There is much good to say about David; his walk with God was unbelievable, unlike Saul he always sought out God’s advise for wars and even the most simple of decisions, the psalms are full of his prayers and praise to God, and yet one time he did not seek God’s advice and it cost him dearly.
2 Samuel 11:1 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.
The first thing I notice in this devastating account is that David stayed home during wartime. If you study out 1 Samuel and the beginning of 2 Samuel, one of the reasons David won his peoples’ favor is BECAUSE he led Israel in their campaigns. However, in a lapse of judgement, he decided to stay home this time. Not going out would cost him more than he imagined.
In my own life, I have to let this sink in. The times we’re more susceptible to sin are most especially those times in which we’re already not doing something that we should be doing. Those “lazy days” off can be exactly what drags you into darker sin than you can imagine.
Proverbs 18:9 One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys.
Honestly, this is something to consider when you don’t feel like doing the work you’ve been called to do. If David had just gone to war with his people, the rest of this post wouldn’t exist. However, worse things unfolded than laziness.
2 Samuel 11:2-5 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, 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.” 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. The woman conceived and sent word to David, saying, “I am pregnant.”
In his lustful and lazy desires, David saw a woman bathing and we see that even the man after God’s own heart falls into deep sin by sleeping with another man’s wife. David, knowing the depths of God’s forgiveness easily could have repented at this point, faced Uriah and begged for his and God’s mercy. Instead, he went to great lengths to cover up his sin by trying to bring Uriah home from war. He hoped that Uriah would sleep with his life and then think that the child was his, but Uriah on his honor would not go inside his house when the Lord’s men were still at war. Once his original plan failed, David came up with an even greater sin to cover the first.
2 Samuel 11:14 In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah. 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.”
It has always hurt my heart and amazed me to see that such a man of God would allow his sins to run as deep as murder. However, this is a heart check for all of us. One sin always leads to another if not confessed. Laziness led to lust, lust led to adultery and adultery led to murder. It’s so easy for one “little sin” to multiply and destroy our lives. But something else caught my eye in this story. Long before his sin of laziness, something else must have entered David’s heart to allow such temptation to get in there.
In 1 Samuel 25, you find the story of David, Nabal and Abigail. Nabal refused to help David and his army, almost causing David to avenge himself by killing Nabal’s whole household. God worked through Abigail to spare David from bloodshed and she brought them the provisions they needed. Later on, God carried out his own wrath against Nabal;
1 Samuel 25:38-39 About ten days later, the Lord struck Nabal and he died. When David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, “Praise be to the Lord, who has upheld my cause against Nabal for treating me with contempt. He has kept his servant from doing wrong and has brought Nabal’s wrongdoing down on his own head.” Then David sent word to Abigail, asking her to become his wife.
The heart of David’s sin with Bathsheba is that he tried to push God’s hand, and when that didn’t work, he played God. One of his wives was given to him because God struck down her evil husband. However, this was not the case with Uriah, and David was determined to get what he wanted. Since David couldn’t see God killing Uriah, he did it himself.
This blew my mind when I figured it out. How many times do we see God do things a certain way and try to force it to happen again? God can work through circumstances, but circumstances don’t guarantee that you’re getting what you want.
The rest of the story is just as incredible as the the beginning. In 2 Samuel 12, we see the prophet Nathan rebuking David for his sin and exposing the very heart of it; David was unsatisfied and sought to please himself instead of asking God.
2 Samuel 12:8-10 I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you all Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more. Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.’
It amazes me how God said “If all this had been too little, I would have given you even more.” He wasn’t trying to limit David in the first place, but David took things into his own hands instead of coming to God about how he felt unsatisfied. As the rest of the chapter reveals: David and Bathsheba’s first child dies shortly after being born, you can read David’s lament over his sin in Psalm 51, Bathsheba bore another son; Solomon, who would build the temple and be the wisest man to ever live. However, the sword never left David’s house. David’s son Amnon raped his own sister and was later murdered by his brother Absolom who went on to form a conspiracy against his own father, David. Absolom was later killed by one of David’s men.
This is one of the most challenging pieces of David’s story to me, but it has always helped my heart when I struggle with sin. No matter how enticing it may seem (yes, even laziness), the consequences are never worth it. David’s repentance was true and we can all hope to have the same heart when we realize the sin we’ve brought on ourselves:
Psalm 51:9-10 Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
When you are feeling unsatisfied, I hope that this serves as a reminder that taking things into our own hands is not the way to get what we want. Instead, stay open and go to God immediately.
To God be the Glory,