Summary: The LORD also hath put away thy sin - 2 Samuel 12:13.
AMAZING GRACE FOR BACKSLIDING BELIEVERS.
It is not my purpose at this time to go into all the sordid details of David’s sin with Bathsheba, and his subsequent conspiracy to murder her husband. All this is explicit in chapters 11 and 12 of second Samuel. My purpose rather is to look at this episode from the perspective of the grace of God, and how God deals with the wilful sin even of believers.
So here we have David, who wrote ‘Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever’ (Psalm 23:6). How can we say that goodness and mercy were following him when he took to bed his neighbour’s wife, and had her husband effectively murdered? Where was goodness then, and where was mercy then?
Well, the New Testament furnishes us with another well-known text: ‘And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose’ (Romans 8:28). ALL things? Yes, ALL things.
Now, I do not want to be accused here of giving license to sin. That I am not (cf. Romans 6:1-2). However, when I read the word ‘all’ in the Bible what can it mean other than ‘ALL’?
We see this ‘all things’ working for good in the life of Joseph. Persecuted by his brothers, sold into slavery, falsely accused and imprisoned; sent for by Pharaoh, raised up out of prison and made Prime Minister of Egypt; enabled to feed thousands during the famine, including his own family. Joseph had this to say to his brothers: ‘ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass as it is this day’ (Genesis 50:20).
In the book of Job we see the reality that, even in the background of the everyday activities of one of whom the LORD Himself testifies that he is ‘blameless and upright’ (Job 2:3), that there is a malevolent force at work against him. Yet Job’s end was greater than his beginning, and there was compensation for all that he lost - including his children (Job 42:10-15). I like to think that, as well as twice as many livestock towards the end of his life, he has twice as many children, from both before and after the disasters that so shook his life, up there in heaven with him.
The devil was also seeking to derail David, who was pursued without a cause by King Saul, who more than once tried to kill him. Yet, when David became king, this awful temptation overtook him, and he let his guard down, and - acting quite out of character - gave way to the passions and lusts that came upon him so suddenly, and without notice. All this from the one who was ‘the man after God’s own heart’ (Acts 13:22).
Yet I say, even in this, God never ceased to be with him, working out his messes for good - as He does also ours. I am put in mind of the Prodigal Son, who never ceased to be son to his father, even when he rebelled, nor even when he was wallowing in the pig pen. And the father never ceased to be a father to him, awaiting his return, and even running out to meet him when he came (Luke 15:20).
Such was the compassion of the father in Jesus’ parable. After Nathan’s parable, David said, “I have sinned against the LORD”; and just as quickly the answer came, “The LORD also hath put away thy sin” (2 Samuel 12:13). Such was the compassion of God towards David.
What good came out of David’s sin? Well, Bathsheba was brought into David’s harem, and although the son of their adultery perished, their next son, Solomon, went on to be king. Although not actually named, ‘her that had been the wife of Uriah’ is one of the women mentioned in the regal genealogy of Jesus (Matthew 1:6).
This does not negate the fact that there were consequences to David’s sin, both in his family, and also in the nation. So if, as a Christian, you are tempted, then ‘resist the devil’ (James 4:7) with all your God-given might! Again, I emphasise, ALL sin does carry inevitable and terrible consequences.
But IF you have already yielded to temptation, even as a Christian, lay hold upon the reality of GOD’s goodness and GOD’s covenant mercy in your life (Psalm 23:6). Acknowledge your sin before God, against whom you have sinned (2 Samuel 12:13; Psalm 51:4). ‘Go, and sin no more’ (cf. John 8:11).