Understanding Balaam – Numbers 22-24

In my daily reading I am currently in the book of Numbers and I just finished the chapters on Balaam and Balak in chapters 22-24. Balaam has always been a little confusing to me. On the surface, he seems to say some good things but we know from the book of Jude that he is not put forward in a good light and is even classified with Cain and Korah. I was struggling to combine this truth with the fact that he seems to only say what the LORD tells him and on a surface level he seems to do what he is supposed to. With all of this in view, I decided to bring in a helpful resource. The following quotes are all taken from the Preach the Word commentary on the book Numbers by Rev. Dr. Iain Duguid.

I am cataloguing these comments here for my own personal benefit and future reference, maybe they will be of benefit to you as well. I also encourage you to obtain this resource, it has been a great benefit to my own study of Scripture.

THE DONKEY HAD MORE INSIGHT THAN THE SEER (CH 22)

“Here is a man who is a professional seer, the kind of person who makes a living discerning messages from God in places where other people see only random tea leaves and miscellaneous flights of birds; yet he cannot see the angel of the Lord when he stands there in plain sight in front of him! His donkey can see the Lord’s messenger, but Balaam cannot. Moreover, here is a man who has been hired to travel some distance in order to harm an entire nation — Israel — with the mere power of his spoken word; yet when a simple donkey makes a fool out of him, he is reduced to beating her with a stick and uttering empty threats. He has no power to curse her by turning her into a frog or a pumpkin! The world famous super-prophet is both spiritually blind and unable to inflict harm, while a mere donkey whose mouth has been opened by the Lord is able to see the truth clearly and speak it out in a way that delivers from death (my emphasis). The scene forms a wonderfully humorous picture.”

“Ironically, at the very same time that Balaam was threatening his donkey with death if he only had a sword in his hand, his own master had been standing over him with a drawn sword. Only the donkey’s faithfulness had saved him from death (my emphasis).”

“His heart was still captive to his idolatry, and even a face-to-face encounter with the Angel of the Lord did not free him from its chains. At the end of the day his donkey saw the Lord more clearly than he did; the brute beast understood more of God than the professional theologian. (my emphasis)“

THE DANGER OF SPIRITUAL COUNTERFEITS (CH 23-24)

“That is always the way it is with spiritual counterfeits: they make grandiose claims for themselves and promise to give us substantial rewards, yet in the end they turn out to be expensive, uncertain, and ultimately impotent. There is neither blessing nor curse to be found in psychics or mediums, in astrology or horoscopes, or in any other source than the one true living God. These spiritual counterfeits have no power to affect either the present or the future.”

“In fact, the same is true of all of the many created things to which we offer allegiance as our idols. They are all ultimately equally impotent to bless or to curse. Some seek their value in money and possessions, but wealth cannot make us genuinely worthwhile as persons, and its absence cannot rob us of our dignity. Others look to power for their validation, but power cannot fulfill us, and its loss cannot make our lives meaningless. Still others invest the approval of people with ultimate significance, but gaining the love of a particular person is not where our value lies, nor will we be destroyed if they are taken from us, however painful that loss may be. None of these created things can make or break us, even though we continually act as if they can. The power that we ascribe to these idols that we have set up for ourselves is evident in the way we pour ourselves so devotedly into pursuing their demands and are so wrapped up in fears of their loss. We would willingly go to the ends of the earth to do their bidding, and we regularly sacrifice on their altars whatever they demand. They fill our dreams and our nightmares, and they shape our expenditures and our relationships. They are profoundly expensive masters, both in financial terms and in terms of the turmoil that they create in our souls. Yet in the end, like all idols, they are impotent to deliver what they promise or threaten. (my emphasis) UNLIKE OUR GOD!

