This morning, we’re going to dive into the scriptures to gain a better understanding of how God is able and willing to work through anyone’s life. No matter who we have chosen to be, no matter how evil our schemes and plans have been, no matter how broken and shattered our painful past may have been, God is able to forgive and redeem us still!
There is no better example of this, in my opinion, than this shocking, tragic, and yet inspiring account in the life of David that we find in second Samuel chapters eleven and twelve. As we read through this account, we should also remember of God’s awesome ability to bring beauty from ashes, about His awesome ability to forgive us and redeem our lives and circumstances, no matter how hopeless they may seem! Let us learn how to keep ourselves from sinning against God and yet how to respond when we inevitably do.
2 Samuel 11
David and Bathsheba
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.
Right off the start of this account, we find where sin often begins. When we are not positioned where we are supposed to be in God’s plan, sin abounds. When we slack off and become lax in the spiritual war that rages for our souls instead of actively engaging in it, sin waits to devour and destroy us. At just the right time and at just the right moment, Satan directs our attention straight into the bait of the trap laid before us.
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.”
No, this isn’t the Maury show or David Springer, this is coming straight from the pages of the scriptures and about one of the greatest Kings that Israel ever had leading over them; a man after God’s own heart. Not only did David sleep with the wife of Uriah, one of David’s mighty men and most faithful soldiers, but she also became pregnant from that affair. Of course, David, being such a godly man, will man up and handle this situation in a mature and godly manner, right? Well, not so much…
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!”
You can only imagine what Uriah’s faithfulness and dedication in his service in the Israeli army must have done within the life of David. It had to kill him and even further convict him of his sin. Here David is, slacking off in his job and having an affair with Bathsheba and Uriah won’t even go and sleep with her out of duty to his service. David’s plans to cover up this pregnancy by allowing Uriah to have some R&R during wartime fell through.
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.
Again David tried desperately to cover up this affair and pregnancy, but even drunk with all inhibitions gone, Uriah’s faithfulness still stands firm. God simply won’t allow David to get off of the hook!
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.”
In unbelievable desperation to cover up his own sin and shame, he indirectly sentenced Uriah to death. In this way, Uriah wouldn’t be around to expose David’s sin. Everyone else would assume Bathsheba’s child to be Uriah’s born during his R&R time.
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.
Despite how vile and evil these plans were of David’s to cover up his sin instead of manning up, confessing it, and dealing with the consequences, his plan seemed to be working. However, David and Bathsheba weren’t the only ones aware of this affair and pregnancy. God knew full well of it just as He is full aware of even our most hidden sins. As the scripture goes on to remind us:
But the thing David had done displeased the Lord.
Now God loves us too much to allow us to hide our sin. After all:
13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
God cares too much about us and He certainly cared far too much about David to allow this sin to go on hidden.
2 Samuel 12
Nathan Rebukes David
1 The Lord sent Nathan to David. When he came to him, he said, “There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. 2 The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, 3 but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him.
4 “Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him.”
5 David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, “As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this must die! 6 He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.”
7 Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. 8 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. 9 Why did you despise the word of the Lordby 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. 10 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.’
11 “This is what the Lord says: ‘Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity on you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will sleep with your wives in broad daylight.12 You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.’”
It should never take a prophet sent by God to give a word of knowledge and prophetic word of warning for us to confess our sins. Just as James chapter 5 and Leviticus chapter 26 encourages us to confess our sins to God and to one another. Let us not only confess our sins, but make restitution for them and do right by everyone so that the favor of the Lord rests with us instead of the vengeance of the Lord! Let us not be like David who now, and only now chose to confess his sins to escape death…
13 Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.”
Nathan replied, “The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die.14 But because by doing this you have shown utter contempt for the Lord, the son born to you will die.”
I encourage you all to read Psalm 51, which records David’s response to Nathan’s visit and prophetic warning. He cries out to God for mercy and forgiveness. He cries out that God would cleanse him and give him a pure heart; that God would not take the Holy Spirit from him. He offers his broken self up as a sacrifice to God. God had forgiven David, gave him a heart after God’s own, and continued to leave His presence with David. God’s promise remained and God established David’s throne for all eternity through His descendant Jesus Christ, yet still the horrific natural consequences of David’s sin remained.
15 After Nathan had gone home, the Lord struck the child that Uriah’s wife had borne to David, and he became ill. 16 David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and spent the nights lying in sackcloth on the ground. 17 The elders of his household stood beside him to get him up from the ground, but he refused,and he would not eat any food with them.
18 On the seventh day the child died. David’s attendants were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they thought, “While the child was still living, he wouldn’t listen to us when we spoke to him. How can we now tell him the child is dead? He may do something desperate.”
19 David noticed that his attendants were whispering among themselves, and he realized the child was dead. “Is the child dead?” he asked.
“Yes,” they replied, “he is dead.”
Following such tragedy is where we are put to the absolute extreme test. Will we become angry at God and blame Him for this tragic loss? Would David follow the tempting advice such as that which Job’s friends gave to him to curse God and die? This is the moment of truth of whether we will trust God or curse God. What did David choose?
20 Then David got up from the ground. After he had washed, put on lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. Then he went to his own house, and at his request they served him food, and he ate.
David chose to trust God. Even though David had just hit rock bottom in his life, He chose to focus on the goodness of God and not on himself nor the tragic circumstances surrounding him. Just as Job responded immediately after losing his entire household and all of the wealth that belonged to him being left with absolutely nothing:
20 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21 and said:
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
and naked I will depart.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
may the name of the Lord be praised.”
22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.
This is exactly how David responded to this tragedy and so should we respond as well. This response, however, baffled and confused those around him.
21 His attendants asked him, “Why are you acting this way? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept, but now that the child is dead, you get up and eat!”
22 He answered, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, ‘Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me and let the child live.’ 23 But now that he is dead, why should I go on fasting? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.”
David first went to God in worship and praise, then went to meet the needs of his hurting wife.
24 Then David comforted his wife Bathsheba, and he went to her and made love to her. She gave birth to a son, and they named him Solomon. The Lord loved him; 25 and because the Lord loved him, he sent word through Nathan the prophet to name him Jedidiah.
In the same way that God restored twice what had been stolen from Job, God restored a son to David and Bathsheba. This son was Solomon, who succeeded David as King, who was given a wise and discerning heart, who became the greatest ruler who ever was or who will ever be aside from Jesus, Himself.
Even more than this, God brought beauty from ashes. God chose Solomon, the son born out of an affair, murder, and conspiracy to be the son through which Jesus would become a descendant. What better display of God’s mercy, forgiveness, and ability to redeem? If God did this for David, He will do it for us as well.
No matter what our story may be, no matter how sinful our choices may have been that got us here, no matter how much we may try to cover up our sins, God still waits. He waits for us to “man up” and confess our sins so that He might forgive them and redeem them. Right now is such an opportunity for us. Right now, the altars are open. Right now, we can choose to be like David and confess our sins and praise and worship God alone who is worthy. Right now, we can choose to let go of our anger toward God and embrace His loving kindness and forgiveness. We can allow God to somehow restore to us what we have lost. Don’t allow shame and condemnation to hold you back any longer. We are a family who loves you and cares for you and want only God’s best for you! Come to the altar to meet with God where we’ll freely receive forgiveness, healing, and redemption!