Scripture reading – 2 Samuel 11-12
2 Samuel 11 – “And it came to pass, after the year was expired”
“Came to pass” is an apt description of the passing of life. No one knows what a day may bring forth. Yet, each day presents us with various choices and consequences that leave their mark on our lives and reputations.
Today’s chronological study of the Scriptures brings us to events in David’s life that followed him to his grave. At the pinnacle of his success, he faced temptations that inevitably cast a shadow over his life and reign as Israel’s king. If possible, we might strike this tragic moment from David’s life. Of the sin and sorrow!
2 Samuel 11 is a challenge to all believers to ever abide in the presence of the LORD.
In our study of the Scriptures, we met David when he was but a youth, a shepherd boy. We witnessed the surprise of his father and brothers when the prophet Samuel anointed him to be Israel’s next king. When he slew Goliath, the Philistine giant, David became a household name in Israel overnight. A string of victories highlighted his transition from boyhood to manhood but provoked King Saul to jealousy and murderous wrath. David was a fugitive from Saul’s court for ten years. Upon that king’s death, he emerged to become Israel’s warrior king, and “the LORD preserved David whithersoever he went” (1 Chronicles 18:13b).
David Committed Adultery with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11:1-5)
Israel celebrated David’s victories in 2 Samuel 10; however, 2 Samuel 11 introduced a sad foreboding of tragedy that would befall the king. We read, “At the time when kings go forth to battle…David tarried still at Jerusalem” (2 Samuel 11:1).
Probably in his fifties and having served twenty years as Israel’s king, David’s exploits on the battlefield had inspired songs that celebrated his courage (1 Samuel 18:7). However, David was a man with strengths and weaknesses. His failure in 2 Samuel 11 serves as a sobering warning to all believers.
Warning: Grave consequences inevitably befall the man who underestimates the bent of his sinful heart.
David was at the pinnacle of his success and enjoying God’s blessings. Israel was strong and prosperous. However, the king disobeyed God’s law (Deuteronomy 17:16-17). He gave rein to the fleshly pleasures and took to himself “more concubines and wives” (2 Samuel 5:13). His foolish indulgence in sensual pleasures predictably led to negligence in his duties as king. Tragically, when his soldiers went to war, David lingered in the comfort of his palace (2 Samuel 11:2). His idleness became the catalyst for a tragic series of decisions that forever scarred his life and reign (2 Samuel 11:3-15).
How far will a “man after God’s own heart” fall? (2 Samuel 11:6-27)
I will not take time to outline the obvious in the story of David’s sin with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite (2 Samuel 11). Lust, adultery, deceit, guile, and murder are all chronicled here (2 Samuel 11:4-17). Those sins shadowed David’s household and haunted him to his grave. The consequences of his sins on his family, servants, and Israel are incalculable (2 Samuel 11:18-25). We read:
“The thing that David had done displeased the LORD.” (2 Samuel 11:27)
For nearly a year, David attempted to maintain a facade of routine as he sat on the throne and conducted the affairs of his kingdom. From an outsider’s perspective, things appeared as usual. However, the king wrote later, “When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long.  For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer” (Psalm 32:3-4).
2 Samuel 12
“The LORD sent Nathan unto David.” (2 Samuel 12:1-6)
Providentially, the LORD sent a prophet of courage and integrity to speak to the king. Evidencing wisdom and caution, the prophet Nathan approached David with a story of a rich man abusing a poor man (2 Samuel 12:1-6). The parable intrigued and incited the king to anger. David, therefore, passed judgment against the rich man and proclaimed, “As the LORD liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die: 6 And he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity” (2 Samuel 12:5b-6).
Nathan Charged and Condemned David for his Sin (2 Samuel 12:7-12)
David and his attendants were stunned when the prophet pointed his finger at the king, raised his voice, and boldly confronted David, saying, “Thou art the man” (2 Samuel 12:7).
Nathan reminded the king that God chose and anointed him to be king. The LORD was with him in the wilderness years of his life (2 Samuel 12:7). Indeed, all that the LORD promised He fulfilled. He would have given David more had he been faithful (2 Samuel 12:8). The prophet then charged the king with having “despised the commandment of the LORD…[and] killed Uriah the Hittite…taken his wife…and slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon” (2 Samuel 12:9).
Nathan prophesied against David, saying, “The sword shall never depart from thine house…I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun. 12For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun” (2 Samuel 12:10–12).
David Repented, but the Prophecy of God’s Judgment Would Be Fulfilled (2 Samuel 12:13-31)
David’s heart was convicted, for he was indeed the man. In his youth, he was a man “after [God’s] own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14). Now, that same man was an adulterer, murderer, and a wretched, miserable soul. David’s proud, hypocritical façade was crushed (2 Samuel 12:13). Nathan assured the king that his sins would be forgiven in God’s mercy and his life would be spared (2 Samuel 12:13).
Nevertheless, the shame and consequences of David’s sins would be known, for he had given cause for even “the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme” (2 Samuel 12:14). David soon understood the sorrow his sin brought upon his family (2 Samuel 12:15-17) and his child borne by Bathsheba did die (2 Samuel 12:14-23).
Closing thoughts –
David’s penitent prayer was recorded in Psalm 51, where we read, “For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.  Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest” (Psalm 51:3-4). Solomon, King David’s son, later cautioned his son, “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper” (Proverbs 28:13a).
I close today’s devotional by inviting you to take up the spotlight of truth and shine it upon your heart. When it comes to sin, the question is not “if” but “when” the consequences of secret sins will befall you. Therefore, we must understand the dangers of idleness and the tragedy that befalls a man or woman when they trifle with temptation and sin. In the words of Paul to Timothy, I admonish you to “flee also youthful lusts” before it is too late (2 Timothy 2:22).
Remember, “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: But whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).
Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith
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