Summary: If you want your prayers to be heard, repent so that sin’s brick wall will be knocked down.
Review: P = Praise. If you start your prayers with praise, you will end them in peace.
Scripture Reading: Psalm 51
David’s Sin, Cover-Up, and Misery (2 Samuel 11-12)
It started with just a look. In the end, it brought David more heartache than he could ever imagine.
It is a spring night. King David can’t sleep. He’s wondering how the Israelite army is doing. He normally went with them, but this time he had decided to stay home. That was a decision he later came to deeply regret.
David grabs the TV remote—150 channels but nothing on. So he gets out of his bed and walks around on the roof of his palace. He admires his impressive city. Just as he is ready to go back to bad, he sees a beautiful woman bathing. Instead of turning away, he allows his mind to be filled with lust.
David asks one of his servants about this woman. He is told that her name is Bathsheba. She is the wife of Uriah—one of his soldiers. She is married. David should have proceeded no further. But by this time he feels the temptation is too strong. David sends a messenger to get Bathsheba. She comes to him, and he sleeps with her. Then she returns home. David thinks that’s it. I got away with it. But a few days later, Bathsheba sends a message to David: “I’m pregnant.”
What is he going to do? Imagine if the Jerusalem tabloids hear about his affair. It would destroy his reputation. It might even affect his reign. Instead of doing the right thing, David attempts to cover up his adultery, which tragically leads to more and more sin.
David picks up his cell phone and calls his general Joab: “Send me Uriah.” When Uriah arrives, David asks him how Joab is, how the soldiers are and how the war is going. Then David says to Uriah, “Go down to your house and see your wife.” David is hoping that Uriah will go home and sleep with Bathsheba and think that her child is his. But when Uriah leaves the palace, he doesn’t go home. Instead, he sleeps at the entrance to the palace with David’s servants.
David is informed that Uriah didn’t go home. David is shocked. He asks him, “Why didn’t you go home?” Uriah answers, “My master Joab and my lord’s men are camped in the open fields. How could I go to my house to eat and drink and sleep with my wife? As surely as you live, I will not do such a thing!” Uriah’s answer fills David with guilt.
But David doesn’t give up. He says to Uriah, “Stay here one more day, and tomorrow I will send you back.” At David’s invitation, he eats and drinks with him, and David gets him drunk. But again Uriah doesn’t go home. Once again he sleeps on his mat with David’s servants.
David is frustrated with Uriah. In the morning David sends an email to Joab. It says, “Put Uriah in the front line where the fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so he will be struck down and die.”
A few days later, Joab gives David an update on the battle. At the end of the message, David reads the words “Uriah is dead.” David returns this message: “Don’t let this upset you; the sword devours one as well as another. Press the attack against the city and destroy it.” David is trying to make himself and Joab feel better about Uriah’s death. David reasoned, “If Uriah hadn’t died, another soldier would have. He was probably going to die sooner or later anyway.”
David thinks that Uriah’s death ends his problems. Eventually Bathsheba becomes his wife…and they live happily ever after, right? Wrong. “The thing David had done displeased the LORD” (2 Sam. 11:27).
Not only did his sin displease the Lord; it also haunted David day and night. His sin affected him physically, mentally, and spiritually. “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer” (Ps. 32:3-4).
One day Nathan the prophet makes a surprise visit to David’s palace. Nathan tells David a story:
“There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him.
“Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe Lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him” (2 Sam. 12:1-4).