“In dramatic contrast to the expensive, uncertain, and ultimately impotent search for blessing and curse through spiritual counterfeits and the idols of our hearts, there is the free, certain, and effective way to blessing through Israel’s God. Israel did not have to pay Balaam or offer special sacrifices to receive a word of blessing from the Lord through him. On the contrary, the Lord had already freely committed himself in advance to bless Abraham and his descendants (Genesis 12:2, 3). The Lord had already told the Aaronic priests to pronounce his blessing regularly on the people, without any fee changing hands (my emphasis) (Numbers 6:24-27). Balaam’s words of blessing were simply a reflection of the Lord’s settled attitude toward his people. As Balaam himself put it, “God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it? Behold, I received a command to bless: he has blessed, and I cannot revoke it” (23:19, 20). Human beings are fickle and changeable creatures, but when the Lord declared a people blessed, they were indeed blessed.”(my emphasis)

“These oracles of Balaam, which declare not merely positive present realities but a glorious future yet to come, are most certainly true because the Lord’s sovereign power extends beyond the present into the future. What man cannot predict — what the future holds — the Lord is able to declare, because he himself holds the future in his hands (my emphasis)Even sickness, disease, and the schemes of evil men are not exempt from his sovereign will to bless his people. For that reason, when Jesus and his disciples encountered a man who had been born blind, Jesus explained that this personal tragedy had happened precisely so that the work of God might be displayed in his life (John 9:3). That man’s disability was not an accident of fate: it was part of God’s plan to display his glory. In fact, even the most wicked act of history, the crucifixion of Jesus, was the result of God’s set purpose and foreknowledge (Acts 2:23). God’s sovereignty does not free human beings from their responsibility for their acts, but it does assure us of the certainty that his purposes of blessing and curse will assuredly come about. Who but the Lord has the power to foretell what the distant future holds? Who but the Lord holds that future in his hands?” (my emphasis)

CONCLUSION

“When you even out the merely temporary fluctuations in the fortunes of people and nations, there are ultimately only two fates offered in this world. There is the Lord’s blessing leading to a flourishing life and an enviable death or the Lord’s curse leading to defeat and ultimate destruction.”

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Bible Review – Crossway ESV Study Bible in Black Calfskin

THE BENEFITS OF USING A STUDY BIBLE

In my opinion (take that for whatever you think it’s worth!), a few good Study Bibles are an essential part of anyone’s personal theological library. A good Study Bible is a great resource because it is concise yet somewhat comprehensive, meaning it can give you a good general answer to many of the Bibles most important questions in a very short answer. Any good Study Bible that is worth its salt will also point you in the right direction so that you may study a topic more in depth on your own.

When you think about it, a study Bible has very limited space and they must utilize that space in the best possible way. The editors may only put what is absolutely necessary, what is most important, what is most helpful on the lower part of the page. Because this is the case, you will usually get a very concise, well thought out and to the point answer to a potential question that the text raises. It can also help you see questions that you didn’t know you should be asking! This is often how study Bibles can best be used, as a reference book.

HOW I USE A STUDY BIBLE

For many years I used a Study Bible for everything. I used the same Bible for all of life. This has numerous benefits. But I realized I would often consult the notes before I would even read the Biblical text. I would often lean too heavily on the notes. It allowed me to skip the steps of thinking and meditating on a text and asking God to reveal His word to me. To be clear, this was not the fault of the Study Bible but of the user, namely me!

Now for my daily reading and study I use a Bible that has no study notes. But as I am reading through the Bible and stumble upon something I will often stop and try and think about it myself and then I will utilize a few Study Bibles to help me quickly understand something and make sure I’m thinking in the right direction. For instance, in my daily reading right now I am in the book of Numbers. Occasionally it is very helpful to read some Study Bibles on texts that I am confused by or don’t really understand what is going on. These notes can often help me clarify what I am reading and help keep me engaged.

With the advent of smartphones and tablets we are so blessed to have a variety of apps that can help us study the Bible. Many Study Bibles are now accessible through certain apps, in particular the Bible we will be looking at today. The ESV Study Bible gives you an online access code which also connect with their amazing Bible app. Many years ago when the Study Bible first came out I bought a hard cover just so I could have the online access to the notes. We will highlight more of these features as we move forward. Let’s begin!

