“In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem.” – 2 Samuel 11:1
As we look deeper at the life of King David, we encounter his most disastrous defining moment as a man and as a leader. Perhaps you wonder why God hangs out all the “dirty laundry” of mighty men of faith like David. We have walked with him through his stunning defeat of Goliath. We’ve walked with him when he was chosen by Samuel and set apart for an extraordinary call to lead a nation. We walked with him when he played the harp for Saul, causing demons to flee.
Perhaps we could summarize the story of David and Bathsheba as one where David failed to have safe boundaries and restraint in his own life. David conquered enemies, and claimed new territory but in the end, he could not conquer himself.
God shows up with equal interest and concern in the defining moments of our life that are riddled with epic failure because He is a God of redemption, mercy, forgiveness, love, and grace. God is also faithful even when we are not. David’s moral collapse is not written for our repetition, it is written for our admonition.
A sleep-challenged night and a stroll on the palace roof changed everything in David’s life. On a broad scale, David is flying high in his faith, defeating every enemy. David’’s army is growing in size and skill. He has all the money he needs.
The choices that David makes in this defining moment will lead him into a string of consequences. Consequences that will result in being the toughest days of his life. In a few horrible moments of indiscretion, King David becomes the poster boy for “Whatsoever we sow, that we shall reap.”
David suffers in the following ways
1. Wrong Place Wrong Time – 2 Samuel 11:2-5
“One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, ‘She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite’. Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (Now she was purifying herself from her monthly uncleanness.) Then she went back home. The woman conceived and sent word to David, saying, ‘I am pregnant’.” – 2 Samuel 11:2-5
David was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. David was supposed to be busy on God’s assignment. Instead of conquering his national enemies, he is at home conquering another man’s wife. Historian’s state that David actually stayed home because of his hidden infatuation with the neighbor’s wife, Bathsheba. Regardless, David chose to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
It is no different for us today. There are right places and right times and there are wrong places and wrong times. If you spend time spent in the wrong place you’re going to get wrong results.
For men who have a mistress called a computer you are in the wrong place. You’re at the wrong place at the wrong time. For others, maybe you are enamored with someone at your job so you go to the break room or the next door coffee shop or the bar on the way home. You are putting yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time
Putting yourself in the right place is fifty percent of winning the battle. When you’re in the right place, right things happen. Where you are reflects where your heart is. If you like to fish, more than you like to be with your wife, you would be wise to take her fishing with you. So take notice. Where are you? Who you hanging with? Are you in the right place? Places matter. Environment matters. Atmosphere matters and makes a difference in your life. You always have to examine where your at!!
The Snare of Sin
David’s darkest defining moment is about being in the wrong place at the wrong time. David finds himself seduced by beauty, trapped by temptation and intoxicated with sin.
This is a fatal attraction for David. Theologist Dietrich Bonehoeffer wrote . .
“When sin captures us, God becomes almost unreal. The tempted soul loses a portion of reality and the only thing that’s real is desire. The only reality is a soul that is selfishly driven. Satan does not fill us with hatred for God, but forgetfulness for who He is in our life. Satan does not fill us with hatred for God, but forgetfulness of what He is in our life.”
The Bible suggest one and only one way to prevail over sexual temptation: RUN! Joseph modeled it for us when he ran away from Potiphar’s wife. The Bible commands us to flee sexual immorality and youthful lust (1 Cor 6:18; 2 Tim 2:22).
In other words, Men and women both struggle with the matter of our sexuality. While the first instinct that we have is survival, the next greatest need that people have is intimacy which includes sexual gratification.
David failed to put safeguards in place that would protect him from spiritual enemies and from himself; as a result, he made a choice that shattered his life and deeply tarnished his legacy.
The challenge is no different today: there is an assignment against your life and failure to harness the dark side of your soul will result in personal destruction to your life.
2. Avoiding The Way of Escape – 2 Samuel 11:3, 1 Corinthians 10:13
“This is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” – 2 Samuel 11:3
After David inquired about Bathsheba’s identity, God provided a natural way of trying to rescue David from the biggest mistake of his life. David is king and judge over Israel. He has certainly ordered the stoning of men who have committed adultery in his kingdom. David knows the law well as he sits as the judge and the King of Israel.
Consider for a moment Uriah the Hittite. Uriah was a commander who was in David’s top thirty warriors. Uriah has accomplished a place of honor that few ever experience. David knew Uriah personally yet deliberately made the poor choice to take this man’s wife into his chamber.
