Failing

2019 Advent Devotional – Day 5

Failing

Matthew 1:6 – King David and Bathsheba’s adultery

And Jesse the father of King David. And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah.


Failing - Walton United Church, Oakville, Ontario

Bathsheba’s oblique mention—named only as the wife of Uriah—alludes to perhaps the most surprising and least respectable incident we have come across so far in Jesus’ family history. Her story is one that many Christians wish they could gloss over and ignore, as neither Bathsheba nor David appear in a positive light. 

Bathsheba came to King David’s attention when she was bathing one day (Scripture does not make it clear where she was bathing to make this possible). David desired Bathsheba and so sent messengers to bring her to him. Bathsheba complied and the two slept together, whereupon Bathsheba conceived. When he was told of this, David summoned Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah, from battle and tried to arrange events so that Uriah would think the child was his. When this scheme failed, David then instructed one of his officers to ensure Uriah died in battle. Uriah was killed and Bathsheba went on to marry David. 

Interpretations of Bathsheba’s actions vary. Some depict her as being taken advantage of, and even raped, while other views suggest that she played a more active role in inviting and consenting to adultery with King David. In either case, David’s behaviour is condemned, not only by modern readers but also by God.

And yet here they are in Jesus’ family tree, with all their human frailty and failings. Bathsheba’s story provides further evidence of God’s mercy and acceptance, and of God’s ceaseless desire to maintain a relationship with each one of us. 

Powerfully, in Bathsheba’s story, we see God’s ability to work with and through any one of us, irrespective of our faults and shortcomings. God has promised to be with us always and even our human mistakes can’t alter that.

* See 2 Samuel 11-12 for the full account of Bathsheba and David


Forgiving God,
My life is filled with faults and shortcomings; my weaknesses lead me astray, my selfishness holds me back from following your way. Thank you, that as I pray for your forgiveness, you are already reaching out to me. Thank you for being by my side, just a word away, ready for me to acknowledge and ask for your love. Amen.

Thank you for joining us on this prayerful path through Advent.
Blessings and best wishes for 2020.

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