Tag Archives: Tassie Smith

David And Bathsheba: The Cascade Into Sin — Tassie Smith

When is the last time you said to yourself, “Hmm, I think I’ll strip down and take a bath on the roof?”  Never?  Me neither!  I have also never committed adultery nor murdered anyone. But the familiar tale of David and Bathsheba reveals to all of us the nature of sin—how it cascades from “small” sins into greater ones, how we excuse sin to ourselves, and how the consequences are not only profound but generational.

The Cascade

The first sin in David’s story wasn’t actually lusting after Bathsheba.  David was a war leader, a general/king.  From the days when the women sang, “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten-thousands,” David could not be defeated (1 Sam. 18:7).  Yet this year when spring dawns and the kings go out to battle, David doesn’t go.  The Ark of the Covenant goes.  The army of Israel goes.  But David?  He’s lounging about at home.  Not only is David avoiding his clear responsibility, but he sends the Ark. What laziness and blasphemous arrogance to send the Ark of the presence of God and stay at home himself (2 Sam. 11:1,11)!

Although “idle hands are the devil’s workshop,” in David’s case Satan uses his idle eyes. In peeping Tom fashion from his roof-top perch, he sees Bathsheba bathing (2 Sam. 11:2).  I have heard much speculation on Bathsheba’s character.  Was she trying to seduce the king by showing off her assets for the world to see?  No.  Leviticus 12 and 15 suggest that customarily women bathed after their periods (2Samuel 11:4 lends support to this idea).  This bath served as a reminder of a single woman’s virtue.  Each month she had a way to say to the community, “I am innocent.”  For the married woman this bath provided a clear way to show the community that she was not bearing her husband a child this month.  Bathsheba’s bath follows both custom and law.

So far David has been guilty of three sins: laziness, arrogance, and lust. The detail, “Bathsheba, wife of Uriah the Hittite” adds a fourth—gross betrayal.  Uriah had been one of his mighty men, a trusted companion and loyal soldier since David fled Saul in the wilderness (2 Sam. 23:39). Knowing full well who she was, David took his friend’s wife to bed (2 Sam. 11:3).

When Bathsheba comes to tell David she is expecting his child, he has a problem.  There is no chance to pass this baby off as Uriah’s; Bathsheba has had her ceremonial monthly bath and Uriah is away.  So David calls for Uriah to come home.  Uriah condemns David with his honor.  The warrior won’t go take his ease at home with his wife while the army and the ark are out in the field (2 Sam. 11:6-11). So David tries again.  If Uriah is drunk, surely he’ll stumble home to be seduced by his wife.  No.  Uriah sleeps again at the king’s gate (2 Sam. 11:12-13).  When trickery won’t work,  David sends him back to the front to die of deliberately poor strategy.

The Excuses

Let’s review.  The sweet singer of Israel, the man after God’s own heart, has been lazy, arrogant, gawking, lustful, disloyal, adulterous, sneaky, and a murderer who drags a subordinate into murder with him. Sin piled upon sin.

How did David justify it to himself? What was going through his mind? We can only imagine.

Laziness — “I deserve a break.”

Arrogance — “The army will be successful if I send God with them.”

Lust  — “I’m just looking.”

Adultery — “It’s just once.”

Betrayal — “Uriah will never know.”

Guile — “I made this mess; I have to fix it!”

Murderer — “No one can know.  Why won’t Uriah cooperate?  It’s his fault.  If he weren’t so ‘honorable,’ he’d go home like I told him!  Soldiers die in battle all the time.  He knows the danger.”

What can break David out of this cycle of self-delusion?  A metaphor.

Nathan the prophet, always a loyal friend to the house of David, comes with a story.  Once a very poor man had a beloved pet lamb.  A rich neighbor had an unexpected guest and slaughtered his neighbor’s pet for dinner (2 Sam. 12:2-3).

David is enraged.  He can’t see the parallel to his own sin, but he can’t miss the evil of the story.  It’s not just theft; something precious has been destroyed by someone who has much more than he needs, someone without pity. Though the rich man deserves to die, David mercifully declares that he must pay back four times what was taken. Thus David declares his own doom because as Nathan said, he is the man (2 Samuel 12:7).

The Parallels

While I am happy to report that neither murder nor adultery are on my conscience. I can easily find parallels to David’s story especially his excuses.

