A Story of Many Passions: 2 Samuel 11-12

A war with Israel’s enemy was being fought by strong and courageous soldiers in the field. In the spring, King David sent his commanders to fight, but he stayed home in Jerusalem. And the Bible records this story.

It happened, late one afternoon, when David arose from his couch, he walked about on his roof and saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful. David sent to find out who she was. Her name was Bathsheba; she was the daughter of Eliam, and the wife of Uriah, both were men in David’s army. David wanted this woman and he sent for her and lay with her as if she was his wife. She conceived and sent word to David, “I am with child.”

Well! David sent for Uriah to come home from the battle. “How is the war going?” he asked. “Are the soldiers doing well?” Then he told Uriah, “Go home. Relax! Enjoy your wife while you are home.” But Uriah did not go to his house or to his wife.

Then David invited Uriah to dinner and tried to make him drunk, but still Uriah remained on duty and did not go home to his wife. So David wrote a letter to his commander and instructed him to send Uriah to the area of battle that was the most dangerous. There was such a battle, and many soldiers, including Uriah, were killed.

This was reported to David and after Bathsheba had mourned the death of her husband, David took her to be his wife and she had a baby boy.

“But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD.” (2 Samuel 11:27)

A Story within our Story (2 Samuel 12:1-7)

And the LORD sent Nathan, a prophet, to David.

Nathan came to King David and said, “There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor. The rich man had very many flocks and herds, but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. He brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children. It used to eat of his morsel and drink from his cup and lie in his arms, and it was like a daughter to him. Now there came a traveler to the rich man, and he was unwilling to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the guest who had come to him, but he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.”

Then David’s anger was great against the rich man and he said, “As the LORD lives, the man who has done this deserves to die, and he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.”

“YOU ARE THIS MAN!” Nathan said to David.

Nathan then told David a message from God; how God had blessed David and given him many good things. “Why have you despised the word of the LORD, to do what is evil in his sight?” You took what was not yours and murdered Uriah with the sword of your enemy. Now I will raise up evil against you out of your own house. This sword of death will not leave your house. Your wives will be taken by others and everyone will see it. You sinned in secret but the consequence will be as under the sun.

“I have sinned against the LORD,” said David to Nathan. (Psalm 52)

Nathan said to David, “The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die. But, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the LORD, the child who is born to you shall die.”

And this happened. David’s sin had consequences. His child did die. There was much evil and violence in David’s house. His wives and daughters were violated, and his sons rebelled against him. David was forgiven and his confession includes a renewed joy in his salvation but what earthly sorrows came to him.

What can we learn?

As you hear this story, you can list David’s sins: he was lazy, he looked at what was not for him, he desired what belonged to someone else, he took what was not his, he tried to cover-up his sins with tricks and lies, he tried to encourage another to sin, and he caused the murder and death of many men. This list of sins seems horrible, but we do these sins too. In fact Jesus taught that even if we think these things in our hearts, we sin against God.

Just as we follow the paths of sin as David did, we can follow his path to repentance and forgiveness. God is full of grace and He gave us his word to show how David confessed his sins.

Psalm 51 is a record of David’s prayer and we will examine it next to see what we can learn from it.


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