THE ESV STUDY BIBLE

 

This is a beautiful Study Bible, let’s just get that out there from the beginning. It is also a large Bible! The ESV Study Bible is packed full of theological essays and papers, it truly is a great resource. As you can see the cover is a beautiful black calfskin leather and it has raised ribs which look great.

 

Here are some more pictures of the outside and inside cover. This is a very thick calfskin, probably the thickest I have ever held before. The outside is somewhat smooth yet still has texture while the inside is a classic pebble grain calfskin. If I had my way the pebble grain would be on the outside because I find it to be so beautiful and soft but this is still a very good combo.

 

Here are some shots of the text itself and some of the notes sections. This is a single column paragraph format, that means that the text is formatted into paragraphs and units instead of broken out by verses. As I have said before, I personally prefer verse divisions over paragraph divisions but this is becoming very popular and they have done a good job with it here. Also, as you can see there are great color illustrations in the notes sections. Please click the pictures to get a better view. All of these illustrations and maps are also able to be accessed online and through the app as well!

 

Here are some examples of the Book Introductions and the Essays contained in the back. This Study Bible is geared to be used by Christians with many different view points so the notes and supplemental material will often present a few different views on certain issues where there may be disagreement inside of Biblical Christianity.

 

I also want to highlight the benefit of using all of this content with the online access code which also comes with this Bible. As you can see in the first photo, you are able to view the text on top with the notes on the bottom, the notes scroll as you scroll through the text. Embedded in the app they also have a great audio Bible. The app also allows you to view cross-references and click on them and quickly return to the previous text. You are also able to take notes and save them, you can bookmark or favorite or share the text of Scripture and it you also are able to share the text of the notes which is a huge blessing! Finally you are able to search all of the material from the Study Bible including introductions,  illustrations, maps, grids etc. This app is very well done and a great resource, in my opinion it is worth it to buy the Bible just to have access to this material.

CONCLUSION

I believe Study Bibles are an important tool Christians can use to better understand Scripture and I personally use the ESV Study Bible in my daily life of reading and studying Scripture. That doesn’t mean I always agree with the notes but it does mean that they provoke me to think deeper about the things of the Lord and I am eternally grateful for that.

With all of that said, this ESV Study Bible in black calfskin is gorgeous. It is beautiful to look at, it smells good, and it contains great helps in it which are able to help you grow in your knowledge and understanding of the word of God, I highly recommend this resource to you!

James 1:22–25

“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.” (ESV)

Bible Review – Crossway ESV Heirloom Wide Margin Reference Bible in Deep Brown Goatskin

You may look at the title of this post and see a word that you may not use in everyday conversation. In fact, you may not even really have a category or frame of reference for this word. What word am I talking about? It’s the word “Heirloom”.

Heirloom is a term that oozes with meaning. It’s a word that connotes value and tradition. An heirloom is typically something that has extreme value (sentimental or economic) and is passed down from one generation to another.

In the early years of the English Standard Version (early 2000’s) Crossway latched on to this term and began to produce a few Bibles of such a quality that it could be called an Heirloom, a Bible built to be used and passed down from one generation to another. Unfortunately, the market was not ready for the idea. At that time, almost all Bibles were relatively inexpensive, made of cheap materials, and would easily fall apart after any consistent use. Premium Bibles with smyth sewn bindings and luxurious covers had not yet come into vogue. With that said, in it’s time the Crossway Heirloom Bible was not a big commercial success and went into hiding for a few years.

Fast forward ten to fifteen years and the Bible market is a completely different animal. There is now an extremely high demand for premium Bibles with luxurious covers. Now every Crossway ESV Bible you buy is smyth sewn and built to last.

With this new market makeup, the Crossway ESV Heirloom series returned. There are now multiple Bibles which are heirloom “grade”. You are now able to get amazing Bibles with great covers and in various sizes and in different text blocks. Some are thin and portable and some are built for marking up and deep life long study and note-taking.

