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Author:Rev. George van Popta
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Congregation:Jubilee Canadian Reformed Church
 Ottawa, Ontario
Preached At:Ancaster Canadian Reformed Church
 Ancaster, Ontario
Title:Bathsheba: Mother Of Kings
Text:Matthew 1:6b (View)
Occasion:Regular Sunday

Order Of Worship (Liturgy)

Songs - Ps. 89:1,2; Hymn 12:4; Ps. 51:3,4; Ps. 32:1,2; Hy. 15:3,4; Ps. 72:1,4,10

Reading - 2 Samuel 11:1-17; 11:26-27; 12:15b-25

Text - Matthew 1:6b - "David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah's wife."

* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. George van Popta, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.

Beloved congregation of the Lord Jesus Christ:

The genealogy of the Lord Jesus Christ as Matthew recorded it in ch. 1 of his book has three sections. Verses 2-6a is the first section. In this first section Matthew recorded the generations from Abraham to David. Verses 6b-11 is the second section. In these verses Matthew recorded the family line from David until the deportation to Babylon - the great exile of 586 BC. And then verses 12-16 form the third section. These record the generations from the deportation to Babylon to the birth of Christ.

Matthew did this very consciously. He wrote in 1:17, "Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Christ."

And so a new chapter, a new stage, in the genealogy of the Lord Jesus Christ begins with David. David is the beginning of stage two of the family line of Jesus Christ.

Until this point in history, God had revealed to his people that the Messiah would come forth out of the tribe of Judah. God had promised a Saviour to Adam and Eve. Out of the human race he chose Abraham to be the father of this Saviour. Out of Abraham's grandchildren he chose Jacob. Out of the 12 sons of Jacob he chose Judah. The Messiah would come forth from Judah. That's what God had said.

However, at this point in history, God had not yet revealed to his people which family of the tribe of Judah he had chosen to bring forth the Messiah. God revealed that at the time of David.

In 2 Samuel 7 God made a covenant with David. God said that he would make David a house. By that word "house" he meant "dynasty". God would bring forth out of David a dynasty of kings. A family line of kings who would reign over Israel. This would not be just any earthly dynasty. It would be an everlasting dynasty. God said to David in 2 Samuel 7, "... your house and your kingdom shall be made sure for ever before me; your throne shall be established for ever."

What a glorious promise. David, and any discerning Israelite, understood well what God was promising. God was promising David that the Messiah of Israel would come forth out of his house.

At the beginning of his reign, God promised that he would build for David a royal house and establish in David's line an everlasting throne - a house from which the Messiah would come - a throne upon which Messiah would sit. And, furthermore, God would give David a son - a special son. 1 Chronicles 22-A son shall be born to you; he shall be a man of peace. I will give him peace from all his enemies round about; for his name shall be Solomon ("Peace"), and I will give peace and quiet to Israel in his days. And so everyone was awaiting the birth of this special son. God was going to use this special son of David to continue his work of bringing the Messiah to his people. At last the son was born. David and Bathsheba had a son whom they called Solomon. The special child came!

But don't ask how!

He came under a cloak of shame. He came because of what had started as an adulterous relationship between David and Bathsheba. He came because a righteous man was murdered.

The words Matthew wrote in 1:6b say it all: "David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah's wife." The words drip with shame. The beginning of the everlasting rule of the house of David lies in shame and dishonour. But God brings good out of it. He chose Bathsheba to be a mother of the Messiah, of the Prince of peace, the beloved of God.

I proclaim to you the Word of God under this theme:


1. This royal house is established in shame; 2. But God fills it with his peace and love.

1. It was spring time. The winter rains had stopped. The cold had disappeared. The sun shone warm and dried up the ground. It was the time of year that kings went off to war. During the winter months, because of the rain and the mud, it was very difficult to mobilize an army. Spring time was the best time to go off to fight another king.