I wonder what way of escape the David chose to ignore? God is faithful to always provide a way to escape the snares of the enemy.
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” – 1 Corinthians 10:13
I hear this simple excuse all the time, “I just couldn’t resist. I just couldn’t stop myself.” I understand how we can be overcome by temptation. But I also understand that God said; I will make a way of escape.
It is the believer’s responsibility to not allow himself or herself to be overtaken by a fleshly desire or a deceitful spirit. In Christ, we are given the ability through the power of the Holy Spirit to control our life. What we were powerless outside of Christ to stand against has now become a matter of choice. We live as believers in a day and age where we are not defenseless. We are empowered with the Holy Spirit and armed with these truths . .
“Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world.” – 1 John 4:4
“Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.” – Ephesians 6:10
I know what it is to make the wrong choice. I know what it is to be in the wrong place. I know what it is to feel as if I’ve been overtaken by my carnal desires. Yet, God’s power is more powerful than any temptation from the enemy.
God will make a way of escape, we simply must take it!
3. One Lie Demands Another – 2 Samuel 11:6-25)
“In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah. In it he wrote, ‘Put Uriah out in front where the fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so he will be struck down and die’.” – 2 Samuel 11:14-15
David’s downward spiral reveals that rarely is the first sin the last sin. We all know that one lie almost always necessarily demands another. David found out that he can’t cover his sin, but he tries to anyway. The Bible makes clear he was wasting his time and only making matters worse . .
“He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.” – Proverbs 28:13
Your sin will find you out . .” – Numbers 32:23
“For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known.” – Luke 12:2
What amazes me in this story is that everything that Uriah refused to do, David had already done. David summons Uriah to Israel only to try and cover his sin. You see Bathsheba is pregnant and David is hoping that Uriah will jump in bed with his wife, Bathsheba. This would give David a way to hide his sin of adultery and being the father of this child. The problem was that Uriah would not sleep with his wife because of his devotion to his fellow soldiers and the Ark of the Covenant.
You see Uriah displays the integrity that David should have. This was terribly disturbing to David and forces him to take the next step of failure.
David continues to hide his sin and ultimately at the expense of his friend’s life.
“But the thing David had done displeased the Lord. The Lord sent Nathan to David.” – 2 Samuel 11;27-12:1
Have you ever tried to hide your sin? The Bible’s is so clear; your sins will find you out. Not because God wants to expose you, but because God wants to cover you with His grace. Because He wants to redeem us so that He can deliver us. God became displeased with David and would not stand by without sending a convoy of restoration.
4. Forgiveness Does Not Cancel Consequences – 2 Samuel 12:10-14
“Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.’ This is what the Lord says: ‘Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity on you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will sleep with your wives in broad daylight. You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.’” – 2 Samuel 12:10-1
David faced the consequences of his sin for the rest of his days, consequences that are nothing less than tragic. His daughter Tamar is raped. Amnon is murdered killed by Absalom. Absalom murdered on the battlefield and finally David thrown out of his own kingdom.
The Defining Moment – God Rescues Us By Confronting Us
“When he came to him, he said, “There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him. Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him.”
David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, “As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this must die! He must pay for that lamb four times over,because he did such a thing and had no pity.”. Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man!” – 2 Samuel 12:2-7
God always brings rescues through the doorway of confrontation. Is that easy? No. Is it God’s mercy? Yes. God sent Nathan to David twelve months after the adultery. David had watched as his sin progressed from adultery, to lying, and finally murder.
So God sends Nathan the Prophet.Nathan’s confrontation leads to David’s confession. David’s confession ultimately leadsto David’s restoration.
“I have sinned before the Lord.” – 2 Samuel 12:13
While consequences cannot be altered, restoration and peace can be yours. Perhaps David’s own prayer can become your most-needed defining turnaround moment.
It is never to late to get right with God.
“For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge. Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place. Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.” – Psalm 51:3-12
This is a tragic chapter in David’s life that has a great ending . Our natural circumstances may never get great, but God will give us the grace we need to walk through them and restore the full joy that belongs in our relationship with Him.
David found himself once again fully in the presence of the Lord . . you can too …your rescue and your rescuer is waiting.
This is an excerpt from Defining Moments. A book written by Thomas McDaniels and David “JB” Miller