In the midst of a devotional reading, a time of quiet reflection, I was looking at the life of David. In the process, I also looked at the life of Bathsheba. It struck me again what bad press she gets. I have heard her labeled as the temptress of David. However, the scriptures have nothing bad to say about Bathsheba or her actions—not one word. In fact, the more I read her story, the more I see how David abused his position of power over her. I have heard preachers condemn her for bathing on the roof; surely her intent must have been to snare or tempt someone? However, houses in those days, even the houses of commanders in the army, had a distinct lack of en-suite bathing facilities—or any bathing facilities come to think of it. The roof was the domain of the women and where they bathed. The scriptures don’t even say that she was naked (most likely she wasn’t).
When David summoned Bathsheba to his palace, the option of saying “no” wasn’t part of the deal. “Sorry David, I have to stay home and wash my hair…” An excuse wouldn’t have worked. The king had absolute authority. His having sex with her was more likely an act of rape than seduction. Nowhere does it say Bathsheba was a willing participant. More likely, she was the powerless one without a choice. Who could say “no” to a king? When Uriah died, the scriptures say she lamented him. A lament is a passionate expression of grief or sorrow and not just an outward show of socially acceptable mourning. Bathsheba had all her choices stripped from her, like many women (and men) today. Those with power take advantage and oppress those without. However, as we look at the life of David and the consequences of his behavior, we see that God is not in the business of ignoring the complaint of the oppressed.
So … how should we treat people who have no voice, in whom we have been given authority or influence over? In Philippians 2:3-4, the Apostle Paul instructs us to “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” We are called to be humble, and in doing so, we actually are to consider others to be better than ourselves. Wow! Take a moment, drink it in and ponder the vast implication if the entire human race would act in such a way. Civilization as we know it would radically change … and for the better!
Thought4Today: Be mindful; treat all people regardless of their social or economic status, with honor, respect, mercy and unconditional love. Treat them, as you would like to be treated.