“And Uriah said unto David, ‘The Ark, and Israel and Judah, abide in tents; and my lord, Joab, and the servants of my lord are encamped in the open fields; shall I then go into mine house to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? As you live, and as your soul lives, I will not do this thing'” (II Samuel 11:11).
There is something very noble in the heart of Uriah that is worthy of note and contemplation in our day of self-centeredness, ease and entitlement. Uriah is a man of great honor, discipline and protocol, from whom we can learn great lessons in our service to our King, if we dare to divine his nature.
Uriah was of Hittite birth, the name of whom means light of Jehovah. Uriah rose to high honor and was one of the thirty commanders of the thirty companies into which the Israelite Army under King David was divided. He served under Joab in the battles against Ammon at the siege of Rabbah, the chief city of the Ammonites. Uriah was a soldier, a warrior, and a leader of men. His austere and self-denying character were evident in his response to David’s invitation to dine at the king’s table and go home to his wife; whereupon he “slept at the door of the king’s house with all the servants of his lord and went not down to his house” (II Samuel 11:9).
Uriah was a solitary man, who served with dignity for his King. He was a humble and faithful husband to his beautiful wife, Bathsheba. The Prophet Nathan metaphorically describes him as a poor man who owned nothing but had one little ewe lamb which he had bought and nourished, who grew up with him and ate of his food and drank from his cup and lay in his bosom and was unto him as a daughter (cf. II Samuel 12:3).
The heart of Uriah is a special heart that is precious in the sight of the Lord. Those with the heart of Uriah, the light of Jehovah, are, however, at risk from duplicitous deceivers, liars, murderers and thieves. David, ostensibly called Uriah from the battlefield to Jerusalem to hear a report from a commander of how the battle fared; but deceptively he called him as a cover for his own sin with the commander’s wife, Bathsheba, hoping it would appear Uriah was the father to the son soon to be born of her. When the ruse was foiled by the noble heart of Uriah, he was compelled by David to carry on his own person the orders to his leader, Joab, of the battle plan of his own death at the hands of his enemy, the Ammonites, whose arrows pierced him through at the wall of the city gates (cf. II Samuel 11:14).
The heart of Uriah is a heart of love for his Lord and his companions, a love that “seeks not its own way” (cf. I Corinthians 13:5); a love that looks “not on his own things, but on the things of others” (Philippians 2:4); it is a self-denying love that sacrifices its own pleasures for the greater good of all.
The heart of Uriah truly is a light of Jehovah for it shows the light of Christ in love, loyalty and self-denying devotion to the Father and is obedient unto death.
Of course, the heart of Uriah is not mentioned in our stories and lessons of glory and victory and exaltations of our Bible heroes, icons and legends; for of necessity, it is the self-effacing and hidden nature of Uriah’s heart to have it so.