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The Nameless Mention

Matthew’s gospel opens with a long list of names all leading us to Christ’s birth, “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” These are the first words of the New Testament, and they introduce the list of names which concludes with “. . . and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.” (Matthew 1:1, 16).

Within the forty-two generations listed, we find four women named but there are actually five women included in this significant roll call of the Messianic family.

One woman is left unnamed, yet mentioned. 

Fourteen generations into the list we see this woman’s nameless mention:

[box]“And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah . . .”[/box]

Only mentioned through her husband’s name, Bathsheba was stolen from her husband’s bed, and would carry David’s seed in her womb. The Royal Messianic line would flow through her. In an amazing act of mysterious sovereign grace, God would bring redemption from this sinful union. It is a wonder and a mystery that is hard to comprehend.

The God who is holy, who cannot abide in sin’s presence, who sent His Son as the sin sacrifice—willingly redeems sinful men and women and includes us in His family. 

That is amazing grace.

Uriah (the Hittite) served David for several years as one of his 37 mighty men. Uriah fought for, and with David, and served as a protection for him in the years before he came to the throne. When David was running from Saul, Uriah had David’s back. When David took Bathsheba to bed, Uriah was faithfully serving his king in battle. Even when given the opportunity, Uriah didn’t take advantage of a brief leave of duty to sleep with his wife, so Uriah’s integrity became his death warrant.

David ordered faithful Uriah’s murder so that he could hide his adultery and take Uriah’s wife for himself.  

I’ve often wondered about Bathsheba.

Her life was upended and torn apart by one man’s selfishness. She was in a vulnerable position as a woman, summoned by the powerful King of Israel, she had little recourse as his subject. Some have tried to place blame on Bathsheba, but I don’t. When the sinful union is described in Scripture, the adultery is always referred to as “David’s sin” or attributed in some way to him alone such as: “the thing that David had done displeased the Lord” (2 Samuel 11:27)

I’ve wondered whether David would’ve married Bathsheba if she hadn’t been carrying his child, or if Uriah would’ve slept with her when David called him in from battle. I imagine she wondered the same thing. I wonder if she battled with insecurities and shame because of David’s sinful choices. I’ve wondered how she grappled with so much significant loss in her life.

Bathsheba’s child died because of David’s sin:

[box]“Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the Lord, the child who is born to you shall die.” (2 Samuel 12:14)[/box]

Bathsheba first walked through the grief and shame of adultery, then the loss of her husband, Uriah, followed by the death of her son. Scripture continues to call her the “wife of Uriah” long after his death. I wonder if others called her that as well. I wonder what whispering and shame she endured because of David’s sin.

Bathsheba’s life was probably not what she would’ve scripted. And yet, she is included in the most significant lineage in mankind’s history.

God redeemed Bathsheba’s tragic story.  

God demonstrated grace toward David and Bathsheba by giving them another son, Solomon, and at his birth, God expressed His love for this child:

[box]Then David comforted his wife, Bathsheba, and went in to her and lay with her, and she bore a son, and he called his name Solomon. And the Lord loved him and sent a message by Nathan the prophet. So he called his name Jedidiah, because of the Lord. (2 Samuel 12:24–25)[/box]

Jedidiah means: beloved of the Lord. This little one was beloved of the Lord. Bathsheba had her own pet name for him, “Lemuel” which means: “Dedicated to God.”

David gave his son the name “Solomon” derived from the Hebrew word for peace. Was David hoping for Solomon to be the peace offering in their marriage? Perhaps his peace offering to God?

And what of Bathsheba?

Did she reach the shelter of peace?

I believe we find the answer in her counsel to her son as she prepared him to reign as King over Israel.

Scholars differ on what mother is speaking in the final chapter of Solomon’s book of Proverbs. But for the greater part of history, it has been understood that Solomon is recording for us the most important lessons he received from his beloved mother, Bathsheba. If this indeed is another “nameless mention” of her, we get an encouraging glimpse of “the rest of the story.”

Although her youth was marked by tragedy, losses, and grief, Bathsheba reached that shelter of peace that is only found in acceptance. She realized that God is a redeeming God, and because of that, we can step into the future with confidence in the story He is writing.

Bathsheba’s message to her son is still instructive to me today: 

[box]“Strength and dignity are her clothing, And she smiles at the future.” (Proverbs 31: 25)[/box]

Bathsheba had settled the deepest issues of life. Surely she grappled with questions of God’s sovereignty, with confusion over His goodness and His plans for her. But at some point, she must’ve reached that meeting place with Him where she saw God’s glory, where she understood that God is God and all He does is right. The beginning place of that realization is standing in awe of who He is.

The “nameless” Bathsheba sums it up well:

[box]“Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” (Proverbs 31:30).[/box]

She passed that lesson on to her son, where he recorded these words:

[box]“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10)[/box]

We’ve seen throughout this Advent series that God wasn’t predictable with who He chose to place in His family tree. But He is predictable in how He works: His character is faithfulness and His activity is redemption.

God remembered Bathsheba in her brokenness and painful condition and gave her the son who was “beloved of God.” He brought Bathsheba close into His royal family and she became a noble mother in the line of the coming King.

As I said earlier in this series, you may feel your past defines you. Maybe your family tree is a bit messy or your past life something you’re ashamed of. God desires to meet you where you are and do a beautiful work that points others to His amazing character.

The God of redemption is a God who delights in stepping into our messy lives and cruel disappointments, to bring about the most unexpected and glorious transformation! And that is at the heart of the Advent season.

The Coming One came because of our mess, and oh, what a glorious transformation He brought! 

Have you put on strength and dignity?

Are you smiling at the future because you’re in holy awe of the One you can trust with your life story? 

Have you reached that shelter of peace?

Image courtesy of graur razvan ionut/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

6 Comments

  • Robbin Dunkum

    Beautiful message❤️ touched me deeply. Thank you Kim for sharing. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello, Robbin ~

    Good to hear from you! I’ve missed you this semester 🙂 Thankful God spoke to you this morning. May you and your family enjoy a most blessed Christmas season, dear friend.

  • Lizzy Cook

    Beautifully written, I so love that while I was reading this, I almost couldn’t wait to get to my Bible and read Bathsheba’s story again with fresh eyes and a tender heart. Thank you for sharing this treasure today!

  • Julie Musil

    I’m learning that God can indeed take the messy and make it better than expected. I’m learning that His plan is the best plan. I’m also learning trust and patience with His process. It’s such a journey.