More sin is never the answer to the problem of sin.
2 Samuel 11:16-21
16 So while Joab had the city under siege, he put Uriah at a place where he knew the strongest defenders were. 17 When the men of the city came out and fought against Joab, some of the men in David’s army fell; moreover, Uriah the Hittite died.
18 Joab sent David a full account of the battle. 19 He instructed the messenger: ‘When you have finished giving the king this account of the battle, 20 the king’s anger may flare up, and he may ask you, “Why did you get so close to the city to fight? Didn’t you know they would shoot arrows from the wall? 21 Who killed Abimelek son of Jerub-Besheth? Didn’t a woman drop an upper millstone on him from the wall, so that he died in Thebez? Why did you get so close to the wall?” If he asks you this, then say to him, “Moreover, your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead.”’
The narrative now reaches the dark outworking of David’s desperation. Or to continue Reuben’s analogy (from yesterday’s grow daily), the ‘snowball of sin’ keeps rolling. And now it’s picking up others in its path. David needs an excuse to take Bathsheba and his unborn child. His plan is cruel, but he knows one man he can rely on to execute it. Blood thirsty Joab, the commander of his army.
The majority of this part of the narrative focuses on Joab’s part in the betrayal of Uriah. We’re not told how Joab felt about being a part of this. But he clearly allowed himself to carry out David’s wicked scheme.
In verse 17 we read of Uriah’s tragic death along with the deaths of others in David’s army. In trying to get his own way David (and Joab) is willing to risk the lives of others. What was already a murder case becomes a massacre.
While David is responsible for his risky plan, Joab seems to know in some detail what David might say in response to the message he sends home. Perhaps in his own military strategy David used the story of Abimelek’s death to warn against moving too close to walls? Whatever the case, Joab is haunted by the deaths of others in David’s army. So, to try to dissolve David’s potential anger, he tells the messenger to save the bit David wants to hear until the end.
What was David’s cover up has now turned into Joab’s cover up as well. How far David has fallen since his walk on the roof!
When we read passages like this, it’s so good to know that our God doesn’t act like this. Even though our sin can spin out of control. Even when we try to cover it up, we can remember Jesus is the king whose love covers a multitude of sins.
Head: What have you learnt from David and Joab in this passage?
Heart: What are sometimes in your life when you’ve tried to justify yourself when you’ve clearly done something wrong? How does knowing Jesus affect how we deal with our failings?
Hands: What are some ways you can love and serve others like Jesus today?
Sorry for the times when my sin spirals out of control and I forget about you. Please help me to remember your great love and kindness in welcoming me into your kingdom as someone without sin. And help me to live in response to that today.
In Jesus name,
A song to listen to: Mercy Mercy
Living Church City South