2 Samuel 11:4  Then David sent messengers to get [Bathsheba].  She came to him, and he slept with her.  (She had purified herself from her uncleanness.)  Then she went back home.

The main function of the Old Testament in Scripture is to point us to Jesus, the Messiah and ONLY Saviour, by showing us how sinful we are, and how helpless we are to ever find our own way back to God in our own strength or by our own efforts.  Jesus told the parable about the Tenants of the Vineyard (Luke 20:9-18) to bear this out, and that his coming to earth to die for us was, in one sense, God’s ‘last resort’ (although HE really had it planned this way from all eternity – Revelation 13:8; 17:8).  Luke also tells us (24:27) how Jesus, “beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, … explained to [the two on the road to Emmaus] what was said in ALL the Scriptures CONCERNING HIMSELF”.

Nevertheless, the Apostle Paul gives us another purpose of the OT: “These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfilment of the ages has come.  So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” (1 Corinthians 10:11-12).  So he warns us all about how easy it is for even the best of us to fall into the subtle traps of the Devil.

A common way in which this can happen to us is that we become so concerned with outward appearances of doing the right thing, of ‘going through the actions’ of religious observance, that we convince ourselves that this somehow hides from God the real condition of our ‘totally depraved’ hearts, as the 16th Century Reformers defined us.  While her husband was far away, Bathsheba was going into her godly neighbour’s palace to be seduced by him into committing adultery, but Samuel tells us that she had made sure she was ‘ceremonially pure’ first!  If it wasn’t so sad it would be almost laughable!

But before we laugh too much, let us think deeply about how naturally prone we are to ‘cover up’ the tendencies of our sinful hearts by making a good outward show.  Another example of this sort of thing in Scripture is when the Jewish leaders in bringing their blatantly false charge against Jesus, “to avoid ceremonial uncleanness … did not enter [Pilate’s] palace; they wanted to BE ABLE TO EAT THE PASSOVER” – ceremonially CLEAN, but still hypocritical and rotten to the core (John 18:28)!  Unbelievable … but unconscionable!