Living in a world full of temptations, constantly attacked by Satan and seriously weakened by the “flesh” (indwelling corruption), there is much that we can and ought to learn from David’s sin (2Sam.11). Surely it is the third most infamous sin, after the crucifixion of Christ and Adam’s fall? David, who is described as a man after God’s own heart, showed amazing faith in confronting Goliath, his Psalms display deep devotion, he is a type of Christ and father of the Messiah, yet he brings much misery upon himself, his family and his country. Sin is easy and disastrous.
Avoiding the war He stayed at home when the Lord’s people went out to fight. All men of God are to be soldiers. They must follow the Captain of the host into the battle and make no treaty with the enemy. The church militant is involved in an ongoing campaign against all evil. Fighting for the King, His crown and glory, they strive to bring all nations and individuals into subjection to Him. Leaving the war to others David showed that his love for God was growing cold.
Forgetting the soldiers His love for God’s people was also in decline. The soldiers were fighting and dying but the king is on his bed. He has a long siesta, gets up in the evening and walks lazily on the flat roof of the palace. He ought to have been praying for the war and busily involved in the affairs of state. The sheep are in danger but the shepherd is sleeping.
Watch and pray Satan goes about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. Sometimes he comes as an angel of light to deceive. We are constantly warned to be on our guard. Satan always finds things for idle hands to do. But David sleeps and then walks lazily on the roof. He has forgotten that he is involved in spiritual warfare.
Temptation Some guilt can be laid on the woman. She was not as careful as she could have been. She washed herself in full view of the palace. Perhaps she was proud of her beautiful body and happy to show it off. Some women are unaware of how tempting the way they dress and behave can be to men. We live today in a ‘vanity fair’ where tempting the opposite sex is considered praiseworthy but God loves modesty.
David sees The lust of the flesh is fed through the eyes. 80% of the information we gather comes through them. Lust when it has conceived brings forth sin. Jesus warns: “If thy right eye offend thee [cause you to sin], pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell” (Mt.5:29). Drastic action is required. David when he spotted this woman should have turned away immediately, indeed run for his life. We are warned to flee from idols and we should also flee from lusts. Joseph when similarly tempted fled leaving his coat behind.
David’s conscience We can imagine that voice inside him saying, ‘Don’t look! Turn away!’ Yet David may have argued that there was nothing wrong with looking and admiring the beauty which God has created. David thinks it would be interesting to find out who she is. His conscience would warn him not to ask but to busy himself with something else. David decides that he would like to meet and talk to her. There would be nothing sinful in that, he argues.
It goes too far Reject the voice of conscience, play with sin and temptation and before long you will be ensnared. Satan and the flesh will suggest many excuses: ‘It’s just a little sin. It’s not really hurting anyone. No one need find out. It’s just a meaningless act. Others are doing it. I am the king, I can do what I like’.
God sees what has happened. Things start to go wrong. The woman conceived. If only at this point David had repented, confessed his sin to the Lord and pleaded for mercy. Sadly the sin was made a thousand times worse by the cover-up and that led to great suffering for himself and others.
Sends for Uriah David enquires of Bathsheba’s husband Uriah how the war is going but his interest is not in the war. He then sends Uriah to his home followed by a feast. But Uriah is a godly man. In comparison to David he was a nobody yet in this matter he is an outstanding example of the man of God. His attitude is quite different from David’s. He sleeps with the servants at the palace door. David asks him the next day why he did not return home. He replies that while God’s people are engaged in warfare and sleeping in the open fields he will not go to his house, feast and lie with his wife. He is a soldier of the Lord.
Made him drunk How wicked it is of the King! He tries to break down Uriah’s moral strength with alcohol. But again it does not work. Uriah sleeps the next night also with the servants.
A letter David writes to Joab the commander, telling him to set Uriah in the forefront of the army and then to retreat from him so that he will be killed. He then gives the letter, this death sentence, to Uriah to carry to Joab. How cynical! He cannot bring himself to slay the godly Uriah so he will get the Ammonites to do it and he forgets God.
What a witness Joab was a ruthless and wicked man. Had he not killed Abner in cold blood and later murdered Amasa? You can imagine Joab reading the letter and having a little sneer to himself: ‘So what is old David up to now? Aha, he is not so holy after all!’ What a disgrace to the cause of God and all for the sake of saving David’s pride!
Uriah dies Joab sends a messenger back to David. He tells the king that there has been considerable loss of life in the war in that while chasing the enemy they were shot upon from the wall. Joab adds that if David is angry at the loss of life and the tactical mistake made, tell him that Uriah is dead and that will soon quieten him. How sad!
David’s response When he hears that Uriah is dead he hides a smile and responds philosophically “The sword devoureth one as well as another”. Everything has been subjected to one concern, the cover-up.
Marriage Uriah’s wife hears of the death of her husband and mourns for him. He had been a faithful husband. No doubt the sense of guilt in her conscience added to her sorrow. After the period of her mourning is over David sends for her and she becomes his wife and the child is born but what David did displeased the Lord.