This brings us to today’s post. In this post I have the privilege of reviewing one of these beautiful high end Heirloom Bibles. Here is a great video which shows where these Bibles are made and all of the skill and effort that goes into making one of these editions.

With that, let me show you what this Bible looks like and highlight some of its great features. (you can click on any photo to see it enlarged)

I love the attention to detail on this Bible. From the raised bands on the spine to the beautiful stitching around the perimeter. Personally this Bible is very attractive and eye catching. They have even done a great job with the box. The box is black and wrapped very nice. Everything about this Bible breathes luxury and it delivers on its promise of being a Heirloom.

Here are some shots around the perimeter of this Bible. I really like how they gave it a slight yapp (overhang). It gives it a very classy look. It’s really difficult to capture the color on the outside, it is a beautiful deep brown, but the inside liner is more of a milk chocolate. It is a nice surprise to open and see it and again gives this Bible a very elegant look to it.

Now the most important part, the actual text block. Here are many pictures from a bunch of different texts and a bunch of different angles. The text is similar to what you would find in a thin line and it reads very nice. The print appears larger than other wide margins I have used in the past (i.e. Cambridge Wide Margin click here to see that review). They have also line-matched the text so there is less bleed through. Line matching is where they line the text up on both side of the page so that it eliminates the distraction of seeing the word on the back side of the page in the white space of the page you are reading.

Here are some of the more technical details. The text has a solid inch around it for notes and or sermon outlines or whatever you like. It is the 2011 edition and not the newest 2016 text, but it is printed by Jongbloed in the Netherlands. Also, there is something that needs to be pointed out here in this last picture. These Bibles have what is called a “hinge”. This is where they connect the cover to the text block. Sometimes this hinge is less noticeable and sometimes it is more noticeable. In this edition it is more pronounced in the front than it is in the back. This is not a defect at all but it part of how these particular Bibles are made. With that being said, this Bible is still very flexible and will age very nicely.

This is a very classy Bible and is a great option for anyone who would like to have a little extra room to jot occasional notes or even extensive notes from a lifetime of study and listening to the preaching of the Word. The great thing about this Bible is that it lives up to its name, it is a true Heirloom, it is a Bible you can use for many years and it is a Bible that can be handed down to the next generation as well.

Grace and Peace,

Bible Review “Crossway ESV Large Print Bible in Black Top Grain Leather”

It’s been a while since I have done a Bible review but thanks to my friends at Crossway, I am able to do a review of one of their new updates on an old standby.

In the early 2000’s Crossway introduced many of us to luxurious black and cordovan calfskin leather. They would use these beautiful leathers for many of their most popular editions. One that became popular among many preachers was the ESV large print edition. This edition was perfect for the pulpit because it had nice big print in an easy to read font which made preaching from it a joy.

Not only was the inside visually appealing but they went above and beyond and also offered it in their thick black full grained calfskin which was hand-bound by Abba Bibles in Mexico. These are still some of the most highly sought after Bibles in the Bible collecting world today.

Sadly, the ESV large print in black calfskin faded off the scene. Yes, the large print edition was still printed but it was wrapped in covers that did not match the glory of the text block. A few years back though, Crossway began releasing editions in “Top-Grain” leather. It was not as beautiful or luxurious as the Abba calfskin of old, but it was nice to the touch and handsome to look at. I began hoping that Crossway would use this leather on more of their editions, and that wish has come true.

Recently Crossway released their large print in black top grain leather and that brings us to our business for today. Today I want to highlight this Bible for you and show you some of my favorite features of this Bible and give you a sneak peek at it in case you are interested in buying one for yourself.

Here is a quick look at the box and the pledge from Crossway that this is a quality product which they back up with a guarantee. In case you are not aware, Crossway has a wonderful guarantee policy and should you receive a damaged Bible or defective Bible you should give them a call or send them an email. I have had to do this before and they have been very gracious and kind. So this is a genuine pledge of quality.

