Women of the Bible - BATHSHEBA
Have you heard the saying that first impressions stick? Well I’m sure there have been many times when you’ve hoped that expression isn’t, in fact, true!
When you hear the name ‘Bathsheba’, I wonder what you think of? If you’re like me, maybe your mind immediately goes to that first impression of Bathsheba when we read the story in 2 Samuel of her adultery with King David leading to the ultimate murder of her husband. Yet there’s so much more to the life of Bathsheba that we can learn from!
A courageous step
When we mess up and make a mistake, we can be so quick to think it’s game over and that we should give up. It might not be that your mistake makes you turn away from God, but maybe it diminishes your sense of how He can use you - maybe you feel that the plans He has for you are somehow now limited because of your mistake.
Bathsheba has faced a rough patch in life - an affair that led to her involvement in the murder plot against her husband and then the death of her baby. If we were to read next that she tucked herself away and lived a quiet life, we maybe wouldn’t be surprised after the drama she’d already faced. Yet this isn’t the case instead, as the story moves into 1 Kings, we see a side to Bathsheba that shows great strength, wisdom and courage!
King David and Bathsheba got married. Bathsheba became pregnant for a second time - she gave birth to a baby boy, Solomon. Now King David had many other sons, and when he becomes ill in his old age, one of these sons, Adonijah, decides that without his father’s knowledge, he would proclaim himself the next King of Israel!
When Bathsheba hears about this, she remembers a promise made by David that Solomon would inherit the throne. Bathsheba decides to take the risky step of going straight to David to explain the unfolding events and remind him of his promise.
Bathsheba’s bravery to go and speak out led to David pronouncing that very day that Solomon would be the next King! This boy that Bathsheba had nurtured, taught and raised would now become the King of Israel - a great king who would be remembered throughout history. Bathsheba’s own son would be celebrated for building the first temple in Jerusalem and elevated as the very wisest of kings!
Bathsheba didn’t let her past mistakes and shame diminish her worth or silence her voice. We, too, shouldn’t let the weight of past mistakes keep us from feeling confident, valuable and brave! Deuteronomy 31:6 says, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you or forsake you.”
We trust a God who is always in control and whose plans will always prevail – that means that even when we slip, we can refocus our eyes back on God as we look to Him for our strength!
A future hope
When we first look at the story of King David and Bathsheba, it could be easy to think that their story was too messy to be used and interwoven into God’s great plan of salvation. Yet look at what Matthew 1:1 reads, it says: “The genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the Son of David...” As we look at the lineage of Jesus, the perfect Saviour of the world, we see the names of these imperfect people. God brings hope from what looks like a hopeless situation!
This is a lesson for us - we can so easily fall into this trap of thinking we need to be living at our best to be used by God, yet the wonderful truth from the story of Bathsheba is that nothing we do can stop God’s great plans. Even in our messes, God threads through hope!
In 2 Corinthians 12:9, we read, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
How comforting to know that the God who brought a great future hope to Bathsheba’s story is the same God who we look to today - the same God who, no matter what we’ve done, looks at us and sees a future and a hope!