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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Sunset over the Susquehanna River
Yesterday's sunset over the Susquehanna River where the Conewago Creek empties into it. I was riding on the Northwest Lancaster County River Trail.
Click on photo to enlarge

"The Cover-up"

Message summary: Today let us learn a lesson as we face our own Bathsheba moments.

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"The woman (Bathsheba) conceived and sent word to David, saying, 'I am pregnant.' So David sent this word to Joab: 'Send me Uriah the Hittite.' And Joab sent him to David" (2 Samuel 11:5,6). "He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy" (Proverbs 28:13).

This is a follow-up message to our teaching yesterday about incremental temptation which concluded with David committing adultery with Bathsheba. The story might have ended there but it did not. "The woman (Bathsheba) conceived and sent word to David, saying, 'I am pregnant.'"

The progression of David's temptation and sin take up just the first five verses in the chapter. The remainder of the chapter is David's elaborate and cunning attempt at a cover-up. A cover-up is an attempt to prevent people's discovering the truth about a serious mistake or crime. Of course we can never cover-up our sin before God.

The cover-up plan began with a word to David's commander, "So David sent this word to Joab: 'Send me Uriah the Hittite.'"

Cover-up step 1: David's plan was the have Uriah spend the night with his wife and thus provide a plausible excuse when the baby came along that the child was Uriah's. But Uriah was an honorable man and slept at the entrance to the palace. Uriah said to David, “The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in tents, and my commander Joab and my lord’s men are camped in the open country. How could I go to my house to eat and drink and make love to my wife? As surely as you live, I will not do such a thing!”

Cover-up step 2: David was perplexed and his cover-up began to unravel. So he ramped up his plan. "He ate and drank with him, and David made him drunk". There's nothing like alcohol to dull the senses. But it still didn't work, even with impaired senses Uriah did not go home.

Cover-up step 3: In the morning (following the two attempts to get Uriah home to sleep with his wife) David came up with an utterly dastardly plan. "David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah. In it he wrote, “Put Uriah out in front where the fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so he will be struck down and die.” (11:14,15). David even had the gall to send this letter with Uriah having confidence in his honor not to open it.

This cover-up worked or so it seemed. David received news from a messenger from the battlefield, "Uriah the Hittite is dead" (11:24). Oh, how this must have pleased David. He even feigned concern for his complicit commander sending this message back to the battlefield, "Say this to Joab: ‘Don’t let this upset you; the sword devours one as well as another" (11:25).

David, like Pilate later, in utter self-deception felt he was absolved. David had Bathsheba brought to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son.

But the chapter ends with this sobering truth, "But the thing David had done displeased the Lord" (11:27). We contrast this with the New Testament aspiration, "So we make it our goal to please Him" (2 Corinthians 5:9) and command, "find out what pleases the Lord" (Ephesians 5:10).

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Merciful Father, may I never consider my good works or righteous acts to be payment or a cover-up for the hidden sin I harbor in my heart. Instead I want my attitude to be that of the publican in Luke who humbly came before You and cried out, “God be merciful to me a sinner!” If I exalt myself it will lead to my downfall. But if I humble myself I will exalt You. So I come to You with a contrite heart, confess my sins, and ask Your forgiveness through Christ Jesus my Lord and Savior. Amen.

Personal note: Brooksyne and Ester are in San Diego to visit a friend for a week arriving yesterday afternoon. I am responsible for keeping the home fires burning, including chaplaincy visitation and preparing the daily encouragement messages solo. We have limited means of collaboration so do not expect the perspective and polishing edits she brings to our joint ministry and I will also be reading the podcasts solo.

Yesterday I rode my bike over 40 miles on several different rail trails and am certainly feeling it this morning!

Conewago Creek
Conewago Creek is a small tributary to the Susquehanna River.
Click on photo to enlarge

Lebanon Valley Rail Trail
The Conewago Recreation Trail and Lebanon Valley Rail Trail runs along Conewago Creek through Lancaster and Lebanon Counties.
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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 make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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