As we continue looking at the life of David and his walk with the Lord, we are reminded of why he is called a man after God’s own heart. He has a teachable spirit, a servant’s heart, and he was quick to obey. David is a man who has experienced God’s mercy and grace and he has been quick to extend that mercy and grace to others, even his enemy, King Saul.
In this lesson, we are going to see how David experiences God’s forgiveness. David, although a man after God’s own heart, was not perfect. Like all of us, David was born with a sin nature. His heart was inclined to sin, just like my heart is and just like your heart is. As we study this, just remember, no matter what you have done, God’s mercy, grace, and forgiveness is available.
I. The Progression of sin
Sin does not just happen instantaneously. The Apostle James teaches us that sin is a progression.
13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God “; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.
14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.
15 Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. (James 1)
It begins with temptation. Temptation is something outside of us that appeals to our sin nature. Once we see, hear, or experience something, we begin to think about it. We begin to dwell on it until we desire it. Once we desire it, we take it. After taking it, we try to cover up what we did. That pattern began with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden in Genesis 3. Eve heard. Then she thought about what she heard. Next she desired what she was thinking about. Then she took and tried to cover up what she had done. This same pattern is evident with David.
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 sons of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David stayed at Jerusalem. (II Samuel 11:1)
David’s troubles began when he was not busily taking care of his responsibilities. He decided to stay home and be lazy.
Now when evening came David arose from his bed and walked around on the roof of the king’s house, and from the roof he saw a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful in appearance. (II Samuel 11:2)
Did you notice that David had lounged around in the bed all day and did not have anything to do. When evening came, he went up on his roof and while there, he encounters temptation. He sees a woman bathing. She was doing what she was supposed to be doing. The water was kept on the roof to warm in the sun all day for an evening bath. David’s palace was above the other homes so he was the only one able to see this woman bathing. This is David’s problem and not the woman’s. Is David going to look away and forget about what he saw, or, is he going to dwell on what he has witnessed?
So David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, “Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” (II Samuel 11:3)
David dwells on what he saw and seeks to find out more information about this woman. She is not his wife and he needs to leave her alone. He has multiple wives that he could visit if he were worked up over what he saw. He does not visit them. Instead, he allows sin to progress in his life.
David sent messengers and took her, and when she came to him, he lay with her; and when she had purified herself from her uncleanness, she returned to her house. (II Samuel 11:4)
David, knowing that she was the wife of one of his best warriors who was away at war, takes this woman and has relations with her. The Apostle James mentioned in his epistle that sin always has consequences.
The woman conceived; and she sent and told David, and said, “I am pregnant.” (II Samuel 11:5)
Uriah is away at war and when his wife turns up pregnant, he is going to wonder how. David is in a bind. Instead of confessing his sin, David tries to cover up his actions. For the sake of space, I will tell the rest of the story. In verses 13-17 of II Samuel 11, David brings Uriah home, hoping that he will have relations with his wife and the pregnancy will seem like the natural result. Uriah refuses to go home to his wife while his men are still on the battlefield. David then gets Uriah drunk and tries to send him home to his wife. Even while drunk, Uriah refuses to go home to his wife. David is stuck. Instead of confessing his sin, David sends Uriah back to the battlefield with a note to the commander of the army to make sure that Uriah dies in battle. Things progress as David hopes and he takes Bathsheba as his wife. David seems to have covered up his sin. Did you notice the progression of sin in David’s life? He saw the woman. He thought about what he saw until he desired her. He took her and sinned. Then he tried to cover up his actions. This is the exact progression of sin that James lays out in his epistle. God witnessed all of this and He is going to expose David.
II. Sin confronted
As you read II Samuel 12, God sends Nathan the prophet to confront David’s sin. Nathan is a wise and courageous man. This is a very difficult task for Nathan but, because he loves the Lord, he loves God’s people and he wants the best for David. Living with unconfessed sin is not good for anyone. David later wrote about what it was like to live with unconfessed sin.
