18 David’s Sin and Repentance

David had been blessed by God abundantly. Last week we looked at how God had exalted him and made his name great. But it is at these times, when things are going smoothly and very well that we must be even more on guard.

2 Samuel 11:1
And it came to pass, after the year was expired, at the time when kings go forth to battle, that David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the children of Ammon, and besieged Rabbah. But David tarried still at Jerusalem.

  • What caused David to stay back? Why did he not go with everyone to battle.
  • He was probably feeling secure.
  • God had blessed him in his reign as king.
  • He had been giving him victory upon victory.
  • The obvious hand of God was upon him.
  • So he felt, maybe, that he didn’t need to go out to fight.
  • And so he decided to tarry in Jerusalem.
  • Already, he was not in the place that God needed him to be.
  • He was being idle. And idleness is the devil’s workshop.
  • Proverbs 21:25-26
    25 The desire of the slothful killeth him; for his hands refuse to labour. 26 He coveteth greedily all the day long: but the righteous giveth and spareth not.
  • Those that are idle fall into coveteousness. They begin to desire for things that they should not chase after.

What happened next?

  • 2 Samuel 11:2-3
    2 And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king’s house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon. 3 And David sent and enquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?
  • Walking on the roof top. He was too free. If he was out to battle, he would not be walking around, especially on his roof.
  • But then what would he see? A woman washing herself.
    • Instead of fleeing from sin, instead of shunning his eyes, he was enamored by this beautiful woman.
  • But the chance for him to run was still there. But instead, he decided to dig even more.
    • He enquired about the woman. He asked more about her.
    • He put himself into a position to be tempted even more.
  • Who is Uriah?
    • 2 Samuel 23:8, 39
      8 These be the names of the mighty men whom David had: The Tachmonite that sat in the seat, chief among the captains; the same was Adino the Eznite: he lift up his spear against eight hundred, whom he slew at one time. 39 Uriah the Hittite: thirty and seven in all.
  • Uriah was one of David’s mighty men. One of the greatest warriors of all of David’s army. They were the elite of the elite.

2 Samuel 11:4-5
4 And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her; for she was purified from her uncleanness: and she returned unto her house. 5 And the woman conceived, and sent and told David, and said, I am with child.

  • By and by David gets Bathsheba pregnant.

What does David try to do to cover his sin? How quickly he is spiraling out of control.

  • 2 Samuel 11:6-11
    6 And David sent to Joab, saying, Send me Uriah the Hittite. And Joab sent Uriah to David. 7 And when Uriah was come unto him, David demanded of him how Joab did, and how the people did, and how the war prospered. 8 And David said to Uriah, Go down to thy house, and wash thy feet. And Uriah departed out of the king’s house, and there followed him a mess of meat from the king. 9 But Uriah slept at the door of the king’s house with all the servants of his lord, and went not down to his house.
    10 And when they had told David, saying, Uriah went not down unto his house, David said unto Uriah, Camest thou not from thy journey? why then didst thou not go down unto thine house? 11 And Uriah said unto David, The ark, and Israel, and Judah, abide in tents; and my lord Joab, and the servants of my lord, are encamped in the open fields; shall I then go into mine house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? as thou livest, and as thy soul liveth, I will not do this thing.
  • He tried to get Uriah to go home and sleep with his wife. But he was so faithful as a soldier that he refused to go home.

What did David try and do next?

  • 2 Samuel 11:12-13
    12 And David said to Uriah, Tarry here to day also, and to morrow I will let thee depart. So Uriah abode in Jerusalem that day, and the morrow. 13 And when David had called him, he did eat and drink before him; and he made him drunk: and at even he went out to lie on his bed with the servants of his lord, but went not down to his house.
  • David made him drunk, thinking that his drunken state would make him go home and sleep with his wife. But even that did not work. He still went and slept with the servants. He was still faithful to the work.
  • In all his desperate attempts, nothing seemed to work. The faithfulness and loyalty of Uriah as a soldier did not flag, even though he was drunk.

So finally, what did David do?

  • 2 Samuel 11:14-15
    14 And it came to pass in the morning, that David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah. 15 And he wrote in the letter, saying, Set ye Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retire ye from him, that he may be smitten, and die.
  • He sent a letter by the hand of Uriah to Joab, not knowing that in his hand he was holding instruction for his own death.
  • Uriah would be placed in the battlefield where it was most dangerous and he would perish there in battle.
  • David had gone from an adulterer to a murderer. In his desperation to cover up one sin, he went to even greater lengths of transgression.
  • His record as a ruler before this was such that few kings had ever equaled.
    • 2 Samuel 8:15
      And David reigned over all Israel; and David executed judgment and justice unto all his people.
    • He was a faithful king. Dealing fairly with everyone.
    • Judgment and justice characterized his reign.
  • But how he had fallen from that high and holy standard. And not only that, but he influenced those around him as well.
  • Joab, leader of the armies, was privy to David’s instruction. He did not know the reason why, but he followed the orders of the king rather than being faithful to God. He placed David above God and ultimately became a transgressor of God’s law simply because the king commanded it. He was David’s accomplice in his murderous scheme.

Whilst we are to obey authorities, we need to be careful that we don’t place them above God and His law.

  • Romans 13:1-2
    1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. 2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
  • Where is the balance? Obey them only as they institute laws in accordance with God’s laws.
  • At the end, God is the final authority.
  • Acts 5:29
    Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.
  • Let us not just simply blindly follow anyone because they are in that position of authority. God always has the final say. His laws are always the first to be followed.

Now with Uriah dead, David moved forward with his sin, thinking that no one would suspect anything.

  • 2 Samuel 11:26-27
    26 And when the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she mourned for her husband. 27 And when the mourning was past, David sent and fetched her to his house, and she became his wife, and bare him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD.
  • David thought it safe now to bring Bathsheba to the palace and to make her his wife. The worst was now behind him – or so he thought.

How David had changed!

  • When running for his life from king Saul, and he had the opportunity to kill him, not once but two times, he refused to stretch out his hand against the Lord’s anointed.
  • But now, in order to cover up his sin of adultery, he was willing to murder one of his most faithful and valiant soldiers.
  • But though he could hide from man, David could not hide from God. God saw and He was displeased with David, and He was not about to leave this grievous sin unpunished.

2 Samuel 12:1-4
1 And the LORD sent Nathan unto David. And he came unto him, and said unto him, There were two men in one city; the one rich, and the other poor. 2 The rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds: 3 But the poor man had nothing, save one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up: and it grew up together with him, and with his children; it did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter. 4 And there came a traveller unto the rich man, and he spared to take of his own flock and of his own herd, to dress for the wayfaring man that was come unto him; but took the poor man’s lamb, and dressed it for the man that was come to him.

  • Nathan comes in to give a parable to David.
  • We all know that it is about David’s sin, but David does not know.
  • How does David react to this parable?
  • 2 Samuel 12:5-6
    5 And David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, As the LORD liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die: 6 And he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.
  • Without realizing it, David has just pronounced judgment upon himself.

Nathan now turns to the king, and fixing his eyes on the king he gives the meaning for which he gave the parable.

  • 2 Samuel 12:7-12
    7 And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul; 8 And I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things. 9 Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon. 10 Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife. 11 Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun. 12 For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.

How did David react?

  • He was in the position of king. He could have fought against the prophet of the Lord. He could have put Nathan to death for speaking in such a manner to him.
  • But what did he do?
  • 2 Samuel 12:13
    And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.
  • He cried out and exclaimed that he had sinned against the Lord.
  • Every sin that we commit, even though it might be done against someone else, it always reaches back to God.
  • Yes, David had committed a very grievous sin against Uriah and Bathsheba. However, the greater sin was against God.
  • God was the One who had put David in this position of power and authority.
  • It was God who had exalted David above all the other kings.
  • It was God who gave him all the victories and put fear on the surrounding nations.
  • God had blessed him abundantly in riches and honour.
  • But now David took all those blessings, and his position, to commit such a horrible sin.
  • And so he cried out that he had sinned against God.

By his own words, David was worthy of death. However, Nathan gave the word of assurance that he would not die, that God had put away his sin. However, the consequences of his sin would not be removed. Justice still had to be maintained.

  • 2 Samuel 12:14-15
    14 Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die. 15 And Nathan departed unto his house. And the LORD struck the child that Uriah’s wife bare unto David, and it was very sick.
  • The child of David and Bathsheba would suffer the consequences of David’s sin.
  • David said that the guilty party should suffer fourfold. And this was the first.
  • David would do all that he could to appeal to the mercy of God and to avert the death of the child. Who knows if God would change His mind. So David did all he could.
  • 2 Samuel 12:16-17
    16 David therefore besought God for the child; and David fasted, and went in, and lay all night upon the earth. 17 And the elders of his house arose, and went to him, to raise him up from the earth: but he would not, neither did he eat bread with them.
  • However, God’s justice would be maintained. And the child would die 7 days later.

Why did someone else have to suffer for David’s sin?

  • It was the pronouncement that he made on himself.
  • If he died right there for his sin, it would have been less painful that what he would go through – paying back fourfold.
  • His suffering was more because of the death of his child. That was justice served.

But David’s repentance was sincere and deep.

  • He did not make any excuse. He did not try to avoid the penalty. He saw the enormity of what he had done and he loathed his sin.
  • Psalms 51:1-4
    1 Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. 4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.

In comparison to Saul, David humbled himself, accepted reproof, bore the consequences of his sin without grumbling and made full repentance.

  • However, Saul despised the reproof from the prophet and from God. Instead of softening his heart he hardened his heart against the rebuke and even from the justice of God.

How do we react when we are confronted with what we have done wrong?

  • Do we get defensive?
  • Do we get angry at those that point out our sin?
  • Or do we humble ourselves because we have a realization of what we have done wrong?
  • Do we actually show that we are sorry for what we have done?

Why is it importance to show that we are sorry?

For David, he was in a position of great influence. Through him when he brought the Ark of God to Jerusalem, it elevated the spirituality of the whole nation.

  • But it would also be through him, if sin went unpunished and he was unrepentant, people would be led to believe that God blesses in spite of what we do. And it would affect the spirituality of the whole nation as well and bring it to a low standard.
  • People would begin to think that God had shown favouritism to David. That he would bless him because He was the One that chose him Himself.
  • But this was not the case. And it was obvious that David’s repentance was deep and genuine. That he was really sorry for what he had done.
  • People were watching. They were seeing how their king would react. And the message would come across clear that God is not a respecter for persons. Those who sin will suffer the consequences of their wrong doing. But if they turn with their whole heart back to God, He will abundantly pardon.

Isaiah 55:7
Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

If we have sinned, whether big or small, let us return to God. He is always ready to forgive. He is always ready to bind up the wounds that we ourselves have caused. Only, may God grant us the same heart as David, to truly repent and be sorry for the sins that we have committed.

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