King David had sent his army out to destroy the Ammonites. King David had done so for a very specific reason. In ch. 10 we can read about how the king of the Ammonites had shamed Israel. King Nahash of the Ammonites had died. His son Hanun had become king in his place. David had sent some of his servants to the new king to bring his condolences with regards to the death of his father.

However, king Hanun rejected this friendly gesture of king David and dealt terribly with David's servants. He figured that David's servants were doing nothing but spying out his land to find the weak spots. He took David's servants, shaved off half their beards, cut their clothes off at the hips, and sent them on their way. This had brought shame upon all of Israel. David reacted by sending his army out to crush Ammon.

However, while David's army was out wreaking the wrath of David and the vengeance of Israel upon Ammon, David did something that brought even more shame upon Israel.

David stayed behind in Jerusalem. This was rather unusual. Kings usually went out with their armies. They led their armies into battle. David stayed behind. You see, he was approaching middle age. He chose for the comforts of home rather than the Spartan rigors of the battle field tent.

His army was out in the field killing and getting killed. David was at home, killing time. He was a little bored.

One evening he got up from his nap. This was not an after lunch power snooze. It was late in the afternoon, evening, when David got up from his bed. He went for a stroll on the roof of the palace. Houses in Israel in those days had flat roofs. It was very common for people to sit on their roofs to catch the cool afternoon breeze. As King David surveyed his city his eyes happened to fall upon a woman bathing outside her house. The woman was Bathsheba. A very beautiful woman, we are told. However, a woman belonging to another man. A man called Uriah the Hittite. Uriah the Hittite was one of David's mighty men. He was a man who was absolutely faithful to King David. As Uriah was fighting in the battle field against the Ammonites in order to restore honour to David and Israel, his wife was bathing in full view of David. David coveted his neighbour's wife.

He sent for her. They lay together. After the shameful deed was done, Bathsheba returned to her home. Before long she sent a message to David which read, "I am pregnant."

She left the next step up to David. The both knew what the law of God said. In Lev. 20:10 God had said, "If a man commits adultery with the wife of his neighbour, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall be put to death." God repeated this in Deut. 22:22: "If a man is found lying with the wife of another man, both of them shall die, the man who lay with the woman, and the woman; so you shall purge the evil from Israel."

The law of God required that both king David and Bathsheba be put to death for the shameful evil they had brought upon Israel.

How did David handle the situation? He sent for Bathsheba's husband, Uriah the Hittite. When Uriah came into the king's presence, David asked him all about how the war was going. After Uriah had given the king an update David sent him home. "Go home for awhile, Uriah. Relax and enjoy yourself." David even sent a gift to Uriah's house. The Hebrew word used for "gift" in 2 Sam. 11:8 is usually used for food. He sent a gift of food and maybe some wine along. It's obvious what David wanted. He wanted Uriah and Bathsheba to have a nice evening together. If everything went as planned, the shameful deed would be covered. Everyone, Uriah included, would assume that Bathsheba's child was Uriah's.

However, Uriah did not cooperate. He didn't go home. He slept at the door of the king's house together with the king's servants. The next day David asked him, "Why didn't you go home? You've been away for awhile. Go home, man! Enjoy yourself for awhile." The answer of Uriah, a Hittite, a member of a foreign people who chose for the God of Israel, casts the scheming of David into the deepest shame possible. Uriah said to David, "The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in tents, and my master Joab and my lord's men are camped in the open fields. How could I go to my house to eat and drink and lie with my wife? As surely as you live, I will not do such a thing!"

What did David do? He invited Uriah to eat with him. He fed him his food and his wine until Uriah was drunk. One way or another he was going to get Uriah to go home. But he failed. That night again Uriah slept in the king's courtyard.

David grew desperate. This called for desperate measures. He sent Uriah off the next day with a letter to Joab the commander of the army. Little did Uriah know that he was carrying his own death warrant. This is what the letter said, "Put Uriah in the front line where the fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so he will be struck down and die."

