David Falls into Sin.
First thing to notice here as it pertains to temptation is that in the context of 2 Samuel, David did not fall suddenly. And if you’re paying careful attention up until now you can see that there were harbingers to David’s fall. It’s kinda like sometimes you’ll have a storm come through and a very big tree will have fallen. They go, “Well it wasn’t that big a storm. Winds were 20, 25 miles an hour. How could this giant tree fall?” Well, sometimes they learn that it’s been rotting from the inside and it was only when the pressure came and it collapsed you saw that the tree wasn’t as big and strong as it appeared to be. You look at the life of David, he was rotting on the inside and had been for some time. David had a wrong view of marriage in that we know that he had acquired multiple wives and rather than fulfilling God’s design, which was God said it is not good for the man to be alone I will make a helper suitable for him and Jesus in Matthew 19 referring to this, said, “The two shall become one flesh.” Well you read in chapter 5 verse 13 it says, “David took more concubines and wives from Jerusalem after he came from Hebron, and more sons and daughters were born to David.” And so David, rather than fulfilling God’s design up until now, finding one wife with whom he would be not just physically but emotionally intimate and one, instead is a polygamist and that tends to view women really for two purposes. One is as a sex object and the other is a baby maker, and even as you see his attraction to Bathsheba it wasn’t like, Boy, I would love to get to know her. I’m sure she’s a Godly woman. All he notices about her is her outward attractiveness. And he wants to add her to his harem and really that’s the nature of all sexual promiscuity. It’s looking upon someone to gratify yourself rather than, according to God’s design, is sex being an expression of a covenant and a oneness in every way. The Lord had explicitly forbidden kings to multiply wives. In Deuteronomy 17 it says, “He shall not multiply wives for himself, or else his heart will turn away.” That’s what other kings would do, that’s what pagan kings would do, would be to have a massive harem and hundreds of sons or something like that.
Also, it’s interesting when this takes place in David’s life. Again, if you’ve been studying the life of David, David has a hard life. I actually believe that David’s life itself is in some sense a type of Christ in that David was anointed to be the future king when he was a very young man but he had suffering before glory. And I think when Jesus in Luke 24 says, “Don’t you understand the Messiah has to suffer first?” I think David’s life in a sense portrays that, is that he is rejected, he’s chased, he’s hiding in caves, he’s nearly dying, and David spends years and years of his life in a struggle for survival. And even when Saul dies he has more years of struggle to gain the kingdom. Ironically, now, David finally is at peace. Now the capital city has been captured, he’s built himself a palace, there’s a plan to build a temple in the next generation, the enemies by and large are subdued. The Rabbahs kinda just cleaning up the last of the mess of the neighbors and David is in this position of security and power he’d never been before and you say, “Well when are you safer? Are you safer in the midst of trials? Are you safer when things are good?” And the proverb says, “Give me neither poverty nor riches. If I’m rich I may be tempted to forget God.” That’s Proverbs 30:8-9. Another thing that scares me about David here is David was probably about 50. I’m about 50and you think, Boy, if you could make it to 50 surely the youthful lusts would have died down by then and you’d be safe from a calamity like this. But he is not. Later, in chapter 12 when Nathan confronts him, chapter 12 when Nathan confronts David and rebukes him is really an interesting passage to study as well. It’s kind of how Nouthetic counseling works and there’s a lot there we can get from that but when he admonishes David he says in verse 7, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel, It is I who anointed you king over Israel. It is I who delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave you your master’s house, your master’s wives. I gave you the house of Israel and Judah. If that had been too little, I would have added you more than these. Why have you despised the word of the Lord?”