“I deserve a break.”  Sometimes I get sucked into Facebook, Netflix, Pinterest, an online game, a novel or a nap when I really should be working.  Is there something wrong with rest?  No, rest is fantastic.  So good that holy rest made it into the Ten Commandments.  Yet there is a difference between true rest and neglecting our responsibilities.  If dinner is late and the kids are screaming because we’ve been binge-watching Gilmore Girls, perhaps we weren’t “resting” after all.

“I’m just looking.”  For women the temptation is different. Perhaps we are not as tempted to ogle a co-worker in his well-cut Wranglers as our spouses might be, but that does not exclude us from “looking.”  Women are especially vulnerable to friendships that go too far.  We might reconnect with an old flame on Facebook, or have intimate talks with a co-worker who seems kinder or more patient than our husband.  Then there is that handsome dad from soccer who always comments on how nice we look.  We’re not doing anything wrong, we’re just looking…

“Just this once.”  Satan has sunk all our battleships with this lie.  It won’t hurt to take this, touch him, wear those, drink that, go there, watch that, read this, say that—just this once.  This episode in David’s life is a lesson in the swamping consequences of “just this once.”

“No one will ever know.”  None of us are as successful at hiding our sin as we pretend to be.  Our sin is often an open secret.  Are we hiding our envy?  No, our friends are rolling their eyes behind our backs.  No one noticed the extra attention we pay our married co-worker, did they?  Yes, the whole office is gossiping.  But let’s suppose somehow we managed to actually hide our crimes.  Our Father sees in secret (Is. 29:15).  No sin is hidden from His face.  Nor will it be hidden on the last day when we all stand before Him to be judged for our deeds (Rev. 20:12). And don’t forget the closely related lie, “No one will get hurt.”  People do.  In David’s case, lots of people.

“I have to fix it.” The urge to “fix” our mistakes is deadly. Everything about taking responsibility, confessing, repenting, and reconciliation is good.  But “fixing it” values solutions over confessions.  And frequently those solutions take the form of more sin.  David murdered a friend to “solve” the problem of Bathsheba’s baby.  What sins in our life have we tried to “solve” with more sin?  One lie turns into ten.  We are feeling lazy, lie to our boss about being sick, miss crucial time at work, blame a coworker when our project isn’t finished, and then at the last minute desperately steal someone else’s work.

The Consequences

David’s punishment for these sins was profound.  When he declares that the man should repay four times what he had stolen, he announces his own destruction.  David had stolen a wife and all of Uriah’s future sons. Thus it was in the currency of wives and sons that David paid (2 Sam. 12: 1-14).

Did David repent?  Indeed he did.  Faced with Nathan’s story, he humbled himself and begged for God’s forgiveness.  And he received it.  But that did not stop the rush of consequences.  Bathsheba’s first child, the baby that he had tried everything to hide, dies (2 Sam. 12: 15-33).  Then Amnon, David’s son, rapes Tamar, David’s daughter.  What could be more devastating to a father?  Revenge served cold. Two years later her brother Absalom has Amnon murdered.  David has lost an infant, an adult son, a daughter to a life broken in her brother’s home, and now Absalom flees to spend 3 years in exile (2 Sam. 13).

David is only half done.  Two sons down, two to go.  Absalom finally returns from exile, but soon he begins to plot to overthrow his father (2 Sam. 14-15).  When the palace coup begins, David is forced to flee with all his servants for his life. Absalom has a tent pitched on the roof and takes his father’s wives “in the sight of all Israel”—a direct fulfillment of God’s promise that David’s wives would be taken openly like he took Bathsheba secretly (2 Sam. 16).  Still David wants those seeking Absalom to protect the young prince.  Joab, general and long-time friend to Absalom, kills him anyway (2 Sam. 18).  In this late grief, David is exorbitant as before.  He mourns, “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son” (2 Sam. 18:33).

The fourth doomed son, Adonijah, has himself crowned before David died.  Although he was not killed for this during David’s life, when he seeks the virgin who warmed David’s bed for a wife, Solomon has him killed (1 Kings 1-2).

