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November 14, 2013

Cucumber Falls in Ohiopyle State Park, PA (photo by Howard Blichfeldt)
Cucumber Falls in Ohiopyle State Park, Pennsylvania
(photo by Howard Blichfeldt)

"Lessons From Uriah"

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"I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity" (I Chronicles 29:17). "Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper" (Proverbs 28:13). "It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God" (I Thessalonians 4:3-5).

Study is from 2 Samuel 11.

In the course of our work we meet a lot of people and seek to learn their names as soon as possible. After all, don't we all like to be addressed by name! Many people we meet have Bible names, including common ones like Matthew, Mark, Luke and John as well as women with names like Mary, Rachel and Elizabeth. But we also meet those with Bible names less commonly used such as Moses, Isaiah, Obadiah, Shadrach and Jeremiah (although Jeremy is rather common).

Delilah Road
There are other Bible names we probably do well to avoid using such as Cain and Judas or Delilah and Jezebel! In New Jersey we pass a Delilah Road and we've heard a national syndicated radio program hosted by a woman named Delilah.

Several weeks ago we met a man who was working as a temp at one of our companies. He introduced himself as Uriah! We couldn't resist asking him if he was aware of the Biblical origin of his name, which he was. Brooksyne commented, "How wonderful that you were named after a man who was known for his honor!"

Uriah is used for several Bible characters but most famously a Hittite, who was an honorable man, thrust from obscurity due to his wife's sin with David. Otherwise it is very unlikely that we would know anything about him.

He was a soldier in David's army valiantly serving in the battlefield. While he was away his wife Bathsheba became entangled with David resulting in her pregnancy. David, knowing the facts of life, devised a clever cover-up scheme. He ordered Uriah back home from the battle front and, in a gesture of feigned kindness, expected him to spend some quality time with his wife. Unless Uriah paid close attention to the calendar the unborn child would be reckoned as his and, voila! David was off the hook. After all that was before they had DNA testing!

But Uriah felt that such a privilege would be unfair to the other warriors who were fighting it out on the battlefield. Instead he "slept at the entrance to the palace with all his master’s servants and did not go down to his house." When David was told that Uriah didn't go home his plan began to unravel. He must have been ringing his hands as he entreated Uriah, "Why didn’t you go home?”

Uriah's answer, his only spoken words in the Bible, revealed the code of honor by which he lived. He explained to the king, “The ark and Israel and Judah dwell in booths, and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are camping in the open field. Shall I then go to my house, to eat and to drink and to lie with my wife? As you live, and as your soul lives, I will not do this thing!” (v. 11).

So David became more dastardly. He had Uriah eat in his presence and drank, so that he made him drunk (v. 13a). Even in his impaired state of mind Uriah refrained, "And in the evening he went out to lie on his couch with the servants of his lord, but he did not go down to his house" (v. 13b).

What happened next is surely one of the most pitiable, disheartening events of the entire Bible, revealing the darkest side of David, one of the Bible's greatest heroes. The Bible's candid forthtelling of its heroes weaknesses is a sign of authenticity and trustworthiness. I recall a point made in Bible College that other sacred literature glosses over or ignores the failings of its heroes. Not so the Bible.

David intentionally had Uriah placed in the fiercest part of a battle line to do away with him (which would also do away with the embarrassment and shame once he was exposed for impregnating another man's wife, particularly that of a brave warrior).
Joab, his general, was an accomplice in this. Not only was Uriah killed but also several other warriors. Uriah, on this side, never knew the ugly story. Throughout the narrative he seems clueless as to what was really going on.

David married Bathsheba and smugly thought all was well. But the chapter ends with these words, "But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD."

Lessons from Uriah's life:
  1. He is an example of loyalty and consideration.
  2. He acts honorably right up to his death.
  3. Doing the right thing may very well not be the easy.
  4. Covering one's sin from people does not hide it from God.

Be encouraged today!

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, Your Word is living and active, sharper than any double edged sword. It penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It judges the thoughts and attitudes of our heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from You, but everything is uncovered and laid bare before Your eyes. We will give an account of our thoughts, motives and actions to You, our loving Father and Supreme Judge. We want to keep our conscience clear and our character above reproach so that we will give You the honor due Your name. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

See Hebrews 4:12,13

Update from Ester: Thank you for your prayers and concerns about my health problems. I am blessed by reading your notes and knowing that many are praying for me. I'm doing OK with the Lovanox shots and my mom's doing a pretty good job giving them to me, even though she scared me at first. I hope that the blood clot is starting to dissolve so that I can soon have my heart operation when I will have my pacemaker's atrial lead repaired. Thank you again.


Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

"Take My Life/ Holiness"  Video  Scott Underwood

Howard Blichfeldt
Today's photo of Cucumber Falls in the mountains of western PA was taken by our friend Howard Blichfeldt. He is a professional photographer with outstanding nature photos along with correlating Scripture passages. Here's a portion of his mission statement: "A greater reward comes from knowing that my experience and love of nature has drawn me closer to the God who created it. If through my artwork I can aid others in accomplishing the same, then in some small way, maybe I will have made a difference." (I use his photos with his permission).

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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