Monday, January 30, 2012

Bathsheba's Beauty ~ A Message of Modesty


Bathsheba Mourns Her Husband by James Tissot
"And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king's house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon. And David sent and enquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite? And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her; for she was purified from her uncleanness: and she returned unto her house. And the woman conceived, and sent and told David, and said, I am with child." 
~ 2 Samuel 11:2-5
What description does the Scriptures give to Bathsheba other than that she was "very beautiful to look upon"?  There is no inclination that she was an "intentionally" evil woman but her name is always associated with scandal.

Oh, beautiful Bathsheba! Had she known the cost of her indiscretion, would she have walked in those same steps?  Just a few moments off guard brought sin and sorrow into her life! The death of her husband and future son… (We know that sin lies also with King David but we will let the men discuss his dastardly deeds.)

Scripture doesn't portray her a wicked women as it does Jezebel or Delilah so it seems like she simply fell into folly through her careless act of exposing her womanly flesh. That is indeed what started it all. What we consider to be a minor display of skin can be a major stumbling block to our brothers in Christ.

We know that the lust of the flesh is also a huge battle in the world today! Sadly, there is so much promiscuity out there that it is not only affecting the men of the world but also the brothers in the church. We must do our part as godly women and not add to the temptation by displaying our bodies for admiration. Scriptures says that if they even think on these things, men are sinning:
"But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." ~ Matthew 5:28
Wearing revealing clothing is the same style of sin as offering an ex-drunk, a taste of alcohal or one fighting an addiction to drugs, some heroine. You surely would not do that! So why would you offer a portion of yourself for viewing through immodest dress? We must tread delicately with our wardrobes as Scripture prescribes:
"In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works." ~ 1 Timothy 2:9-10
Had Bathsheba kept her beauty to herself and confined it to her "marriage bed" (Hebrews 13:4), many hardships and evils would have been removed from history. Of course, she may have not noticed she had an audience but a view from his side almost implies that if she was a cautious woman, she would have noticed prior to disrobing what could be seen from her side.  We wouldn't get undressed with our curtain or shades up, would we? 

Simply said, revealing the beauty of our bodies is a stumbling block for men and God is very careful to warn us about this.
"So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way." ~ Romans 14:12-14
Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak." ~ 1 Corinithians 8:9 
If eating meat was going to be a stumbling block for people (1 Corinthians 8:13), then Apostle Paul would have given it up less the weaker vessel stumble! Our love for our brothers in Christ can surely show through the giving up of low-cut, clingy shirts, tight fitting, and revealing clothing!

I hear many women put the blame on the men themselves saying that "they shouldn't be looking anyway", but why wear such clothes if that isn't exactly what you want them to do? (My intention is not to be harsh but to question the motivation behind dressing in an alluring way.)

Married Maidens

I have read a lot from the married sisters claiming that they dress as they do to please their husband (and it can sound like a godly concept) however, have they ever considered that they may be pleasing someone else's husband as well? Dress to please God!

Single Sisters

It is probably very enticing to dress to attract a spouse, however, the same situations applies to you. Are you not a "woman professing good works"? Of course, you want to present yourself in a feminine and fresh way but there is a difference between a pretty, Christian maiden dressing properly for God and a vixen who is using her wiles as a tool to attract admiration. The physical beauty of your flesh will one day grow old and you want to be bound with a man who is attracted to your pious character. You don't want to blind them with eye candy when you have so much more to offer.  Yes, I realize "chemistry" is a huge factor in finding a mate, but a sweet smile and sparkling eyes are very attractive features to display without compromising the word of God.

Bathsheba's Beauty

So, being beautiful wasn't truly Bathsheba's problem, it was the fact that she revealed it in front of another man who did not belong to her. Yes, she was on her own property, but boundaries of modesty are not given (except in the case of the "marriage bed" between a husband and wife of course!).

Dear sisters in Christ,

I pray you consider the word of God and choose to serve Him each day by dressing and conducting yourself like a "woman professing good works" for...

"Strength and honour are her clothing;
and she shall rejoice in time to come."
~ Proverbs 31:25

11 comments:

  1. This cannot be stressed enough! Even little girls clothing is often designed to be alluring, drawing attention to all the wrong places. Beautifully written and tastefully presented! Thank you for linking up!

