July 27, 2014
In the reading from Genesis this morning, Laban gives Jacob his oldest daughter, Leah – the one with the lovely eyes and I assume that’s the only thing that was lovely about her – instead of Rachel, the one who was graceful and beautiful, whom Jacob really wanted. It must have been pretty darned dark that night since Jacob didn’t discover that he had been with Leah all night until the dawn’s early light. He was not happy and confronted Laban. Jacob had just given seven years of his life for the woman he truly loved and now he’s stuck with Leah. Laban tells Jacob to hang in there for another week and then he could have Rachel, but, it would cost him another seven years. Jacob was a mighty good man to accept the deal – his love for Rachel truly ran deep. But then, the sister wars start and the baby competition begins. And the maids get involved and, well – sometimes the Bible reads like a cheap paperback novel or plays out like a soap opera – or a reality show.
My version of 5 Sins in the City revolves around the story of David and Bathsheba. Before my work schedule was changed and I had Sundays off, I made an effort to attend our Bible Study class with Dale Dodds. There was a handful of people who attended weekly and I believe I grew closer to them and felt comfortable enough to share some personal concerns, joys, frustrations and anything else that happened to pop into my little pea brain. I must tell you that I am way far from being well-read when it comes to the Bible. I would rather listen to someone read it to me than to dive into it on my own. I don’t get the thees, thuses and thous – who talks like that? So my new bible study pals helped me along.
Now would probably be a good time to tell you that I have a very twisted brain. Not long ago I saw an ad on tv that said if you had uncontrollable laughter or crying at times that are inappropriate you may have PBA. I started talking to my co-workers about my concern. You know what they told me? “Dana, you’re just twisted!” Even my mom thinks I’m twisted. It’s not that I laugh at the pain of others all the time – just certain things hit me as funny. Sports talk radio can get interesting in the middle of the night. Some time ago, I was lying there listening to the host tell about a man who lived in an upstairs apartment. Apparently, the couple that lived downstairs played their music too loud or had loud arguments all of the time. The man tried to reason with the couple to keep the volume down but to no avail. One night they woke him again with an argument. He got up and went into the kitchen where the noise was the loudest from below. He climbed up onto his kitchen table, thinking that if he jumped off hard enough he’d make a point. He jumped off the table and when he hit the floor, he broke both his sticks. I laughed out loud and couldn’t stop … the man ended up having to get the downstairs neighbor’s help to get to the hospital. It’s still just as funny to me today as It was when I first heard it.
So, it should come as no surprise that while sitting in bible study, my mind would start to wander during the readings and I’d start to giggle – I was taking the story and turning it into something that I could understand and relate to in my head, all by myself. The others would ask what’s so funny and I’d tell them my version. I kept promising them I’d write my version of the Bible.
My King David looks like David Draiman, the frontman for the Chicago-based band Disturbed. He’s a short Jewish man with a shaved head and a labret piercing. Kind of a hot, bad boy looking guy.
My Bathsheba looks like Lena Yada, a former pro wrestler. She’s a Japanese-American Jewish woman with long black hair and a gorgeous figure. A hot, naughty girl looking gal. And she’s married to David Draiman.
My Uriah, who is married to Bathsheba, looks a little like Lord Farquaad from the Shrek movie. He wants the girl, he gets the girl and then doesn’t know what to do with the girl once he’s got the girl.
In the story of David and Bathsheba, many sins are committed but in the end, all is forgiven and we live happily ever after.
In the springtime, the gang wars start up again after the long cold winter. David is the ringleader of Gang Israel. He’s got a right-hand man, Joab. This particular spring, David chooses not to go out with the gang. Sin one. Joab gathers up the gang, which includes Uriah, and heads out to have a rumble with Gang Ammonites.
Late one afternoon, David lit a cigarette and headed out onto the balcony. The jungle rhythms were in his head and the chant “gotta find a woman, gotta find a woman” (Troglodyte – 1973 – Jimmy Castor Bunch) were incessant. I just don’t understand why he thought he had to have another woman when he had numerous wives and baby mamas just chillin’ in the palace at his beck and call but you know guys … As he paced back and forth he noticed the girl next door. She was relaxing in the hot tub on the rooftop. David could not look away. Sin two. He just stared and stared and decided he had to have this woman. He hollered for his man servant Jose and told him to go next door and find out who this woman was and get her phone number. Jose dashed off and returned. “She doesn’t have a phone, but her name is Bathsheba and she’s married to Uriah, who is out on a rumble.” Jose was trying to prevent David from making a mistake by letting him know that Bathsheba was already married but David didn’t care. Sin three. “Go and get her – tell her we’ll have cocktails and dinner.” Jose brought Bathsheba back and left them alone. We’ll never know if Bathsheba tried to resist David or not, but the simple fact is the lights were dimmed and Barry White started singing in the background.
A week or so after that night with David, Bathsheba pounded on the palace door. David opened the door and she handed him a plastic stick with pink lines. “What does this mean?” David asked. “I’m pregnant.” David said, “don’t worry about it, I’ll take care of everything.”
David texted Joab and told him to send Uriah back to the city to have dinner with him at the palace. Uriah came and ate and David told him to go home to his wife and have a nice evening. Sin four. David should have taken the opportunity to step up, be the man, and tell Uriah that he’d slept with Bathsheba but didn’t. Uriah, being the faithful gangsta that he was, slept in the doorway, not wanting the comforts of his home or woman, when the other gang members were sleeping in a field.
When David heard that Uriah didn’t go home, he had to take more drastic measures. That night, David tried to get Uriah tanked and told him to go home to be with his wife, but Uriah passed out in the doorway and never made it home. Needing to cover his tracks and his actions, David texted Joab again. “I’m sending Uriah back to the gang. Make sure Uriah is wearing his finest gangsta gear and engage the Ammonites in a royal rumble. When the fighting gets hot and heavy, you and the other members fall back and let Uriah be the frontman. Got it?” “Sure, we’ll be behind Uriah 100 yards, er, that is, 100 percent.” Sin five. Premeditated murder. Uriah was killed and after Bathsheba had mourned the death of her husband, she became David’s wife and had a son.
Only when confronted by the prophet Nathan did David confess his sins. Surely the Lord had seen what David had done and sent Nathan to get the facts. Despite his way too late after the fact confession, the Lord took his son’s life as punishment. The Lord doesn’t mess around when it comes to so many sins not being confessed. David knew exactly what he’d done and accepted the punishment.
While I can put a 21st century language and visual spin on almost every story in the Bible, it seems to me that nothing has changed from King David’s time to now, no matter how you perceive it. One sin can lead to another, one lie can lead to another and so on and so on. Had David gone out with the gang to do battle, five sins would have been avoided. The bible is past, present and future.
And something else that hasn’t changed – God’s love, mercy, grace and forgiveness for us never ends. If we confess to Him that we’ve done something wrong forgiveness is ours. He doesn’t turn His back on us. He’s with us now and forever more. He’s right here, right now – and I pray that will never change – ever.
Thanks be to God. Amen.