And David here what he’s doing with Bathsheba is such an act of ingratitude. The Lord’s said, “I’ve given you everything. How could you do this?” And I think if you were to know, and we don’t know for sure, but I doubt if David had written any psalms lately. I think, what he’s saying, is he had drifted from the Lord, drifted from the delight he had even when he’s dancing and rejoicing when the Ark of the Covenant comes into his capital. It appears that his heart has grown cold. He’s also guilty of neglecting his duty as king, verses 1 and 2. It says, “When kings go off to battle that he sends his underlings to go.” And in the context of that time in the rainy season you couldn’t fight. Now it’s spring, go fight. Another little detail in verse 2. Now when evening came David arose from his bed. Does that sound good to you? It’s not when I usually get up, in the evening, I don’t know. But you see what happens to David.
I read earlier James 1, that you have the same progression that takes place with him. And I wanna emphasize, this isn’t just sexual sin. You can use this pattern no matter what the sin may be. The person whose drunk, the person whose fearful, the person whose angry, the person who spends too much and runs up the credit cards. James says, “First of all let no one say when he is tempted, I am being tempted by God.” You can’t blame God. You can’t say, “Well, God made me this way so I couldn’t help myself.” You can’t say, “Well my husband was away. He was off in Iraq for six months and I was lonely.” Or, “He was working oversees and we’re not together.” Or, “My wife’s a cold fish and so I don’t have any affection at home.” Or, “I was so provoked I couldn’t help myself but to hit that person or to take revenge.” You are responsible. You can’t blame God and say, “Well, I just have these strong passions. I just can’t restrain whatever the passions may be.” And then sin takes place, not merely because of temptation from the outside, but from what’s in our hearts. I’m not gonna turn there again but it’s back to Mark 7. Remember? When Jesus says, “Not what comes at you from the outside that makes you sin but it’s what’s in your heart.” And there’s always going to be temptation. It wasn’t the outward temptation of seeing Bathsheba which caused David to sin. Rather, the temptation squeezed David’s heart and showed the sin that was already inside. “It’s out of the heart,” Jesus said, “that adulteries, and coveting, and murder, and theft come.” So, David sees her. Verse 2. He sees the woman bathing and that’s lust conceived. Culturally that scene is a little hard for us to picture. It’d be kinda like probably someone changing with the window shades open next door or something. They didn’t have indoor plumbing with bathtubs back then and so you’d have the roofs of the house. Even now in the Middle East, I’ve lived there, they’re flat. And so there’d be things you’d do up there and if it’s hot you’d get cool up there and so. I don’t think she was like in one of these clawed bathtubs or something like Hollywood might represent. But some manner she was bathing, probably should’ve been more careful, but I don’t think she was out there as a seductress. It appears even by the language it was the monthly cleansing a woman would have to do according to the law. And it says she was beautiful. Ironically the word there is the same word used of David, at least when he was younger.
But it’s a warning. The scripture warns about the lust of the eyes, and bunions, holy wart, talked about the different gates of man’s soul and here’s the eye gate. But it’s not just sex. Remember Eve with the fruit? She saw the tree, that it was good for food, and a delight to the eyes. And so, again, it can be the woman in the mall and she sees the shoes that are a delight to the eyes but not in her budget. But then David moves from looking to thinking and so lust conceived. And somebody earlier questioned me about this analogy I’m gonna get to but I think James’ analogy is a very powerful one. In the same way that a baby is conceived in a womb and if that embryo stays and is undisturbed it’s gonna start growing and what is initially invisible is going to multiply in size and that’s the picture that’s happening here. Lust is conceived and is growing and now David moves from merely thinking lustful thoughts to inquiring. It says, well, he inquired. He sent and inquired about her. Who is she? What should he have done? Should’ve looked away. Should’ve gone and found his own wife if that’s what he wanted. But this lust is conceived. And, again, it’s not just sex. A person, if you’re angry in your heart and you allow that anger, that bitterness, to grow within you it’s going to get bigger and bigger until it gives birth to sin. If you allow sinful worry and fear in your heart and thoughts that are unbelieving that can grow until the act of sin, or covetousness. Now the answer