In 1 Chronicles 11:41, we see Uriah listed as one of David’s “mighty warriors”—the men who “gave his kingship strong support to extend it over the whole land, as the Lord had promised” (verse 10).
Uriah was clearly consumed with the purposes of his king, David. He was also consumed with the purposes of God. Uriah was by David’s side in the caves when Saul hounded their heels. He cried with David as their homes burned at Ziklag. He cheered himself hoarse at David’s coronation, and he fearlessly fought to extend Da¬vid’s kingdom over the whole land. Swearing his life to the purposes of God, Uriah often stood in harm’s way for David and his throne.
Sound familiar? You swore your life to someone in this way, didn’t you? You swore before family and friends to honor and cherish your wife, abandoning all others. You promised she would have more from marriage than she had as a single girl, and you swore your life to the Lord’s purposes, to sacrificially love her, come what may.
Are you consumed by this commitment? Consumed enough to live faithfully and to cherish her completely? Consumed enough to stand in harm’s way and to eat gravel until God’s purposes and your promises are finally established in your land?
Uriah was certainly that consumed. His faithfulness was complete, but alas, David’s faithfulness was not. He went to bed with Bathsheba, Uriah’s wife. When she became pregnant, David had a mess on his hands. As always, Uriah was out of town fighting David’s battles. Bathsheba’s pregnancy could mean only one thing: David—not Uriah—was the father.
David addressed the situation by fabricating a ruse. He ordered Uriah back from the front lines. David’s plan was to quickly send Uriah home to a warm, cuddly night with Bathsheba. If David moved quickly enough, people would naturally assume the unborn child was Uriah’s.
Tragically, Uriah’s faithfulness to the king was so complete that David’s plan didn’t work:
David said to Uriah, “Go down to your house and wash your feet.” So Uriah left the palace, and a gift from the king was sent after him. But Uriah slept at the entrance to the palace with all his master’s servants and did not go down to his house.
David was told, “Uriah did not go home.” So he asked Uriah, “Haven’t you just come from a military campaign? Why didn’t you go home?”
Uriah said to David, “The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in tents, and my commander Joab and my lord’s men are camped in the open country. How could I go to my house to eat and drink and make love to my wife? As surely as you live, I will not do such a thing!”
Then David said to him, “Stay here one more day, and tomorrow I will send you back.” So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day and the next. At David’s invitation, he ate and drank with him, and David made him drunk. But in the evening Uriah went out to sleep on his mat among his master’s servants; he did not go home. (2 Samuel 11:8–13)
Look at Uriah! He was so consumed by the purposes of God that he refused to go to his house, even to wash his feet. His faithfulness was so strong that, even when drunk, he didn’t waver from his commitment and zeal. His purity of soul was so great that no treacherous trick formed against him could stand. God wouldn’t allow David’s simple deception to cover his immense sin against God and against God’s choice servant Uriah. God loved Uriah, and God loved Uriah’s love for Bathsheba.
Uriah knew his place. He was satisfied to fill his role in God’s purposes.
If we’re to be like Uriah, we must know our place and be content with it.
About the Author
Stephen Arterburn is coauthor of the best-selling Every Man series, founder and chairman of New Life Clinics, host of the daily New Life Live! national radio program, creator of the Women of Faith Conferences, and the author of more than one hundred books with over eleven million in print. Steve is also the editor of the best-selling Life Recovery Bible and Every Man’s Bible. Fred Stoeker is coauthor of the best-selling Every Man series and founder and president of Living True Ministries. A lay minister and well-known conference speaker, Fred has counseled hundreds of married couples. Fred and his wife, Brenda, coauthored the ECPA Silver Medallion winner Every Heart Restored.
Excerpted from Every Man’s Battle, Revised and Updated 20th Anniversary Edition: Winning the War on Sexual Temptation One Victory at a Time. Copyright © 2020 by Stephen Arterburn. Used by permission of WaterBrook, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.