At War Within You

David’s sin with Bathsheba is a prime example of the interconnectedness of whole body of the law. Though David had his own wives, he coveted another woman. He laid his hand on that which was forbidden and took her for himself, knowingly stealing another man’s wife. Of course, this is also adultery, and it leads him to murder Uriah, one of David’s thirty mighty men.

There are some additional things going on here that are not immediately apparent. Uriah is not a native Israelite, he is a Hittite. He is a Gentile brought into the covenant community, and very likely converted by David himself. Eliam, Bathsheba’s father, was another of David’s mighty men and his father Ahithophel was one of David’s closest advisers. “Bathsheba grew up in awe of David, the man after God’s own heart, the author of the psalms, God’s anointed leader. All her life she had viewed him as one of Israel’s preeminent spiritual leaders. She had heard him speak of the Lord many times. She had heard her father and grandfather praise him. So, when David called for her, she came. (Jordan)”

David’s primary sin isn’t murder or adultery, as bad as those are. Nor has he merely followed Adam’s sin of taking what has been forbidden. He has led one of God’s little ones astray. “This story is that of David’s fall. David, unlike Adam, was a king, a leader, a guide, a teacher (psalmist). He was like the angel of Yahweh (2 Samuel 14:17, 20; 19:27). The analogy is to Lucifer in the Garden of Eden. Lucifer was chief of the angelic tutors to humanity during our childhood, and he led Adam and Eve into death by abusing his position (Galatians 3:19, 4:1-3). David did the same.” He “advanced” beyond Adam’s sin and became the serpent. (Jordan)

James says all of this stems from coveting. “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.”

Paul addresses two Philippian women by name who are having some sort of conflict with one another. This is fighting between two women who are otherwise faithful servants in the church and it comes, as James says, from desiring something over and against the person and well-being of the other brother or sister. The answer to this covetousness-seeded bickering, Paul says, is to rejoice in the Lord. “In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

These two things are really foundational to our lives. You cannot sin and rejoice in the Lord. You cannot covet and be thankful. Paul’s contentment comes from knowing that he has received all things from God. Everything we have comes from Him – our bodies, our lives, our families, our homes, our jobs, our trials, our wrestlings. He knows how to give good gifts and blessings and He knows how to discipline us to grow us up. “What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?” When we cease to recognize that all things come from Him and we start to think that we deserve it or that we’ve earned it, we are spitting in the face of God.

God daily gives Himself to us as gift, pouring Himself into His creation. We are made in His image and so we are made as gifts. We receive His good gifts with thankfulness and we give our lives to each other, rejoicing in the Lord.