Week 20 Devotion
This week the story of David is going to take a very decisive turn and it all hinges on David’s sin with Bathsheba. Last week we read of David’s victories in battle and about his kindness to the son of Jonathon, but this week we read about his fall from God’s favor as he commits adultery and murder and then has to face the consequences of his actions.
David’s story began when he was just a boy and had been anointed by Samuel as the next king over Israel. Then he took on larger than life status as he defeated Goliath and became the most successful general in Saul’s army. The people began to sing his praises but before long he found himself on the run from the jealousy of the king. But even then God protected David.
After Saul died and David rose up to finally become king, the blessing of God upon his life and rule was evident. Military victories came one after another. The nation of Israel was able to secure her borders. A capital city was established in Jerusalem, the Ark of God was brought back into the midst of the people and then God made a covenant with David to establish his kingdom forever.
We can look on this first half of David’s life as his time under the favor of God, but the next section of David’s life will be marked by his time under the discipline of God. But what happened to cause this shift from God’s favor to God’s discipline?
Here is something to Meditate on…
In 2 Samuel 11, the shift takes place and we find out early on that something is wrong. It’s spring time and this is the time when kings are normally going out to war but David is not where he should be. He is home in Jerusalem. This is the first sign that something is out of place. He should be out with his men, sleeping under the stars, meditating on the Torah and shoring up battle plans that will help secure peace in Israel. Instead, David is resting in his new palace while his men are at war.
Next, we read that “late one afternoon, when David arose from his couch and was walking on the roof of his house, he looked over and saw a woman bathing; and he noticed that she was very beautiful.” Again, the point is being made that David is not where he should be. His men are arranged in battle formations, sleeping in tents and maintaining a war-time intensity in their lives, but David is at home on his couch. And when he pulls himself up from his rest he goes up to the roof to watch his friend’s wife taking a bath.
I know that this story is well-known to most of us but if we can get past our familiarity then maybe we can see just how shocked we should be at what we are reading. Yes, David is a man which means that His heart is filled with sin just like the rest of us, but this is completely unlike the David we have come to know. He has been a man after God’s own heart. He has been a man willing to put his very life on the line for the glory of the Lord. This is a man that fought the urge to defend his own life in order to honor the anointed king Saul. But here we see that David is not where he should be, he is dishonoring the commitment of his men, and he is about to commit grievous sin against one of his closest friends.
David knew Urriah. Urriah the Hittite was one of David’s personal body guards and even if he didn’t know that Bathsheba was Urriah’s wife in the beginning, it becomes apparent early enough that David still had time to walk away and repent. But he didn’t repent. He should have recognized the situation and turned away but instead, he indulged his desire and had his servants bring Bathsheba to him. He gave in to the temptation of his flesh.
Then sin becomes multiplied. They commit adultery with one another, she gets pregnant and David comes up with an elaborate scheme to try and hide their sin. When his plans fail David sends Urriah to his death on the battle-field and it was the sinful king himself who signed Urriah’s death warrant.
The story is not over but at this point, it would be wise for all of us to take the time to meditate on what we’ve seen so far. David has had plenty of red flags waving at him but he has ignored them all. To begin with, he was not in the right place, he was not doing the right thing, not seeking to honor the Lord, his friendship or his position as king; but David ignored all the signs. And if we are honest, most of the time when we fall into sin it’s because we did the same thing.
There were plenty of signs that we needed to turn back but we didn’t. There were plenty of people telling us to go another direction but we ignored their counsel. Our sin doesn’t take us by surprise but rather it grows in us as we harden our hearts against the counsel of the word, our friends and the Spirit of God.
We need to learn how to guard our hearts against minor things becoming major sins. We need to be honest with ourselves about what we are doing, why we are doing it and where it will lead if we don’t stop and seek the Lord. Take the time to read over David’s sin with Bathsheba and recognize all the places where he had a decision to make and made the wrong one. Then spend some time thinking through your own current life situation and try to identify the decisions in front of you that will lead to honoring God or that might lead you into sin.
Here is something to discuss…
In 2 Samuel 12, we see the aftermath of David’s sin continue to cause destruction in his life, his family and eventually in the nation of Israel. Chapter 11 ends with this phrase, “But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord.” David thought that he had put a nice bow on the situation but our sin will find us out. God was displeased with David and He sent the prophet Nathan to rebuke the wayward king.
Nathan tells a convicting story and in the end, confronts David over his sin with Bathsheba. But the lasting impact is seen in that there will be consequences for what David has done. Sometimes the consequences are natural and sometimes they are supernatural but there are always consequences when we sin against God. In this case, God is going to let David experience the destruction that sin brings. His child is going to die, His family is going to become fractured, and the nation will be weaker as a result.
Take some time to discuss the consequences of David’s sin that we read in 2 Samuel 12:7-15. Then as you continue reading throughout the week notice how the discipline of the Lord follows David from this point forward. Then as difficult as it may be perhaps we can discuss the consequences of our own sin. The point of such a discussion would not be to place an unnecessary focus on our past but to see how unintended and painful consequences can result from our sinful decisions.
Here is something to pray about…
One of the things that we can take comfort in through the story of David’s sin is that God’s mercy does not depart from the king. David feels the consequences keenly but he also experiences the steady grace of God. He and Bathsheba are able to have another son and his name is Solomon or Jedidiah in the Hebrew, which means, “Beloved of the Lord.” The love of God was not taken from David and the promise that God made to him did eventually come to pass.
But all of this produced in David a deep sorrow over his sin and this sorrow is recorded for us in Psalm 51. Take the time to read over this psalm this week and pay special attention to the progression of David’s repentance. His sorrow is real but it does produce the fruit of repentance as well as restoration. By the end of the psalm, David is ready to share his story of God’s grace to others so that they can avoid the same mistakes that he made.
That should be our prayer this week. Let’s pray that we can learn from this episode in David’s life how to repent quickly, how to seek the Lord early when temptation comes our way, how to own our sin when it happens and not make things worse, and how to journey through repentance to the point of full restoration and renewed joy.