Uriah: Faith of a Foreigner

Uriah: Faith of a Foreigner

Scripture: Deuteronomy 6:5, 2 Samuel 11:1-27
Date: 11/06/2010  Lesson: 6
Uriah teaches us about living faithfully as a foreigner in a society and about loyalty in the face of hardship.

God Cares: The Message of Daniel by Mervyn Maxwell

God Cares: The Message of Daniel by Mervyn Maxwell
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Good morning, and Happy Sabbath. Welcome this morning to Sacramento's central Seventh-day Adventist Church right here in Sacramento, California in the United States of America. We are so glad you are joining us this morning to study God's Word, that precious, holy word that changes our lives every day. A special welcome to those that are joining us here in the sanctuary. We have some visitors here with this morning.

And a very special welcome to you, that continually and faithfully join us every Sabbath or whenever you're studying with us from the across the country and around the world that are part of our study family, welcome. And we know you will gain a blessing this morning. Our first hymn that we're gonna sing is hymn number 528, "a shelter in the time of storm." And this comes as a request from elsa in Arizona, ralph, birdie, and mabel in the bahamas, abelino in belize, fernando in brazil, kenisha in the british virgin islands, malou and manuela in California, elly, leon, and dudz in Canada, deborah in england, karl and maisie in France, franklyn, linda, wilfred in grenada, beth and saintil in New York, isabella in norway, Matthew in Pennsylvania, melvert and angel in Philippines, Benjamin in saint vincent in the grenadines, jenny in South Dakota, and subin in south korea. Hymn number 528, we'll sing the first, the second and the fourth verse. [Music] As we were singing that, I could just hear when I was a little girl, my father and my grandpa, my opa, sing the underneath part of that song.

I could just hear them. It was just beautiful, and I know one day soon we will all be singing together again in heaven. I cannot wait. Our next hymn this morning is hymn number 240, "fairest Lord Jesus," one of my favorites. And this hymn comes as a request from annette, Alabama-- from Alabama, bea in australia, veronica, ralph, birdie in the bahamas, pedro in valencia, barbados, barbara and ezinne from California, nikki in Canada, carvel in grenada, dennis in Iowa, asa, camoy, Danielle, and kerine in jamaica, elsa in macao, terance in Maryland, kimberly in Massachusetts, olive in nigeria, melvert and angel in the Philippines, gershom in the russian federation, mah-yez and jason in south korea, and ronald and natasha in trinidad and tobago.

And I forgot to mention, if you have a favorite that you would like to sing with us on a coming Sabbath, I invite you to go to our website at saccentral.org, and there you can click on the "contact us" link. You can request any hymn in our hymnal. We'd love to sing that with you on a coming Sabbath. As you can see, people have done, and they do faithfully every week. Hymn number 240, and we will sing all 4 verses.

[Music] Let's bow our heads for prayer. Our Father in Heaven, Dear Lord as we humbly come to you this morning, we thank you for Jesus. We thank you that he is the bright and morning star, that he shines brighter than all the angels that heaven can boast. And Lord, he has promised, and you have promised, to shine in our lives that we can shine for you and be living witnesses of who you are and how you can change lives. So Lord, as we open Your Word this morning through pastor steve, we just invite you in.

Help us to hear Your Words and to apply them to our lives that we can be changed, that we can live only for you, and that we can constantly hold before us that you are coming soon. Lord, just work through us miracles that we can be witnesses for you on a daily basis until your coming. We pray these things in your precious and holy name, Jesus. Amen. Our study this morning will be brought to us by pastor steve allred, and he is the youth minister right here at Sacramento central.

Our free offer this morning is offer number 774, "compromise, conformity, and courage." Call into the number on the screen, 1-866-788-3966 for offer number 774. Well, just this last week the world stood transfixed as 33 chilean miners trapped about a half of a mile underneath the ground for over 2 months, were rescued in that amazing and dramatic rescue. Wasn't that phenomenal to watch? One by one brought to safety. A story of almost certain death and resurrection of almost complete destruction and yet redemption. I mean, how wonderful these men have another lease on life.

How wonderful. Such a story of hope. And as they say, a crisis reveals character. And this crisis was no different. I read a story this week about how after the mine collapsed there and it trapped those men inside, the shift boss, his name is luis urzua, and I'm probably not saying his last name quite right, but the shift boss, he divided the lone cans of tuna in that dark cave among those 33 men to keep them alive.

And of course you know that I think it was at least 5 days until they even knew that people were searching for them, and then they started to hear some sounds. They thought well maybe, maybe they're coming. But it wasn't until 17 days later that they actually made contact with the outside world. Pretty amazing. I wonder how I would have held up in that situation, boy.

