Summary: David is a man after God’s own heart, yet he commits a terrible sin. God moves in David’s life—judging, punishing and forgiving him.
2 Samuel 12:1-9 “Convicted”
When my dad retired, my mother decided to open a day care business. I remember one of the couples who left their child for my mother to care for instructed her never to say “No,” to their child. She was to divert his attention if he was doing something wrong and never punish him in any way. This didn’t sit very well with my mother. She was of the school of the time out chair and corporal punishment when necessary.
The practice of never saying “No,” seems to be a reflection of today’s society. We don’t want to deny ourselves and we never want to admit that we are wrong or that we have sinned. Denial appears to be our new creed.
The story of David and Bathsheba and later David and Nathan have much to teach us as followers of Christ living in this world of proclaimed sinlessness.
A CHANGING STORY
Chapter 11 contains the story of David and Bathsheba. It is the reason why the prophet Nathan confronts David in our lesson today in chapter 12. The story of David and Bathsheba has changed over the years. It once was seen as a tale of simple adultery. David the mega male was overwhelmed by the charms of the seductress Bathsheba. Their relationship was consensual. Today the event is seen in a different light. David is the powerful king who preys upon an innocent Bathsheba. She is raped and sexually molested and remains quiet. No one would believe her if she called attention to the actions of the king.
David’s story of the powerful taking advantage of the weak has been repeated through the millennia. It is still “SOP, Standard Operating Procedures” for much of our nation and culture. If the truth be told, we all have a measure of power—no matter not in control and powerless we may feel. As followers of Jesus, who seek to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength, and our neighbors as ourselves, our challenge is to use our power to stand with the powerless. To do nothing is a misuse of our power.
It was said that David was a man after God’s own heart. His description makes it difficult for us to understand why he did what he did. Somehow David justified his actions—both this abusive relationship with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband. Perhaps he justified it as his right as a king, or he might have come up with some new and novel interpretation of the Ten Commandments.
Upon reflection we do realize that we do the very same thing. We pick up on the fear and hate that is being that is being expressed by so many in our society and we decide that it is okay for us to ignore Jesus’ instruction, “This is my commandment that you love one another, as I have loved you.” We rationalize that we have been so hurt that we do not need to forgive the person or person who wronged us. We live selfishly because we rationalize that we have needs that are absolute necessities rather than spoiled desires.
NATHAN AND THE HOLY SPIRIT
For those of us who do not have a prophet like Nathan in our lives, we have the Holy Spirit. One of the Holy Spirit’s jobs in its process of sanctification—making us holy—is to convict us of our sin.
There are many types of sins. Two that we acknowledge are sins that are unknown and sins that we know. Many of us are quite comfortable not knowing about our sins—ignorance is bliss. I had a good friend who was a smoker. When he developed a dry cough and began to have difficulty breathing, his wife tried to persuade him to go to the doctor. He refused to go. He said that he knew what the doctor would tell him. Several months later my friend died never having heard the doctor tell him to stop smoking and that he had lung cancer. Not knowing our sin can be hazardous to our spiritual health.
Sins that we know about are another type of sin. These are our thoughts, words and actions that we know have displease the Lord and have hurt other people. These sins cause us to experience guilt and shame.
When convicted of sin, it is popular to simply deny, deny, deny. David demonstrated that there is a better, more effective way of dealing with sin and the Spirit’s (or the prophet Nathan’s) ministry. David confessed, repented and received forgiveness.
A CLEAN HEART
David’s prayer of confession is found in Psalm 51. Convicted by his own words, David approached the Lord and confessed that he had sinned against the Lord.
David asked that the Lord would move in his life and create a new heart. He asked to be made a better person—one who walked in obedience to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.