3 When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away Through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer. (Psalm 32)
Nathan is a great spiritual leader. He will do the hard things for the good of others. No one likes confrontation but it is necessary. David needs forgiveness and healing. In order for this to happen, David’s sin must be confronted. Nathan answers the call. Nathan loves his neighbor as himself. He loves his neighbor enough to ask the hard questions. Nathan is also a wise man. He tells David a parable. While listening to the parable, David pronounces judgment on the guilty party in the parable. David does not connect the parable with his own situation. Nathan finally looks at David and exclaims, “you are the guilty man of the parable”. How will David respond? Will he respond the way that King Saul responded, saying, “it was not my fault it was _________________ fault”. King Saul blamed the people for his actions. King Saul blamed Samuel for his actions. Adam and Eve blamed each other, the devil, and even God for their actions when they were confronted.
III. David’s Confession and Repentance
Psalm 51 shows us that David’s godly sorrow led him to repentance.
David admits his sin. In other words, David confesses his sin. To confess means to agree with God that what He says is right is right and what He says is wrong is wrong. It means admitting that you did wrong. David does not try to blame others for his actions. In contrast to David, we saw King Saul blame Samuel and the people for his actions. David does not try and justify himself for what he did. The is so contrary to our modern worldview. We are trained to believe that nothing is our fault. We are who we are and we do what we do, not by choice, but, by circumstances. My socioeconomic background caused me to be who I am and therefore I do what I do. I cannot be held responsible. My parents did this, or, they did not do that, therefore, I am who I am and I do what I do. This is not a new tactic. Since David was familiar with the first 5 books of the Bible, he knew the way that Adam and Eve reacted when confronted over their sin. Adam tried to blame God and Eve. Eve tried to blame the serpent. This is where we get our excuse today, “the devil made me do it”. David did not respond that way. He acknowledged his sin. He owned his sin. He knew that he had sinned against God first and foremost, and then, against the people who are created in God’s image. Have you ever been confronted because of your sin? How did you respond? Did your pride cause you to get angry and attack the messenger? Did you try to justify yourself? Did you play the blame game? Or, did you respond as David did and admit your sin?
David asks for mercy. The definition of mercy is “not getting what you actually deserve”. Because of his sin, his attitude and actions, David deserved to die. He took another man’s wife, which was punishable by death. He had that man killed which makes David a murderer. Murders were punished by death. David deserved to die, but, he appealed to God’s character and asked for mercy. He did not deserve mercy. He did not show mercy, but, God chose to show mercy to David. This is what grace is, receiving what you do not deserve. None of us deserves mercy from God. He shows it anyway. None of us deserves grace from God. He gives us grace anyway. David is very grateful for the gifts that he received from God. He did not demand these things from God, as if God owed him anything. He simply asked. God responded and David was grateful. I cannot help but think that David probably thought about the goodness that Abraham showed to Lot and the lack of gratitude that Lot showed back to Abraham. Lot did not deserve what Abraham did for him. Lot benefited greatly from what Abraham did. Lot did not show his gratitude to Abraham . David benefited greatly from what God did in showing him mercy and grace. David should have died but God spared him. David chose to be grateful to God and show his gratitude. Are you grateful to God for the fact that He shows mercy to you and gives grace to you? Do you feel like God owes you something? How do you show your gratitude to God for His mercy and grace?
David announces God’s goodness. David lets everyone know that God is able to forgive our sins. Many people carry their sins around with them all of their lives, not knowing that they can be forgiven and cleansed from the stains that sin leaves in our lives and on our minds. The next thing that David announces is that God can help us be faithful to Him and walk in obedience. We would love to be able to obey God on our own but we cannot do it. We need help. God will help us if we will learn to depend on Him. David also announces that God is able to give us joy in the midst of the worst situations in life. Finally, David announces that when sinners (all of us) hear the Word of God and the attributes of God as described in His Word, we can be saved (rescued) and transformed from the inside out. This is how David shows his gratitude to God, by telling the people around him what they can receive if they will repent and turn to God. David becomes a herald for the Lord. Are you letting the people around you know what God has to offer to them? Have you repented? Have you experienced God’s mercy and grace in your own life? Are you showing your gratitude by telling others? Do you appreciate the spiritual leaders who care enough about you to confront your sin? Is there a spiritual leader whom you need to thank for helping you stop going down the path of sin and destruction?
Based on what we have discovered, do you associate more with Saul or David when it comes to having your sins confronted?
May the Lord bless us as we share Him with the people around us!