Grace Bible Church
Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries
The TREE OF LIFE is a weekly teaching summary.
The Tree of Life for week ending 08/19/01.
The Peace of God Which Surpasses all comprehension shall guard your hearts. PHI 4:7
The searing of the conscience. Part 2.
We have been noting the importance of the peace of God which surpasses all comprehension guarding our conscience (the place for the norms and standards that are developed from Bible doctrine).
This is a very important topic because the searing of the conscience is the goal of demonic warfare, 1TI 4:1-2.
We have been noting a passage that focuses on what can happen to believers if they become familiar with the calling of God.
David has been our illustration.
2SA 11:1-6 "Then it happened in the spring, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him and all Israel, and they destroyed the sons of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David stayed at Jerusalem. Now when evening came David arose from his bed and walked around on the roof of the king's house, and from the roof he saw a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful in appearance. So David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite? And David sent messengers and took her, and when she came to him, he lay with her; and when she had purified herself from her uncleanness, she returned to her house. And the woman conceived; and she sent and told David, and said, I am pregnant. Then David sent to Joab, saying, Send me Uriah the Hittite. So Joab sent Uriah to David."
When a person's conscience has been defiled and seared, it is revealed by caring only for self, this is why David sent for Uriah. This was the beginning of David's greatest failure because David's conscience has been so defiled and seared that he is now misusing and abusing his authority. This is not to condone that what David did sexually with Bathsheba, that was sinful, what he does now is evil, he abuses and misuses his authority. That's the danger of developing a conscience that has been defiled and seared, the residency of evil thinking, turning on those who have been loyal.
For example, Satan was the Messiah's personal angel, the one assigned to protect His throne. The Lord Jesus Christ had been loyal to him and had assigned to him a position of prestige but Satan's heart and conscience became defiled and seared, EZE 28:12-17.
Joseph's brothers sold Joseph into slavery, they took advantage of Joseph because their conscience became defiled and seared.
Korah, the cousin of Moses, betrayed Moses, because his conscience had become defiled and seared, and Moses had been a faithful leader to him.
Absalom did it to his own father, David.
And of course, Judas turned on the Lord Jesus Christ. So Uriah is in good company.
We have noted that the first wrong decision David made was to stay home when God had called him somewhere else, and in doing so, he rejected his responsibility as the leader of the Israeli army as well as being in the wrong geographical location, he rejected God's calling upon his life. David also has become bored and familiar with God's calling. David has become soft, he had some very difficult days when he was fleeing from Saul. A lot of hot days and cold nights, times when his food was either limited or lousy, or both. However, David has now moved up in the world, his accommodations are better. He no longer lives in a tent but in a palace.
The prosperity and the blessings are now beginning to influence his dedication and devotion to God, DEU 8:6-18warns us all of this.
David is starting to become like Saul, in that he is willing to let others go out and fight his battles for him, remember Saul let David fight Goliath, 1SA 17:37.
Many believers are willing to let others go out and fight the battles rather than become part of the team that God has placed them on. They too sit back and let others use their time, talent, treasure, and spiritual gift, their conscience is becoming hardened to the things of God.
In 2SA 11:7 we see the hypocrisy of a conscience that has been defiled and seared, "When Uriah came to him, David asked concerning the welfare of Joab and the people and the state of the war."
David has no interest in Joab, the troops or the campaign. David's only interest is in covering his sin of copulation with Bathsheba and her pregnancy. David is deceiving and misleading Uriah, a man of integrity and loyalty. Uriah's intelligence report from the standpoint of combat was the last thing that David had on his mind. This now sets the stage for conspiracy.
The first step was accomplished; Uriah made his report. Undoubtedly Uriah was enthusiastic about his report, but David could care less. David was one of the greatest military leaders that ever lived, and ordinarily he would been stimulated by the whole thing. David is the commander and chief of the greatest military in the world at this time, but he has no capacity for life, and he could care less about the battle or the war. He doesn't care about what verse 7 calls, the state of the war. He has lost his interest!
Evil is much more devastating to the soul than sin.
Uriah is an extremely happy man, he has been a successful soldier. Throughout this entire passage, 2Sa 11, right up to his murder, this is one happy man! Even though he was murdered, he still died under the perfect timing of God,JOB 5:26, PSA 68:20.
