Daily Office Readings for Thursday of Proper 13: Year 1
“In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah. 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:” (2nd Samuel 11:14 and 15)
What an evil sandwich this is. Because of the lust of a woman, and the subsequent pregnancy, the almost honorable David, king of all Israel, has stooped to the betrayal and murder of one of his own.
And, if this was not bad enough, he has enlisted the aid of Joab his commander, to assist him in this sinful act. In this case, the bottom and top pieces of bread for this sandwich are the evil parts. In the center, between the bread, is the honorable entre, Uriah, who would not comfort himself while Joab and all his military peers were waging war and sleeping when, and where they could on the ground. I have to say, as a U. S. Marine, a military man of thirty years, I have the utmost respect and admiration for Uriah. And I recall from this scripture, they were fighting for God’s desires as they understood it.
I can remember when President Bush (41) was told by someone during the Liberation of Kuwait, that “God was on our side”: the President responded, “I pray that we are on God’s side.” I don’t think David was on God’s side in his self-serving lust and sinful murder of Uriah. I also hold Joab equally as guilty for his participation in the killing of Uriah. It’s too late for me now, but I pray that if I had any ungodly proposition presented to me while in uniform, I would do the honorable thing, and also, that if witnessing immoral and ungodly acts, that I would give it all up for the sake of decency and morality. As far as I can recall, no such dilemmas occurred with me during the time and places I served.
There is heavy sadness in this story. Uriah is given his own death certificate unknowingly. I ponder if any eye-contact was made between Joab and Uriah as Joab read the letter ordering him to leave Uriah unprotected. What kind of sick allegiance would have Joab follow this sinful betrayal of his subordinate? Did he not love his troops as he did his king? Real love forbids such acts of betrayal. I hope that if I was in Joab’s place, I would have hidden the letter and later faced David with it. The Love of those placed in your charge must be a greater priority than the love of those in whose charge you have been placed. We must love down in order to be lifted up.
Let us live to love, rather than just live to live, listening to what the Spirit is saying to, and through the saints of God, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John