You know the story, we all do. You can probably tell it from the beginning to the end without missing a scene. Right from David’s decision to rest when his fellow Kings were on the battlefield, up to his evening stroll and the moment he stumbled on something from a distance – the beautiful Bathsheba, having her bath on her roof.
I used to imagine how that scene played out. How he stood still, frozen by the purity of her beauty, heart racing, having a mental struggle. A mind struggle that closely resembles ours when we are faced with temptation. Eve had this struggle, Adam too, and since they failed theirs, all human races have been faced with this struggle – especially the people of God. This struggle is usually unfair because you really want to do it and then you really don’t want to. I’m thinking that based on David’s relationship with God, this was an intense struggle for him. And his flesh won. He sent for Bathsheba. And like every sin, each scene led to deeper levels of compromise until David committed murder. His victim’s only crime was being a faithful soldier in David’s army who happened to be married to a beautiful woman.
A number of lessons can be gleaned from this fatal mistake of a powerful king. David shows how easily a person can fall into the trap of sin when he loses sight of God’s vision for his life. At a time when he was supposed to be on the battlefield, he delegated this role to General Joab and chose to stay home instead. (2 Samuel 11:1). The desperate search for a way to cover the sinful act also tells a true story of the nature of sin. It takes you further than you thought it would, opening up levels deeper than you had imagined you’d have to go.
In David’s response to the Prophet Nathan (whom God had sent to confront David for his sin), we can see another popular lesson there. David determined his own judgment. He didn’t show mercy to the man in Prophet Nathan’s story, nor did he receive mercy. God responded to him according to his own response. What a reminder of the truth in Matthew 5:7 and James 2:12 – 13.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. – Matthew 5:7
So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath showed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment. – James 2:12 – 13
While studying this story recently, I came across two unpopular lessons from this story:
- It showed the intimate relationship David had with God.
- God’s grace supersedes mistakes – Even in marriage.
Now let’s dive in.
It showed the intimate relationship David had with God.
Read these words God spoke to David. See the emotions behind God’s voice as He speaks to this man after His heart. Take a moment to think about what God meant in 2 Samuel 12:7-8.
“This is the message of the Eternal God of Israel: “I was the One who anointed you to rule over Israel, and I was the One who rescued you from the hand of Saul. It was I who gave you Saul’s house, Saul’s wives, and dominion over both Israel and Judah; and if that were not enough, I would have given you as much again”.
The last sentence just breaks my heart. It showed that although David had an amazing relationship with God where He trusted and relied on God for everything, He had gotten to the point where he no longer looked to His God for the things he desired. He started doing things because he wanted to and because he was king.
God was saying to David “We are in such a relationship that if you had asked me for more than what I’ve given you, I would have given it to you!”
You can also see their depth of closeness in their discussion about this sin.
God: You despised me! (2 Samuel 12:9a)
David: Against You and You only, Lord, have I sinned! (Psalm 51)
This was all about David’s relationship with God. Sin isn’t just about the people we’ve hurt and the things we’ve done. Sin is against God.
God’s grace supersedes mistakes – Even in marriage.
David suffered the consequences of his sin. God forgave him, but the child born to Bathsheba died (2 Samuel 12:18).
But you can still see in David’s life the mercy and grace of God. When they were legally married, he had sex with Bathsheba once more. Even though lust and sin were the roots of their entire relationship, they had repented of them now. God granted them mercy, and Bathsheba gave birth to a second son who lived. David gave him the name Solomon, but God sent the prophet Nathan to give him the name Jedidiah, which means beloved of the Lord (2 Samuel 12:24-25).
By this act, God was putting His stamp of approval on David’s marriage.
God’s grace towards David and Bathsheba stands as a glaring example for people today who married before they got born again. If you’re asking questions like “Is this spouse God’s will for me? have you missed it?”. Know that even if you married out of lust, just like David, If you repent and are born again while in the ungodly marriage, you become a completely different person. God makes you holy. He can transform a relationship that was born in sin into a godly one, just like he did with David and Bathsheba. In fact, the child from this union, Solomon went on to be the next king of Israel.
God’s grace is evident throughout the entire life of David. Especially in this case. How much more is His grace available to help you when you find you’ve made a great mistake, you who are of the new covenant?
‘But think about this: while we were wasting our lives in sin, God revealed His powerful love to us in a tangible display—the Anointed One died for us. 9 As a result, the blood of Jesus has made us right with God now, and certainly we will be rescued by Him from God’s wrath in the future.”- Romans 5:8-9