The man who survived here, David, who is going to have ten years of paying off in four installments some of the worst discipline that ever came to a man.
He'll see one of his new born children die. Then one of his sons will rape and force himself upon one of his daughters, perhaps payment for what he did to Bathsheba. One of his sons will murder his brother, another son, perhaps the payment for murdering Uriah. Finally the Absalom revolution or conspiracy, perhaps the payment for conspiring against Uriah.
Why was the judgment of David so critical? Because a conscience that has been defiled and seared is a destroyer a life. Arrogance isn't just a sin, arrogance is a system. You see, Satan's original sin was arrogance, man's original sin was disobedience to authority which is arrogance. So, arrogance isn't just a sin, it is an evil system of thinking developed by Satan.
Now David recovered and the Lord turned his curse into a blessing, however, most of God's people never recover! They just live their life completely forgetting and ignoring their responsibility to glorify God, because they neglected their relationship with God while on this earth. We cannot change the past but we can sure change the present and the future.
Watch out for individuals who have a conscience that has been defiled and seared, they love to praise others excessively for self-interests or self-promotion, and many times they are very smooth.
Back in 2SA 11:8 "Then David said to Uriah, Go down to your house and wash your feet. And Uriah went out of the king's house, and a present from the king was sent out after him."
This is an order from his commanding officer, the king. The reason for the commands here is that the Jewish officer code demanded that Jewish officers refrain from copulation during a campaign. David is ordering him to to go home, copulate and to violate the honor code. However, here is a man who is going to obey the officer's honor code, and as a result, the conspiracy of David will be frustrated.
Notice, there is also a present sent to Uriah. The word present is the Hebrew noun "maseth" which means a present, a tribute, a gift, or a reward. David sent the best possible food from the Royal Palace and the best wine from his wine cellar to the officers quarters where Bathsheba was, but Uriah stayed in the castle. This royal banquet was designed to encourage their intimacy and their inevitable copulation, and to cover David's sin of adultery.
The failure of the conspiracy and David's reaction is recorded in 2SA 11:9-10 "But Uriah slept at the door or the gate house of the king's house with all the servants of his lord, and did not go down to his house. Now when they told David, saying, Uriah did not go down to his house, David said to Uriah, Have you not come from a journey? Why did you not go down to your house?"
David has ordered Uriah to violate the very honor code which he originated for the officers of the Jewish army and he has his intelligence people follow Uriah to make sure he follows these orders. In verse 10 we actually have a reprimand for not obeying the orders of the king. David is trying desperately to cover up his own sinfulness and evil brought about by his own seared conscience.
David is now totally miserable because of his sexual arrogance and now his conspiratorial arrogance which is being frustrated and that makes David even more miserable. As a mature believer he now has total vulnerability to things he would never consider doing before. David was never a murderer, he spared the life of king Saul many times when he had the opportunity to kill him. But because his conscience has been defiled and seared, David is a changed man, he has lost the integrity that once made him a great man.
In verse 11, Uriah as a Gentile, is going to remind David, the king of the Jews, of Jewish doctrine and the Israeli policy concerning the officer's code.
2SA 11:11 "And Uriah said to David, The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in temporary shelters, and my lord Joab and the servants the general staff of my lord are camping in the open field. shall I then go to my house to eat and to drink and to have sex with my wife? By your life and the life of your soul, I will not do this thing."
The ark represented the principle that Jesus Christ controls history. The army never marched without the ark, because the army recognized that without The Lord Jesus Christ, they were as hopeless and helpless as they were as individuals without the salvation that Christ has provided.
In verse 11, Uriah knows what David was trying to convince him to do. However, notice what Uriah says at the end of verse 11, because he makes a very interesting statement "By your life and the life of your soul, I will not do this thing."
Uriah was not only a great soldier but he maintained his integrity and remained professional even when the king tried to make him reject the officer's code. We all have to learn to maintain our integrity and remain with the Pre-Designed Plan of God when Satan as the ruler of this world brings people in our path to try to make us reject the spiritual officer's code, Royal Family Honor Code.
