The Uriah Challenge

Lenten Prayer of Preparation
Oh God, let something essential happen to me, something more than interesting or entertaining or thoughtful.

Oh God, let something essential happen to me, something awesome, something real. Speak to my condition, Lord and change me somewhere inside where it matters, a change that will burn and tremble and heal and explode me into tears or laughter or love that throbs or screams or keeps a terrible, cleansing silence and dares the dangerous deeds. Let something happen which is my real self, Oh God. Amen.

 ~ Ted Loder


Once again my Wednesday morning bible study with some of the interns at the Carpenter’s Shop was a mixture of disheartening despair and encourage-ing hope. Let me explain.

We read together the story of David and Bathsheba — you remember when David commits not only adultery but rape of Bathsheba — resulting in her pregnancy. David then tries to cover it all up by inviting her husband Uriah back from the battlefield with the hope that Uriah will “lie with her” so no one would know who the real father of her child was. Uriah refuses to indulge in any pleasure and choosing rather to remain in solidarity with his battle weary troops he sleeps outside. David then instructs Joab — a military general — to place Uriah at the front of the fiercest fighting and then withdraw leaving him exposed to the enemy. Joab follows David’s orders and Uriah is killed.

There are four characters in this story — David the king who abuses his power. Bathsheba the victim of abuse. Uriah the noble one and Joab who just followed orders without a question.

I then asked the group to think of times when they could identify with each of these characters. This started a lively discussion with a small group of the young men answering almost in unison:

“Ya when I have a gun and when I have money then I am like David, and I take what I want — even someone’s life.”

“When the guys arrive outside my place in a car and tell me to get in because they want to go and rob a place or kill someone and I don’t want to get in but I have no choice … then I am like Bathsheba.”

“When someone says lets smoke a lolly and I say no because I want to stay off drugs — then I am like Uriah.”

“When they say to me I must take the gun and kill that one to prove myself to them or when they tell me I must take the blame for a crime because I have less on my record … then I am like Joab.”

When I hear these responses I can’t believe how painfully different some people’s life-reality is to mine. I am reminded what a sheltered and privileged life I live.

I also stand in awe at their courage to be more like Uriah knowing even that it may cost their life.

Grace, Alan

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