June 28, 2017

Uriah

By Donald P. Ames

Uriah stands out as an excellent example of the fact that even though one seeks to do what is right, that doesn’t mean others will not take advantage of or plot against us,

If it weren’t for the story of David and Bathsheba, most of us would probably have never heard of Uriah. And while we know the account of the sinful actions engaged in by David and Bathsheba quite well, just how well do we know Uriah? Let us notice some things about him from 2 Samuel 11.

First of all, he was a Hittite (11:3). Yet he served under David in the armies of Israel — who were usually the enemies of the Hittites. Thus we know that he was an honest man who knew God was with the nation of Israel. No doubt he had heard the stories of God’s deliverance and blessings. Knowing this, he made himself a part of the nation as well, marrying the beautiful young lady Bathsheba. He knew his own gods were unable to match the one true God of Israel (Isa. 44:9-17). Not many idol worshipers were as honest with such facts as was Uriah.

Secondly, we read that he was loyal. David had him brought back home in the hopes he could send him to Bathsheba’s house and everyone would assume that her pregnancy resulted from his visit home. However Uriah declined to enjoy the luxuries of home while the rest of the nation was engaged in battle and sleeping in the open fields (11:11). Even when David caused him to become drunk, he had enough conviction and presence of mind that he would not betray the soldiers of Israel in such a fashion (11:13).

He was also a courageous man. David knew that he would be in the forefront of the battle, and not holding back so others would take the risks instead of himself. Uriah was committed to the defense of Israel, and he was ready to fight for her causes. He would press the battle aggressively, and both Joab and David knew they could count on his courage. Like Daniel (Dan. 6) with his prayers, Uriah knew his place in the battle, and you could count on him being there.

We further learn he was a trusting man. David gave him a letter to deliver to Joab which also contained Uriah’s own death warrant. At no time did he attempt to open the letter to peek or snoop and see what David might have written to Joab. (After all, he could just as easily have told Joab that David has sent the message with him verbally.) But David knew he could count on such trust and honesty, and thus David was perfectly willing to use Uriah himself to deliver his own death warrant. (Have you ever considered what might have happened had Uriah actually opened and read that letter?)

In return for such loyalty and service, David repaid him by taking his wife and then ordering his death in battle. Is it any wonder God was displeased with David — especially in view of the fact David seemed to feel he had actually gotten away with it? Uriah stands out as an excellent example of the fact that even though one seeks to do what is right, that doesn’t mean others will not take advantage of or plot against us, or that harm will not befall us just because we are faithful Christians.

And although Bathsheba went on to become the wife of King David, God did not intend for us to forget what they did. They paid a severe penalty in the loss of the child and the public knowledge of David’s sin. Nor did he intend for us to forget the good name of Uriah. Men might have tried to bury any mention of Uriah from their records because of what was done to him by such a popular king as King David. But God exposed the full account! And when the names of the top thirty-seven men are listed who had served King David well (2 Sam. 23:8f), guess whose name appears in 23:39! Yes, the name of Uriah, the Hittite! Though he was mistreated in this life, we can have confidence that God saw that he was well rewarded in the life hereafter in much the same way as was Lazarus (Luke 16)! And may we take courage from his account.

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