Summary: How David Fell
HOW THE MIGHTY HAVE FALLEN – DAVID AND BATHSHEBA
I am sure you all recall the scandal which engulfed President Clinton a few years ago. It involved a liaison with a young intern called Monica Lewinsky. Some of the details were quite lurid and the press had a field day for a time. Yet 3000 years ago another leader, just as powerful as Clinton, had a similar situation engulf his kingship. There were no tabloid press around in those days and the those who did record the details saw fit not to include the sordid details, as such. Turn back with me to 2 Samuel 11 and 12 and let us look at this incident in the life of king David. The story is no doubt familiar to us all. After the story of Goliath this is probably the most commonly known incident in the life of David. Right at the very start of this sermon I want to remind us again who David is. He is God’s chosen, called and anointed king of Israel. This is the man of whom God said ‘he is a man after my own heart.’ This is a chosen man of God. This is not some wicked or debauched man but a man whose heart was after God’s. A man who would pen some of the most beautiful words of praise of God ever written. The man who knew God intimately and deeply. Remember this as we go through the text today.
There are four simple lessons or principles I think we all can learn from this incident:
SIN ALWAYS DECEIVES
SIN ALWAYS DESTROYS
SIN IS ALWAYS DISCOVERED
CONFESSED SIN IS ALWAYS FORGIVEN
SIN ALWAYS DECEIVES.
Before we enter into this point turn back with me to Deuteronomy 17 and verses 16-17. God in his Law says there are three things a king is not to do:
(a) He is not to multiply the number of horses he owns.
(b) He is not to multiply his gold and silver.
(c) He is not to multiply the number of wives he has – because his heart will be turned away from God by them.
Now David obeyed the first two but on the question of wives and concubines David disobeyed God. 2 Samuel 5.13 we read that David took many wives and concubines. Many years before this incident with Bathsheba David had sown the seeds of his own downfall. Remember that friends. The seeds which you plant in your heart and life today will bear fruit many years from now – maybe 10 or 20 years from now – and that fruit will either be good or bad – depending on the seed you plant now. Now what is true of your life is also true of the lives of the children God has blessed you with. So think about what you are planting in their lives and what fruit it will bear in their adulthood. But that is an aside at the moment.
Let us come back to David. David knew from God’s law he was not to have many wives and concubines but he desired to be like other kings. No doubt he justified it to himself that he had won many battles and he had obeyed God in all these other areas – he deserved this little perk of being king. The result was disaster not only in the life of David, but in his family and in the nation of Israel. Let us see how this played out in his life.
2 Samuel 11.1-4 David being lazy leads to sin. Look at verse 1 – David has neglected his duty. Instead of being on the battlefield with his men he is in his bed. At this time of his life David is in his 50’s, he has been king for 20 years and all we can say is that he has become bored with the battlefield, and he indulges himself and stays behind in Jerusalem. He has become lazy – it is evening by the time he gets up out of his bed. This was a pattern developed over many weeks or months. It is not as a result of physical tiredness but as the result of emotional and spiritual laziness, not tiredness but slothfulness on the part of David.
We read that he goes for a walk on the roof and something catches his attention. A ‘very beautiful woman’, the Hebrew is explicitly clear here – Bathsheba is striking in her beauty, is washing. You know if this was the tabloid press or a Holywood film a more graphic description would be given and the sensuality of it all depicted but not the Bible – it does not tell this story to titillate but to warn. Let me say also to you this morning that the Bible makes it clear that the one at fault here, the one who sins is David and not Bathsheba. His palace no doubt was higher than all the other buildings around it. Bathsheba no doubt did not expect someone to be watching from a vantage point as she bathed. The first verse leads us to believe that all the men of fighting age had gone to war, David should have been there also. Even so David should have turned away but he does not he lingers and gazes and his fall into sin is sealed. What should he have done? There are times when our gaze catches something it shouldn’t and it is not deliberate. He should have remembered Joseph who when confronted by Potiphar’s wife ran away – he did not linger, he did not try to explain it or reason it out – he ran away. Not David. In fact in chapter 12 Nathan calls this ‘a traveller’ who came to call on David.