Compromise is often seen as a virtue in our world of relative thinking. Of course, there are times when compromise is the right course of action; however, when it comes to compromising our faith it is not only wrong – it is sin.
That takes us to the verse of the week: Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin (James 4:17 NKJV).
COMPROMISE: THE STORY OF DAVID AND BATHSHEBA
David and Bathsheba is a story full of compromise, which leads to serious consequences. To say the least, David takes the primary responsibility in this atrocity; however, today we look at Bathsheba’s role in this catastrophic event.
Some liberties are taken to make the story more interesting and understandable; however, the circumstances and important aspects of their lives and personalities are biblical.
COMPROMISE: STARTS WITH A THOUGHT
David was restless that evening and went to the roof to look over his kingdom. He always felt a surge of pride when he surveyed the land under his rule. As his eyes watched some of the comings and goings in Israel that evening, he caught sight of a woman bathing. He allowed his gaze to linger on her beauty and decided that she was the remedy to his agitation. After all, she was a subject.
COMPROMISE TAKES ACTION
David snapped his fingers; immediately, two servants appeared at his side. After finding out that the woman was married to a loyal military man, Uriah, David instructed his guards: “Go and get her. I’ll be waiting in my quarters.”
COMPROMISE AFFECTS OTHERS
Bathsheba watched the royal guards approach. Her heart pumping so fast and hard she was sure they could see it beating through her clothing. Her husband, Uriah, was at war. Was he hurt, or worse dead? She covered her ears. If she didn’t hear the news, it wouldn’t be true.
COMPROMISE: THE DILEMMA
Bathsheba’s relief was short-lived. She tried to make sense of the guard’s words, and ultimately her confusion gave way to shock. Should she go to the king? Did she have a choice?
COMPROMISE HAS CONSEQUENCES
A few months later, Bathsheba sat in her house, screaming at the walls “How do I explain this to my family and neighbors? How do I explain this to King David? Most importantly, how do I tell Uriah?”
She decided that David must solve this problem. She sent a message to the palace, which simply said, “I am with child” (2 Samuel 11:5b NKJV).
COMPROMISE CHANGES LIVES
David solved the problem, but likely in a manner that Bathsheba didn’t expect. After unsuccessfully strategizing to pass off the baby as Uriah’s, David finally had this loyal soldier put on the front line during a deliberately ill-conceived battle plan, therefore assuring his death. Other men died in that battle, thereby compounding the families hurt by David and Bathsheba’s sin.
Did Bathsheba know David arranged Uriah’s death, or did she think her husband died in battle? Either way, she got the news that her husband was dead. At the end of the mourning period, David sent a servant to bring her to the palace and they married.
DID BATHSHEBA COMPROMISE?
I know that many people look at Bathsheba as innocent in this debacle. Of course, if she was physically forced and raped, she was totally innocent. However, there is nothing in the text that indicates physical force. We don’t know if she went fearfully, grudgingly, or willingly; but she went. Good chance she experienced all these feelings, along with many other confusing thoughts.
IS COMPROMISE CIRCUMSTANTIAL?
But you say, David could have her killed! That is true, but the consequences of staying strong in our faith shouldn’t guide our decisions.
Don’t misunderstand me, I empathize with her predicament. There was no time to weigh the pros and cons, and death at the order of a king might be a very unpleasant experience. She was probably flattered to be noticed by the king, while simultaneously, intimidated to be brought into David’s presence.
Of course, there are some who take the view that Bathsheba knowingly seduced David. Just as I don’t see physical force, I don’t read that into the text either. We just don’t know. However, we do know Bathsheba went to David.
WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE DONE?
How would we have responded to the order? Would we compromise our convictions and fidelity to our husbands? Do we know for sure?
An invitation or order to come to a royal palace is most likely not in our past or future; however, if we reflect honestly on the subject, there are probably instances in our lives when we compromise our convictions, especially when we feel inferior or intimidated.
ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS
- Have we compromised our language to fit in with a group?
- Has embarrassment stopped us from sharing Jesus with a lost person?
- The Internet makes pretending to be someone we are not a lot easier. How about overstating our job, exaggerating our children’s accomplishments, enhancing descriptions of our lifestyle, etc.?
- Was there a time when we made fun of another person because it was easier than defending them? Or participated in laughter at the expense of another?
- Have you ever shared a person’s embarrassing prayer request couched as a concern?
- What about those innocent “white lies” we tell to get us out of trouble; e.g. downplay the cost of a purchase, lie to a child to get obedience, or make up a story about why we are late?
BE HONEST AND THANKFUL
After answering these questions, let’s ask God to enlighten us about other times we grieved his heart by compromising our faith. Subsequently, repent and be thankful for God’s patience, love, and forgiveness.
If you read Bathsheba’s story in its entirety (2 Samuel Chapters 11 and 12; 1 Kings Chapters 1 & 2) you see that she left the past behind and grew into a powerful and respected woman in the palace. She garnered David and Solomon’s respect. Even Nathan, the prophet, entrusted her to help resolve a problem when David was dying. (1 Kings Chapter 1) Adonijah, David’s half-brother, recognized Bathsheba’s influence and asked her to intervene for him with the Crown. ( 1 Kings 2: 13-18)
So be thankful for fresh starts. God doesn’t define us by our sins but instead forgives us, allowing us to begin again and grow stronger in our faith.
If you want to learn more about Bathsheba, click here for some interesting tidbits about how she may have been influenced by the men in her life.
Also, if you need some help developing an attitude of gratitude, take a peek at this Thanksgiving blog post.
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Blessings until next time.