And so this shift boss, luis urzua, he organized the men, he organized the cans of tuna that were left, and he organized the men into groups, work shifts; he kept them busy. He helped keep them alive during that time. He led the group that was forced into living in continual darkness, and he kept their spirits and their solidarity intact as they faced living in this cramped area. I learned that the temperature there was about 103 degrees fahrenheit that whole time. Pretty miserable conditions.

And so it was also luis urzua who first established contact with the outside world there on August 22, 17 days after the mine collapsed, trapping him and his men. On that day, the story goes, "before even asking for help or about a rescue, he wanted to know the fate of the other men who had left the mine right before its collapse. He was thrilled and cheered on the phone that day when he learned that those men had escaped safely and had made it out of the mine." What a hero this man is, wouldn't you agree? Well, but a crisis can also reveal other things, like whether you have a mistress praying for your survival up on the surface. You probably heard that story. So it was for a different miner who was stuck down below for those over 2 months, as his wife waiting for his rescue on the surface was going around camp hope, she noticed that there was another lady who was also holding a vigil for this guy.

She's like, "what are you doing? He's my husband." Anyway, they almost came to blows, the story goes, but some folks helped them not to do that. And what was unknown before the crisis became apparent after the crisis. Slightly amusing, but sad at the same time. And so on the one hand, a crisis can reveal heroic qualities of character. They can bring those things out in people.

But at the same time, a crisis can also reveal other things that sometimes we'd like to hide, isn't that right? Sometimes we like to hide certain things, and a crisis can also bring those things to light. And so today in our Bible study, we are going to be looking at two stories--well, actually one story. But we'll be talking about two men in this story, and they also had qualities of character on one hand, heroic and admirable on the other not so admirable, and in fact, very, very sad and disgusting qualities of character. Let the lesson begin. Now we're of course talking about background characters in the old testament, background characters, people that we don't hear a lot about or talk a lot about.

And so today's character is uriah, uriah the hittite, the faith of a foreigner. The husband of a lady named bathsheba. Now she has become quite famous, but we don't hear as much about uriah, do we? So today we're going to be talking about him. So the lesson began with a story. They said, "imagine you're at-- you're buying a train ticket.

You stand in line for a long time, and you worry about missing your train. Finally you pay, receive your ticket, and run to the train. On the way, you count your change, and you discover that you have been given far too much." They gave you back too much money. What do you do? Good question. Do you run back? Do you stand in line again? Do you return the money? Or is today just your lucky day, you know? Finders keepers, losers weepers, you know.

Someone gave you the wrong change, hey, their problem, right? Well, as the lesson points out, what you do in this situation will depend on your understanding of right and wrong. Now, maybe you don't need to run back in line and stand there and wait in line. Maybe you can mail the money back if you feel like you need to give it back. Or when the next time you come through, you can give it back. But the point is is that a lot of people today tend to view ethics as something that depends on the situation.

We call it, "situation ethics," where you kind of say, "well, you know, it's--it just-- there are no moral absolutes." There's no actually right and wrong. It just depends. It always depends. And of course, that leads to other problems, and the main problem there is that we are selfish people, right? And so if we say, "it depends," then we're probably going to rationalize away in most situations for us to do whatever benefits us the most. You see the problem? It become this thing that we rationalize and we slowly just say, "well--" and so that's why as a Christian I appreciate the authority of God's Word in my life.

I really do. The Ten Commandments are simple, and they're basic and they're the standard by which God says, "hey, this is how you can live life. This is how you should live life." I like that. It's basic. And that doesn't mean that we don't think, that we don't know--that we don't have to apply those principles to different situations.

And sometimes the situation, it depends on how they are applied. But the actual Ten Commandments themselves, and the principles that they stand for, are absolute. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. And that is--they're simple, and I appreciate that. So today we're gonna talk about two men, and they had to face this question in their lives, "how do I take what I know is right and wrong and apply it to this situation?" The two men are king David and uriah the soldier.

Wow, what a contrast today. Let's go to the Bible. 2 Samuel is where we begin, 2 Samuel 11, there in the old testament. 2 Samuel 11, and this story is one that always makes me feel a little bit emotional because you just--you see David here who has been such an outstanding character, a man of God. He has followed God so closely and yet here he is, and he falls so far, falls so far.