Here are pictures from all sides (quick note: you should be able to click on any of these pictures to see them even larger). I really like the Crossway is bringing back the ribs on the spine, it really adds a lot of character in my opinion. They have also begun to remove “ESV” from the spine which I also like. Previous editions would have some form of ESV on the spine three times! It always felt like a little bit of overkill to me. The spine on this Bible looks very clean and attractive to my eye.

Here are some shots to show off the flexibility of this cover. I always like to open a Bible to Genesis 1 and Revelation 22 to see how flexible it is. Well, as you can see, this Bible has no problems at all. This text block is smyth-sewn and it easily lies flat at both positions and I have only minimally handled this Bible. If I could point out one thing I would change it would be this, and this is where I long for the calfskin of old, the cover is a little thinner than I like. If I could make one improvement to the cover it would be its thickness. But that may just be a preference of mine. Personally I like calfskin that is a little on the thicker and heavier side. Make no mistake, this cover is still very soft and beautiful, it’s simply something I wanted to point out.

Here are some pictures of the actual text from many different angels. This text layout is beautiful. I have had many people see it and do a double take. I am often asked what Bible I was using because the text size and font tend to be so attractive. What is also nice about this Bible is that has large breathable font (11pt.) but it is not a huge bulky Bible. This Bible is extremely portable. I would almost call it a large print thinline, though there is already another Bible with that name. My point is this, this Bible is so handy that you could take it with you anywhere and yet when you open it and look inside you are almost surprised at how readable and beautiful the print is. It’s a great balance between portability and large readable print.

I highly recommend this edition to you and I would also encourage you to go to your local bookstore and get your hands on one. You could also go online and here are two of my favorite places to shop for books online:

http://www.wtsbooks.com/bibles

http://evangelicalbible.com/shop/

Grace to you and Peace,

“When Worship Lyrics Miss the Mark” – John Piper (Ask Pastor John)

worshippageYesterday I heard this great “Ask Pastor John” episode from Desiring God. This content is worth your time and is very helpful. Everyone who leads others in worship through singing should listen and apply these principles. Here is the link “When Worship Lyrics Miss the Mark”

A few key excerpts:

“given the hundreds and hundreds of worthy, substantial, rich, deep, old hymns that speak nourishing doctrinal truth, and given the many, many, many new songs of the last thirty years that are solid and Christ exalting and gospel rich and God centered, there is no reason for any church to sing songs that are misleading or even questionable.”

“Here’s another popular lyric that we sang it in Asia recently. I wish they weren’t singing this. It’s very popular: “Like a rose, trampled on the ground. You took the fall and thought of me above all.” That’s not true. That’s not true. It’s not helpful. I’m not frankly even sure what it means. Above all what? Above all other people whom he saved? No, it can’t be that. Above all his own glory? No, not his own glory. Above all what? That was a beautiful song before it got to that line. He saved us precisely so that we could see and savor his glory as the supreme treasure of the universe above all. I’m not sure what the lyrics are trying to communicate, but it doesn’t communicate that to most people.”

Grace and peace…

2 Samuel 24 “David Counts the People”

At the end of his life David falls again. As I catch myself thinking “what a stupid move there David” I was immediately convicted. I am just like David. I sin in similar ways (if not worse) over and over and just like David, I find myself confessing and repenting of sins and begging God for mercy.

Thankfully, the Bible doesn’t only show us the sin of David it also tells us about his repentance. It’s good to remember that David didn’t sin and then never deal with it. When David sinned, he also repented (though sometimes not as quickly as he should), and he often repented in big public ways.

Here in 2 Samuel, David numbers the people. Joab tells him it’s a bad move but David moves forward. Something for me to learn there. When others who are around me throw up red flags of caution, I should listen. If David would have stopped and considered the advice of those around him throughout his life he could have avoided so many problems.

Israel had 800,000 valiant men who drew the sword and Judah had 500,000. Together that’s 1.3 million. I wondered how that compares with our military here in the USA and per Wikipedia that’s about the size of our military without the reserves. That’s a big army for them!

What’s the takeaway?