Uriah's strict adherence to the officer's code is a rebuke to David who has violated the officer's code with Uriah's wife Bathsheba. The conscience that has been defiled and seared produces degeneracy of the soul so that David is indifferent to the very military honor code which he himself originated for his officers.
The phrase "by your life and the life of your soul" has the Hebrew word for life repeated twice, the noun "chay" recognizes the importance of the relationship between one's lifestyle and one's system of thinking.
This is a Hebrew idiom meaning that there is a relationship between your lifestyle an how you think. David's conscience has become defiled and seared, his thinking had influenced his lifestyle to the extent that he is now violating the Mosaic law and the military honor code.
2SA 11:12 "Then David said to Uriah, Stay here today also, and tomorrow I will let you go. So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day and the next."
The first conspiracy doesn't work, so David now enters into another and develops another evil plan. He has another plan to try and finesse Uriah into bed with his wife and therefore, the second conspiracy calls for an additional 24 hours to get Uriah drunk. David realizes now that Uriah has great integrity, and that he is incorruptible while sober.
David knows, PRO 20:1 "Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is intoxicated by it is not wise."
David's own advice to his son Solomon in PRO 23:20 "Do not be or hang around with heavy drinkers of wine, or with gluttonous eaters of meat;"
2SA 11:13 "Now David called him, and he ate and drank before him, and he made him drunk;"
David reasons that a person who is incorruptible while sober can be corrupted once he's had a lot to drink, perhaps this also happened experientially to David.
According to the bible, alcohol in moderation is permissible, but alcohol in the sense of drunkenness is forbidden. That's because the presence of large amounts of alcohol in the body changes the character and the personality of the drinker. Alcohol is a depressant which lowers inhibitions, dulls reflexes, destroys common sense, hampers good judgment and stimulates mental attitude sins. For the believer who cannot or will not drink in moderation, he should avoid the use of alcohol except in medicine. When in doubt, always abstain; for too much alcohol is toxic and detrimental to both the body and the soul.
David reasons that a person who is incorruptible while sober may be easily corrupted once he's drunk. David assumes that once he gets Uriah drunk that alcohol will remove his sense of honor and he will go to his wife Bathsheba. So, in obedience to David's command, Uriah continued in Fort Zion for the rest of the day and the next day. David intends to break down the function of integrity and the honor code in Uriah the Hittite. David is going to attack an incorruptible officer in a very subtle way.
David's attack on his own officer and his own officer's code indicates another factor. Once your conscience becomes defiled and seared, you're always going to be inconsistent. You will violate your very own convictions and principles.
2SA 11:13 "Now David called him, and he ate and drank before him, and he made him drunk; and in the evening he went out to lie on his bed with his lord's servants, but he did not go down to his house."
David's second conspiracy was frustrated for the same reason that his first conspiracy was frustrated, the integrity and honor of the Uriah the Hittite.
Therefore, the third conspiracy is launched, one of the most awful things that a great man and a mature believer could ever do.
2SA 11:14 "Now it came about in the morning that David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah."
In verse 15, we have the content or the summary of the letter.
2SA 11:15 "And he had written in the letter, saying, Place Uriah in the front line of the fiercest battle and withdraw from him, so that he may be struck down and die."
Can a believer commit murder? David did!
In fact, Moses also committed murder, EXO 2:12, ACT 7:28.
Here in 2Sa 11 is a criminal act and a criminal conspiracy. Joab was also a part of this conspiracy and the Bible also teaches that Joab will also pay for what he is doing as well. If you join those whose conscience has been defiled and seared, you participate in their evil. We now have a conspiracy that is going to work, simply because those involved are all going to violate the military code of honor, in our day and age it would be the Royal family honor code. David is now getting other people involved in his evil conspiracy and there are always frustrated suckers who will join the seared conscience conspiracy. This is the only way any conspiracy can be effective and successful, whatever the honor code of an organization calls for, it must be violated to be successful. The very people who get involved with this vicious form of evil are the very ones who once despised this vicious form of evil.
Joab is loyal to David even though David is wrong and Joab will obey David. Joab is a mature believer, and because of this act, Joab is going to die as a mature believer, the sin unto death.
Joab is a man who has a war record, second to none, and he is going to die in total disgrace. For a general officer to die with his hands hanging on to the altar in the temple, with his guts being ripped out slowly, is the highest type of punishment in the Jewish army, 1KI 2:28-34, that's how Joab will die.
