Do you ever pay attention to a movie’s soundtrack? Soundtracks are used to shape our emotions and prepare us for what is to come. Do you “listen” as you read your bible? The writers of scripture cannot rely upon soundtracks, but they often prepare us to understand the bible’s narrative if we are willing to read carefully. Consider 2 Samuel 11 and the story of David and Bathsheba for example. Take a moment to read the first verse. It is said that good writing “shows” rather than “tells”, and this is a great example. It is written very plainly in such a way that it may look like it is simply giving us some background detail. It does not “tell” us what to think and learn, but rather “shows” us through the story.
“In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel. And they ravaged the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem.”
Something is not right; for at a time when kings go out to battle (as Israel has done in this case), David remained at Jerusalem. When David should be leading, he remains at home. Not only does it not align with the nature and obligation of kings, it does not align with this king – the king who even as a youth did not shrink back from duty. Perhaps more pressing matters need the king’s attention? Evidently not, verse 2 finds David on a palace sofa, a sofa from which he pulls himself to take a walk upon his great palace’s roof. He must have felt as though he was on top of the world, yet it still wasn’t enough.
Something to Understand:
When Israel demanded a king for themselves to be like the other nations, the Lord warned them that earthly kings take and take and take (1 Samuel 8). The Lord’s design for Israel’s kings was laid out in Deuteronomy 17:14-20. Their lives were to be marked by fear for the Lord, obedience to the Scriptures, and humble service of his people. Though, overall, David is commended as being a “man after God’s heart”, at this point (even one verse into the story) we can see that something is amiss in David’s heart. He is not “on task”, and we later see he somehow felt lack in spite of what the Lord had provided. The prophet Nathan conveyed the Lord’s judgment reminding David of all he was given: the anointed kingship, deliverance from Saul, his palace, his wives, and the ‘house’ of Israel. Moreover, if that was not enough, the Lord was willing to “add as much more (12:8).” When we lack motivation for the things the Lord has called us to, and appreciation for his many blessings, it may be symptomatic of a heart condition. Take heed, watch your steps, and seek to guard your heart. A great place to start is to nurture thankfulness; for how many blessings can you thank the Lord today?