It says, "then it happened in the spring at the time when the Kings go out to battle," this is verse one, "that David sent joab and his servants with him and all Israel and they destroyed The Sons of ammon and besieged rabbah, but David stayed at Jerusalem." And so David's at Jerusalem, he should be out with his army fighting the battles of the Lord, but David is a king now and he says, "hey, I can sit back and enjoy the luxuries of being a monarch." "And so he goes out on the roof of his house," it says, "and walked around on the roof," verse 2, "and from the roof, he saw a woman bathing, and the woman was very beautiful in appearance." David goes, he inquires, "who is this?" He finds out she is the wife of one of his soldiers who's out fighting his battles for him. But that doesn't stop him. It says, verse 4, "David sent messengers and took her. And when she came to him, he lay with her. And when she had purified herself from her uncleanness, she returned to her house.

The woman conceived, and she sent and told David and said, 'I am pregnant.' Then David said to joab--" he sent to joab saying, "'send me uriah the hittite.'" Hmm, how could David go from being such a man of God to someone who's saying, "now, not only am I willing to take another man's wife and to sleep with her, but I'm willing to now try to cover it up"? You know, isn't this the way sin works? You just--if you start down that path, it seems like, to stay on the path, you've got to keep adding sin to sin. Yet, if you say one lie, you've got to say another one later on to cover up that first lie. If you do one wrong act, you have to do something else to try to smooth over the other thing, unless you're willing to confess and be honest, right? Well, David wasn't at that place yet. So you know what happens here, David sends for uriah, uriah comes. David brings uriah in, has some small talk, tries to wine and dine him.

Then it says in verse 9, "after David had told uriah, 'go down to your house, spend some time with your wife, buddy," verse 9, "but uriah slept at the door of the King's house with all the servants of his Lord and did not go down to his house. Now when they told David," verse 10, "saying, 'uriah did not go down to his house.' David said to uriah, 'have you not come from a journey? Why did you not go down to your house? Uriah said, 'listen, the ark of God is in a tent. My fellow soldiers are out on the battlefield. How can I go home and enjoy the luxuries of home life and be with my wife when all of my fellow soldiers are out on the battlefield? As by your life and the life of your soul, I will not do this thing.'" Verse 12, "then David said to uriah, 'stay today also, and tomorrow I will let you go. So uriah reMained the next day in Jerusalem, and David called him and he ate and drank before him and he made him drunk.

" David's like, "let's see if this'll work." "And in the evening he went out to lie on his bed with his Lord's servants, but he did not go to his house." Man, uriah was a man of principle here. This is amazing. "Now in the morning, David wrote a letter to joab, and he sent it by the hand of uriah. He had written the letter saying, 'place uriah in the front of the fiercest battle and withdraw from him so that he may be struck down and die." Wow. And so uriah is sent with his own death warrant in his hand.

He takes it to his commander, joab opens the letter from king David, and he finds out that uriah is to be sacrificed. He has no idea why, but he follows the command of his king. And he sends uriah to the very edge of the city wall that they are fighting, and of course, uriah is killed. And he sends the message back to king David. David, this--what you desire to have happened has happened, uriah is dead.

The chapter ends up here, it says, verse 26, it says, "now when the wife of uriah heard that uriah, her husband, was dead, she mourned for her husband. And when the time of her mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house and she became his wife, then she bore him a son. But the thing that David did-- had done was evil in the sight of the Lord." How could someone--how could David, someone so honored of God, stoop to so low of a sin? How could they get so deep into sin? How could it happen? From writing Psalms and incredible prayers and being in that close of connection with God to doing something this despicable? How does that happen? Does it happen overnight? Do you go from following God that closely to doing these kinds of things in an instant? Does it work like that? You know, there's a song that a group called, "casting crowns," has written. I heard this on the radio a while back and the name of The Song is, "it's a slow fade." And I'm gonna read you some of the lyrics here. It says, "it's a slow fade, slow fade, when you give yourself away.

It's a slow fade when black and white have turned to grey, thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid when you give yourself away. People never crumble in a day, it's a slow fade. It's a slow fade. Daddies never crumble in a day. Families never crumble in a day.

" True, isn't it? It doesn't happen all at once. It's--it doesn't happen just in an instant. And so something happened in David's life. He began to slowly, slowly compromise his beliefs, and something in his life began to change until finally he came to this place. What warning should that be for us? If someone so close to God as David could--this could happen to them, what about us? You know, or this should be something that we should take heed to, don't you think? So--all right, so we're talking about uriah today, not David though.