The military was huge! Compare the country size of the USA with Israel. The USA is much larger and yet Israel had roughly the same size military. For that country it would have probably been an obvious fact that their military was very large. Plus, they had won many wars. Plus, they had a warrior as their king. Plus, all those who were David’s closest friends were his “Mighty Men” (i.e. military). It would have been obvious that the military was healthy and the country was blessed by God and it was doing well. Yet, David wanted to number them. David wanted the stats. David wanted the details. This only happens when you desire to boast about something. You never want the details of an event that was embarrassing, but if someone mentions that someone else said something positive about us we cry out “tell me more!” It was a total pride issue. Maybe even along the lines of Nebuchadnezzar “Is this not Babylon the great which I have built” (Daniel 4:30).

Application: I need to be on guard of the same pride when God works in my life or uses me in someone else’s. It is only by His grace and it needs to be for His glory alone, not my own.

The Doctrine of Concurrence
There is also one more important illustration from this chapter and it is the doctrine of Concurrence. Here is a helpful definition of concurrence:

“The doctrine of concurrence affirms that God directs, and works through, the distinctive properties of each created thing, so that these things themselves bring about the results that we see. In this way it is possible to affirm that in one sense events are fully (100 percent) caused by God and fully (100 percent) caused by the creature as well. However, divine and creaturely causes work in different ways. The divine cause of each event works as an invisible, behind-the-scenes, directing cause and therefore could be called the “primary cause” that plans and initiates everything that happens. But the created thing brings about actions in ways consistent with the creature’s own properties [which God unchangeably gave and sustains], ways that can often be described by us or by professional scientists who carefully observe the processes. These creaturely factors and properties can therefore be called the “secondary” causes of everything that happens, even though they are the causes that are evident to us by observation.” (Reference:  Bible Doctrine: Essential Teachings of the Christian Faith, Zondervan, http://www.zonderan.com, 1999, p. 145.)

You can also listen to this message on Concurrence by RC Sproul, click here.

Why is 2 Samuel 24 such a good illustration of this doctrine? Because multiple persons are said to be involved with the act of numbering the people. Here take a look:

God is said to be involved

Now again the anger of the Lord burned against Israel, and it incited David against them to say, “Go, number Israel and Judah.” (2 Samuel 24:1)

Satan is said to be involved

“Then Satan stood up against Israel and moved David to number Israel.” (1 Chronicles 21:)

David is shown to  be responsible

“Nevertheless, the king’s word prevailed against Joab and against the commanders of the army” (2 Samuel 24:4)

“Now David’s heart troubled him after he had numbered the people. So David said to the Lord, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done. But now, O Lord, please take away the iniquity of Your servant, for I have acted very foolishly.”” (2 Samuel 24:10)

“Then David spoke to the Lord when he saw the angel who was striking down the people, and said, “Behold, it is I who have sinned, and it is I who have done wrong; but these sheep, what have they done? Please let Your hand be against me and against my father’s house.”” (2 Samuel 24:17)

So who was is that moved David to number the people? Was is God? Was is Satan? Or was it David? The answer is YES! All three are involved. God had a sovereign plan for David’s good and God’s glory (Rom 8:28, Gen 50:20). Satan wanted to tempt David to sin (Job 1, Matthew 4). David is responsible and decided to sin on his own (Gal 6:4-5, Rom 14:10-12, James 1:12-16).

For more on this issue please see my post on trials and temptations.

Grace to you and peace…

Is This Not Bathsheba?

This is a good reminder that not only does sin blind and cause us to do insanely stupid things but it also causes those we sin against to do things that are foolish and insane. Sin is deceptive. Sin is deadly.

Sin never affects only us. Whether done in private or in public, sin always spills over and stains the lives of those around us.

When David sinned with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11) it began with a look, a quick glance. The glance turned into a lustful stare and the stare led to a summons and the next thing you know Bathsheba is pregnant and Uriah, one of Davids Mighty Men, is being murdered.

