Talk About Mishandling an Unplanned Pregnancy…
Reading: 2 Samuel 11:1 – 12:25
Many are familiar with the story of David and Bathsheba. It is certainly one of the more unexpected stories in Scripture. Unexpected because of who David is. Unexpected because of how blind he was to his own sin. Unexpected because of how David handles an unplanned pregnancy. An innocent man and child die because of the sin of others.
Hearing the Dreaded Words
Set aside all the scintillating details and you’re left with not-so-glamourous, rank adultery. And then comes the phone call. Okay, not a phone call but a message sent to David from his new lady love. “I am pregnant.” The dreaded words. An illicit relationship. If news gets out, my reputation as a man of God is ruined. Not only is He the King, He writes songs for the worship team. What about my future? What will people think? What will Nathan the prophet think? My family? And then there’s the little matter of what Bathsheba’s husband will do. But there is still time… as long as Bathsheba isn’t showing… as long as no one knows yet.
How to Solve the Problem
David immediately sends to the front-lines to have her husband, Uriah, sent home. If David can just get him home so he can have relations with his wife then what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him. Baby will come about 8 months later, a little early, but no one will question anything. But Nathan won’t take the bait (2 Samuel 11:9, 13). David must resort to Plan B.
That’s right, Plan B. At all cost, we must cover this unplanned pregnancy. So David conceives a plan to have Uriah killed in battle (normally we call this murder, but in this case let’s just say it is the cost of David’s freedom from this inconvenient pregnancy). Once the problem is eliminated (Uriah), then David can marry Bathsheba (after all that is the right thing to do) and people will just think the baby came a little early. No worries: future, reputation, respect of the people—all kept intact.
Of course, what does Bathsheba think about losing her husband? Does she have a say? Or is she forced against her wishes, because of the difficult situation she is in, to go along with a plan to kill? We hear nothing from her in this story and that may be indicative of the fact that she had no real say. But all is well for David.
Hearing a Word from the Lord
Until, of course, Nathan shows up and has the word from the Lord. Nathan tells a little parable which is really the same story I’ve just recounted above except that in this story David is a rich man, Uriah is a poor man with one lamb (Bathsheba), and David’s lustful desires are a traveler that must be satisfied. In feeding the traveler, David takes the one lamb from the poor man rather than the many he already had. (2 Samuel 12:1-5) The point?
Why did you despise the word of the LORD by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. (2 Samuel 12:9)
That’s right, David’s freedom from an unplanned pregnancy was murder. The blade may have been in someone else’s hand, but David was responsible for it. His motivations about his future, fears about what others might think, or his attempts to cover it in a much cleaner fashion aside, the Lord calls it exactly what it is. He despised the word of the Lord and did evil in God’s eyes by killing Uriah.
How Abortion Might Have Helped
In the end, two died because of David’s act. Uriah and the baby in the womb (2 Samuel 12:18). If only the option for abortion were available then, then only one would have had to die. David could have pressured Bathsheba into killing the baby by the sword of the surgeon. Would she have gone silently, feeling she had no other choice? Uriah would never have known of his wife’s unfaithfulness while he was away at war. Only a Nathan could reveal the heinous evil of what was done. Well, maybe he would have had to die too. If only they could have silenced God then abortion would have worked great and all our choices can be okay.
Why are so many people in our culture unable to see the horror of abortion? Maybe it is the same problem David had. We are blinded most to our own sin. Maybe we should pray for some Nathan’s. Maybe like Nathan we should pray for wisdom in how to tell them a story they can understand and let them pronounce the judgment. (2 Samuel 12:5)
From this account we can learn three things. First, God will not be mocked and there were serious consequences for David and his family because of this heinous evil (2 Samuel 12:10-11). Sin is devastating. Second, forgiveness was available for even this wickedness when David acknowledged his sin and repented (2 Samuel 12:13). (See also Psalm 51.) Third, before we look down on those who have had abortions for unplanned pregnancies, consider that they acted much like someone we all look up to: King David.
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