April 14, 2014
II Samuel 12:7-9, 13
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
David had sinned – and big time! He had taken Bathsheba, another man’s wife, had an intimate relation with her, and she became pregnant. To cover his deed, he summoned her husband Uriah back from the front lines where the army was fighting the Ammonites – David hoping Uriah would sleep with his wife, and then the pregnancy would be considered as his doing and not David’s. After all, Uriah had been away from wife and family for probably several weeks. But this soldier was loyal to his king and his fellow fighting men. If they were deployed to the battlefield and away from family, Uriah would not enjoy the company of his wife while in Jerusalem to give a war report. David even tried to force the issue by getting the man drunk at dinner with the king. But the soldier stood true to his convictions.
So David played his trump card. He wrote a note to Joab – the commander of the Israelite army – telling him to “Set Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retreat from him, that he may be struck and die.” (II Samuel 11:15). With Uriah dead and out of the way, David’s sin of impregnating Bathsheba would not only be hidden, but he could take her as one of his wives and enjoy her charms often! And David even had Uriah deliver his own death warrant – sealed for only Joab to read!
But God knew! For He knows everything! And God sent Nathan, the prophet – and the king’s close advisor – to confront David. He told the king a story about a rich man who stole a poor man’s only lamb to feed a guest that had arrived – instead of taking a lamb from his own large flock. In anger, David condemned the man saying he should die for such a grievous deed! In condemning the rich man, David condemned himself! For Nathan said, “You are the man!” Here is the interaction between Nathan and the king, from II Samuel 12:7 through 9, and 13:
Then Nathan said to David, ‘You are the man! Thus says the LORD God of
Israel, “I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand
of Saul. I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your
keeping, and gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if that had been
too little, I would have given you much more! Why have you despised the
commandment of the LORD, to do evil in His sight? You have killed Uriah
the Hittite with the sword; you have taken his wife to be your wife, and have
killed him with the sword of the people of Ammon.”’…Then David said to
Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the LORD.’ And Nathan said to David, ‘The
LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die.’
If you just read this account from II Samuel, you might think that David’s response, “I have sinned against the LORD,” was pretty superficial considering his heinous deeds – especially considering the fact that it involved the death of an innocent man! And Nathan responded, “The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die.” Does God forgive so easily? Do we just have to mouth the words, “I have sinned…” and that’s it? No, that is not just it! For out of this incident has come some of the deepest feelings of repentance that have ever been expressed, and some of the greatest words of repentance that have ever been penned!
This is the introduction of a multi-blog study of Psalm 51 and Psalm 32. And in considering these psalms, we must also remember that the time between David’s first illicit desire to have Bathsheba until Nathan confronted the king was over a year – a very dry year spiritually – especially for a man who is described in I Samuel 13:14 and Acts13:22 as “…a man after…[God’s] own heart….”
My prayer is that this study will help us see the seriousness of sin before God. And may we also become aware of sin’s consequences to our own lives and the lives of those around us. Amen!