14 In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah. 15 In the letter he wrote, “Set Uriah in the forefront of the hardest fighting, and then draw back from him, so that he may be struck down and die.” 16 As Joab was besieging the city, he assigned Uriah to the place where he knew there were valiant warriors. 17 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 was killed as well. 18 Then Joab sent and told David all the news about the fighting; 19 and he instructed the messenger, “When you have finished telling the king all the news about the fighting, 20 then, if the king’s anger rises, and if he says to you, ‘Why did you go so near the city to fight? Did you not know that they would shoot from the wall? 21 Who killed Abimelech son of Jerubbaal? Did not a woman throw an upper millstone on him from the wall, so that he died at Thebez? Why did you go so near the wall?’ then you shall say, ‘Your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead too.’”
22 So the messenger went, and came and told David all that Joab had sent him to tell. 23 The messenger said to David, “The men gained an advantage over us, and came out against us in the field; but we drove them back to the entrance of the gate. 24 Then the archers shot at your servants from the wall; some of the king’s servants are dead; and your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also” (2 Samuel 11:14-24, New Revised Standard Version).
In the season of reruns Cindy and I generally pick some show we can watch, usually we haven’t seen before and watch as much as we have time to do. We used to do so with DVDs. These days we stream the shows.
This summer’s binge show is a British police drama set during World War II titled, Foyle’s War. Though we didn’t know it at the time, it has been fairly easy to binge watch. Each season only has four episode but the last an hour and a half each. Still, that is shorter than the time spent for a full season of a typical show lasting 45 minutes without commercials.
In an episode we watched over the weekend, there was a widow who lost her husband in the line of duty. Earlier in the war she had lost both her sons. When she was talking to Mr. Foyle, she said, “It was meant to be, I guess,” referring to the deaths of her husband and sons. She said she couldn’t grieve her sons because she was already dead inside.
I was really only paying about half attention when she said, “It was meant to be, I guess.” Such comments almost always get my attention.
They remind me of my first (Deacon’s) ordination interviews. One of my colleagues asked me the question, “You have just come in from doing any variety of things pastors are called to do. You see the little light blinking on the answering machine (yes, I am well aware that I am announcing my age to the world) indicating you have a message. You listen to the message and learn that an eight-year-old boy who is part of your congregation has killed when he was hit by a car while on his bicycle.
“Being the good pastor you are, you rush to be with the family of the little boy. When you walk into the house there are a number of people there. In the middle of the group surrounding the boy’s parents is the couple’s next-door-neighbor.
“You hear the neighbor say, “You just have to accept it. It was meant to be. God needed your son more than you did. God needed another angel. What are you going to do?”
It isn’t an easy question. It is not an easy situation to navigate. This is, after all, a place of grief and mourning. It is neither the time or place for a theological debate.” There will be more on that in a later post.
Today I want to deal with the statement made by the mother and widow in Foyle’s War. “It was meant to be.” I know the exact words are not found in Scripture. Still, I can almost hear someone saying those words to Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite following his death on the battle field. Actually, I can almost hear David saying those words to her.
To say that Uriah the Hittite’s death was something that was just meant to be would mean that every death of every young man or woman on the battle field was just meant to be. But more importantly, in this case, to say it was meant to be let’s David off the hook which if you continue reading is the opposite of what God was doing when Nathan the Prophet went to visit the King following a divine visit.
In today’s world, David at least would be charged with “Conspiracy to Commit Murder.” Well, he would be charged if anyone had the courage to arrest the king.
David tried to cover up his actions with Bathsheba, Uriah’s wife. When his efforts failed, he in essence signed Uriah’s death warrant. He might as well tell Joab, take out your bow and shoot the man. Instead he told Joab to place in the heaviest part of the action. Once there, pull everyone back and leave Uriah alone with the enemy. Uriah had no chance at all. He was killed.
Uriah died because he was a man of honor faced with a man who held a sacred trust. The second man, the King was not a man of sacred trust. This was a man who would go to any extreme to save himself.
It was meant to be? No, it was not. For one man, a man protecting his self-interested, it had to be. For David, anything less would leave him vulnerable both as a king and as a man.
The same can be said for us. The decisions we make are not God’s doing? We make the decisions to right or wrong. We make the decisions of doing good or evil. Consequences happen because of the decisions we make.
Seeking the Genuine,
Copyright 2020, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved