Even though I knew it was coming at some point, today’s reading in 2 Samuel 11 was hard to read, it feels like a bad dream, but it shows us two things in particular. First, disappointment. Haven’t you grown to love and respect David’s character and his love and priority of the Lord? If so, you’ll feel totally disappointed today. Second, no one is perfect; no one is safe from sin and everyone has to fight against the desires of the flesh. Let’s get into what happened. David had basically restored peace to Israel at this point, but it wasn’t quite finished. David’s first mistake is that he knew the Lord called him to be a warrior and fight for Israel, but this particular battle, he sent his men ahead under Joab and stayed home. Strike 1. Basically bored at home, he goes to his roof and sees a woman, Bathsheba bathing. Instead of turning away, he gives into his lust a little more and sends a messenger down to learn more about her. Strike 2. The messenger comes back and tells David who she is, including that she is married to a man name Uriah, one of his loyal and dedicated soldiers. Well, slipping down the slope of sin, he has the messenger bring her to him. Don’t you want to just yell at David, “No, David! Don’t do it, turn and run!” But, he doesn’t. He sleeps with her committing adultery and then she went back home. Strike 3. But oh how I wish it stopped here. A little while later she notifies David that she is pregnant. Based on our reading we know this baby is David’s because she was doing a ritual cleansing (her bathing) after her period and Uriah, her husband was in battle. David, now feels he needs to cover up his mistake so the sinning goes on. Can’t you just feel all the moments God was giving him a chance to stop the sin spiral, but he was in too deep with this sin. David goes to the extent of talking to Uriah, he asks him questions about the war, he even tells him to go home. Of course he wants Uriah to go home so he will sleep with his wife Bathsheba and then it could be covered up that this child is his, not David’s. But, Uriah stays loyal to the soldiers and tells David it wouldn’t be fair to everyone else to go home. So David goes on to invite him in to the palace, he gives him food and gets him drunk, but Uriah still doesn’t go home, he stays with the soldiers. So, David now stuck in his sin, takes it one step further and has a note sent to Joab to put Uriah in the front lines of fighting “then withdraw from him so he will be struck down and die.” (v.15) And Joab completes the order. Now David has committed adultery and murder. David is the one who sinned, but he put both Joab, Uriah and Bathsheba in a bad situation. After Uriah dies, Bathsheba mourns for her husband, then after mourning David takes her as his wife and she has their first son. Then scripture tells us today’s verse.
Just because of who David was, does not mean that God didn’t see or bypassed or ignored David’s sin. Our verse says, “the thing David had done displeased the Lord.” We can see that nobody is perfect. Sin and desires of our flesh are a part of us, but it’s in how we handle or respond to the temptation of sin. I love what our application tells us about what to do when we are tempted. “To flee temptation, (1) ask God in earnest prayer to help you stay away from people, places and situations that may temp you. (2) Memorize and meditate on portions of Scripture that combat you specific weaknesses. At the root of most temptation is a real need or desire that God can fill, but we must trust in his timing. (3) Find another believer with whom you can openly share your struggles, and call this person for help when temptation strikes.” And just like when he lied back in 1 Samuel, I know we are going to see consequences for David’s sin.
Journal about a time that you started to feel temptation to sin. What was the first thing you did? Pray or inquire more? Did that choice start to lead you on a slippery path or did you flee from it? Was there a second sin that occurred because of the first sin? Do you feel more confident that now you could face that temptation and flee from it straight to the Lord? What could be a different response for you when you face that temptation again?
Heavenly father, we know the desires of the flesh and our tendency to sin is real. You know it, too. You made us! Lord, help us to learn from David. Help us to see that we can stop sinning, that we don’t have to sin and then try to fix our mess by continuing to sin. Help us to come before you in honest and open prayer when we start to feel tempted. Help us to tuck scripture and bible stories into our hearts so we can overcome our weaknesses with your words. And place people in our lives that are going to be in line with you, not in line with what the world is going to tell us is okay. Allow us to build friendships based on trust and truth that we can rely on when we start slipping without judgement. We see all the opportunities you gave David to run from his sin, when we are caught up in a sin, open our eyes, our ears, our hearts to hear you tell us to stop. Protect us from allowing our hearts to harden and not being able to see we are in sin. And Lord, in our sin help us to come before you with it and soften our hearts to ask for forgiveness so we can be right with you, the ultimate desire for us. In your gracious name we pray, AMEN!