“In the spring of the year, the time when kings go forth to battle, David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they ravaged the Ammonites, and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem.” 2 Samuel 11:1
It is interesting how easily sin slips into our lives. With David it all starts with him being somewhere where he shouldn’t have been—home. It is the time when “Kings” go forth to battle, not sit at home while their armies go to war. King David’s place was at the battlefront with his army, not reclining at home, bored and with nothing to occupy his mind.
“It happened, late one afternoon, when David arose from the couch and was walking upon the roof of the king’s house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful. And David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, ‘Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?’ So David sent messengers, and took her; and she came to him, and he lay with her. (Now she was purifying herself from her uncleanness.) Then she returned to her house. And the woman conceived; and she sent and told David, ‘I am with child.’” 2 Samuel 11:2-5
Now David is in a mess. He has a fling with this woman and now she is pregnant. Notice David didn’t plan to have an affair with his friend’s wife “It happened, late one afternoon,” that David spotted Bathsheba bathing and instead of turning away he lingered. His eyes led to his heart and his heart to lust and his lust to action. The next thing he knows she is in his bed and what was suppose to be an evening of joy and passion, turned out to change David’s life for the worse.
Because David was in the wrong place at the wrong time he encounters Bathsheba and instead of self-control and respect, he allows lust and passion to control his every thought. How often in life sin begins with a thought, letting our minds dwell on what we should walk away from.
David watched Bathsheba and his arousal drove him to enquire after her name, and finding out who she was he had her brought to him and slept with her. Uriah, her husband, was a man David knew well. He was one of the mighty men of valor who guarded and fought for David throughout the years David lived in the wilderness on the run from King Saul. David owed this man so much and instead he took not only his wife, but his life from him.
Verses 6 through 13 are some of the saddest texts in Scripture concerning how far a man like David could fall in his pursuit to cover up his sin. And that is another problem with sin, we are constantly trying to find ways around it; we excuse it, make stupid decisions based upon it, or we connive and scheme, like David, how to escape its consequences.
David’s plan was simple. He called Uriah back from the battlefront to receive a report on how the war was going. Then he sent him home to eat, drink and surely to make love to his wife Bathsheba. That is what David would have done, but Uriah the Hittite was made of different stuff. Instead of going home he slept “at the door of the king’s house”. (v. 9) Dave expected to wake up in the morning and find out that Uriah had gone home to Bathsheba and when she gave birth, of course, Uriah would believe it was his child conceived that night.
When he found out Uriah wouldn’t sleep with Bathsheba because he wouldn’t take pleasure while his friends and fellow soldiers were fighting and sleeping in the open air without comfort or their wives, he thought of another plan. “And David invited him, and he ate in his presence and drank, so that he made him drunk, and in the evening he went out to lie on his couch with the servants of his lord, but he did not go down to his house.” 2 Samuel 11:13
We don’t have time in this post to contrast the characters of David and Uriah but, what a contrast! David, always scheming to cover his sin, gets Uriah drunk and that way he thinks maybe Uriah would go home to Bathsheba, but Uriah is a man of principle and honor and he doesn’t go to her. David, seeing his plan to play upon Uriah’s love for his wife or getting him drunk doesn’t work, he sets upon a plan to have his friend killed.
You can read about the plot and how it was carried out in verses 14-25 of 2 Samuel 11. This plot to kill Uriah to cover up his own sin involves manipulating his general Joab into going against his conscience and doing the dirty work for David. It also involved the death of a number of innocent soldiers who were killed with Uriah.
This whole steamroller of sin upon sin all started with David being where he shouldn’t have been and his inability to control his lust. What he thought would be a simple romp in the hay with the neighbor lady has now drug his greatest general into the mess, caused the death of good soldiers, and ended up in murder.
Into this folly steps the prophet Nathan. And he tells David a story about a man who has many sheep and a man who has only one lamb (2 Samuel 12:1-6) and how a traveler comes to visit the rich man and in order to show hospitality to the stranger the rich man kills a lamb to feed his guest. The problem is it isn’t his lamb he kills, but the lamb of the man who only has one. And upon hearing the story David goes into a rage against the rich man.
“Then David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, ‘as the Lord lives, the man who has done this deserves to die, and he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he has no pity.’” (italics supplied) 2 Samuel 12:5-6”
“Nathan said to David, ‘You are the man.’” 2 Samuel 12:7a Nathan goes on to list David’s sins and the consequences of his actions for the nation (v. 7-12) David is crushed and he cries out, “I have sinned against the Lord.” (v. 13) And Nathan answers, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die.” (v. 14)
Think about that for a moment. Forgiveness was instantaneous. Nathan didn’t have to think about it, or go back and consult further with God. In response to David’s confession and repentance he was forgiven. Because David has set in motion this series of sins there will be terrible consequences for him, his family and the nation, but David is forgiven.
You and I might think that is unfair. How is it possible that God can show such mercy to David when he has betrayed everything good around him? Adultery, murder, cover-ups, betrayal of friends, involving others in his plot, innocent blood spilled, not to mention lust and a lack of self-control and loyalty were his legacy concerning Bathsheba.
But from the story we shouldn’t be surprised at the mercy and grace of God towards a repentant sinner. We receive that same kind of forgiveness every day of our lives. If the truth were known, we are not much different from David. We are capable of greater sin and depravity than we can ever imagine but God is capable of greater mercy and love than we can ever imagine. Nothing you have done can make God love you less, and nothing you can do can ever make Him love you more than He does. He knows our hearts are, “exceedingly wicked,” but He loves us anyway.
When we repent of our sins we are forgiven. Unfortunately, for us there are consequences for those sins because we live in a real world. You murder someone, and ask forgiveness you are forgiven, but you will have to go to jail and serve your time. But, the consequences we face here are minor in comparison to knowing our sins are forgiven, we are right with God and eternity awaits us with open arms.
If you want to know how David felt about being forgiven from his sins, read Psalm 51.
* Folks, the persecution of Christians has not stopped. If anything it’s increased. The main stream media doesn’t talk about it much anymore but that doesn’t mean it’s not happening. Pray and stay informed and inform others. Please take the time to read some of their stories at http://thebeggardanced.com/nine-oclock-club/ there is much more on the internet…