In reading in the book of Samuel about the life of King David, and his encounter with Bathsheba I had to stop and ponder how such a thing might happen. I’m thinking, how does one so close to God end up in a situation like that.
So many of the Psalms express David’s deep passion and commitment toward God. David exudes such a love for Him. He talks about how he meditates on God’s Laws and how awesome and beautiful they are. Even God calls David a man after His own heart. So, what happened?
Well, I can’t say for sure, but we can certainly speculate about what might have happened. There’s no arguing that David loved God greatly, and was a man of deep passion. David was a warrior, a king, a poet, and a man’s man.
At the time this happened Israel was at war, but it seems David was no longer going out to the battles as he once did. He was back in his palace where everything seemed to be going rather smoothly. He had good generals and many mighty men taking care of things on the front lines which took a lot of the burden off of him. Life was pretty good, and David didn’t really have a lot to worry about at the time.
So let me ask you, what happens to us when our life goes on autopilot. What begins to happen when everything is going along smoothly? Do we find ourselves getting comfortable and backsliding just a little? Do we start letting out guard down a bit? Do we start following our own compass instead of our true compass, Jesus Christ?
It seems David let his guard down, and lost his way for a while. He became comfortable and relaxed. Let’s let the scriptures tell us what happened:
2 Samuel 11:1-3
11 It happened in the spring of the year, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the people of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem. 2 Then it happened one evening that David arose from his bed and walked on the roof of the king’s house. And from the roof he saw a woman bathing, and the woman was very beautiful to behold.
If King David would have taken a page from Joseph, one of the sons of Israel, he would have turned around, left, and let it go at that. But remember, David was a man of great passion and he had let his guard down. Let’s continue with the story:
2 Samuel 11:4-10
3 So David sent and inquired about the woman. And someone said, “Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” 4 Then David sent messengers, and took her; and she came to him, and he lay with her, for she was cleansed from her impurity; and she returned to her house.
At this point not only did David let his guard down, but he gave in to lust and committed adultery with another man’s wife. And if that wasn’t bad enough, he is hit right between the eyes with the results of his sin.
2 Samuel 11:5 And the woman conceived; so she sent and told David, and said, “I am with child.”
Wow, what are you going to do with that? You are the King of Israel, and a man that all the people adored and held in high esteem. So, what does David do? Does he repent in sack cloth and ashes for this sin? No, he tries to cover it up.
David sends for Uriah and tries to trick him into going into his wife to cover up what he had done, but Uriah is too loyal to his fellow soldiers and refuses to go into his wife while they are at battle.
At this point what’s David to do? He panics and decides to cover up his sin from the people by sending Uriah to the front lines to get killed.
2 Samuel 11:14-17
14 In the morning it happened that David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it by the hand of Uriah. 15 And he wrote in the letter, saying, “Set Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retreat from him, that he may be struck down and die.” 16 So it was, while Joab besieged the city, that he assigned Uriah to a place where he knew there were valiant men. 17 Then the men of the city came out and fought with Joab. And some of the people of the servants of David fell; and Uriah the Hittite died also.
So, not only do we have adultery here, but now we have a man killed to try and hide an egregious sin. David had put down his guard and forgot about his relationship with God. Life had been going good for him and he just started relying on his own importance instead of his deep need for relationship with God. So how does he finally realize the error of his way? It’s after hearing a story from Nathan the Profit that greatly angered him.
2 Samuel 12:1-13
12 Then the Lord sent Nathan to David. And he came to him, and said to him: “There were two men in one city, one rich and the other poor. 2 The rich man had exceedingly many flocks and herds. 3 But the poor man had nothing, except one little ewe lamb which he had bought and nourished; and it grew up together with him and with his children. It ate of his own food and drank from his own cup and lay in his bosom; and it was like a daughter to him. 4 And a traveler came to the rich man, who refused to take from his own flock and from his own herd to prepare one for the wayfaring man who had come to him; but he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.”
5 So David’s anger was greatly aroused against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the Lord lives, the man who has done this shall surely die! 6 And he shall restore fourfold for the lamb, because he did this thing and because he had no pity.”
7 Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. 8 I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your keeping, and gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if that had been too little, I also would have given you much more! 9 Why have you despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in His sight? You have killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword; you have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the people of Ammon. 10 Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’ 11 Thus says the Lord: ‘Behold, I will raise up adversity against you from your own house; and I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun. 12 For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, before the sun.’”
13 So David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.”
Although David repented deeply, and God continued to love David and even called him a man after God’s own heart, David never saw peace again in Israel. Many of the Psalms were written from David’s anguish due to enemies pursuing him, even one of his own children.
So, what’s my point? Well, my point is we need to be vigilant not to back slide and lose our way. Even when times are good, maybe especially then, we need to keep ourselves immersed in the word of God. We need to keep our guards up. We need to be doing things to bless the life of others. It’s not just about going to church and reading your bible either. We need to be lights in this increasingly dark world. We need to be making a difference where ever we find ourselves.
If David, a man after God’s own heart can commit such a sin, are we comfortable putting our guard down?
If you’d like to see a beautiful version of L. Cohen’s Hallelujah check this out: HALLELUJAH
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