Passage: 2 Samuel 11:1-27
Key verse 11:27b.
But the thing David had done displeased the Lord (11:27b)
We have studied David’s life through the book of Samule for the last two years. You may remember many events in his life, which one do you think the most significant? Long story short, his life was filled with full of God’s blessings and protections, and the Bible says David was a man after God’s own heart (1 Sam 13:14, Acts 13:22). Do you still agree with that after read today’s passage? It doesn’t look like David’s story we have studied so far because we see the series of David’s sins in today’s passage. He committed adultery and then committed murder to cover up his sin. Let’s study how did David fall into miserable sins, so we can learn how to avoid his sins in our life and how to live a life pleasing to God. May God help us to humbly examine ourselves before God through today’s passage.
Look at verse 1. “ 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.” As we learned from the previous passage, David went to the battlefield with his armies (2 Samuel 10:17-18) and defeated Ammonites and Arameans. But when the battle resumed in the spring after winter truce, David remained in Jerusalem, while his army went to the battle. Bible didn’t mention why King Daivd didn’t lead Israel armies, but it was very unusual at that time. He might want to take a break from the war, or he might think Israel’s military power was strong enough to defeat enemies without him.
We don’t know the reasons exactly. But I am sure that David became very lazy when he did not participate in battles. He woke up evening time, he spent time doing nothing. However, when he was not where he should be, he encountered temptation without any warning signs. David’s greatest temptation didn’t come while he was working hard or when he was in a danger, but it came when he became lazy during comfortable time. While he was enjoying his laziness, David became completely away from God, and open the door to the temptation.
We also want to live comfortable easy-going life rather than busy, competitive, constant battle-liked life. Of course, we need to have a rest and sometimes taking breaks from work is good. However, we should remember that when we enjoy comfortable, laziness and success, it can be for us spiritually dangerous period because these environments may separate us from God.
I pray that we are connected with God all the time regardless of our life situations. One of the best ways to stay connected to God is to have a personal devotion and prayer time because if we use our time serving the Lord and worshiping God, eventually there is less time and less chances for being tempted by sin. My personality is to be easily complacent current situation instead of struggling to achieve something, it is same to my spiritual life. I learned this can be my spiritual weakness in the time of temptation. May God help me to cultivate deeper relationship with God with personal devotion and prayer.
Look at verse 2-3. “ 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.”
I don’t think David was looking for naked women from the beginning, it was just accident. But it was changed very dangerous temptation to him because the lustful desire was ignited from his mind right after he saw the beautiful woman. The temptation of lust was very powerful, he could not get her out of his mind. He wanted to enjoy the temptation more rather than fight. He didn’t have spiritual power to drive out his lustful desire from him. He couldn’t stop it, he wanted to know more about her. David got information who she is, and she even married one of the most royal soldiers in his armies, and now her husband was in the battlefield for the country. Here David should have stopped. He should walk away from the roof and back to his room. But David’s desire for pleasure seeking covered his eyes, blocked the relationship with God.
Galatians 5:16 says, “Walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh”. However, he had been caught in lust, he did what he wanted to do. He did not care Bathsheba is already married, didn't care his royal soldier Uriah, worst of all he didn't care what God wanted him to do.
There is a very good example that a man overcome the lustful temptation in the book of Genesis, his name is Joseph. When Joseph was tempted to sin sexually from his boss Potiphar’s wife, first he remembered God, and prayed “How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God” (Gen 39:9). Then, he refused to be with her, ran out from the tempted place. He didn’t consider any disadvantage he would receive due to his decision; he truly believed the adultery sin would deeply offend God.
The lust is very dangerous temptation regardless ages, genders, so we should be careful, protect ourselves from the temptation. How can we protect us from the lustful temptation? Jesus said, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak (Mt 26:41)”.
It is the best we always pray and draw near to God through prayer. When you are tempted, pray to God. God can help us and will keep us from falling into temptation, and give us strength to overcome the temptation. We can encounter temptation in anytime and in anyplace, from anybody. We may not be able to avoid the temptation like David, Joseph however we can avoid sin like Joseph did. We can protect us by running away from the temptation, basically refused to be present with tempted person, place, time and situation (alert and oriented X 4 to temptation)
There are so much lustful temptations around us - person to person relationship, and we can easily access sexual contents via internet. This is big problem to young people, especially young man because it is highly addictive. Most of all, it gives young man distorted perceptions about women and commit adultery with heart by looking at a woman with lustful thoughts (Mt 5:28). We can click it accidently, but we should turn off the screen and pray to God earnestly to avoid the temptation. I believe this small struggling help our young man to keep pure spirit in this sinful world.
After graduated college in Korea, I stared to work in early 20’s. At that time, my bible teacher gave me very specific direction. “Don’t stay with only woman coworker in the car”. When I heard this, I thought I know myself, I am not bold enough to do something in the car with woman coworker. Frankly speaking, I didn’t obey her direction 100%. However, I accepted it was my bible teacher’s prayer for me to protect from tempted situation and build up healthy spiritual environment during my work. With her prayer, my partial obedience and most of all God’s protection, I could protect myself from lustful temptation before marriage. I pray for our young coworkers, especially high school and college students to decide one decision to protect yourself from the lustful temptation through today’s study.