But we can't help but look at David's life when we talk about the life of uriah because it is an integral part of this story. And in David's association with uriah, we see David at his worst. Now, some people may look at David's sin and say, "well, see, there's David, and David was a man after God's own heart." Have you heard that one before? It's true, he was. That's what the book of acts tells us, and other places in the Bible. But the issue is this, was he a man after God's heart--own heart because he did this despicable sin and others in his life like this? Or in spite of the fact that he did these despicable sins? And what was it about David that made him a man after God's own heart? I think it was the fact that David ultimately will find out, if we read on in this story, repented.

He was willing to say, "listen, I really messed up. You're right. And I am willing to suffer the consequences for my bad choices. And they're mine alone. No one else is to blame.

" And so--but the story here, even in this story, emphasizes that sin has its consequences. Now if you're to read on in this book here, you'll find out what happened later. The first result that came from David's sin was that uriah was killed, uriah died. That's a pretty sad result. Followed by the death of the child that David and bathsheba had together, that child died as well.

Not only this, but David lost credibility with his family. He lost the moral authority among his children. They no longer looked up to him, and they didn't listen to what he said. You can read on how his sons basically turned their back on his council. The chain reaction that David's sin has set in motion widens to include, later on, rape, murder, and eventually many lives lost in a rebellion by his son, absalom.

All of this because David made this one bad choice. And we could say, "well, there are probably many that led up to it," but this one choice that ultimately led to all these other consequences. Sin has very grave consequences, doesn't it? We can't sit around and say, "you know what? I can do this, and I'll do it in a vacuum and it's okay. I can get away with it." It has consequences. And as I've talked to parents before who are doing things in their lives, in their relationships with other adults, I've pled with them, don't do this for your kids' sake.

This will--your kids look up to you, and when you are out doing things that you shouldn't be doing, what kind of an example are you setting for your kids? And kids are gonna--they're gonna suffer the consequences in one way or the other. Wow. So, so many lessons we can learn from this story today. Well, the entire story of David and uriah is set against the backdrop of a battle against the ammonites. And if you go back to the first verse of the chapter here, 2 Samuel 11:1, let's just read this again.

And ask yourself the question, "what subtle criticism of David does the author of 2 Samuel include?" Look what it says, "then it happened in the spring at the time when Kings go out to battle that David sent joab and his servants with him and all Israel and they destroyed The Sons of ammon and besieged rabbah, but David stayed at Jerusalem." What's the subtle criticism here? Where should David have been? Yeah. I mean, come on, he's the King. If you read prior to this, he's always out with his men. He's leading the charge. And yet right here, of course, here he is, he's like, "hey, listen, it's time to enjoy the benefits of my job.

" And so David decides to stay at home. "He sends out his army under joab, this was, of course, his first mistake." He started to think he was in a different--on a different level than the soldiers that he had working for him. I'm not gonna put myself in danger. He thought, "I'm going to stay at home and be safe," and yet he had failed to learn the lesson that some of the greatest dangers that we face as human beings comes from--from where? Inside or outside of us? Inside of us. In fact, I like what Ellen white said.

She says, "the greatest battle that we will ever fight is the battle against" what? Our self. I should say, "who," shouldn't i? Against who? It's us. I am my own worst enemy, and you are your own worst enemy. And we have these things called, "a sinful nature," that's within each of us, and it just likes to get us to do things that we shouldn't do. That's what God's tryin' to do, he's tryin' to transform us to be more like him, right? So David failed to realize that he needed to not be looking so much outside, but inside.

And of course, focusing on Jesus. And the lesson brings out the point here, that the great problem with gaining power or authority is the way that it easily leads us to distort our own self-perception. We start to think that we're somehow better than other people, that we can Lord it over other people. You know, Jesus said in the new testament, in the book of Matthew, he said, "listen, it's like the Kings and the Lords of the gentiles say, 'we like to Lord it over people, you know. If you're my servant, I'm gonna tell you what to do just because I can.

'" He says, "but it's not that way among you." In the church, among believers, it should be that those who are the greatest, actually act as servant. That those who might be leaders actually are the ones who serve. And so David, he had known this. In fact, if you go back--go back to 1 Samuel, the book before we were--before 2 Samuel there. 1 Samuel 26, the lesson takes us back to a previous story, and I have someone out there who will read that for us.

Who has that? 1 Samuel 26:5-11, who has that one? Over here, okay. And what we're gonna do is we're gonna read 1 Samuel 26:5-11, then we're gonna ask the question, "how was the form of leadership that David exercised in this passage different from what's going on in our story in 2 Samuel 11?" "Then they set up and went down to the place where Saul had camp. He saw where Saul and abner, son of ner, the commander of the army, had laid down. Saul was laying inside the camp with the army encamped around him. David then asked ahimelech, the hittite, and abishai, son of zeruiah, joab's brother, 'who will go down into the camp with me to Saul?' 'I'll go with you,' said abishai.