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  2. Jes, this is such a wonderful post! Guys have a very difficult time with their eyes - we should take care not cause them to stumble. Attracting the wrong kind of attention is never a good idea.

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  3. I really loved your post today...some very wise words. I found your blog via the link-up over at Raising Homemakers :) Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather :)

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  4. Bathsheba may be have indescreet, but was probably practicing a common thing in those days...bathing on the roof. Consider, keeping a bath on the roof meant the sun of the day heated the water. It also probably usually meant more privacy than within the confines of the house which may have been just one room. What if her husband had guests over and Bathsheba needed to finish her ritual cleansing after her period. Perhaps her husband requested it of her, eager to have her in the marriage bed cleansed.

    Yes, we should be discreet and careful, but it was ultimately David's sin. David's sin caused the death of her husband and all that ensued.

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    1. Hi Kate!

      Thanks for your interest in this article!

      It is to my understanding that during the time of David & Bathsheba, the men were all at war against the children of Ammon (which would include Uriah, her husband, since he was one of David's "mighty men") but King David had "tarried still at Jerusalem"… (2 Samuel 11:1) so, it seems Bathsheba was alone at this point in her life. Also, when she was placed in the palace with the King, there is no mention of her retaliating against his advances either so I would still maintain that they were BOTH to blame.

      However, my desire was not to pinpoint who was more at fault in this unpleasant matter but to learn how WE, as Christian women can learn from the past… We can't control what King David has done, nor Bathsheba but I think we can all agree that we are NOW responsible for what WE are doing. My hope was to encourage modesty as a means of protection from many potential sins and/or sorrows…

      I do appreciate your comments!

      Yours truly,

      JES :)

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  5. Jes,
    This article was spot-on. Clothing is such a distraction here on earth. I can't wait until we are given our heavenly garb. With 4 girls at home, I am currently in the midst of influencing dress standards on a daily basis. I am grateful for their desire to please the Lord with their dress and I am cautious and prayerful as I attempt to lead by example.
    -The Homestylemom

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  6. I absolutely love what you have written here. You made very valid points and I loved that you used scripture to back it up, especially 1 Corinithians 8:9. Thank you for sharing this encouraging reminder for all of us ladies.

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  7. Cannot agree more. Every man is responsible for his own sin, but we should not make ourselves to add to their temptation!

    Visit me:
    LeeAnne, Style N Season
    http://stylenseason.blogspot.com

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  8. Although I understand the sentiment behind this article, I find the principal and precedent disturbing because the exact same idea that justifies Christian women’s modesty is used to justify the burqa in Islam. Are men so weak that they cannot handle looking at women’s skin? At what point, are men responsible for their own actions and morality?! To use Bathsheba as an example in 2016, seems antiquated and out of touch. When I read the story of Bathsheba, I see a story of a man using his power to take advantage of a woman and then saying it is her fault and even worse telling she is sinful and she should cover up. This reminds me of today’s rape culture.

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    1. Hi Unknown,

      I do see your point about the burqa in Islam. I think that the difference there is that the women are doing "the whole part and sacrifice" for both parties which is definitely unfair and unjustified and never called for in the Scripture. Ultimately man is responsible for his own sins and actions 100%. However, we still can't ignore the Scripture where we will be judged for being a stumbling block as well:

      "So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way." ~ Romans 14:12-14

      Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak." ~ 1 Corinithians 8:9

      Yes, David was in the wrong for what he did and God made sure He knew it and suffered. However, I wanted to share the story from a different angle-- The angle of prevention from the women's point of view. Bathsheeba was the best example found in the Scriptures and I wasn't trying to pick on her. Rather I was trying to learn from her situation to prevent sins and sorrows in our own lives or the lives of our fellow brothers. With all the scandal of men going on right now, I still think this appropriate and definitely not antiquated. Whether the culture was different in the Bible, the human nature remains the same.

      Thank you for sharing your concern about this article. I can see why you think in some areas as you do (and certainly in light of the current degradation of women in certain areas of the the Middle East). However, this article was written to women and certainly not the men (nor am I taking them off the hook, I simply am not addressing them in this article).

      Thank you for taking the time to comment!

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