2 Samuel 11:1 In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab with his officers and all Israel with him; they ravaged the Ammonites, and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem. 2 It happened, late one afternoon, when David rose from his couch and was walking about on the roof of the king’s house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; the woman was very beautiful. 3 David sent someone to inquire about the woman. It was reported, “This is Bathsheba daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” 4 So David sent messengers to get her, and she came to him, and he lay with her. (Now she was purifying herself after her period.) Then she returned to her house. 5 The woman conceived; and she sent and told David, “I am pregnant.”
The first verse of this passage sets up the rest, gives it a context. There was a place for a king to be in the spring – with his army. David’s army had laid siege to Rabbah, the capital city of Ammon. David should have been there with his commanders, but he wasn’t. We’re not told why he stayed behind, but one cannot help but think a younger David would never have done this. The boy who took on Goliath would never have stayed home while his men were in the midst of battle. It would have been unthinkable. Hence, in his later years we see David slipping. And now, it’s about to get him in trouble.
Many years ago, before my days in ministry, I was celebrating the birthday of a relative of mine. I asked him where he wanted to meet as he had recently turned 21. He told me to meet him at a particular bar in town, a gentlemen’s club. Not the sort of place I would normally choose, but okay. So I arrived at the appointed time and sat at a table. The birthday boy was late so, tired of waiting on him, I decided to order a drink. As a server approached I held out a $20 bill and waved her over. When I began to place my order, instead of taking the cash, the scantily-clad woman looked me straight in the eye and said with surprising intensity, “You don’t belong here” and kept on walking.
Wow. At first I was stunned, but then I felt convicted. She was right, I didn’t belong there. So I left and went elsewhere. In the years since, I’ve thought about that encounter many times. That woman didn’t know me from Adam, but she had a word from the Lord for me. I think she may have been an angel sent to give me that message, which I needed to hear. Can an angel of the Lord appear as a scantily clad server in a gentleman’s club? Yep. Angels can – and do – appear in all kinds of places.
Where we are makes a difference. There are places where we belong and places where we don’t. Our passage for today reminds me of this important truth. Unfortunate things can happen when we’re in the wrong place at the wrong time.