What happened after David open the door widely to the lust temptation? Look at verse 4 “Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her”. He committed adultery sin with Bathsheba, his soldier’s wife. David displeased God; He acted as if there were no God! David defeated giant Goliath, and he defeated so many enemies in the battlefield, however, the lust came from one lady was much bigger and powerful giant than David fought before. He sinned before God. He clearly broke ten commandments. “You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife” and “You shall not commit adultery”. According to Leviticus 20:10, it is very serious sin to be put to death.
After David committed adultery sin with her, he might regret but justified himself – “It was only one time mistake, but it would be no problem because nobody knows except I and Bathsheba”. But sin and peace can’t be together. Look at verse 5. “The woman conceived and sent word to David, saying, “I am pregnant.”. OMG! Now it became big problem to David who wanted to hide his adultery quietly. More people could know David’s adultery sin because Uriah was in the battlefield, so people could find out Bathsheba’s child was not his child, but from her adultery affair. David was in a danger of losing his moral authority as a king with sex scandal.
I think this is God’s warning sign, time for him to repent his sin. But what did David do instead of repent? He made a great idea of “Plan A” to cover up his sin. Look at verse 6-8. “So David sent this word to Joab: “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” And Joab sent him to David. 7 When Uriah came to him, David asked him how Joab was, how the soldiers were and how the war was going. 8 Then David said to Uriah, “Go down to your house and wash your feet.” So, Uriah left the palace, and a gift from the king was sent after him.” He ordered Uriah back to Jerusalem with special leave. Outwardly, David was a generous king who gave favor to his soldier, however, David wanted Uriah to sleep with Bathsheba. If Uriah did as David planned, people might think he was the father of Bathsheba’s child nine month later, and nobody could know David’s adultery sin.
Many of us served military service in Korea because it is mandatory. You may remember how much you were happy and enjoyed as much as you could when you had special leave. What about Uriah? Look at verse 9. “But Uriah slept at the entrance to the palace with all his master’s servants and did not go down to his house”. David’s plan didn’t work to Uriah because he was a loyal soldier, he couldn’t enjoy comfort by himself while his fellow soldiers are in battlefield. He said to David. “The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in tents, and my commander Joab and my lord’s men are camped in the open country. How could I go to my house to eat and drink and make love to my wife? As surely as you live, I will not do such a thing!”. Even he considered the ark, which means “God’s presence “. He was a soldier who was faithful to God and his people. David didn’t give up his plan (12-13). He kept Uriah in Jerusalem for another day in the hope that Uriah went to home and slept with Bathsheba. But David’s “plan A” didn’t work for royal soldier Uriah.
This is another God’s warning sign, one more chance for him to repent his sin. But he made another plot, “Plan B” to cover up his adultery sin. Look at verse 14-15. “ David sent Uriah back to battlefield and wrote a letter to Joab. Put Uriah out in front where the fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so he will be struck down and die.” Personally, this is the saddest part for both David and Uriah. How “A man after God’s own heart” David was changed like this because of sin? David sent Uriah back to the battlefield by carrying his own death note. David tried to cover up his sin and eventually arranged for Uriah to be killed in the battle. He became a murderer. When he didn’t repent right after adultery, and tried to hide sin, it brought much more serious sin to him. He broke one more law from the ten commandments. “You shall not murder”.
In verse 16-24, we see how Uriah was murdered as David planned. Joab didn’t know King’s intention exactly, however, he followed King David’s order. As a result, not only royal soldier Uriah but many other innocent soldiers were murdered by enemies because of David’s wicked sins. When she heard about the death of husband, Bathsheba mourned and after the time of mourning was over, David took her as wife, and took care of her.
Finally, the news of Uriah's death brought comfort to David. It seemed he covered up his sins to people perfectly, he might think everything is fine because nobody knew his sins. However, it was not to God. Now Let’s read the verse 27b together. “But the thing David had done displeased the Lord”. This is God’s comment all about David’s sins. It is the first time that God (Lord) was mentioned in this chapter. David’s sins – adultery, murder – seemed to be remained secret. However, God witnessed what David had done from the beginning, and it displeased God.
Through today’s passage, we should learn that God is always watching us. He knows everything whatever we do. We can hide our sins to other people. But God sees the everything even He knows our thoughts and motivations too. We can’t hide our sin before God.
Conclusion. We learned from today’s passage that David’s own effort to hide his sins brought him additional and more serious sins. His sin begun from the lust of the eyes, and next committed adultery, and committed murder by abusing his authority as a king. His own plans for covering up his sins ended up making it worse his life, the worst time ever in his life. He had many chances not to commit sin and to repent before God. But he tried to hide his sin before the people to maintain his earthly kingship, not to live godly person.
David was called “A man after God’s own heart”, but when he was disconnected from God in the time of temptation, he became totally vulnerable to sin. What about us? If it happened to David, it could happen to me or you in any time. We should humbly accept we are all vulnerable to temptations and sins. As a Christian we don’t want to sin before God, however, if we do , we should know that sin is serious in God’s eyes.
Lastly, let’s look at book of Galatians 6:7-8. “ Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life” May God help us to see the consequences of sin, confess and repent our sins sincerely to God. May God help us to have strong relationship with the Lord so that we may live a life pleasing the God.