David is ruling over Israel in righteousness and justice. Last week we saw David keeping his covenant with Jonathan to show kindness to Saul’s descendants. But, unfortunately, we are going to read about David not keeping the covenant with his eyes nor with God. Open your Bible to 2 Samuel 11 and we will look at what happens with David.
The first four verses set the scene for the sin committed. I want us to noticed what the scriptures set up as the temptation: idleness. Verse 1 makes a powerful point. It was the time of year when the kings would March out to war. For some unknown reason, David remains in Jerusalem rather than going out with his soldiers to battle. The second point concerning idleness is in verse 2 which seems to reveal a restless night. David gets out of bed and strolls around the roof of the palace. This seems to indicate boredom, restless, or idleness.
Application 1: I believe there is an important truth being taught to us. Temptation is stronger when we do not keep ourselves occupied. I have witnessed this truth in my own life as well as in the lives of people that I have counseled. If David had been with his soldiers like the scriptures appear to indicate he should have been, this would not have happened. If David had not be restless in his chambers, this would not have happened. But when we do not keep ourselves busy, our boredom and our inactivity will lead us toward sin. I believe this is the instruction that the apostle Paul gave to the Ephesians:
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:15-16)
We get ourselves in trouble when we are not doing something. Take advantage of time that is given to you and do not waste it in idleness or you will likely fall into sin. Notice that Paul also made this point to the widows when he wrote to Timothy:
At the same time, they also learn to be idle, going from house to house; they are not only idle, but are also gossips and busybodies, saying things they shouldn’t say. (1 Timothy 5:13)
Widows who were under 60 were told to remarry, bear children, and manage the household because otherwise, we have too much time on our hands. Paul describes them as putting their nose into other people’s business and saying things that ought not be said simply because they have nothing else to do with themselves.
We need to be warned against idle time. Add godly activities to your life. If you do not have a job, you will be bombarded with temptations as you try to kill time every day. Make a schedule of things that you are going to accomplish so that your idle time does not turn to temptation. Here is a short sampling of things you can do: read your Bible daily, study for our Bible classes, pray, help the needy, visit the sick and shut in, make meals for those who are suffering, write cards and letters to our weekly guests, become a Bible class teacher and prepare, volunteer to do administrative tasks for the church, ask me about what you can do, and whatever else you may be able to think of that is righteous and holy. Having time on your hands leads to sin and I think that is one reason why God gave us many tasks to accomplish as individuals and collectively to serve God.
We also see David disregarding the important information given to him. When David asks who she is, notice that the response is not just simply “Bathsheba.” Rather, “This is Bathsheba…the wife of Uriah the Hittite” (11:3). But that information does not seem to slow down David for a moment. He has been caught in lust. The scriptures point out that she was “a very beautiful woman.” Verse 5 informs us of the conflict. Bathsheba becomes pregnant through this affair. Now their secret will become public and something has to be done. Unfortunately, the actions David takes are not the appropriate ones.
The Cover Up
David does not turn to God. David does not admit what he has done. David tries to execute a perfectly planned cover up. David calls for Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband, to leave the fight and to come home. David’s plan is pretty simply. Have Uriah come home so that the pregnancy will not look suspicious. But Uriah is an honorable man and will not go home. Instead he sleeps at the front door of David’s palace. Uriah does not see that it is right for him to eat, drink, and be with his wife while his fellow soldiers are living in tents and engaged in battle. David then concocts plan B. Get Uriah drunk and then send him home so that it will not look unusual when it becomes apparent that Bathsheba is pregnant. David succeeds in getting Uriah drunk, but even drunk, Uriah will not go home but simply sleeps on a cot where David’s servants are staying. David moves to horrible and despicable plan C. David orders for Uriah to be placed on the front lines of the battle, where the fighting is the fiercest and then withdraw from him so that he is killed.
