Lesson 17: David, a heart that receives correction (part 1)

Upon rejecting Saul as king, the Lord revealed through Samuel that the next king of Israel would be “a man after His own heart” (1Samuel 13.14). So far in our study of David, we have seen him to be just that: a man devoted to the ways of God and a man who put his complete trust in his Lord. But when we come to 1Samuel 11 we see a man who fails. Rather than being an example of how we should act when faced with temptation, David commits many of the same errors that we so often commit. But as we noted at the beginning of our study, a person after God’s own heart is not always perfect. What matters is how they respond to their sins and how they receive the Lord’s correction. But before we see how David received the Lord’s correction, we must first note how he found himself at such a low point to begin with; we must see how he made some of the very same mistakes we make.

David set himself up to fall (2Samuel 11.1)

Springtime was the time when most kings in the ancient near east would go to war. The winter rains were over and it would be several months before the harvest was ready. Spring was the time when a king could send all of his able-bodied men off to war, and such was the case in 2Samuel 11.1 as David resumed his conquest of Ammon. Yet, while David sent all of his men off to war, he stayed in Jerusalem, thus setting himself up for a fall.

The fact is, David should have gone to war with his men. You may remember that this was one of the very reasons Israel demanded a king anyway (1Samuel 8.20). Furthermore, we read in 2Samuel 10 that the war with Ammon was not an easy affair. After many battles David was on the cusp of victory, but he was without excuse for not going himself once the next year’s campaign began. So, we find David at home just “killing time” until his men should return from battle. Furthermore, he was surrounded by all of the wives and daughters of them men who had gone off to fight. He had set himself up to fall.

David allowed his lust to conceive (2Samuel 11.2-4)

It has rightly been said that David’s problem wasn’t that he looked at Bathsheba as she was bathing on the rooftop, but that he looked again. Rather than remove himself from the situation, David cultivated his lust. He had so many opportunities to turn back, to not proceed into sin. How long did it take to inquire about her? Couldn’t he have spent that time reflecting on God’s will? And when he heard that this was the daughter of one of his mighty men (for Eliam see 2Samuel 23.34) and the wife of another (for Uriah see 2Samuel 23.39), couldn’t he have reflected on how his actions could affect two of his most faithful followers? And when he sent messengers to take Bathsheba, could he not have paused and prayed before leaping into sin? In the words of James, “when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.” (James 1.15)

David’s sin became more precious to him than anything else (2Samuel 11.5-27)

We normally think of these verses as David trying to cover-up his sinful actions, and while that is certainly what happens these verses also show how David’s sin was so precious to him that he would put it before everything else:

  1. David chose his sin over the feelings and well-being of not only Bathsheba, but her father and husband who were two of his most valiant warriors.
  2. David chose his sin over his reputation. Can you imagine how David fell in Joab’s estimation when David commanded him to place Uriah in a position where he would die in battle?
  3. David chose his sin over the well-being of his people. For Joab to fulfill David’s command he had to position the army near the walls of Rabbah. As a result, several Israelites died in the battle. They died because David preferred his sin over their lives.
  4. David chose his sin over the will of his God. “But the thing that David had done was evil in the sight of the Lord.”

David retained a sense of justice, but he was blind to his own flaws (2Samuel 12.1-6)

We know David to be a just and righteous king, and his sin did not remove his sense of justice. He was ready to dispense justice in the fictional case brought to him by Nathan the prophet; in fact he was ready to dispense far more than justice. Justice called for the man to restore 4 times what he’d taken (vs. 6; Exodus 22.1), but David believed that the man was even worthy of death (vs. 5). He believed in justice, but he had turned a blind eye to his own sin. He was willing to condemn a man who was not worthy of death, when he in fact stood condemned and worthy of death (see Leviticus 20.10). Our Lord could say of David, and of us, “why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” (Matthew 7.3).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: