David is one of my favourite characters from the bible. Continuing my study through the book of Samuel and going through the life of David from shepherd to King has been rich with lessons. But as I land on 2 Samuel 11, the story of David and Bathsheba, I almost do not want to linger on this part of his story. I am aware of the sin he commits and I did not feel like dwelling on the not so triumphant aspect of his story.
But if we stick to only the feel-good portions of scripture, we miss out on aspects of who God is. He is a God who does not tolerate sin, who disciplines those He loves, there are consequences to our choices and actions, but most of all we might miss out on the beauty of His forgiveness, mercy, grace and His love in light of our imperfections. And so, I was reminded that it is necessary to spend time on all parts of scripture with equal import.
In my previous post Let God Lead, we looked at David inquiring of the Lord and letting God lead his every decision and action. But in this instance, we see David keeping his desires above that of God which leads him down a path of sin.
In 2 Samuel 11:1a we read “In the spring at the time when Kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the King’s men and the whole Israelite army.”
David fought many battles and you would think that he earned the right to sit this one out, after all he was king now. But if we take note of the verse above, it says that ‘when kings go off to war’. If we look back at David’s story, he always led his men in battle, he took his God anointed role of shepherd, protector and king of the people of Israel seriously, he was always with them and yet this time when kings would normally be with their men at war, he was not.
We do not read of David staying back as a result of the Lord’s directive to do so. If this was callousness on David’s part of acting outside of God’s will, it provided an opportunity for Satan to get a foothold. The words of Galatians 5:16 come to mind “Walk by the spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”
For us: A reminder for us that this action of David does not look like blatant disobedience. But walking outside of God’s will starts with us not bothering to inquire of the Lord and placing our desires above HIS. That start of disobedience may be small but can lead us on a trajectory that distances ourselves more from God.
David sleeps with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah (verse 4). We do not read at this point of David showing any remorse for his actions. And his sin was not out in the open for all to know.
For us: Often just like David, we tend not to deal with some sin in our lives if it is not staring us right in the face. Unchecked sin can be an invisible barrier that prevents us from growing and staying close to God. But the Lord has a way of bringing forth that which we try to shove under the rug. In David’s case, Bathsheba became pregnant.
David scrambles for a coverup by sending for Uriah with the pretence of enquiring about the war. He persuades Uriah to spend a couple of days, but on both nights, Uriah does not go home to be with his wife, he chooses to sleep along with his men at the entrance to the palace.
In verse 11 Uriah says to David “The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in tents, and my master Joab and my Lord’s men are camped in the open fields. How could I go to my house and eat and drink and lie with my wife? As surely as you live, I will not do such a thing.”
These words by Uriah unbeknown to him were a rebuke to David’s actions. Uriah’s devotion to duty is in sharp contrast to David’s actions. God’s anointed King to his people chose to slake his own sinful desires over fulfilling his duty to that which he was called to.
Did these words from Uriah make David think about his own actions? We do not read of David showing any remorse yet.
For us: When we falter in any way, God in his mercy will use moments to remind us to stop and think about whether our thoughts and actions are aligned with those of God. May we not ignore those rebukes and reminders but recognise that even though they sting our conscience they are provided in His mercy and love so that we repent and realign ourselves with God.
David ends up ensuring that Uriah is placed in the front lines where the battle is fiercest and he succumbs to the sword of the enemy. David learns of this and shortly after marries Bathsheba. David at this point probably breathes a sigh of relief thinking that he had successfully managed a cover up. But in verse 27 we read “But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord.” David seems to have forgotten that he has yet to answer to God.
In chapter 12 we read of God sending Nathan to rebuke David and he truly repents of his actions. Even though God is merciful and forgives David, he still has to endure the consequences of his actions and David accepts the Lord’s decision.
David walked closely with God and yet had this moment where he succumbed to sin. 1 Peter 5:8 says “Be sober minded and vigilant, for your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” May we remember these words and know that we cannot rest on past laurels of not yielding to temptation, we need the Lord every day to stand firm in our faith and in our walk.
David misuses his God given royal power for personal ends – a reminder – that which God enables and empowers us with, unless in submission to God can be used by Satan as an instrument that leads us down a path of sin.
Assumption after walking with the Lord for a while can be dangerous – we are to always inquire of the Lord if what we are doing is in accordance with His will.
A small act of disobedience may seem harmful but unless checked can veer us on a path away from God.
David did not excuse or justify his actions when the prophet Nathan rebukes him. He acknowledges them and is truly repentant.
God wants each one of us to have a close relationship with Him, God never moved away from David but David did when he placed his sinful desire above that of God. God in His love and mercy, shone the light on David’s sin and refined him through that corrective process. God never forsakes us when we falter but lovingly disciplines and welcomes us back into fellowship with Him. But there should be true repentance in our hearts which are reflected in our actions.