The story of David and Bathsheba is well known to readers here. (If not, read this version of it from The Common English Version edition of the Bible.) It’s movie stuff, how lust leads to adultery, which leads to deception, which leads to murder, which leads to consequences.
But I’m always struck by the way the story opens:
In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army...
I’ve seen various commentaries on this, and this aspect of the story is often skipped over. For one thing, the idea of seasonal warfare is rather unknown in our time. Only Eugene Peterson’s The Message seems to give us a different take on the upcoming battle (italics added):
When that time of year came around again, the anniversary of the Ammonite aggression, David dispatched Joab and his fighting men of Israel in full force to destroy the Ammonites for good.
I think the most simple takeaway from this is that David should have been leading his troops, but instead ended up where he was not supposed to be.
Some try to put blame on Bathsheba in the story and say she was deliberately exposing herself in view of the palace, but maybe she had reason to assume the main occupant of the palace and his staff were all away.
Most of us can’t control our daily schedule, but we probably do have some leeway, and there are times we know we are simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Trouble is crouching at the door, and we need to be proactive, put on our coats or shoes, and reposition ourselves in the physical place we know is best.
The center of God’s will isn’t necessarily a tiny dot, but within the circle of God’s permissive will, there are various places we can find ourselves.
The trick is knowing when we’ve left that circle altogether.
Are you where you’re supposed to be right now?
image: Ron Edmondson
For more about the dot-vs.-circle idea of God’s will, read Decision Making and the Will of God by Garry Friesen.