So David and abishai went to the army by night, and there was Saul, lying asleep inside the camp with his spear stuck in the ground near his head. Abner and the soldiers were laying around him. Abishai said to David, 'today--has delivered your enemy into your hands. Now let me pin him to the ground with one thrust of my spear. I won't strike him twice.

' But David said to abishai, 'don't destroy him. Who can lay a hand on the Lord's anointed and be guiltless? As surely as the Lord lives,' he said, 'the Lord himself will strike him; either with his--will strike him; either his time will come and he will die, or he will go into the battle and perish. But the Lord forbid that I should lay a hand on the Lord's anointed. Now get the spear and water jug that are near his head, and let's go.'" Mm, thank you. So this is a story that took place quite a while before the one that we're reading right now in 2 Samuel 11.

Do you see a difference in David's leadership style here? First of all, where is he? Is he out there with his men? Absolutely. And what does he do? At the beginning, he says, "who wants to come with me and go down to the camp of Saul?" All right, he asked for volunteers. It's not, "you come with me." There's a different attitude here that's going on. And then, of course, the most striking part of this story is that David leaves his enemies and their fate in the hands of who? Of God, right? He says, "God'll take care of Saul. Don't try to take things into your own hand, abishai.

God will take care of him." So, the lesson points out that in the stories describing how David spared Saul's life. David leads by example. He asked for volunteers, but now in the time of 2 Samuel 11, where we're looking at here with the story of David and bathsheba and uriah, David, all throughout this story, there are some verbs that are used over and over again. And one of them is the verb in the Hebrew that is translated, "to send." That David commands that someone is sent here or sent there. In other words, he's really callin' the shots here.

He's bein' the big-wig who, you know, is telling everybody what to do. And so he does this. This also happens--it actually--the Hebrew verb that is used to indicate David's command to bathsheba that she come to the palace, is also a very strong word. It's almost, in some contexts, it's used actually to indicate that something is taken by force. And so David is--his mentality has shifted from a king who led by consensus, who led his army and said, "hey, who wants to come and serve with me?" To now, it's this talk down, I'll tell you what to do.

And he thinks that he can get away with this with everyone, 'cause he's the King. David, in 2 Samuel 11, he commands that bathsheba come. She comes, and while his hormones are pumping, the lesson points out, he completely just puts to the side what he knows about what is right and wrong, and he does something that will have incredibly, incredibly painful consequences. You know, adultery is almost always a premeditated, thought out, planned type of thing, isn't it? It's almost always something that takes time. It doesn't happen just like that.

And David takes his--he sets out on this path of sin. Think about the decisions that you make. This is what the lesson asked us to do. It said, "challenge yourself." Are your decisions mostly based upon rational thinking and logic? Do you take time to think about the principles that you have chosen to live by whenever you face a decision? Or are your decisions based on passion and emotion? A combination of both? Do you tend to maybe make decisions based on one more than the other? If so, how can you find that right balance in your life? These are thought questions. These are things that we need to think about because God wants to develop a character in all of us that we can reflect him, isn't that right? And so we need to be honest, look at ourselves.

You know, i--as a young person, I remember I read something somewhere in the "spirit of prophecy," where it said, "the first duty of every young person is to know themselves." And that sounds kind of-- I didn't think that would be the way it went. I thought, first of all, we should know God. No, the first duty of every young person is to know themselves, to know how you tick, to know your weaknesses, to know the things that are going to cause you to stumble, to know your strengths. And this is pretty much what David, here, had gotten away from. He'd forgotten that maybe he had a weakness in this area.

And so he let his emotions get the best of him, and now he makes this very, very tragic decision. Little does David imagine in that moment the far-reaching effects that will follow from the personal decisions that he makes. Well, have you ever had-- you ever made a decision that had long-term repercussions? Something you did that you couldn't turn back the clock on it? A word you spoke that, once the word is out, that's it, right? Once an action is done, you can't undo it, and that's what, I think, should make all of us be thoughtful about the way that we live life. You know, in the book of Psalms it says, "teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts to wisdom." And I think what that simply means is, to be still, to know that God is God, to know ourselves, to know that--to think about how we are going to live our life, to redeem the time, as the apostle Paul says. Well, let's go on.