This sinful chain of events didn’t just affect Bathsheba and Uriah and David. Yes those were three key players but there was a whole slew of people affected. Those who warned David, those who went and called Bathsheba to come to the Palace, those who helped David try to goad Uriah into going home and sleeping with his wife to cover up David’s sin, Joab who had to enforce David’s death wish on Uriah, and the list goes on. Sin is deceptive, it downplays how bad your sin really is.

In this post we are going to examine how David’s sin affected those related to Bathsheba. You see, Bathsheba was part of a very connected family, a family that was deeply involved in David’s government and military. So when David asks who she is, those around him simply drop the names of her family members in hopes that once he hears who she is related to, he will stop his pursuit. Let’s take a look.

“Is this not Bathsheba the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah?” (2 Samuel 11:3)

1) We find out that Bathsheba is the daughter of Eliam. Later in 2 Samuel we find out that Bathsheba’s dad, Eliam, was one of Davids Mighty Men. (2 Samuel 23:34) So Bathsheba’s dad is one of David’s most faithful and trusted men. A warrior. A man who fought for and with David. A man who probably hid and protected David when Saul was pursuing him. At this point, David should have taken a moment to stop and set his mind on things that are true and pure, to put off his lustful thoughts and put on thoughts of purity and righteousness. Red flags should be waving and sirens should be going off alerting him to the danger he is inviting, but they don’t.

We need to learn from David here. Do not be like David in this situation. When others are warning you and your conscience is screaming at you to stop you need to stop. Don’t let sin cloud your thinking. Mortify your sin. Kill your sin before it kills you.

2) According to 2 Samuel 23:34 the father of Eliam is Ahithophel. This makes Ahithophel Bathsheba’s grandfather. Again, red flags, sirens and blinking lights should be going off at this point! Ahithophel was one of Davids closest counselors. It is said of Ahithophel that his counsel was so good it was “as if one inquired of the word of God” (2 Samuel 16:23)

But after the defiling of his granddaughter (Bathsheba) and the murder of his grandson-in law (Uriah), he turns against David and helps support Absalom’s revolt and seeks vengeance against David until the day he dies.

In 2 Samuel‬ ‭16:21‬ ‭Ahithophel seemingly tries to get specific shaming revenge on David and says to Absalom, “Go in to your father’s concubines, whom he has left to keep the house; then all Israel will hear that you have made yourself odious to your father. The hands of all who are with you will also be strengthened.” No doubt Ahithophel is trying to pay David back for what he did to his granddaughter. This also happens to fulfill what God told David would be a consequence for his sin (Samuel 12:9-12)

Ahithophel never gets his revenge and ends up becoming so depressed that he commits suicide. A sad end. David is not first hand responsible for this but he certainly played a part. This is a good reminder that not only does sin blind and cause us to do insanely stupid things but it also causes those we sin against to do things that are foolish and insane. Sin is bitter. Sin is deceptive. Sin is deadly.

3) Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband, was also one of Davids Mighty Men (2 Samuel 23:39). As we saw with Bathsheba’s father Eliam, Uriah was a faithful active duty soldier for David. In fact, while David was lounging around the palace, Uriah was out doing battle for David. And yet David was so blinded by his sin that he takes Uriah’s wife and sleeps with her and ends up killing this faithful and loyal friend. Sin clouds our thinking. Sin is a liar. Sin is a deceiver.

So when they tell David “Is this not Bathsheba the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah?” they are really saying “Isn’t that Bathsheba the granddaughter of Ahithophel your great counselor? And isn’t that Bathsheba the daughter of Eliam one of your Mighty Men who has faithfully stood by you through all these years? And isn’t that Bathsheba the wife of Uriah who is also one of your Mighty Men and who is out fighting in one of your battles this very day?”

It’s startling how blind and stupid lust made David, he was able to ignore all that he knew and all the people who would be hurt who had been so loyal. Sin is so deceptive.

The same thing happens to you and I. Be on guard. Hate sin. Kill sin. As John Owen says “Be killing sin or sin will be killing you.”