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Power Play

Scripture Reading — 2 Samuel 11:1-27

In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent . . . out . . . the whole Israelite army. . . . But David remained in Jerusalem. — 2 Samuel 11:1

David likely had a lot of time on his hands as he stayed in Jerusalem rather than leading his armies to fight the Ammonites. Though he was a warrior, David seemed not to have much appetite for battle at this time.

Late one evening he went out for a walk on the roof of the palace, and he saw a woman bathing. Could David have closed his eyes and walked back inside? Yes. Why did he linger, watching a woman who was not his wife? Why did David send for her even after he learned that she was married to Uriah, one of his top soldiers?

David had become used to having power, and he seems to have thought he was entitled to do as he pleased. He was the king. No one said no to him.

In this story we see that David lost touch with his humanity and that he dehumanized people who got in his way.

One bad decision led to another, and another—and eventually David put Uriah on the front lines of battle so that he would be killed. Then David brought Bathsheba, who was now pregnant, to the palace to be his wife.

But God was displeased with what David had done.

Every decision shapes our heart for service for God or for ourselves.


Father, the thirst for power can be intoxicating. Help me to nurture a heart that seeks to serve you. I need your help today. In Christ alone, Amen.

Surprised by Truth

Scripture Reading — 2 Samuel 12:1-20

Nathan said to David, “You are the man!” — 2 Samuel 12:7

I told the Lord that I was not interested in becoming a pastor. I’d had a dream in which God called me to be a pastor, but I tried to ignore that and focus on other things. A few weeks later, a minister at my church in Chicago preached a sermon about the call of God. I squirmed in my seat. I had not talked with him about this topic at all. After the service, he made a beeline toward me. He asked me what the sermon meant for me. I was stunned that the Lord was able to use him in such a way to get my attention.

Nathan was David’s pastor. Nathan knew David pretty well. He knew his secrets. He knew his personality. He knew that accusing or coaxing David would not work. But he knew that David would listen to a story. Stories bypass our defense mechanisms to deflect and defeat rational arguments. David listened to Nathan’s power-play story and saw the villain for what he was.

Then Nathan called him out as the villain, saying, “You are the man!” And suddenly David had to face the truth about himself and what he had done to Bathsheba and Uriah. What’s more, the child born to Bathsheba would die, and calamity would come to David’s household. These consequences happened to David because he had treated God with contempt.


Merciful God, I have blind spots, and I have sins that I hide from others. But I cannot hide anything from you. Let your truth set me free today in Jesus’ name. Amen.