We're gonna go to Tuesday's lesson. Uriah was a foreigner in Israel. Let's talk about this for a minute. All throughout the chapter of 2 Samuel 11, uriah is called, "uriah the hittite," not, "uriah the Israelite," but "uriah the hittite." Who were the hittites? Well, they were a palestinian ethnic group, and we don't know a lot about them. In fact, up until, I think it was in the 1950s or so, scholars actually who didn't believe in the Bible, said, "the hittites never existed.

" Archaeologists doubted their actual existence. But then they found archaeological evidence that a tribe called the hittites actually did exist in palestine. So we don't know a lot about them, but apparently they lived in the area of Israel. And back in Israel's day, this is very important, in Deuteronomy 7:3, and by the way, I've got someone out here who's going to read that for us. God had prohibited the Israelites from intermarrying with these other canaanite tribes.

And so--or Deuteronomy 7, who has that one for us? Okay, verse 3. We're gonna read that. And here is that prohibition that God had given to the Israelites when they had moved to canaan. "Neither shall thou make marriages with them. Thy daughter, thou shall not give unto his son, nor his daughter shall thou take unto thy son.

" Thank you. So this was a prohibition that was repeated at many intervals during Israel's existence. And God said basically, "hey, listen, if you intermarry with these pagan tribes, they're going to influence you to serve their Gods," and that's exactly what would happen, of course, when that-- when they did intermarry. But on the other side of this coin is the fact that God still wanted the Israelites to reach out to these pagan tribes and try to bring them to a knowledge of the Gospel. And so uriah was one of those who had converted.

He had become a follower of God. That's amazing. It's awesome. In fact, the Bible here is very positive about the fact that uriah had done this. It paints uriah in a very favorable light.

It shows that had more principle, he served God better than king David did. So here's this foreigner who converted, and he became a follower of God. In spite of that prohibition not to marry with those other tribes, but this guy converted and so it was okay. Of course, there were others in Israel's history who had done the same thing. Think of Ruth, the moabites, right? She became an ancestor of Jesus.

What about rahab, the harlot? She converted and married into Israel, and also she was in the bloodline, the lineage of Christ. And so God encouraged this if those foreigners had come and become a part of Israel. You know, I want to talk about--take a minute to talk about something that people ask whenever we talk about this subject. They say, "all right, so if God doesn't want us, as his people, to intermarry with those who are not believers, what if I'm already married to an unbeliever? What about that?" And that's a real question. That's a real problem for a lot of folks who become Christians, maybe after they've already married someone.

Or maybe they made that decision, and then they come to the realization, "hey, you know, that wasn't the best decision." The Bible actually speaks to that, did you know that? And so I want to take you. Go to 1 Corinthians. New testament tells us exactly what we should do in those situations, no doubts about it. 1 Corinthians 7:12-16, Paul here speaking with the authority of God to back him up, okay? 1 Corinthians 7:12, he says, "but to the rest I say, not the Lord, that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he must divorce her." So what does it say? "If any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live him, he must not divorce her. And a woman who has an unbelieving husband, and he consents to live with her, she must not send her husband away.

For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband. For otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy." Verse 15, "yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave. The brother or sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us to peace." Verse 16, "for how do you know, o wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, o husband, whether you will save your wife?" So basically God says, "listen, you're a missionary in your own home." That's the thing that's goin' on here. He says, "if you know the truth, and you're married to someone who is an unbeliever, be a missionary." Amen? Can you say, "amen?" You know, I've talked with members that go to our very own church here before about this very thing, and they've said, "you know what, listen, going through a tough time at home, but you know, I just kept livin' my faith. And now, my husband or my wife is coming around.

They're seeing-- they're acting different. They know that I respect them where they're at. And something's changing in their life. Something changed in me too. Maybe I have something to learn from them.

" Wow, what a good attitude. You know, I think that we have a responsibility to be witnesses to those that God has placed in our lives and that we are in intimate relation with. And so don't ever think that just because you're a believer now and your spouse is an unbeliever, that you should somehow leave them because of that. That's not what the Bible teaches. In fact, in 1 Peter 3, someone out there has that verse for us, 1 Peter 3:1-4.

The Bible again gives us this command. This isn't just in one part of the Bible. Look what it says here in 1 Peter 3:1-4 specifically talking to wives. "Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands, that if any obey not the word, they also may, without the word, be won by the conversation of the wives, while they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel, but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.

" Mm, wow. Really, this is a challenge, isn't it? It's saying, "those who live with unbelievers, be a witness. Live out your faith quietly. Don't be loud about it. Don't, you know, be obnoxious about it, but let it be the hidden regeneration from inside.

