S207P2 – The roots of falling short: an entitlement to possess

2 Sam. 11:2-4

Then it happened one evening that David arose from his bed and walked on the roof of the king’s house. And from the roof he saw a woman bathing, and the woman was very beautiful to behold. So David sent and inquired about the woman. And someone said, “Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” Then David sent messengers, and took her; and she came to him, and he lay with her, for she was cleansed from her impurity; and she returned to her house.

There are many layers to the encounters between David and Bathsheba and the resulting circumstances of those encounters.  We could say that David’s fall is all too common among mankind, specifically among men, to be drawn to a well from which one was not meant to drink.  His eyes captured a beauty who was another’s, but that was not a consideration for him.  David saw her and decided that he could not resist.  He made up his mind in what seems like an instant, acting like a man who had the right to possess Bathsheba as his own.  David surely acted out of lust, but that lust is rooted in the twisted logic which justifies taking for oneself what one is not entitled to have.

Jesus tells us that lusting after someone in the heart is no different than the act of adultery.  It may seem strange that the fantasy is on the same level as the act, but that is because they are rooted in the same practice.  Whether we act out our lustful impulses or simply play the picture in our heads, we are chasing that which does not belong to us and to which we are not entitled.  We see that David’s entitlement took him so far as to arrange a way for Bathsheba’s husband to die so that David could have her all to himself.  Not only did he lay with another man’s wife, but he had to be sure that he had her all to himself.  He was taking possession of her, but she was not his to have.  That sense of entitlement led not only to adultery but to a man losing his life.

The scriptures tell us plainly at the end of this chapter that David’s actions displeased the Lord, and that is because they were evil.  Lustful acts and thoughts cause us to trespass unjustly on the person of another, even if it is only in our minds.  Those who are led by love will seek to give.  Those who are led by lust will seek to take, and they take because they believe that they deserve to do so.  It is pride, egotism, covetousness, greed, and even idolatry all wrapped up in a dark, little package.  David had no privilege to pursue that to which his lust drew him, and neither do we.  Father, give us eyes to see our unclean passions for what they are and the wisdom not to take from others that which was not meant to be ours.