Uriah disobeyed David and maintained his integrity. However, Joab, after this time is never the same because here's where he loses his integrity. Uriah dies honorably, he not only went out under dying grace, but it was his time to go. He was an older man who had a most wonderful life. He had great capacity for life and great happiness. He has accumulation of rewards and great decorations for eternity.
Uriah is the only person not in the Davidic-line who is mentioned in the genealogy of our Lord Jesus Christ. Bathsheba who is the great, great, great, great grandmother of The Lord Jesus Christ is only mentioned as the "wife" of Uriah the Hittite.
Uriah died on the battlefield with happiness and it is the man who survived here, David, who is going to have ten years of paying off in four installments some of the worst discipline that ever came to a man.
Better to be dead honorably, then alive with loss of integrity!
Verse 15 is the result of David's conscience that has been defiled and seared. He has institutional arrogance, impulsive arrogance, authority arrogance, conspiratorial arrogance, criminal arrogance, sexual arrogance, and motivational arrogance.
Because of all of this David is going to be a psychopath for over a year. He will yell at people, scream at people, enter into emotional arrogance, irrational arrogance, the arrogance of unhappiness, but most of all, psychopathic arrogance.
He will suffer as few people have suffered and remained alive.
This conspiracy will succeed for one reason only, it is time for the Lord to take Uriah home to be with Him.
In verses 16 and 17 we have the success of the third conspiracy.
2SA 11:16-17 "So it was as Joab kept watch on the city, that he put Uriah at the place where he knew there were valiant men. And the men of the city went out and fought against Joab, and some of the people among David's servants fell; and Uriah the Hittite also died."
The first two conspiracies failed because they involved the volition of Uriah the Hittite who was an honorable man. The third succeeds because it involves the volition of David, Joab and three company commanders in Uriah's battalion, who at this stage in history, have become arrogant and inadequate.
Be careful with seared consciences get together, when frustrated people join forces, Act 20:30 "and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them."
David was a man who loved his troops but he is now in degeneracy. Degeneracy means to decline from your normal character, nature, structure and function and to shrink to a condition which is lower than your norm and standard.
Therefore, when anyone becomes involved with a seared conscience, do not be surprised at their instability, their wide emotional swings or anything else. No one with a seared conscience and the resultant degeneracy can have any real interest in what formerly had their attention. This explains a lot of the instabilities in life among born-again believers.
Joab, David's chief of staff, now joined David in fulfilling the intent of a conscience that has been defiled and seared. The interesting thing is that on his dying bed, David told Solomon to have Joab killed, 1KI 2:5.
While Uriah the Hittite was the victim of an evil plot from a degenerate commander and chief, he was really the winner. David and Joab are going to think that they have won, but it is the dead man who is the winner.
Uriah had been great soldier in the Jebusite army, he was the equivalent to a general officer. He was given a battlefield commission and promoted to knighthood in the Israeli army. As a Gentile Hittite, he became a believer in The Lord Jesus Christ and advanced to maturity. As a minority in Israel, he was promoted far beyond most Jews. Perhaps that's why some of the Jewish commanders participated in this conspiracy.
The conclusion of his greatness is based upon his magnificent adherence to the Jewish military honor code plus the fact that he is mentioned in the line of our Lord Jesus Christ. Furthermore, he was married to one of the most beautiful women in all of history, and their marriage was a good one.
As an older man reaching his peak in both spiritual, professional and social life, he died at the perfect time and he died honorably.
While it was David's evil degenerate conspiracy which caused Uriah's death, Uriah would not have died on the battlefield unless the Lord permitted it.
The first two conspiracies did not succeed because they involved the volition of Uriah and he did not lose his honor. The third conspiracy did not involve his volition but it did involve the sovereignty of God. Uriah, though the victim of a plot and conspiracy, died at the peek of his career with maximum dying grace blessing. He was the victim of the conspiracy, but he was the winner, whereas those who succeeded in the conspiracy were losers and lost their integrity.
It was the Roman's who had a saying which said in effect, an honorable death is preferable to a degenerate life.
Uriah the Hittite, he had a fantastic life and he had a magnificent death.