Peter Misselbrook's Blog
May 8 2019 - 2 Samuel 11 – David & Bathsheba

"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" (2 Samuel 11:1). Evidently David had decided that he no longer wanted to lead his army in battle; he had appointed Joab to go to war in his place. Meanwhile, David idled away his time in the royal palace while he awaited news of the fighting.

One day, as he walked on the roof of his palace, he caught sight of a beautiful woman bathing – no doubt her saw more of her than he should have, and he was filled with a desire to have her. David behaves just like a king from one of the nations around him. He viewed his subjects as his property; he can do with them whatever he pleases. He sent for Bathsheba, slept with her and got her pregnant. Now David's primary concern is to cover up what he has done. First he summoned her husband, Uriah, back from the war in the hope that he will sleep with Bathsheba and assume that the child is his own. When his plans fail, he has Uriah placed in the most dangerous position in the heat of the battle so that he is killed. Now David is free to take Bathsheba as a wife.

The chapter ends with the terrifying understatement, "But the thing David had done displeased the LORD" (11:27).

Sin begins with a little thing; something that catches the eye and captures the attention or maybe the imaginings of an idle moment. It is like a seed that grows and takes over the garden of the soul, smothering our sensitivity to God and his calling upon us. It is a poisonous plant that needs rooting up at first sight. If you nurture it – if you dwell on the pleasure that could be yours just by taking this action – it will destroy you. It is a cancer. We need to wake up to the deadly seriousness of sin.

David seeks to hide what he had done but in doing so compounds the evil – and none of this is hidden from God; "Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account" (Hebrews 4:13).

When David had first been chosen by God to be king, Samuel was told that "The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7). The Lord had seen something beautiful in the heart of David when he chose him to be king over his people; what does he see now?

How can we stop the temptation to sin from progressing into sinful words and actions? James gives us good advice when he writes, "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you" (James 4:7). We need to be conscious that we live every part of our life in the presence of our loving Father who sees our hearts and knows our weakness. We need to remember that we have a faithful Saviour who has promised to help us in our time of need. When tempted, he resisted the devil and the devil fled from him, at least for a time. We need to seek the help of God's Spirit the moment temptations begin to arise in our hearts and to send the devil packing. We need to keep ourselves busy in the things the Lord wants us to do.

Holy Father, teach me from this sad passage to wake up to the toxic nature of sin. Help me by your Spirit to keep watch over my own heart that it might be a place fit for your dwelling. Help me, in union with Christ my Saviour and by the power of your Spirit, to die to sin and live to righteousness. Help me to keep my eyes fixed on you and to continually busy myself in your service.

Peter Misselbrook