Application far exceeds context is a truth that is both empowering and overwhelming for any Christ follower who desires to dig deep and go beyond the logistics and historical context of the scriptures. It can be just as easy to write off a portion of scripture as only relevant to Bible time culture as it is to stretch it beyond the breaking point so that it fits the preconceived ideas we maintain are biblical truth. We will war over our different takes on the meaning of passages. We will set up our camps and fortify our defences around our own experiences and understanding. In the end very little of what we form our beliefs around are actual commands and very little of our takeaways from the stories in scripture are complete.
In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem.
One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, “She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her…
Let me stretch you a little, who or what is your Bathsheba?
Culture and context causes us to immediately assume that this cannot happen to us. I am not a king, my country does not have one. I do not take walks on my roof, it has too steep a pitch. There is no bathtub that I can see from my roof and even if there was my neighbour does not tempt me, he is a 300lb, 85 year old, hairy man. Sorry to ask, but does this mean you checked?
Now that we have established that there is no Bathsheba, no king position and no flat roof with a view in your life, this blog either ends because context limits us or we continue under the belief that application far exceeds context. You can choose how you proceed. If you want to stick with the strictest of context then stop reading this blog now. If you are willing to stretch a little, read on.
Is your Bathsheba sexually alluring?
If you are reading this, you are willing to stretch a little beyond the original context to try to find current application in your life. The question is simple, who is the one you see in your life that causes you to become sexually interested? If it is your spouse and only your spouse you do not have a Bathsheba in your life. If there is someone that you lust after and would love to get to know in the biblical sense who is not your spouse, then you have identified your Bathsheba.
Is your Bathsheba a person in your life?
Sounds like a stupid question, after all, we just finished saying that a person’s Bathsheba is “someone that you lust after and would love to get to know in the biblical sense.” That being said, there are other people who are not in our lives that tempt us, that we lust after. Porn, sexually charged TV shows and movies, romance novels and/or vivid imaginations can all be Bathshebas to the follower of Christ.
We may not commit a physical act like King David did but Jesus said to lust after someone is to commit adultery Matthew 5:28 and adultery is simply; sexual acts (including lust) outside of the marriage bond. If you think that was an application stretch that went too far then you may want to stop reading now because we are about to get a lot more limber!
Bathsheba in biblical context led to sex.
There are steps that took place leading to the Bathsheba moment. These steps, using strict biblical context to create application, lead to sexual lust that is not controlled.
Let’s look at 2 Samuel 11:1-4 (NIV):
- “In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army.”
- “From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful…”
- “…David sent someone to find out about her”
- “The man said, ‘She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.’ Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her…
David had the opportunity to avoid his Bathsheba moment…
…instead he stayed home when he should have been at war, didn’t look away when he should have, looked so long that he lusted and then pursued, took what was not his to have. Four opportunities to do the right thing but each time he continued along the wrong path.
The biblical Bathsheba moment has an application that far exceeds context.
If we stretch beyond the strict biblical context we can create application to address all uncontrolled lusts. It can be the latest video game or TV show. Maybe it’s overeating or oversleeping, excessive drinking or maybe, like the original story, it’s sexual lust. Whatever it is, we need to follow these anti-Bathsheba moment steps:
- Be where God wants us to be.
- Move away from temptation rather than checking it out.
- Don’t find a way to pursue what you ended up checking out when you should’ve moved away.
- If you pursue something only to find out that it is not to be pursued – get out of there before you go too far.
Turn back before it leads to steps 5, 6, 7….. 2 Samuel 11:4-17