Painfully, the evil that has long been swept under the rug—sexual abuse of many women by men who had power over them—has come to light. Enduring headline after headline, my heart sank when I heard proof of abuse by two men I admired. The church has not been immune to these issues.
King David faced his own reckoning. Samuel tells us that one afternoon, David “saw a woman bathing” (2 Samuel 11:2). And David wanted her. Though Bathsheba was the wife of one his loyal soldiers (Uriah), David took her anyway. When Bathsheba told David she was pregnant, he panicked. And in a despicable act of treachery, David arranged for Joab to have Uriah die on the battlefield.
There is no hiding David’s abuse of power against Bathsheba and Uriah. Here it is in full color, Samuel ensuring we see it. We must deal with our evil.
Also, we must hear these stories because they caution us against the abuse of power in our times. This was David, “a man after [God’s] own heart” (Acts 13:22), but also a man who needed to be held accountable for his actions. May we also prayerfully hold leaders accountable for how they use or abuse power.
By God’s grace, redemption is possible. If we read further, we encounter David’s profound repentance (2 Samuel 12:13). Thankfully, hard hearts can still turn from death to life.
Why is it important to prayerfully address the abuse of power in our midst and in our world? How did Jesus reveal the right way to live out true power?
Uriah—Bathsheba’s husband—is listed among David’s “mighty men” (2 Samuel 23:39). He’s also identified as a Hittite (11:3), a Canaanite tribe listed consistently with the nations that Israel would conquer upon entering the promised land (Exodus 3:8). Other significant Hittites in the Old Testament include Ahimelek, another of David’s soldiers (1 Samuel 26:6); and Ephron, from whom Abraham purchased the cave in which he buried his wife Sarah (Genesis 23:2–20).