The ability to wield power is a gift from God. God commanded Adam and Eve to exercise power over the world He had created (Gen. 1:28–31). Yet because of human sinfulness, our exercise of power is corrupt. Instead of using power to shape the world in the way God would intend, we use it to further our own self-interest. As the philosopher Edmund Burke put it, “The greater the power, the more dangerous the abuse.”
The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? Jeremiah 17:9
As king, David had incredible power, but he actively abused it. In today’s passage, notice the repeated use of the word “send.” David sent for Bathsheba (vv. 3–4). He sent word to Joab (v. 6). He sent a letter with Uriah (v. 14). After Uriah was killed, David sent to bring Bathsheba into his house (v. 27). David forged ahead, acting as if he was accountable to no one.
David broke two of the ten commandments in coveting another man’s wife and committing adultery (Ex. 20:14, 17), a capital offense in ancient Israel. Covering up what he had done, David engaged in deception and murder (Ex. 20:17).
David’s actions sharply contrast with the loyalty of Uriah. When David sent for Uriah, he expected him to return to his wife and marital bed. Yet, Uriah refused. His restraint and sense of duty served as a living rebuke to David (v. 11). Who would have thought that the Hittite warrior would show more faithfulness to God and his men than the Israelite king?
David’s attempt to cover up his sin culminates in murder (vv. 14–25). It might look like David has gotten away with all his actions. But God saw: “But the thing David had done displeased the Lord” (v. 27).
God sees and knows. There is no cover up possible where God is concerned. This Scripture reading should be a sobering reminder to examine our hearts and confess our sins before the holy God. Spend time in confession today.