Last week I sat in my living room with two of my closest friends and confided that I was feeling very unworthy of a task that I know God is pushing me towards right now. I may not have made public monumental mistakes, but I've screwed up a lot over the years and there are lots of moments in my life that I'm not proud of. Knowing that there are plenty of people who knew that part of me makes me incredibly hesitant to do anything that appears as though I somehow think I deserve to be a mouthpiece for God. Then last week in the bible study we are working through we got into the story of David. It was a familiar story, but rather than looking at David, I found myself identifying with Bathsheba, a grieving mother. Suddenly I saw something very different in this story.
Bathsheba is a young bride whose husband, Uriah, is away at war. People often talk about her brazenly bathing for anyone to see, but the scripture actually says it was the middle of the night! As I think this through, she is probably staying in a home with other family members while Uriah is away and has little privacy. She waits until everyone has gone to bed and goes to the only place she can think of to have a few moments to herself to take a bath - the roof. She has no idea that David has seen her and is asking around about her. In fact, when the king sends for her I imagine she was terrified. Maybe she thinks her husband was killed or that she's done something to land herself in a lot of trouble. It's likely that she had no idea David intended to sleep with her. Also, I imagine that even if she wanted to say no, she couldn't. After all, he was the king. What would happen to her if she refused him? Then she gets pregnant & I'm confident that David didn't consult her about plotting to kill her husband, Uriah, in the war. So now she's lost her husband & not only is she pregnant, but everyone around her must know what is going on. She's rushed to the palace to marry the king and her child is born much less than nine months later. That baby was probably the only bright spot in her life many days. Then her child gets sick. David knows it is because of his sin, but does Bathsheba? There is no indication if she does or doesn't know. Chances are she only knows that her child is sick & dying. This woman has been through a lot of heartache in a year's time.
Suddenly, I'm commiserating with Bathsheba. I didn't cheat on my husband & I don't think that God took my son away, but It's been a really hard couple of years. I would be lying if I didn't admit that in some of my darker moments I question if I'm somehow to blame for losing my son.
After that terrible year though, the bible says that David and Bathsheba had Solomon. Solomon, a man who when told he could have anything in the world asked only for wisdom and compassion. That had to be a proud mama moment.
Thinking about Bathsheba and Solomon I remembered that Solomon wrote all of Proverbs including chapter 31 which is the go to scripture for women who want to be godly wives & mothers.
I did a little research and there are two references in all of scripture regarding King Lemuel (the king whose mother is attributed with Proverbs 31), both are in the book of Proverbs. Lemuel is translated to mean "belonging to God" and traditionally most believe that Solomon was referring to himself. That would mean that the godly advice given in Proverbs 31:1-9 is coming directly from Bathsheba herself & that either she is speaking in verses 10-31 or her son is making those comments while reflecting on what his mother taught him.
Either way, all of this makes me think that Bathsheba - a woman whose reputation was ruined and who has been widely regarded throughout history as a wanton adulteress - in fact became a godly woman and mother who is still giving us guidance today.
Bathsheba is my hero.