Joab arranged it as David commanded. Uriah was set up and killed. Joab sent a messenger to tell David. How did David respond? We read that in 2 Sam. 11:25. David told the messenger to say to Joab, "Do not let this matter upset you; the sword devours one as well as another." Don't worry about it, Joab. These things happen. People die in wars. That's a fact of life.

After Uriah had died, Bathsheba mourned his death, like a dutiful widow was supposed to do (probably for seven days). Then she moved into the palace and became David's wife. She bore a son. But, we are told, the thing that David had done displeased the LORD. So the LORD sent Nathan the prophet to confront David with his shameful deed. Nathan spoke the word of God to David. And that word cut David to the core of his soul. He saw the error of his ways, and repented.

Ps. 51 is the beautiful psalm David wrote after the LORD brought him to repentance through the word spoken by Nathan. There he pleads with God to forgive him and to wash him clean of his sin. Usually Ps. 32 is connected with this sordid episode in David's life as well. In Ps. 32 David says that before he confessed his sin, he could hardly bear to live. He felt the hand of God pressing down upon him. When he confessed his sin and asked God to forgive him, he felt the heavy hand of God lift off of him and instead hold him.

God forgave David. Most likely Bathsheba repented as well, and was forgiven. After David repented (2 Sam. 12:13) Nathan said, "The LORD has ... taken away your sin." The LORD has forgiven you. However, you must still bear the consequences of your sin. And the consequences are that the child born out of this deed which has brought shame to the name of God shall die.

The child did die. The LORD took this covenant child to himself. However, in his grace, he gave David and Bathsheba another child, another son. A son whom they named "Solomon".

And it was this son who would be king after David. He would carry on the royal line. The family line towards the Messiah would go through Solomon. Bathsheba became the mother of the royal house of David. She became the matriarch of the Davidic dynasty of kings.

The royal house was established when, later, Solomon became king after David. But there's no getting around the fact that it was established in shame. The way David acted here stood out as a deep blemish on his career. In 1 Kings 15:5 we read the following, "... David did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, and did not turn aside from anything that he commanded him all the days of his life, except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite."

2. The royal house or dynasty of David was established in shame. But God filled it with his peace and love.

The called the boy "Solomon." From 1 Chron. 22:9 & 10 we know that, before all of this happened, God had told David that he would have a son whom he was to call Solomon and that he, the LORD, would establish his throne forever. We are not told how David knew that this was the son he was to call "Solomon", but somehow he knew.

After David had given the boy the name Solomon, God sent Nathan the prophet with a message. The baby boy was to receive another name as well - Jedidiah.

I said that the Lord filled David's house with peace and love. That is clear from these two names. For Solomon means "peace". And Jedidiah means "Beloved of the Lord." This son, Solomon Jedidiah, was a sign to David and Bathsheba of the peace and love of God. They had repented in humility for their sin. And the Lord accepted their broken hearts and their contrite souls. He forgave them. Then peace came instead of the broken relationship between God and them. God came to them with his steadfast love rather than his anger against sin.

When Solomon became king, he was not perfect. He was a sinner. For all his wisdom he did some foolish things. But he was a king of peace. As God had said to David in 1 Chron. 22:9, But you will have a son who will be a man of peace and rest, and I will give him rest from all his enemies on every side. His name will be Solomon, and I will grant Israel peace and quiet during his reign.

Solomon established firmly the kingdom David had founded. Under his reign it was a peaceful kingdom.

But David, Solomon, and every believing Israelite looked for a better king than Solomon. The prophet Isaiah prophesied about this king. He spoke of a child who would be born. A son who would be given. He would sit upon the throne of David forever and ever. And his name would be called: Prince of Peace.

Who is that Prince of Peace? He is the greatest son of Bathsheba, King Jesus Christ. He has established an eternal peaceful kingdom.