The details of David’s sin seem to come back to haunt him.  David sent for Bathsheba but the text does not indicate that she was forced into his bed.  Yet Amnon takes David’s sin a step further.  Seeing a woman he wants, Amnon doesn’t just “take” her; he rapes her.  David’s wives are dishonored on the roof of his palace.  David betrays a loyal soldier. He is betrayed by not only his servants but his sons (Adonijah, Absalom, Ahitophel).  David’s idleness becomes princes with no proper work to do; they are not soldiers or leaders but just hangers-on.  With time on their hands they don’t just murder a friend; they tear their nation in half.

David has learned much.  He never takes the Ark of the Covenant, the symbol of the presence of God, for granted again.  When Absalom’s advance drives him from Jerusalem, he sends the Ark back.  He acknowledges that God will decide if he will return to his place as king or not (2 Sam. 15:24-29)  No longer does he imagine that he is in charge of God. When the people go out to fight for him, despite his age, he volunteers to lead them (2 Sam. 18:1-5)  When faced with his sin (in numbering the people), he immediately repents (2 Sam. 24).

There are lessons for us in the end of David’s story, a final terrifying parallel to our own lives.  Sin is generational.  Children SEE their parents sin.  Of all the people we can imagine we can hide from, our children are the least likely. Plus, the sin they see is the sin they are most tempted to do or take a step further.  The worst part of David’s punishment had to be watching his mistakes played out again and again in the idleness, violence, immorality, and betrayal of his own sons. We should not imagine that our children are not the same.  Our sins echo down into their lives. Even sins we repent of can come roaring back in the next generation.

David and Bathsheba teach us about the profoundness of sin.  It compiles, humiliates, devastates, and echoes.  No matter what we do, we cannot hide it from the world, God, or our children.  David reminds us all that the wages of sin are truly death. 

Tassie and her husband were missionaries in China for almost 9 years.



A Good Wife — Tassie Smith

Imagine the world’s best wife.  Without a wrinkle or a hair out of place, she’d be a fashionista with a model perfect figure. Without ever compromising her principles, she’d be the equal of every man in the board room.  She coaches soccer, sells homemade scarves on Etsy, keeps an urban garden, volunteers at the homeless shelter, organizes the PTA, and feeds her family nothing but balanced, organic, whole food meals.  Her husband never feels neglected and she is deeply involved in each of her children’s lives.

Feeling overwhelmed?

Me too!

In fact, the world imposes a whole series of competing and impossible ideals on women. In contrast God’s vision of a faithful wife offers simplicity and freedom.  He calls us to portray basic godly principles— gentleness, courage, submission, love and hard work—in our marriage relationships.


A faithful wife is gentle; she has “the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight” (1 Pe. 3:4b).  This verse has left many a woman frustrated and confused. Are we supposed to be weak?  Silent?  Does God value introverts over extroverts?

Rather than being a personality trait, gentleness is how the whole church is called to act. Paul says, “Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near” (Ph. 4:5). Why would it matter that the Lord is near?   He is not a harsh and terrifying master peering over our shoulder to see if we are behaving. Rather he is our primary example of gentleness. Our Lord cradled and blessed the children. He saw to the safekeeping of His mama while He was dying.

Although every Christian should be gentle, a Christian wife is gentle in unique ways.  She can be trusted with the tenderest baby or the most broken heart.  When her husband faces disappointment and failure, she doesn’t rail at him.  When he has been thoughtless or careless, her rebuke wouldn’t take the form of silence or shouting but a quiet word about how she feels. This isn’t about our personality but about choosing not be harsh regardless of the circumstance.


An excellent wife is also fearless.  Peter puts it this way, “You are  [Sarah’s] daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear” (1 Pe. 3:6). When Abraham told her he heard the voice of God, she left everything she knew in Ur for a lifetime of uncertainty. She waved as he marched off to war and bore his child in joy at 90 years old. Fearless is the right word.

Fear is the opposite of faith.  When we trust God, not to make everything magically okay but to see us through the worst, we can live fearlessly in every aspect of our lives.

Fear has haunted many a marriage to its death.  In fear that her husband will leave her, many a woman has driven him away.  In fear of what others will think, many a woman has tried to make her husband into someone he isn’t.  In fear of poverty, many a woman has nagged a man until he hates his role as provider.  In fear of all this and more, many a Christian wife has prevented her husband from leading their family out on to some limb of faith—moving, mission work, making new disciples.


A faithful wife is submissive. The concept of a submissive Christian wife is grounded deeply in the submission demanded of every Christian and exemplified in Jesus Christ.

