Aug 09 2015

Cultural Rhythms Maybe Protective

“In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle” (2 Samuel 11:1) But that spring King David did not follow one of the cultural rhythms of his day. He stayed home in his palace. Bad idea. Notice the horrible chain of events that follow that one lazy indiscretion.

King David's lust from not following cultural rhythms

David’s Lustful Stare

Violating Cultural Rhythms Opens the Way for Major Sin

  1. David stays home instead of going to war with his army like kings normally do.
  2. At a lustful time of the day David spots a beautiful woman bathing.
  3. He inquires about her. And learns that she is Bathsheba the wife of Uriah the Hittite. Uriah is one of David’s mighty men (2 Sam 23:39).
  4. David has her brought into this house and rapes her. This is also adultery since David is already married.
  5. She reports her pregnancy.
  6. David brings her husband Uriah in from the war. He gets a report from Uriah about the success of Joab and army. He then encourages Uriah to go sleep with his wife. He also sent a present to their house.
  7. Uriah refuses to sleep with his wife because the other men are in the field and at war. A sharp contrast to David at home violating Uriah’s wife.
  8. The next morning Uriah explains his moral reason not to go home and sleep with his wife. Uriah even mentions that the Arc of the Covenant at the battle. (If the Arc, the localized presence of God, was in the battle why was King David not?)
  9. The next day David get Uriah drunk at a banquet. Yet Uriah still refuses to sleep with his wife. (Yea Uriah!)
  10. The next morning David writes a letter to Joab instructing him to make sure Uriah dies in the battle and suggests how to do it.
  11. David sends Uriah’s “death warrant” to Joab in the hand of Uriah. (Uriah might not have known the contents of the message but that is still cruel.)
  12. Joab follows David’s instructions. He puts Uriah in the hottest part of the battle and then withdraws from him.
  13. The tactic works. Uriah and several others die in the skirmish.
  14. Joab sends a messenger to David with a carefully planned two-part message. First that during a skirmish they got to close to the wall and the enemy archers killed several of us. The messenger is then to expect David to send a rebuke to Joab. After hearing the rebuke the messenger is to then report Uriah’s death. This does several things
    1. It shows that Joab knew better than to get close to the wall.
    2. It make David responsible for the all the deaths in that skirmish since David’s plan involved a group.
    3. It makes David’s rebuke look silly. In effect David is rebuking himself.
  15. The messenger does not follow directions. He gives both parts of the message without the break between them to allow David to respond to the first part. This defeats Joab’s intended purpose.
  16. David sends an encouraging message to Joab. Of course he did. Joab just did David’s dirty work. David needed to thank Joab.
  17. Bathsheba learns of Uriah’s death. She enters into mourning.
  18. When the cultural period of mourning is over David adds her to his wives.
  19. The out-of-wedlock pregnancy yields David a son.
  20. (Summary) What David did displeased the Lord. (2 Samuel 11:27) It appears that David is not aware or is in denial about his transgression.
  21. The Lord sends the prophet Nathan to David.
  22. God has Nathan tell David about a man who was rich in flock and herds of sheep and goats.
  23. He also details a poor man
    1. He only has one small lamb, a female
    2. He purchased the lamb
    3. He carefully cared for the lamb
    4. The lamb grew up with the poor man and his children
    5. The lamb shares the poor man’s scant meals and drinks from the poor man’s cup
    6. The lamb was like a daughter to the poor man
  24. The rich man has a visitor
    1. The rich man does not use his own wealth to serve the visitor a meal
    2. The rich man took the poor man’s lamb and butchered it for the rich man’s visitor.
  25. Nathan pauses and David pronounces his angry judgment. David says:
    1. The rich man had no pity
    2. The rich man must repay 4 time the value of the lamb (Exodus 22:1)
    3. The rich man deserves to die
  26. Nathan identifies the rich man as King David. “You are that rich man.” In effect, David has just pronounced judgment on himself. (Just like Joab attempted.)
  27. Nathan relays God’s account of what He has done for David
    1. I (God) made you king
    2. I delivered you from Saul
    3. I gave you Saul’s estate
    4. I gave you Saul’s wives
    5. I gave you rule over all the descendents of Jacob (Israel)
    6. I planned to give you even more.
  28. Nathan announces God’s evaluation
    1. David’s family will always be at war
    2. He has rejected the way of the Lord
    3. He has taken Uriah’s wife to be his wife
  29. Nathan announces God’s judgment on David
    1. David’s family will do evil to David
    2. David’s wives will be taken from him and he will see it.
    3. They will be raped and everyone will know it
    4. What David did in secret with be judged out it the open and in front of all Israel
  30. David confesses his sin
  31. Nathan assures David that the Lord removed his sin and that David will not die.
  32. However
    1. Because the Lord’s enemies now have reason to blaspheme
    2. The child born as a result of David’s rape will die
  33. The fulfillment begins:
    1. The child get very sick
    2. David demonstrates repentance
      1. He prays to the Lord
      2. He fasts
      3. He sleeps out on the ground
      4. He refuses to be comforted and eat
    3. Seven days later the child dies
      1. David’s servants fear to tell him for fear he will harm himself
      2. David guesses the child is dead
      3. When this is confirmed David returns to normal life.
      4. David questioned about his behavior
        1. He fasted and wept in case the Lord might be gracious to David
        2. Once the child died there was no need. The child will not come back to life
        3. In time David will join the child in death
  34. Another son, Solomon, is born to David through Bathsheba. Renamed “Beloved of the Lord” by Nathan
  35. Joab captures Rabbah which he was sent to do at the beginning of this account
  36. David goes out to claim the victory where he should have been at the beginning of this account
  37. The rest of the judgments for David’s sin happen the following chapters. It is long and complex.

Cultural Rhythms and Us

  • Not all not all violations of cultural rhythms will result in this sort of mess.
  • All cultural rhythms are not necessarily good.
  • If a cultural rhythm violate love of fellow believers or is otherwise immoral then reject it.
  • Do not confuse culture and its rhythms with a belief that Jesus is God.

Some possible positive cultural rhythms

  • At  the time of the year that citizens pay their taxes
  • At the season when extended families get together
  • At the time of year when men set up fish camp and set their nets for salmon
  • At the time of the year that housekeepers do an extra thorough job of cleaning
  • At the time of the year when truck farmers plant potatoes
  • At the time of the year when ranchers take their stock to the high country
  • At the time of the year when people winterize their summer cabins

 

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