Adultery lang?! (Just Adultery?!)
The story of David and Bathsheba is perhaps just as well-known as that of David and Goliath. Whereas David killing Goliath was David’s first heroic act in his career as a soldier on the way to become king, his adultery with Bathsheba was David’s most shameful act as soldier and king. (Read 2 Sam. 11)
Lessons from this story.. As I think about this story, I realise that it is more than just adultery that David’s story can teach us.
1) When all is well, sin creeps at the door. David was at the height of his reign. He had an army of soldiers fighting for him. He was home in Jerusalem and woke from bed to walk around the roof of his house. He saw a beautiful woman bathing. Indeed sin starts with seeing… and at the heart of it is ‘lust.’
2) One sin leads to another. Adultery turned to murder. David tried to cover his track. He tried to get Uriah to go home to his wife and make love to her. So that in case Bathsheba gets pregnant, Uriah would cover for David’s act of adultery. Alas, when Uriah refused to go home, David had a worse plan. Let Uriah die in battle.
3) I wonder how David felt after he did two crimes. No mention of it until Nathan the prophet came to rebuke him with a story. (Read 2 Sam. 12). In spite of David’s immoral behaviour, he should be given credit for his sense of right and wrong when Nathan presented him with the story of the rich oppressing the poor. (vv.5-6) More than that, David was quick to admit his guilt. Psalm 51 is a popular psalm written by David confessing his sins and his contrite spirit – being truly sorry for the wrongs that he did.
4) Finally, there is a lesson to be learned from David – how he faced the consequences of his sins. Nathan told him what God is going to do as a result of his sins. (vv.7-11).
a) David said I have sinned against the Lord. (v. 13) No excuses. He was quick to admit it. He faced the reality that his child, the result of the adultery, got sick.
b) He prayed to the Lord about it. For 7 days, he put on sack cloth, he fasted and prayed for God to heal his child. (vv.16-17)
Such was David’s relationship with God, he believed that God is merciful in spite of his sins. He hoped that God would spare his child.
c) After 7 days, the child died. God did not hear his prayers. What did David do? Then David got up from the ground. After he had washed, put on lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. Then he went to his own house, and at his request they served him food, and he ate. (v.20)
What was David’s rationale for all that he did and how he responded to this crisis in his life? His servants asked David:
“Why are you acting this way? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept, but now that the child is dead, you get up and eat!”
22 He answered, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, ‘Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me and let the child live.’ 23 But now that he is dead, why should I go on fasting? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.”
David accepted God’s punishment for his sins. He knew he did wrong. He also believed God is gracious. So he prayed for God’s mercy. Finally, he accepted God’s answer. He got up from the ground, went into God’s house and worshipped him. (v.20)
Something on prayer: It struck me how two people responded differently in two prayers they uttered under different circumstances in their lives.
Hannah prayed for a son – with fasting and sadness. After praying, her face was no longer downcast. David prayed with fasting and sadness for his son to get well. He continued to do so for 7 days.
Hannah went on and ate something even before her prayer was answered. She cast her cares to the Lord in prayer.
David got up and ate something even after his prayer was not answered. He accepted his dues from the Lord in prayer.
What kind of attitude do I have in prayer? Let me learn from both Hannah and David. Prayer is drawing close to God with the desires of my heart. Prayer is leaving to God what he deems as best to give me. Prayer is worship of God no matter the answer – whether yes or no.