Summary: #1 of 4 sermons dealing with David’s sin with Bathsheba, its effects and David’s ultimate restoration.

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An Unguarded Moment

(2 Samuel 11:1-13)

I. David’s Sin Surprises and Shock Us

A. David’s reputation

B. Bathsheba’s beauty

C. Uriah’s integrity

II. David’s Sin Was Doubly Tragic

A. David was not where he should have been

B. It was not a great passion


Marriage is a sacred relationship. From a Christian perspective, it is understood to be a covenant relationship between two persons, blessed and validated by God. It is a commitment that is not to be treated lightly. But people who do not hold such a view of marriage or choose to forsake its sacredness often suffer unforeseen consequences.

In the early 1960’s, Henry Ford II, married more than 20 years, began an affair with Cristina Austin, a beautiful socialite. He kept the affair secret for as long as possible, but one night his wife, Anne, walked into the restaurant where he and Cristina were dining. Ever the well-mannered lady, Anne said, “This was bound to happen some time.” She hoped for reconciliation.

When Henry persisted in the affair, the marriage ended in divorce. Their daughters, Charlotte and Anne, were furious at their father for his behavior and at Cristina for breaking up the marriage.

Henry, determined to reconcile with his daughters, invited them to join Cristina and himself in St. Moritz. While there, Charlotte met the Greek shipping magnate, Stavros Niarchos, and began an affair with him. Upon returning to the US, she learned that she was pregnant.

Niarchos, learning of the pregnancy, divorced his wife and married Charlotte. However, they were not an ideal match. Not only was he older than Charlotte, he was eight years older than her father. They lived together sporadically, and were divorced two years later. Niarchos then remarried his first wife.

When Henry began his relationship with Cristina, he surely had no idea how the story would play itself out. Would he have persisted if he had known the effect he would have on Charlotte and her baby? Perhaps not. But he didn’t know. We seldom know in advance all the effect that infidelity will cause. They are like ripples, affecting our children, grandchildren and beyond. We dare not take marriage and fidelity lightly.

I tell this story because it relates to a tragic moment in the life of one of the greatest heroes in the Bible. I’m referring to the account found in 2 Samuel 11 concerning an infamous event in the life of king David. At the high point of his life, David enjoyed a night of casual sex. The result was a downward spiral leading to the lowest point of his life. That seemingly “little sin” had consequences that he could not have imagined, even as the story of Henry Ford II’s affair led his family into a downward spiral.

This morning I will begin a four-part series of sermons dealing with this dark period in David’s illustrious career. The name of this series is “When Good People Do Bad Things.” Today’s message is entitled, “An Unguarded Moment.” We will begin this morning by examining the events that precipitated this sin. Next week, we will look at the cycle of unrepentant sin. The third sermon will deal with the prophet Nathan’s rebuke and the king’s response. And we will conclude this series with an overview of the results of David’s sin and his restoration.

If you have done so already, please turn with me to 2 Samuel 11. Although we will focus primarily on vv. 1-13 this morning, I would like to read the entire chapter in order to help us grasp the big picture.

David’s Sin Surprises and Shocks Us

This story focuses on three main characters and we can see many contrasts in their lives exposed by the biblical writer.

The first is king David. When we read this account about his life, we find his attitude and conduct to be surprising and shocking. There are a number of reasons why we feel this way toward David given our historical and theological viewpoint, but I would like for us to look at this from the vantage point of the historical and theological context in which it occurred.

The cultural context in which David lived would not have frowned upon his actions quite as greatly as we do today. It was not uncommon for kings to take advantage of their position of power in order to satisfy their wants and desires. Polygamy was prevalent and accepted as normative in the larger culture of the day and even permitted in the OT law as a concession to the hardness of the people’s hearts. As we look at the manner in which David proceeded to inquire about this beauty that he saw and the subsequent invitation to the palace, we find that he followed the established protocol for rulers. As far as society was concerned, there was very little reason for concern—“it’s just the way things are.”

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