" Let them see there's something really different about you, and they're gonna want it. And maybe, maybe they'll come around and accept the truth. That's powerful, isn't it? Whenever I see an unbelieving spouse who is converted or baptized after living for years with someone who's a believer, it just makes my heart warm because I see that God has been working through that believing spouse. Well, let's see. Let's go back to our story here.

So here uriah is--he is a foreigner, but he converted. He became a follower of God. He is someone who follows the God of Israel. And so he is, in this story, someone who God actually smiles upon. In the biblical narrative, bathsheba appears as a passive character.

The Bible doesn't really tell us about her part in all of this. And the biblical author doesn't really give us any idea about her accountability or her involvement, but even though she was ostensibly passive, she suffered the results of this sin as well. She paid a high price. Her husband dies. Her baby son dies.

And the only time that bathsheba speaks in this story is when she sends a message to David that--saying that she's pregnant. That's the only time. So let's go back to the story real quick. 1 Samuel 11, so here's what happened. Let's talk about the detail for a minute here.

David figures, "hey, listen, if I can get uriah home, I can cover this whole thing up. We'll take care of this. It will go undetected." But, you know, what's that verse in Proverbs? "Be sure your sin will," what? "Find you out." My mom used to tell me that when I was a kid. My dad, you know, you're a little kid, you do things and you try to cover it up. It comes to light.

It always does. It always does. And so David sends for uriah. The 40-mile trip to Jerusalem, 40 miles. That was a lot back in the day, whether he walked or came on horseback.

A long trip. So after making some small talk, David sends uriah home with a veiled, you know, suggestion that he go and spend the night with his wife. Sends a gift home after him. Thinking everything's taken care of, uriah is a man of principle. He cannot be manipulated.

The next morning, David hears that uriah has spent the night in the barracks with the other servants of the King. David is now getting desperate. So look what happens. 1 Samuel 11:10-13, we read it earlier, he said, "now when they told David saying, 'uriah did not go down to his house.' David said to uriah, 'have you not come from a journey? Why did you not go down to your house? What's wrong with you, man?'" Verse 11, "uriah said to David, 'the ark and Israel and judah are staying in temporary shelters, and my Lord joab and the servants of my Lord are camping in the open field. Shall I then go to my house and eat and drink and to lie with my wife? By your life and the life of your soul, I will not do this thing.

'" Uriah shows by his answer that he is not just a believer in name only. He's not just someone who talks the talk. He walks the walk, doesn't he? This guy's for real. He's like, "my fellow soldiers are out there fighting. I'm not gonna go and enjoy life while they're on the battlefield.

" Uriah believed that it was wrong to use his situation for personal comfort or advantage. The same David who once showed complete loyalty to king Saul, even though Saul was persecuting him, now cannot understand the loyalty and faithfulness of uriah. What's wrong with you? What's wrong with you, uriah? I can't understand it. So then David resorts to a disgusting scheme. He tries to get uriah drunk thinking that will then get uriah to go home.

The lesson pointed out that interestingly, the very people that the armies of Israel are fighting right now, the ammonites, originated out of something similar to what David is trying to scheme here. In fact, you know the story, lot, Abraham's nephew, his daughters got him drunk two nights in a row, and their children, that they conceived by their father, became the forbearers, the--they became the ammonite people. And so the very people that uriah and joab and everyone is fighting, David says, "I'm gonna go back and try that scheme over again, see if we can get uriah home, get him to sleep with his wife." And of course it doesn't work. But what's the big deal? Come on, uriah, it's certainly not bad to sleep with your wife, is it? Is it loyal compassion for your comrades, is that what's going on here, uriah? Or is it the fact that the ark is in a tent, like you said. Is that the big deal? Well, the Jewish tradition tells us that as a measure to conserve strength, Israelite soldiers took an oath not to have sexual relations the evening before or during the battle or while their unit fought.

So they took this oath. And here's the big-- the big deal in the story here. Whether or not their oath-- or what they thought about that meant anything is not really the issue. The issue is that they took an oath. And they made this promise to each other, and uriah had made that promise.

And he said, "listen, I'm not gonna go back on my word." That's admirable, isn't it? Here's this guy who's like, "dude, I made this promise. I am going to stick with it." And that is something, at this point in David's life, he cannot understand. And yet uriah was a man of principle. So deeply was that oath engrained in him that he believed that the God's honor and his own honor hinged on him keeping that oath. He was not swayed to drink--to break it even though David made him drink and got him drunk.

