In 2 Samuel 11 we read of David's adultery with Bathsheba. While taking an evening stroll on his palace roof he sees Bathsheba bathing. David spends some time lusting after her and then decides to act on his fantasies. I believe it is at this point that he asks who she is. He is told, "Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?" This suggests that the reason for his inquiry is obvious--he wants her for himself sexually and others know it. The one who answers seems to be saying, "What are you thinking!? This is someone's wife. And not just anyone's wife, this is the wife of one of your mighty men, Uriah. This man is your friend!"
But it doesn't matter. At this point David's mind is made up. He is past the point of no return and there is no stopping him now. He has been blinded by his sinful desire.
But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, (James 1:14-15a)"So David sent messengers and took her, and she came to him, and he lay with her." It appears that she came willingly. Maybe she was flattered or maybe she was lonely, the text doesn't say. Whatever her motivation she was blinded by sin and made the choice to commit adultery. While Uriah was risking his life on the battlefield, his king, his commander, his friend was committing adultery with his wife. I wonder at anytime during this sinful act if they thought of Uriah? Probably not. Sin destroys the love and concern that you have for others.
A month or so later Bathsheba sends word--she is pregnant. David acts immediately and sends for Uriah. When Uriah returns to Jerusalem, King David tells him (in so many words) to go home and enjoy his wife sexually. But Uriah will not. He cannot bear the thought of his comrades on the battlefield risking their lives while he enjoys the pleasures of home. In fact, he never even goes to see Bathsheba at all! David's cunning plan to cover up his sin is foiled.
Isn't the contrast amazing!? Uriah's integrity portrayed so vividly in light of David's wickedness.
But nothing can stop David now. He doesn't miss a beat. He immediately sends a message to Joab, the field commander of the army, to have Uriah killed in battle--and he sends the death sentence by Uriah's very own hand! The cold, calculating callousness of David's heart! He is trapped by sin and can think of only one way out--a way that only compounds his sin! He is blinded to any other solution (confession and asking for forgiveness).
It is at this point the waves of sin's effects reach to Joab who, seemingly without hesitation or question, sends Uriah to his death. Now three people bear the burden of guilt.
and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. (James 1:15b, emphasis added)When Joab gets word to David that his orders have been carried out, David replies with this message:
"Thus shall you say to Joab, 'Do not let this matter trouble you, for the sword devours now one and now another. Strengthen your attack against the city and overthrow it.' And encourage him."Unbelievable! A man "after God's own heart" being so flippant and casual about murder! "Don't worry about it, Joab. No big deal. Soldiers die in battle. Don't let this little thing discourage you. Buck up and keep doing Jehovah's work." There is no mourning. There is seemingly no regret. Nothing to slow David down as he continues to pile sin upon sin by marrying Bathsheba a week or so after Uriah's murder.
Does this story make you weep? Is your heart broken as you see a man of God in this downward spiral of sin? Does your heart ache for him? Do you feel any compassion at all?
I do because I know what it is like to be enticed, dragged away, and snared by my own sinful desires. I know what it is like to completely forget about anyone but myself as I pile up sin upon sin. I understand what it is like pull other people into the vortex of my sins consequences. And like David I know the wrenching pain, the agony, the utter emptiness of regret as sin is exposed and consequences outside of my control follow.
May we not read the Bible wrapped up in smug, self-righteousness thinking "that could never happen to me."
Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18)May we see ourselves in the men and women of old and realize that if David can make those sinful choices, who are we to think that we never could. May we be humbled and our self-confidence shattered by this sordid tale. May we cast ourselves daily on God's mercy, grace, strength and faithfulness. Daily remembering His promise.
Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. (1 Corinthians 10:12)
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)Lord, please help me to take that way of escape that you have provided!