Today’s Text of Encouragement:
“Blessed, happy, to be envied is the man who is patient under trial and stands up under temptation for when he has stood the test and been approved, he will receive the victor’s crown of life which God has promised to those who love Him.”
James 1: 12
Today’s Text for Study:
“One evening David arose from his couch and was walking on the roof of the king’s house, when from there he saw a woman bathing; and she was very lovely to behold.”
II Samuel 11: 2
“Bathsheba: Object of Lust”
Lust: “Intense or unrestrained sexual desire or overwhelming craving.”
“Sin that power which transforms desire from something neutral or positive into something harmful from ‘desire’ into ‘lust.’ It is the power which turns desire in upon itself in destructive self-indulgence.”
James S. G. Dunn
Have I ever felt that I was looked only upon as an object of another person’s desire?
How did it make me feel?
Have I ever looked upon another individual as an “object”?
“The original meaning of the word lust is ‘strong desire’ and not necessarily a sinful desire, since there are certain desires of our physical nature – such as hunger and thirst – which we have in common with the animal world and which, in themselves, are natural and not sinful. It is only their abuse that is evil. Hunger is natural lust. Gluttony is a sinful lust. Thirst is a natural lust. Intemperance is a sinful lust.”
W. H. Griffith Thomas
“With the lusts of passion I have darkened the beauty of my soul, and turned my whole mind entirely into dust.”
The Lenten Triodion
It is quite the dismissive way to speak of another person, to define them as an object – a thing, an item. However, we find that in our study text for today, II Samuel 11: 2, before the name Bathsheba is even entered into the Biblical record, this daughter of God is objectified by David as the “target” of his lustful desire. David did not know this lady’s name. He did not know her marital status. He only knew one very important factor, as the Message Bible so pointedly states: “The woman was stunningly beautiful.”
One might make the assumption that if Bathsheba had not been attractive to the eyes, David’s interest meter would not have registered any longing for her. But as we found out, the appeal of this woman, and David’s lustful desire for more of her, were only the beginning of an affair that unraveled many lives.
The fact that Bathsheba was first seen as an object is a point we must not overlook.
There are two reasons why:
1. First, many women I know have, at one time or another in their lives, found themselves feeling like nothing but “objects”. Whether it is because of exterior beauty or physical assets or in a completely different realm, a woman is perceived as another person’s “object” because she provides some necessary household function. When any of us are relegated to nothing better than objects, items or things – our self-worth takes a pounding.
2. Second, women are not the only ones who can become objects. Men have also been consigned, at times, to being treated like nothing more than objects that provide financial sustenance. And even certain strong physical attributes can be lauded in some men while denigrated in others, making one’s worth based only on the physical.
Our tendency in the world we live in is frequently to place other people around us in positions of scorn by labeling them as nothing but objects to be vilified by our ridicule or exalted by our praise. This has left many broken hearts in the wake of what I call, “cruel and inhuman treatment.”
Not long ago, I was reading a comment made by author Erica Jong where she described life in Hollywood – certainly a place that is known for putting the price of a king’s ransom on the perfecting of external characteristics. This is how she described the Hollywood fascination with the exterior: “People in the land of LaLa look like expensive wax fruit. And they work hard to achieve that look.”
Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not picking on the “beautiful people” who grace the covers of our magazines or cover the screens in movie theaters or on television sets.
What I am saying is that if our attempt, especially as women, is to turn ourselves into perfectly sculpted objects to be admired, we may only find out later that what has gotten lost in the mix is the real you or the real me and how sad, indeed.
This is why David found, after his affair with Bathsheba, that the fulfillment of his lustful desire was not, in the end, the ultimate satisfaction that supplied the need of his empty soul. As Frederick Buechner so aptly noted, “Lust is the craving for salt of a man (or woman) who is dying of thirst.”
It is this “thirst” for something greater than the “object” of our earthly longings that will never be satisfied as long as we choose to use those around us, be they women or men – as objects to get us further down the road in the accomplishment of our selfish desires. As the great author John Milton describes, “Capricious, wanton, bold, and brutal lust…taints the sweet bloom of nature’s fairest forms.” And this is exactly what happened when David obtained the object of his desire, only to “use” Bathsheba to fulfill his pleasure.”
I invite you to return tomorrow as we take a look at how Bathsheba may well have felt when she recognized that being an “object” had a price in her life, too!
“We are each precious, unique, necessary. We are strengthened and blessed and relieved at not having to be all the same. We are the daughters and sons of God.”
Robin Morgan and friends
“O Lord Jesus Christ, who art the light of the world: Let the sun of thou righteousness, we pray thee, arise in our hearts, to burn away the barriers that separate us…
…O God, who hast made us in thine own likeness and who dost love all whom thou hast made: Teach us the unity of thy family and the breadth of thy love. By the example of thy Son, Jesus our Saviour, enable us, while loving and serving our own, to enter into the fellowship of the whole human family, and forbid that, from pride of race or hardness of heart, we should despise any for whom Christ died or injure any in whom he lives. Amen.”
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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