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“That We Might have Hope” (Rom. 15:4)

Second Samuel, Chapters Eleven and Twelve

David’s Fall and Repentance

Lust, adultery, deceit, murder, and scandal are words that could be torn from the headlines of most any newspaper today. What kind of individual do you expect to read about in these sordid tales? Low brows to be sure–only immoral characters of ill repute with which we surely would not associate–would be found in such situations.

But a man of God and one described as “a man after God’s own heart”? Unthinkable!

God gives us clear pictures of our spiritual forefathers with all the warts, so we may see ourselves more clearly. May God the Holy Spirit grant us such vision.

“In the spring of the year, at the time when kings go out to battle”–where was David? David was king of Israel and his nation was at war. He should have been leading his troops into battle. Instead, he was found to be lounging about the palace. A careless wandering of body, mind, and eye led to his sin of adultery with Bathsheba.

When was the last time you fell for your “pet” sin? Was it when you were struggling with a complicated problem at work? Or while in the middle of some other task or occupation? Chances are it wasn’t. We know the Lord has given us marvelous minds and bodies which are able to accomplish wonderful things when applied in a proper manner. We also know that if left to idleness these bodies and minds of ours can be horribly wicked as well. God intended for us to remain busy in this world, both in work and play. When we schedule our time and “watch and pray,” we’ll have fewer idle moments which Satan would so eagerly fill.

David had lusted after Bathsheba, thus breaking the sixth commandment. He then committed adultery and began his downward spiral.

The memories of passion turned to panic as David heard from Bathsheba’s lips: “I am with child.” How David’s mind must have reeled. How was he ever going to escape scandal? After lies, trickery, and deceit had failed to extricate him from his guilt and sin, David’s tangled web led to murder.

All the while, of course, the Lord waited with the only true escape untried by David: confession and absolution.

Wanted: A Contrite Heart

The Lord sent Nathan the prophet to show that David still had a sense of justice even if he couldn’t apply it to his own life. David correctly responded to Nathan’s parable: “As the Lord lives, the man who has done this shall surely die . . . because he had no pity!”

How easy it is for us to see the sin and taint on others while downplaying our own misdeeds. David knew justice; he knew God’s law; he was just having trouble applying them to his own life.

Don’t we often find ourselves explaining our sinful behavior? While other people have no excuse for the terrible things they do, we have our reasons: I was too tired to resist temptation; it was a weak moment; I had a few too many; it won’t happen again; it’s only for recreation; only when the kids aren’t around; it’s not as bad as what others do.

God does not want our excuses! He wants a broken and contrite heart.

“You are the man! Why have you despised the commandment of the Lord to do evil in His sight?” There was no way out now. David was caught, and the sin, shame, and guilt brought him to his knees before his Lord.

Has the Lord sent a Nathan to you lately? How do we respond when a fellow Christian does his duty and points out our sins? Do we fall back on our excuses and attack the messenger, or do we humbly accept the chastisement of our God?

Only after David had admitted his sin was he able to hear the blessed message from the lips of God’s prophet: “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die.” What sweet comfort these words bring to the hearts of repentant children of God! Jesus tells us we need not carry our sin or guilt any longer, for He has borne our sin in His very body upon the cross. He died in our place. We shall not die!

However, David also received bad news from Nathan. “However, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also who is born to you shall surely die.”

Our sins may not be without earthly consequences. We know the Lord chastens whom He loves. David also received his chastisement as from a loving and gracious God.

May we remember to turn daily in true heart-felt repentance to our loving Savior. If there are consequences for our sins, may the Lord help us to bear them patiently, knowing full well that the guilt and punishment for our sin has been fully paid by Him.

Moreover, may we pray with David through the Holy Spirit: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me with Your generous Spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners shall be converted to You” (Ps. 51:10-13).

–Teacher David Bernthal