Remember the words Paul wrote to the Philippians, “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Ph. 2:6-11).  Jesus, didn’t care about being “equal” to God.  He became a person, the kind of person who submits to God, to the point of death.  It is this kind of submission that Paul has in mind when he begins his section on relationships in Ephesians with these words, “and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ” (Ep. 5:21).

Every Christian is called to follow Jesus Christ who went to the cross in submission to God. Thus they owe their submission first to God and then to each other. Again we face the question how would this submission look in a Christian household?

Ephesians 5:22-32 and Colossians 3:18-21 address this question.  Submission would look like a wife who follows her husband’s lead with love and trust. She doesn’t need to lead, to be in charge; she can give all that up.  Not because she’s not his equal before Christ, but because she is.

Christian wives submit to their husbands from the foundation of their submission to Christ.  He demonstrated what it means for an equal to lower Himself and submit in the best times and the worst, to someone who loves Him.


An excellent wife loves. “So that [the older women] may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children” (Ti. 2:4).  In the world’s version of love our heart takes the reins and drives us any direction it wants. This is not God’s kind of love.

God’s love for us is constant.  The word that we translate “lovingkindness” in places like Exodus 20:6, Lamentations 3:22, and Jeremiah 31:3 means something like “faithful love.”  Has God ever decided He had suffered one slight too many and found more amenable people? His commitment to redeem us is eternal. His love is sacrificial.  “For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly” (Ro. 5:6). He doesn’t choose the people who are good, or righteous or beautiful or powerful…but to every person, helpless in their sins, He sent His Son.

A wife who loves sees the best in her husband. She believes all things.  She is transparent and forthright, not just in the sense that she doesn’t lie but that she reveals her heart.  She rejoices in truth. She doesn’t have to have her way, stand her ground, or be right.  She doesn’t seek her own.  She doesn’t give up or give in.  It’s not about her.  It’s about a faithful commitment. It’s about loving her husband the way her Father loves her.

Hard Work

 An excellent wife is hardworking.  No delicate wall flower, the excellent wife from Proverbs 31 is clearly a competent woman.  She is a skilled worker in fabrics, a business person, an organized manager and a  wise adviser.

Again the world has competing ideals.  On the one hand is a picture of a woman sheltered by her family; she is far too sweet and delicate to make her way in the world.  On the other had we have a woman who elbows and jostles her way through the world leaving all thoughts of family behind as she shatters the glass ceiling.

Yet God doesn’t box women in to these two extremes.  He sets us free to bless our families by the work of our hands.  We do this home or in the community.  We can teach our own children or a classroom full in the public school.  We can fret over the fever of our own infant or change diapers in the NICU.  We are free not to fight for what we want but to serve the way our Savior did!


 An excellent wife is precious. “An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels.”  (Pr. 31:10).  The world doesn’t value wives.  Our culture whispers that it is an out-dated role, a position of weakness and a waste of a woman’s potential. But from the creation God has shouted Satan down.

When God finished the streams and mountains and fashioned every kind of animal, He brought all the creatures to the man to name. Adam found no equal among them, no suitable partner. So God made one more thing, a precious gift for Adam crafted from his own flesh, a wife.

God intended a wife to be a His own precious gift to her husband.  He can both cherish her and lean on her.  She is his equal, his mate.

Being a faithful wife starts with being a faithful Christian. We know our value because we were redeemed by the God who gave the life of His Son for us. We love with faith and integrity because that’s how God loved us.  We work with all our hearts because we do all things in the name of the Lord Jesus (Co. 3:17) We submit to our husbands because we look to our Savior who submitted wholeheartedly to His Father. We fearlessly follow our husbands because a woman who fears God need fear nothing else (Lk. 12:4-7).   We act with utmost gentleness because we serve the one who wouldn’t snap off a broken blade of grass (Is. 42:3).  The example of our Savior and the character of our Father enlighten every aspect of what it means to be a faithful wife.

There is no need for us to be overwhelmed.  Being a faithful wife isn’t about being busy, being good at everything or never making a mistake. It isn’t about how we look, if we win the “mommy wars” or how clean our house is.  Simply put a faithful wife walks in the Spirit.  “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised” (Proverbs 31:30).


Tassie and her husband were missionaries in China for almost nine years under the eldership of the South Knoxville Church of Christ.  Since returning stateside, they have worked with the Rock Springs Church of Christ where her husband preaches.