This Prince of Peace is also Jedidiah. He is the Beloved of the Lord. Twice God the Father called Jesus "Jedidiah". At the baptism of the Lord Jesus, God the Father said from heaven, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased." And again on the Mt. of Transfiguration God the Father said the same: "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased. Listen to him." Jedidiah. The Lord Jesus Christ is Solomon, the Prince of Peace. He is Jedidiah, the Beloved of the Lord.

He came in humility, even in shame, to bring peace to those who were held in the grips of shameful sin. He came to bring the love of God to those who were God's enemies.

Sometimes we wonder about how God works in history. Why did he use David and Bathsheba the way he did? Why did he use Tamar and her father-in-law Judah the way he did? Why did he use Rahab, a prostitute? Why did he use Ruth, a Moabite?

If we think again about what David and Bathsheba did, we might be inclined to think that God blesses disobedience. Does God bless disobedience? Is that the conclusion we must come to when we think about the adultery of David and Bathsheba and the murder of Uriah? No. God does not bless disobedience. He never does. However, he does bless sinners who come to him in repentance. He does restore peace with them and blesses them with his love. We can certainly learn that from the David and Bathsheba episode. God forgives all those who repent and return to him with broken hearts. He forgives adulterers and murderers. The history of David and Bathsheba and the history of how graciously God dealt with them should encourage us all to go to God in repentance knowing that he will listen eagerly and forgive us eagerly and completely.

But we can learn more as well. We can learn that God acts in a sovereign, free and often surprising way. God can take the sins of men and women and beat them into something good, if he wishes to do so. We see that many times in the genealogy of Jesus Christ. He also takes the one outstanding blemish on David's career and turns it into something good. How wonderful, gracious and mysterious are the ways of God.

Something else we learn is something we already hinted at. The genealogy of Jesus Christ teaches us that our Saviour was born in humility, even in shame. He simply did not come from a line of people with impeccable pedigree. He came from a line of sinners .... from a line of people who were just like us. Sinners. Weak. Inclined to all manner of evil.

Think of the ancestors of Christ. His family tree was nothing to brag about.

Over here on the tree were Judah and Tamar, guilty of incest.

And then over here we've got Rahab. She used to be a prostitute. She ran a little business in Jericho.

And then there is Ruth. Ruth was a Moabite, you know. She came from a people cursed by God because of what they did to Israel in the desert. First they refused to give Israel food. Then they hired Balaam to curse Israel. Finally, their daughters seduced the men of Israel and got them to bow down before Baal. And so God said that no Moabite was to enter the assembly of the LORD; even to the tenth generation none belonging to them was to enter the assembly of the LORD for ever. Yes. Ruth came from those people.

And then over here on the family tree we've got Bathsheba. Solomon was born of David and Bathsheba. But Bathsheba was the wife of Uriah the Hittite.

These were some of the human ancestors of the Lord Jesus. Then we haven't even talked about the kings who followed David, many of whom certainly did not lead exemplary lives.

From this we learn a wonderful truth. The Lord Jesus was born in the midst of human weakness and shame. He willingly took that upon himself. He willingly identified himself not with the righteous, but with sinners. With people guilty of fornication, adultery, murder and prostitution. Wasn't one of his names: The Friend of tax collectors and sinners? He did not identify with such people to excuse their sins. Rather, he came to call those sinners to repentance. He came to call us to repentance. He came to be a Solomon - a king who brings the peace of God to his people. The Beloved of God came to restore us to God so that we could be Jedidiahs - the people who are the beloved of God.

Heed the call, beloved. Heed the call of Jesus the great son of Bathsheba, the mother of kings. Heed the call to repent from your sin, no matter how great it is. Heed the call of Jesus to go to him and to enter his peaceable kingdom. Heed the call to be one of the Beloved of God.


* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. George van Popta, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.
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(c) Copyright 2002, Rev. George van Popta

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