Although not perfect, David has been a great King for Israel so far, defeating their enemies. But now, he turns out to be his own greatest danger.
2 Samuel 11:2-5
2 One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman washing. The woman was very beautiful, 3 and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, ‘She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.’ 4 Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (Now she was purifying herself from her monthly uncleanness.) Then she went back home. 5 The woman conceived and sent word to David, saying, ‘I am pregnant.’
When I read this story, I can’t help but wonder what was going through David’s mind when this all happened… Did he struggle against this temptation? Or was it easy? What about after? Was he remorseful?
I ask these questions because I’m disappointed. On the whole, David has been the king who hasn’t taken, even when he could’ve. He’s God’s king, a man after his heart. Yet here we get this cold, matter-of-fact account of his devastating sin.
It reminds me of when Adam and Eve take the fruit in Genesis 3. Once taken, there’s no going back. It’s that horrible moment when you know you’ve made a mistake you can’t fix. The sinking stomach, the panic. I wonder if that’s how David felt.
But we don’t get the details. We don’t know why he stayed home from battle in 5:1- but we’re a little suspicious when we see him reclining and strolling (v2) while we know his men are fighting. We’re wishing he’d look away when he sees the woman bathing. We will him to stop when he finds out she’s married. We wonder what it means that he sent men to get her- did he use his influence? Or force? Did she resist? We don’t know. But we know that David took. Just as God warned the people their king would do in 1 Samuel 8.
And we soon realise that David will have to face the music. She’s pregnant. And it’s his. She was bathing to cleanse from her “monthly uncleanness” (her menstrual period), meaning this baby is David’s, not her absent husband’s.
David is a good king, a good guy. But left alone to himself, he falls headfirst into sin. He can’t be trusted with himself. And if he can’t, we can’t either. We are our biggest danger when it comes to sin. Our nature, like David’s, like Adam’s, is to take for ourselves. This is particularly true when it comes to sexual sin. Our world has taught us that sex is about us. This gift God intended for husbands and wives to give to each other, becomes something we take for ourselves.
This is a tragic story. David, though a great king, couldn’t be trusted to rule the people or even his own heart. In God’s grace, he’s given us a new King, Jesus, the king who was without sin (Heb. 4:15,
2 Cor. 5:21). Only he is fit to rule, and only he can forgive us for our sin and equip us fight against our sinful nature.
Head: How does Jesus’ sinless life, his death and resurrection help you fight sin in your life?
Heart: What are you taking that isn’t yours? Take this opportunity to particularly reflect on sexual sin (but other sin too!). Is your gaze lingering on sexual images or sexual thoughts? Are you taking what you shouldn’t?
Hands: Confess to God (and Christian brothers/sisters where appropriate) what you identified above. Thank God for forgiveness through Jesus; the perfect, sinless king. Ask for help in continuing to fight your sinful nature.
Father, this story of David is the story of all humanity. From Adam and Eve, to me. I confess that I regularly act on my sinful impulses to take what is not mine. I confess my sexual brokenness and thank you that Jesus has died and risen to forgive me and give me new hope in fighting sin. Thanks, that Jesus is the perfect, sinless King- the only one who can truly rule our broken lives. Father help me to keep coming to you in my brokenness, with tears over my sin and joy over your grace. Thank you that you always accept a broken and contrite heart approaching you in repentance. Thank you in Jesus name, amen.
A song to listen to: Mercy Mercy
Living Church City South