The law was not designed to catch someone who has not turned their (evil) intentions into actions. It has to wait. So, it was possible to escape the law. David wanted to kill Uriah (you know the story). He didn’t have to do it directly. He arranged for those who will do it on his behalf. Left to the law, David didn’t kill Uriah; Joab and his men did by withdrawing from him at the heat of the battle. (Even that can be contested by shrewd lawyers in multiple ways).
But that was not the end of the story. What the law could not do, the Owner of the law did. God spoke through Nathan, the seer, not by invoking the law, but by dealing with a matter that the law was not equipped to address: His heart. Killing Uriah was a rather climactic action based on a series of previously activated set of actions. The following is a suggested detail of the beginning and progress of David’s action:
- David neglected his responsibility as the King to go to war at the time of war.
- He saw another man’s wife unclad in the bath while he was “killing” time.
- He continued to look on at that which was not meant for his eyes.
- He conceived intercourse with her in his heart.
- He sent his men to get her for him.
- He went in unto her.
- He then realizes that it was another man’s wife (not as if he didn’t know but lust had blinded him and dulled his spiritual sensitivity).
- He became worried of being caught as an offender by the law.
- He withdrew Uriah from the ongoing battle to conceal his sin. To his chagrin, Uriah turned him down, showing himself a better man than he.
- He sent him away with his death warrant because Uriah was too loyal to fear for his life.
- Uriah was killed.
These were the 11 likely chain of reactions. Using this calculations, he had done 10 evil things already before the law could find something to prosecute. Until the 11th action (which is even shrouded in mystery, except that God revealed it through the prophet), the law could not tangibly identify David’s offense. There was no evidence, as they say in law, except the letter sent to Joab, which would have been burnt, leaving the “forensic experts” with nothing to do.
When David was confronted with his sin, I can imagine all these 10 prior actions before the final 11th punching him in his heart, and he broke down before the LORD in repentance. It was not the law that did that job, it was the LORD of the law. The LORD dealt with the heart of the matter. But left to the law, it would have only pronounced him guilty of murder and he would have find a way to win the case, being the king, with the best of religious scholars and lawyers at his disposal, who can interpret the law in his favour.
The law is not bad, it is good; yet it is limited as an external document, which it is, when God wrote on the tablets of stones (Exodus 31:
However, God promised in the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34, Hebrews 8:7-13, 10:16-17) to write the law inside the heart of men. This is possible because God came in human flesh to obey the law and was never caught as an offender (John 14:30, Hebrews 4:15). As He died on the cross, the veil of the temple was rent from top to bottom, signaling the softening and opening of the heart of man for the King of glory to come in. To those who come to Him and believe, He comes into their heart to seat as King over their desires and High Priest over their weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15).
As King, He rules our passions; and as High Priest, He writes the law of His faithful LIFE on our hearts. “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Romans 8:3-4)
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Note: Unless otherwise stated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the King James Version.
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