“At the time when kings go off to war…”

2 Samuel 11:1-12:25  “At the time when kings go off to war, David sent” his general and army out but he stayed in Jerusalem.  What is going on here?  Was David feeling his age?  Was he facing burnout from all the battles he had fought?  Perhaps he saw himself as too important to risk.  In any case David did not go with his men but stayed in the palace – and looked out the window.  So began a dark period in David’s life and the beginning of a compromise.  David saw Bathsheba, wanted, and took.  She became pregnant so King David arranged for her husband, Uriah the Hittite, to be killed.  Ouch.  The sin and the cover-up!  God sent Nathan, the prophet, to David with a story that confronted David with his sin.  David immediately repents, “I have sinned against the Lord. (12:13)” The child became sick and died.  The consequence was, “Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.” 

         Do we call it the sin of pride, the sin of lust, the sin of devaluing women?  What was done in secret now became a pubic life of conflict for David and the kingship became complicated.  David, our hero, is forgiven but the names of Goliath and Bathsheba will be attached to him forever.  How easy it is to think one potato chip won’t hurt us!

         David suffered a” temporary lapse of judgment.”  We are all human and it is so easy to deceive ourselves and convince ourselves that this little deed, this little lie, this little indulgence is ok.  No excuses make wrong, right.  The law convicts and the slip will have consequences.  God sees us, even though we do not see God. 

         I also note that David allowed himself to get separated from his men that he led.  We all need accountability, someone with whom we can be open and honest and friends who will stand in prayer with us when we are feeling tempted.  The “Lone Ranger” had Tonto.  “Batman” had Robin.  Who holds you in their heart and with whom can you be open with and get honest feedback?  Who cares enough to “call a spade a spade?”  Who is your Nathan?

         God forgave David.  God did not undo the sin by bringing Uriah back to life.  The consequences had to be lived with.  But God did then bless David and Bathsheba with another son, Solomon, but the downward slide had begun.  David repented.  He did not justify.  He did not argue.  He did not blame.  He realized he had ultimately sinned against God by abuse of his power that came from God, abuse of the privileges and abuse of the people entrusted to him by God.  To humble ourselves in repentance is very difficult. Very little stays secret for long.  Perhaps there is something you need to set straight today.  Repentance and getting straight with God is never a bad choice.  Making the choice is the hard part.  God is willing to forgive!

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