Can the sin pattern of the king be broken by the Greatest King?
2 Samuel 11
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. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem.
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 bathing. 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.”
6 So David sent this word to Joab: “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” And Joab sent him to David. 7 When Uriah came to him, David asked him how Joab was, how the soldiers were and how the war was going. 8 Then David said to Uriah, “Go down to your house and wash your feet.” So Uriah left the palace, and a gift from the king was sent after him. 9 But Uriah slept at the entrance to the palace with all his master’s servants and did not go down to his house.
10 David was told, “Uriah did not go home.” So he asked Uriah, “Haven’t you just come from a military campaign? Why didn’t you go home?”
11 Uriah said to David, “The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in tents, and my commander Joab and my lord’s men are camped in the open country. How could I go to my house to eat and drink and make love to my wife? As surely as you live, I will not do such a thing!”
12 Then David said to him, “Stay here one more day, and tomorrow I will send you back.” So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day and the next.13 At David’s invitation, he ate and drank with him, and David made him drunk. But in the evening Uriah went out to sleep on his mat among his master’s servants; he did not go home.
14 In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah.15 In it he wrote, “Put Uriah out in front where the fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so he will be struck down and die.”
16 So while Joab had the city under siege, he put Uriah at a place where he knew the strongest defenders were. 17 When the men of the city came out and fought against Joab, some of the men in David’s army fell; moreover, Uriah the Hittite died.
18 Joab sent David a full account of the battle. 19 He instructed the messenger: “When you have finished giving the king this account of the battle, 20 the king’s anger may flare up, and he may ask you, ‘Why did you get so close to the city to fight? Didn’t you know they would shoot arrows from the wall? 21 Who killed Abimelek son of Jerub-Besheth? Didn’t a woman drop an upper millstone on him from the wall, so that he died in Thebez? Why did you get so close to the wall?’ If he asks you this, then say to him, ‘Moreover, your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead.’”
22 The messenger set out, and when he arrived he told David everything Joab had sent him to say. 23 The messenger said to David, “The men overpowered us and came out against us in the open, but we drove them back to the entrance of the city gate. 24 Then the archers shot arrows at your servants from the wall, and some of the king’s men died. Moreover, your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead.”
25 David told the messenger, “Say this to Joab: ‘Don’t let this upset you; the sword devours one as well as another. Press the attack against the city and destroy it.’ Say this to encourage Joab.”
26 When Uriah’s wife heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for him. 27 After the time of mourning was over, David had her brought to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing David had done displeased the Lord.
Have you ever seen change start to happen in your life or in the world, only to be disappointed by a setback that proves nothing really changed at all?
You’re not alone. Israel can relate.
God’s promises were starting to be fulfilled, then we come to verse 1: In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle… David remained at Jerusalem.
Huh? That’s strange. It’s the time when kings go out to battle. David stays home. Shouldn’t he be busy doing… well, “king things”? With so much hope pinned on David, the news is crushing for Israel: the sin of Adam continues. Nothing has changed.
David’s sin reflects the sin pattern we’ve seen since the beginning of God’s story. First, Eve. She saw that the tree was good, she desired to become wise, she took the fruit and ate it, then with Adam, hid themselves from God (Gen 3:6-8). Now, David. He sees Bathsheba, desires her beauty, takes her, and hides his sin by destroying a faithful servant. See, desire, take and hide – the sin formula since the beginning of time. Nothing has changed.
If we’re honest, the sin pattern is way too familiar. We see an opportunity. It offers something we desire: Success. Connection. Security. Intimacy. Freedom. Pleasure. Relief. Power. Validation. Vindication.
So we take it, and hide. We tell most of the truth, but omit the details which make us look bad. We find respectable reasons to avoid being in close relationship with other believers. We say “well the Bible isn’t clear on it, so it can’t be wrong.” We focus on the wrongdoing of others – “at least I’m not as bad as that guy…”
When I consider sin’s pattern throughout history and its identical pattern in my life, I feel helpless. Which is why I need the good news of God’s story:
Something has changed.
While David’s rule brings a taste of the blessing that God promised his people, it would not compare to the blessing under Jesus’ eternal rule. Jesus arrives as the new Adam – fully human, faced with the same opportunities we face. Jesus doesn’t take hold of opportunities to get the ‘good’ things they offer. Something has changed: Jesus gets it right. While David kills a faithful man to hide his sin, Jesus is the faithful man who never sinned and was killed for us. Something has changed: the pattern of sin has been broken. We find forgiveness through Jesus’ blood, and the power to change by the Spirit.
Head: What promises are being fulfilled during King David’s reign? What kind of king is David? How does Jesus do it better?
Heart: Is there an opportunity you’re faced with that looks desirable? What good thing does it seem to offer you? Are there ways in which you’re hiding your choice to take it?
Hands: Who could you talk to about the struggle of being faced with the opportunity to sin? Do you need to tell God (and/or someone) that you’ve been hiding something? What habit could you start to help you remember the good things Jesus has done for you and given you?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, you lived perfectly, then died a shameful death for the things in my life that brought me shame. Please remind me that knowing you and experiencing your presence in my life is the greatest delight my heart could long for. Forgive me for turning to other ‘good’ things. I need your help while I struggle against taking hold of them. Please strengthen me by Your Spirit today to live for you, my King.
A song to listen to: Only You Can Satisfy
This Grow Daily was originally posted as part of the Bible in 10 series in 2017. During the School Holidays we take the opportunity to look back at the best of Grow Dailys over the years.