Going on here, it says, "more than this, it is a perilous thing to praise or exalt men. For if one comes to lose sight of his entire dependence on God and to trust in his own strength, he is sure to fall. It is impossible for us, in our strength, to maintain the conflict. And whatever diverts the mind from God," this is where the rubber meets the road for you and i, friends. "Whatever diverts the mind from God, whatever leads to self exaltation or self dependence is surely preparing the way for our overthrow.

" So be honest in your life. Ask yourself, "am I spending time with God and His Word? Do I think I can l live life without doing that?" You're gonna fall. Do you think live life without spending time in prayer? You're gonna fall. If we're doing things in our lives that are sapping our spiritual strength, watching things on television or movies, looking at things on the internet, reading books, imbibing certain food or beverage that will weaken our physical body or our moral sense, those things will lead us to fall. We can't be self confident and think that, "hey, look it, I've got it all together.

I've been a Christian all my life," or whatever. That's not enough. Even David fell. Now of course, psalm 51 is the story of David's repentance, and if you read that, that chapter in the context of 2 Samuel 11, it really brings a lot more to the picture of psalm 51. Create in me a clean heart, o God.

Renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, o God. Take not your Holy Spirit from me. You can hear David just crying out to God. He realized that he has sinned, and God accepts his repentance.

And yet even though God forgives, there are still consequences to sin. There are still consequences that we have to live with. We have to live with the choices we've made, don't we? You get a girl pregnant, you got to pay child support, right? You rob a bank, you're goin' to prison, right? You eat bad food, you're gonna be unhealthy. These are consequences. These are cause and effect type of things in life.

If we say hurtful words, we lose friends sometimes, don't we? So cause and effect. God doesn't always take away the effect of our sin, the consequences, but he does forgive if we truly repent. But let's go beyond that. Let's say--let's do this. God, not only do I want your forgiveness, but I want you to help me to make better choices in the future, don't you? Don't you want God to help you make better choices in the future? You know, Jesus died on the cross to give us a choice.

And every day, every moment, that choice is ours. I'm going to tell you a quick story in closing here. There was an old woman who was known for her wisdom, and one day there were some kids who thought, "we're gonna stump this old lady. She's not really that wise. She just acts like she thinks she knows everything.

" And so they brought a little bird in their hand, and the woman was blind. She couldn't really see very well. And here she was sitting in her huts, and they said, "ah, wise woman, tell us, is the bird that we have in our hand, is it alive or is it dead?" And the old, wise woman thought--you know, she knew what they were trying to do. She knew that they were trying to stump her, and she had no way of knowing the bird wasn't making any noise. It wasn't--it didn't sound like it was moving.

She couldn't tell if it was alive or if it was dead. And she said, "well, children," there was a long pause, there was silence. And then finally she said, "children, the answers lies in the power that you have in your hands. It's your choice." You can kill the bird or you can let it live, I think, is what she was trying to say. And the story really brings the point home to me that God has told us the same thing.

We have a choice, don't we? Don't blame somebody else for your decisions in life. It's your choice. No one else can make it for you, no one else can make it for me. God gave us the power of choice. And he promises, this is what he promises, that if we come to him, that he will actually help us to make good choices.

That's what he promises us, that he'll sanctify our will so that we can make choices that honor him. I want to do that. Don't you? I really do. I thank God for the example of uriah, someone who stood up for principle. Our free offer today is offer number 774.

You can call into the number on the screen, 1-866-788-3966 for offer number 774. Let's pray. Father God, thank you for these stories of even obscure people like uriah, who teach us. They teach us so many important lessons. We want to be like uriah, men and women of principle, people who say, "listen, I want to keep my promise even if it isn't something that is as comfortable as maybe I'd want it in life.

" But we want to be people who are principle people like that. Lord, we learned from this story from David's part in it that we can fall so easily. God, help us to make good choices that keep our path--our feet on the narrow path and that keep our eyes on Jesus so that we don't fall like David did. So Lord, please, work in each of our lives. None of us are perfect.

We're all growing. But I think that's what we have in common, is that we all want to grow. We want to make good choices. We want to be like Jesus. So come, sanctify our wills, make us people who can and want to make those good choices.

In Jesus' Name we pray, amen. Journey back through time to the center of the universe, discover how a perfect angel transformed into satan, the arch villain, the birth of evil, a rebellion in heaven, a mutiny that moved to earth. Behold the creation of a beautiful, new planet and the first humans. Witness the temptation in eden. Discover God's amazing plan to save his children.

This is a story that involves every life on earth, every life. "The cosmic conflict," if God is good, if God is all powerful, if God is love, then what went wrong? Available now on dvd.

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