Summary: This story doesn't gloss over anything. It dramatize David's humanness in an unforgettable way. It offers amazing insight into the elements that make us spiritually vulnerable. It reminds us that in accomplishing His purpose God always is forced to use fallible people
2 SAMUEL 11: 1-5 [The Life of David]
DAVID AND BATHSHEBA
This section deals with one of the most familiar stories in this part of the Old Testament, with the possible exception of the story of David and Goliath. It is the story of David's disastrous affair with Bathsheba and its implications for David and for the monarchy.
Unlike the average campaign biography or press release, the Bible never flatters its heroes. All the men and women of Scripture have feet of clay, for the Holy Spirit paints a realistic portrait of their lives. He doesn't ignore, deny, or overlook the dark side. It should encourage us to know that even the best men and women in the biblical record had their faults and failures, just as we do yet the Sovereign Lord in His grace was able to use them to accomplish His purposes. Noah was a man of faith and obedience, yet he got drunk, Twice Abraham lied about his wife, and Jacob lied both to his father and to his brother Esau. Moses lost his temper disobeyed God and struck the rock, and Peter lost his courage and denied Christ three times. [Wiersbe, Warren. The Bible Exposition Commentary. Joshua-Esther. David Cook. 2003. Colorado Springs, CO. p.331].
Here David, a man after God's own heart, committed adultery and then murdered in an attempt to coverup his own sin. These sins are greatly intensified because of who he was and because of how he mishandled it.
There is no justification for what David did, as you will see in this message, and some that follow. I'm certainly not defending it. I do want to try to put it in perspective. No sin, save the sin of Adam and Eve, has received more press than the sin of David with Bathsheba. Movie makers exploit the passage with their "David and Bathsheba" films. This is a good time to remember that David was a man who loved God. . . he was still "a man after God's heart." He sinned, just as we have but ours have not been recorded for all to read. I am forever grateful that God has finished writing Scripture. There is not a person I know who would want to have his failures and vices recorded for all generations to read and discuss and make movies about and write books on and preach sermons on down through the centuries. [Swindol, Charles. David. 1997: Thomas Nelson. Nashville, TN. p. 179-80]
This story, told with candor and honesty, doesn't gloss over anything. It dramatize David's humanness in an unforgettable way. It offers amazing insight into the elements that make us spiritually vulnerable. It reminds us that in accomplishing His purpose God always is forced to use fallible people. It also should warn against presumption upon position and status to which all people are vulnerable, and that no one is above God's law.
These terrible sins give perspective to the events that occur in the succeeding chapters as a result of God's judgment upon David. The repercussions of David's sins do not end with the death of the child but seem to lay the foundation for a whole series of tragic events—rape, murder, and insurrection. When lust has conceived it gives birth to sin (CIT). The shock waves that began with a lustful heart on a rooftop were still being felt when David lay dying and was being pressured to make Solomon his successor on the throne. With this in mind, let's see what we can learn from the man's tragic failure.
At this time we will look only at the contents of 2 Samuel 11. Sufficient for us to note is the fact that the events took place during the Ammonite war. Here is an outline of our passage:
I. THE CONTEXT, 11:1.
II. THE CONCEPTION, 11:2-3.
III. THE COMMITMENT, 11:4.
IV. THE CONSEQUENCES, 11:5ff.
The story of David's adultery is very short. Everything is told in twelve lines (in a Hebrew Bible). In an earlier chapter, we saw how the Lord turned the tables on Philistia, Moab, Syria, and Edom to extend Israel's borders and give His people control of vital trade routes. In other words, what began as a series of unprovoked attacks and unwanted wars ended with Israel in command of territory from the Tigris/Euphrates valley in the north to the Gulf of Aqaba in the south. Now the wealth of these nations poured in to Israel.
The first verse sets the backdrop for the story. "Then it happened in the spring , at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him and all Israel and they destroyed the sones of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David stayed at Jerusalem."
It was that time of the year after the agricultural chores had been taken care of and before the heat of summer. The army of Israel had laid siege to the capital of Ammon, Rabbah. The kingdom had grown and the situation had change to where David had delegated to Joab the leadership of the army in the field and intended to come to the scene of battle when victory was imminent. It was a time when many of David's goals had been reached and he was experiencing fulfillment and satisfaction. Israel was united, the borders had been expanded, the country was prospering, and David was now firmly established in the minds and hearts of the people. Having the pressure off may have made David more vulnerable to temptation.