Now I am still trying to figure out David’s plan here. How will having Uriah killed help? Did David think that he could marry Bathsheba the next day or the next week and no one would think that strange that David suddenly marries her and she becomes pregnant? How convenient! How does killing Uriah cover up the sin? But I hope that we will see that this is the nature of sin. Plunging ourselves in sin causes us to say and do foolish things in an effort to cover ourselves. This still happens today. Fornication is committed and the couple quickly gets married out of the blue and a child suddenly appears. Well, how convenient but you are not fooling anyone in what you have done. You certainly are not fooling God concerning your sin. While David may think that he has pulled off his master plan, notice the final words of chapter 11:
When the time of mourning ended, David had her brought to his house. She became his wife and bore him a son. However, the LORD considered what David had done to be evil.
I want you to notice that is not simply the adultery that was considered evil. All that David did to cover up the sin was considered evil. In many ways the cover up of the sin was worse than the actual sin. All of the deception that took place during this time. In fact, at this moment David and Bathsheba are living in a world of lies. But, even more, Uriah was killed in all of this. The cover up was far worse.
Application 2: In many instances, if not all instances, our effort to cover up our sins only compound our problems. We take one sin and we commit more sins to cover up that sin. We are only making things worse for ourselves. We begin lying to our spouse, our friends, our brethren, elders and leaders in the church. The problem comes down to arrogance. We are arrogant enough to think that we can cover up our sins. We have pride and so we do not want others to know what we have done. We are so foolish to think that our sins will never come to the light. We cannot cover up our sins. There is nothing we can do to erase what we have done. There is no way to fix the problem.
Friends, what are you doing about your sins? Do we pretend that we do not have any, coming to services, trying to look like something we are not? Do we act like David, committing a sin, but think that we are not accountable to God for what we have done? Do we foolishly think that no one will ever know our ugly acts? This is how sin lies to us, causing us to think that our lives will not be affected, God will not know, and no one will know the difference. This is what David must have thought to himself. He could be with Bathsheba one night and no one would know the better. Everything would go back to normal. It is not true, especially when it comes to sexual sins.
God is not going to let David get away with these sinful acts. The Lord sends Nathan to David and Nathan has a story to tell David, which can be read in 2 Samuel 12:1-4. After telling this story of injustice, David is outraged and declaring that the person who has done such an outrageous act deserves to die. Nathan simply replies: “You are the man!” Nathan then goes on to decree the judgments of God against David because of his sins. Notice God says that he gave David everything and would have given David more. How could he possibly despise the commands of the Lord by doing such evil!
Nathan then explains the dire consequences for David’s sin. The sword was not going to depart his house. His children were going to fight and kill each other and there would be no place in David’s household. Second, God was going to have David’s wives taken and slept with publicly, just as David had done to Uriah in secret. Third, the child that came from this adultery was to die. Does David argue with any of the consequences? Absolutely not. David only has six words to say, in the most humble and tear-filled way he can: “I have sinned against the Lord.”
David now brings about the proper response that he should have come to immediately after committing the sin with adultery. But David does not look at his sin as if were not a big deal. David fully understands the gravity of his sin. Turn to Psalm 51, a song penned during this time of sinfulness.
Notice that David cries to God for cleansing and restoration. He does not want to be separated from God but he knows that what his sin has done. David cries out for salvation from his guilt. David understands what God wants. God does not want some heartless sacrifice offered for his sin.
O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. (Psalm 51:15-17)
All that we can do is come before God with that broken spirit and humble heart, asking God to forgive us from our sins. We cannot fix what we have done and we stand condemned for our acts. We need to be so sorry for our sins. We need to see what a big deal it is to sin against God. Our conscience should be pained by our sins. But then we need to seek the Lord because He is offering grace when we are truly moved in the heart to come back to Him.
Baptism, which is like that water, now saves you. Baptism doesn’t save by removing dirt from the body. Rather, baptism is a request to God for a clear conscience. It saves you through Jesus Christ, who came back from death to life. (1 Peter 3:21; GOD’S WORD)
Immersion in water is how we ask God to cleanse our conscience and find salvation from our sins.
- Keep busy. Fill idle time with spiritual activities
- Do not compound your sins with more sins
- Do not think that your sins will not come to light and that God does not know our evil acts
- Have the proper response once we sin