"And when Uriah was come unto him, David demanded of him how Joab did, and how the people did, and how the war prospered."
II Samuel 11: 7, K.J.V.
"Mr. Magic Mouth"
"Nothing is so opened more by mistake than the mouth."
Have I ever spoken with a double-tongue, when I've meant one thing but said another?
"There is nothing more slippery or loose than the tongue."
"A sanctified heart is better than a silver tongue."
A number of years ago, Jim and I were invited to a dinner and after the meal, the host had hired the services of an individual who performed "card tricks." His work of magic was to make playing cards disappear and then reappear in unusual places. I'm quite a skeptic when it comes to magic or sleight-of-hand tricksters and I don't know if this gentleman could tell by the look on my face. But wouldn't you know it, he came up to our table and asked me to take a card from the stack he held in his hand. As I pulled out the card, the gentleman told me to look at it, memorize what was on it, mark the card with an "X" and then shove it back into the deck of cards - which is precisely what I did.
Here's the fascinating thing. I thought this magician would probably inform us that the "trick" part of this activity was when, without seeing the card, he would pull it out of the deck of cards with my mark on it. This is what I thought would happen. But it didn't!
Instead, the man asked me to pick up my purse, which was on the floor by my chair. He told me to unzip the top of my purse and pull out my wallet. To my utter shock, I found the card I had just pulled out of the deck with my "X" on it, inside my wallet.
I was blown away and to this day I have no idea how he accomplished such a feat. Later that evening, I cornered "Mr. Card Trick" to try and get him to divulge his secrets, which of course he wouldn't except for saying something very important when he told me, "The trick is never where you think it is happening. It's all about convincing someone, with your words and actions, that something important is going on before their eyes, while in fact, the real trick is happening somewhere completely different. Somewhere they aren't even suspecting."
You may be wondering what in the world a card trick has to do with our text for today and I'll just say this - everything. Here again is one of those texts that makes me sit up and take note.
Remember, yesterday David told his half-nephew Joab, his cohort in crime, to send Uriah the Hittite back to Jerusalem from the battlefield. If I had been Uriah, whom we found out was declared in Chronicles to be one of a very few elite soldiers in David's army, I would have been concerned about this development.
I might have asked myself, "Did I do something wrong? Have I upset the king? Is my family alright?" An act such as this could certainly strike fear in the heart of the bravest man or woman.
However, what happened when Uriah arrived in David's court was even more disturbing. David "demanded" or as the Hebrew word "shawal" states, "consulted, counseled, earnestly inquired, saluted and requested," of Uriah how Joab was doing; how the war was going; and how the people were feeling about things. It is an interesting choice of a word that is used in the King James Version -- "shawal." And you may well remember that this was the same form of the Hebrew word "enquired" which was used when both King Saul and King David enquired of God regarding the path they should take in their lives.
This is why I call David "Mr. Magic Mouth." He was trying to divert Uriah's attention from the battle at hand, and get him to think, by the words he said, that David, the king, was supremely interested in the opinion of one of his foot soldiers, which in fact, David was not.
Can't you hear David now? The man who was so good with words. The poetic psalmist who earnestly called Uriah to his side, and asked him, "How is Joab working out." Then David proceeded to ask what the people of Israel thought about the war campaign as well as the results of the war. As if Joab couldn't and hadn't informed David already.
Poor Uriah! He had no idea that David was using sleight-of-mouth to focus his attention on one thing, while the intention of David's real strategy was something completely different. David really wanted Uriah to forget about the war and go home to his wife, Bathsheba.
The Roman philosopher Seneca maintained that our, "Speech is the index of the mind." And certainly we can see that David's duplicity of speech was a reflection of the duplicity that was in his mind and heart.
George Braque wrote, "Only falsehood has to be invented." And in the case of David, a man who once reflected a heart like God, in a moment of overwhelming desire, chose to render himself unable to fight his lust for another man's wife, which in the end, resulted in the words of his mouth reflecting the deceit in his heart. A deceit that called for him to invent a number of phony reasons he wanted Uriah to come home from the battle.
Who knows, but it may have been this particular situation which led David's son, Solomon, to pen these words: "He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life. But he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction (Proverbs 13:3, K.J.V.).
"Words are the looking-glass of the mind."
"O Holy Spirit of God -
Come into my heart and fill me:
I open the window of my soul to let you in.
I surrender my whole life to you.
Come and possess me, fill me with light and truth.
I offer to you the one thing I really possess,
My capacity for being filled by you.
Of myself I am an empty vessel.
Fill me so that I may live the life of the Spirit,
The life of Truth and Goodness,
The life of Beauty and Love,
The life of Wisdom and Strength.
But, above all, make Christ to be formed in me,
That I may dethrone self in my heart
and make him King;
So that he may be in me, and I in him,
Today and for ever."
The late Bishop of Bloemfontein
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P.S. My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is now available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You can also go to www.whenawomanmeetsjesus.com and purchase the book through Paypal for $8.00. Or by calling Transformation Garden at 1-888-397-4348.
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.