoughts of – evil and murder toward Bathsheba’s husband Uriah, – adultery and fornication (extramarital sex) with Bathsheba, – stealing Uriah’s wife, – false witness and lying (covering the murderous plot of Uriah’s death) and – blasphemies (for what David had done displeased the Lord) (2 Samuel 11). Upon this recognition, king David repented and sought that God would create in him a clean (pure) heart; one that is holy and blameless, in God’s sight. When we repent of our sins, believing in Jesus Christ, he makes us a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), replacing our old heart that defiles with one that is pure and clean (Ezekiel 36:26). Those who are pure in heart are those who have recognized that Jesus is the Only Way to Holiness and have repented asking Him to create in them a clean/pure heart. These are blessed for they shall see God.

What does it mean that one shall see God? God is Spirit (John 4:24),  God is invisible (1 Timothy 1:17), God dwells in an unapproachable light, which no man can see, nor has seen (1 Timothy 6:16).  Then how can God be seen? There is a multi-faceted answer to this which we find in the Bible. First, Jesus is the image of the invisible God, in whom the fullness of God dwells (Colossians 1:15,19). Second, Jesus said, He is THE LIGHT of the world (John 8:12). Third, when we walk in the light, desiring to be pure (in heart), repenting of our sins, believing in Jesus and asking Him to create in us a clean heart, we have fellowship with God as He is light and is in the light now approachable through Jesus, for Jesus said, all who see me (have fellowship with me) have seen God (the Father) (John 14:8-11). Fourth, all who have believed in Jesus, have been delivered from the power of darkness and been translated to the kingdom of Jesus Christ, God’s dear Son (Colossians 1:13), and they shall see God face to face, when He establishes His kingdom on new earth (Revelation 22:4). We see God now through Jesus Christ, we will later see God in Christ, face to face.

Point(s) to ponder:
1. God is pleading, “Come now, let us reason together, though your sins are like scarlet, I will wash you whiter than snow.” (Isaiah 1:18). The vilest offender (of whom I am chief) is not out of the reasoning and reach of God. Reason with Him. Reach out to God.
2. Have you/I heard God’s plea and have we repented of our sins, asking Him to create in us a clean/pure heart? For without holiness, no man shall see the Lord (Hebrews 12:29) and Only Jesus Christ can make you/I holy, unblameable and unreproveable.
3. God opened the heart (understanding) of Lydia so she could believe in Jesus and be baptized into His kingdom of light (Acts 16:14). Ask God to open your heart (of understanding) so that it can be made pure!

Matthew 5:8 (KJV)
8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

Hebrews 12:14 (KJV)
14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:

Colossians 1:12-23 (KJV)
12
Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
13
Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son [Jesus Christ]:
14
In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
15
Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
16
For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
17
And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
18
And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
19
For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;
20
And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.
21
And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled
22
In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:
23
If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;