Matthew 1:6. And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah
I’m pretty sure Matthew didn’t just forget Bathsheba’s name here as he was writing. So then why doesn’t he name her? Why does he call her the wife of Uriah?
Many believe that Matthew leaves Bathsheba nameless to remind his readers not only of David’s great sin, but also of Bathsheba’s great shame. King David the victim of his own sinful pride and lusts. Bathsheba and Uriah, the victims of King David. It’s one of the most tragic examples of the human nature’s bent toward evil in all the Bible. The shepherd king becomes the wolf, preying on Bathsheba, covering up sin, devouring the innocent.
But David’s great sin could never stop God’s great rescue. God’s grace was to be displayed in the second born of Bathsheba.
You may remember that the first child of Bathsheba, produced out of David’s sin, was taken by God. Was this God’s cruel punishment for a simple mistake? No. It was God demonstrating the seriousness of our death causing sin, but also the saving grace that can be found in a substitutionary death. David broke God’s law several times over. David deserved to be stoned outside the gates of Jerusalem. David should have died. Isn’t that what he himself told the prophet Nathan (2 Samuel 12)? But God graciously spared David’s life through the death of the firstborn – a baby that was born to die so that others might live. And not just live to survive, but live to thrive.
Bathsheba lost her husband, her child, and her honor all at once. In the hands of the nation’s most powerful man, her life was destroyed. But God would restore life to her. Bathsheba will be the wife of the king, the mother of the king, and this once shamed woman would be running the empire by the time of her husband’s death. Though we might still try to define her by her sin; Matthew defines her by her faith. The last of the four honored “mothers of Jesus” included in this genealogy is the one with the most baggage, the most reason to quit. But God never quit on Bathsheba and so Bathsheba never quit on God. God was not ashamed of her, nor was she ashamed of him. She knew the promise God made to her son, and she believed the promise.
Christian, Jesus is not ashamed of you. He knows your past history. He knows what happened years ago and last night. Jesus has carried your shame onto the cross and left it there to die. Like Bathsheba, he has turned our shame into honor. Our past into a future. Our sorrow into security. Our mourning into gladness. He has made us a promise to return and crown us with glory and honor. Will you, like Bathsheba, believe the promise?
What do you tend to do with your sin and your shame? How can you use this Christmas season to remember that God has honored you? How can you use it to honor Jesus?