Today’s Text of Encouragement:
“What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee. In God I will praise His word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.”
Psalm 56: 3,4
King James Version
Today’s Study Text:
“And Bathsheba bowed, and did obeisance unto the king. And the king said, ‘What wouldest thou?’”
1 Kings 1: 16
King James Version
“Tilling Soil or Throwing Mud”
“Injuries cost more to avenge than to bear.”
Have I ever had someone throw my past in my face?
How did it make me feel?
Have I ever resorted to tossing another person’s past in their face hoping to “get back” at them?
What were the results of my revengeful behavior?
“The noblest vengeance is to forgive.”
Henry G. Bohn
“Where you tend a rose, my lad, a thistle cannot grow.”
Frances Hodgson Burnett
In my own life, I can truly say that I have never met a person yet who told me they didn’t like to be in a garden. There’s something so restful, so calming and yes, so divine about sitting on a sunlit garden bench with the sound of birds chirping in the trees; flowers filling the air with their aroma; and the breeze rustling through the leaves of trees.
Throughout my life, even when for many years our family lived in apartment houses, thankfully, we were not that far away from some glorious garden location where I could breathe in, even as a young girl, the beauty of nature’s radiance.
In one particular garden in California called Descanso Gardens, which is still open today, Jim and I both were taken by our parents long before we knew each other. And after we married, we enjoyed several trips to this lush garden hideaway filled with roses, camellias and azaleas.
The quote I shared with you above took me, in my mind’s eye, back to the tranquil setting of Descanso Gardens and it impressed upon my mind the truth expressed by Frances Burnett.
Many times, as I traversed the well-groomed trails in Descanso Gardens, I watched as diligent gardeners energized the soil by tilling it, rolling the ground over and renewing the dirt with mixes of nutrients that kept bugs and mold and other pests from attacking the beautiful plants. With the well-cared for treatment of the vegetation, no weeds were able to encroach upon the healthy plants, which then would limit their potential to build a well-rooted system for collecting water and fertilizer. In other words, I was able to see, up-close, exactly how with tender care, beauty sprung from the earth. And yes, where a rose was planted and gently cared for, no thistle could take root and grow.
It is this basic lesson which is at the heart of the text we find in 1 Kings 1: 16. While this passage is about Bathsheba, a woman, to all God’s sons who come to the Garden each day, the same lessons from this Scripture passage can apply to your lives, too.
As we look at this text, we find Bathsheba coming to King David with a request. She wanted to get his word that Solomon would still be crowned king in spite of all the turmoil within the family and nation.
We need to remember, in this time in history, not all marital relationships were like God’s plan in Eden’s home where there was one couple, a man and woman, Adam and Eve. Instead, we find that David decided to incorporate the ways of the surrounding heathen nations into his homelife. If the kings of Moab, Amalek and the list goes on, could take multiple wives, David decided he could too – he was just doing what everybody else did.
Frankly, thinking that multiple wives with multiple children would make one big happy family either shows David’s naivety or stupidity, for this idea is so patently absurd! Especially when family infighting in those days usually ended at the tip of a sword -- one with blood on it!
Not only was it not common for women, especially in a monarchy, to have frequent and direct access to the king, as we will learn next year when we study the book of Esther. But it would be wise for us also to review the very complicated history between David and Bathsheba. To put their relationship on paper in common everyday terms, two married individuals had an affair, which resulted in what some refer to as an “illegitimate” pregnancy. Then to cover up the mess, David had Bathsheba’s husband murdered, after which he called her to the palace and married her, where she became one in a bevy of many wives. Once she had their child, conceived “out of wedlock,” the baby died, as the prophet Nathan told David would happen. And then as a follow-up, to soften the blow of the loss of her child, David “went in” to Bathsheba and they produced another child, Solomon.
Now I’m sorry, but to say that these two had a history would be an understatement. Just imagine that you were Bathsheba. What would your feelings be about David? Or if you are a man, and your wife was in David’s place, how would you feel?
The fact is that with this much water-under-the-bridge, the two of them, David and Bathsheba, had enough mud to throw at each other to turn the palace brown.
But here’s the beauty, the glorious wonder, of the heavenly gift of forgiveness. What I consider to be one of the most precious gifts our heavenly Father bestows upon us.
Rather than attack David, upon hearing the news of Adonijah’s assent to the throne, the Bible tells us that Bathsheba bowed and paid “obeisance” to David which in the Hebrew denotes honor given to royalty along with a spirit of humble reverence.
I have to tell you, I admire Bathsheba. After all she had been through, upon hearing the news that one of David’s other children had arisen to the throne she could have rushed in to David and accused him of reverting to some of his past behavior. She could have tossed a few word-bombs like, “Remember, you killed my husband, Uriah. What’s going on now you skunk! Are you trying to get me and our son, Solomon, killed, too? You know, that’s what Adonijah will do if he is king – he’ll murder us.”
However, this isn’t what Bathsheba did. Instead, she got “counsel” from God’s prophet, Nathan. Then before acting, she made a wise decision to follow the heavenly advice she had been given. And when she entered into David’s presence, putting aside any remnants of left-over pain or grief, she treated David with gracious kindness and respect.
This to me is another time when we uncover, here in the Garden, heavenly insight from God’s Word which illuminates our path and assists us in our relationships as we walk together toward our heavenly home.
What a beautiful example this interaction is between two people who could have turned this episode into a disaster. To all of God’s daughters, I’d like to offer this perspective on Bathsheba’s behavior. Her bowing and respect to David was not an act of groveling for God‘s girls are regal queens who never should demean themselves to try and get anything!
Rather, this was a respectful act, by a noble woman, who with God’s direction, through the prophet Nathan, treated God’s chosen king, David, in an esteemed manner. She chose to leave their past where God had put it, buried deep in the sea and wiped away by thick clouds of love.
I think that if you and I had met Bathsheba, we would find her to be a wonderful gardener, for in her life she tilled the soil of her relationships and where she planted roses, no thistles could grow. Let’s do the same. Working fertile ground with kindness, gentleness and respect reaps a much more beautiful harvest than throwing mud!
“Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.”
16th Century Poet
On Reflection: Seven Things I’ve Learned in the Garden
“1. From the hedge roses: When you remove the deadwood, the new growth can dance.
2. From the chives who jumped the fence: Weed carefully so that you don’t pull that which you didn’t know you had planted.
3. From the geraniums saved from last year: What appears to be dead may have life if it’s fed.
4. From the wrens: Young birds play; so should young people.
5. From the compost pile: Garbage, properly treated, becomes food.
6. From the lemon mint along the garden shed: Communicate – when someone else mows, they don’t know where you have planted.
7. From the hostas: God can work miracles in the darkness.
Mrs. Janet Hitchcock
“There’s no point in burying the hatchet if you’re going to put up a marker on the site.”
Sydney J. Harris
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.