“So David sent word to Joab, “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” And Joab sent Uriah to David. When Uriah came to him, David asked how Joab was doing and how the people were doing and how the war was going. Then David said to Uriah, “Go down to your house and wash your feet.” And Uriah went out of the king’s house, and there followed him a present from the king. But Uriah slept at the door of the king’s house with all the servants of his lord, and did not go down to his house. When they told David, “Uriah did not go down to his house,” David said to Uriah, “Have you not come from a journey? Why did you not go down to your house?” Uriah said to David, “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.” Then David said to Uriah, “Remain here today also, and tomorrow I will send you back.” So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day and the next. And David invited him, and he ate in his presence and drank, so that he made him drunk. 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.
In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it by the hand of Uriah. In the letter he wrote, “Set Uriah in the forefront of the hardest fighting, and then draw back from him, that he may be struck down, and die.” And as Joab was besieging the city, he assigned Uriah to the place where he knew there were valiant men. And the men of the city came out and fought with Joab, and some of the servants of David among the people fell. Uriah the Hittite also died.”
(2 Samuel 11:6–17 ESV)
The conniving wickedness of David should not make us feel self righteous, but should serve as a mirror to us in our own sinfulness. Unconfessed sin is never content to live by itself. Though David had supreme rights as a king, some things were off limits – like another man’s wife! Instead of confessing and repenting of his sin, he set a plan in motion to cover it up. Getting sin out in the open with confession and repentance is freeing. David summoned Bathsehba’s husband, Uriah, and asks how the battle is going. Then he sends him home to clean up – and expecting that he will have sex with his wife. But Uriah did not cooperate! He slept outside with the king’s servants. David asked Uriah why he didn’t go into his home. Uriah responds, ““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 (v11).” Uriah is a righteous man, he viewed this as being improper. It is ironic that he is righteous and the king is not. David doubles his efforts and throws a party for Uriah and gets him drunk, thinking that would do the trick. It did not. Uriah again will not go into his house and have sex with his wife.
David is consumed with covering up his sin. That is what sin does, it drives us to conceal it. But, concealed sin will destroy you. David sends a letter by way of Uriah (ironic!) unleashing a plan to have Uriah killed by placing him in the most fierce fighting area and then withdrawing all of the troops so that he is alone. Joab is complicent in this and Uriah is killed. Living an upright life, in the fear of the Lord like Uriah, does not ensure a good outcome in this world.
Sin rules and reigns in this world. Don’t miss how unconfessed sin always drives us to conceal it and that we will go to great lengths to hide it. But, just because we think that sin is hidden does not mean that it is absent. It is still swirling around below the surface, wreaking havoc on our lives and the lives of others – destroying our communion with God. Even in this story, don’t miss the echo of the gospel – the righteous (Uriah) dies for the sins of the unrighteous (David). It is because of the beauty of the gospel that we can boldly approach the throne of grace. Confess your sins and repent of them and receive the cleansing grace of God.