David gets should have ended the discussion. It says, “Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” A, she’s a married woman. She’s not eligible to be added to your harem, which is probably what David had in mind. Furthermore her husband is one of your loyal soldiers, one of your mighty men. Right now he’s fighting for you against the Ammonites and also she’s the daughter of one of your mighty men and the granddaughter of one of your key advisors, a guy named Ahithophel, who comes up later and joins the rebellion. You wonder why Ahithophel joined Absalom’s side, this might be one reason why. It’s also a reminder that sexual immorality affects a lot more than two people, doesn’t it? That when you touch someone else you’re not just touching them, you’re touching their spouse, their kids, their parents, others all around them. But then, back to James, that lust conceived gives birth to sin, verse 4. David sent messengers and took her and when she came to him, he lay with her. The conception in his heart, and this is the language I use that was disturbing earlier but I’m gonna use it, he should have aborted it That’s an abortion of which God approves. It’s vivid language and I mean it to be shocking language but I think it fits with what James is saying and instead of aborting the sin he allows it to continue to grow and he sins for her. And in doing this, and then it says he takes her, and this is the language when Nathan tells the parable of the ewe lamb where you have this guy that has everything and his poor neighbor has one little ewe lamb. He takes from his neighbor that one little ewe lamb, and steals it and David takes Bathsheba. Steals her. He’s become like Saul. Saul was the king who abused his power to get what he wanted and David has become that guy. To be a woman who misuses her beauty, or a man who misuses his charm, his money his power. Now the description is very succinct. Hollywood wouldn’t like this at all. Basically, he lay with her, that’s the description. We don’t need any more details than that. The sin is described. Somebody asked me earlier when there’s a case of sexual immorality how many details should the innocent spouse know? I think that’s sufficient right there. All of the other details that are in novels, or Hollywood, or whatever tend to be unprofitable. He committed the sin of adultery with this woman. That’s what you need to know, not all the details which would just be hurtful. Now there’s not a denial. Although there’s no description of the ecstasies they enjoyed or anything like that but the Bible doesn’t deny like in Proverbs 5:6-7 that immorality generates very short-term pleasure. Afterwards he sends her home.
There’s also, you say, “Well what about Bathsheba?” The story, especially in the parallel with Nathan’s story, portrays her a little bit as the helpless ewe lamb. That she was overpowered. I don’t think she was raped, however. There’s no evidence of that. She should have refused, shouldn’t she? Some women will find themselves in the place of Bathsheba where they’re on a date with some guy and he’s coming onto them, what are you supposed to do? Well, one is dress modestly. Bathsheba didn’t exactly follow that. But as well in Deuteronomy 22 in the law of God, it said that when a man would come to a woman trying to have sex with her when they weren’t married to each other what was she supposed to do? She’s supposed to cry out. She’s supposed to try to force him to stop and there’s no evidence she did cry out. Interestingly when Uriah is summoned by David he is not overpowered by David. When David says, “Go home, lie with your wife. Take it easy.” Uriah doesn’t give in. He says, “The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in temporary shelters, and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are camping in the open field. Shall I then go down to my house and eat and drink and to lie with my wife? By your life and the life of your soul, I will not do this thing.” Yay for Uriah He had the courage and I think his wife would have done well, also. Women need to have courage in these circumstances. It’s also kind of ironic that it says after she purified herself. She’s good at keeping the ceremonial law but she’s not doing so well at the moral law. Anyway, finally so lust conceived gives birth to sin, sin results in death. Verse 5, the woman conceived and she sent and told David, “I am pregnant.” Interestingly, by the way, this wasn’t some great torrid love affair. This was a one-night stand from all we can tell and yet out of that came the deadly consequences.
Now one way it should have been death is according to the law of God if a man is found with a married woman they both shall die, is what the law said. Proverbs warns us that the one who commits adultery with a woman is lacking sense. He who would destroy himself does it. Wounds and disgrace he will find and his reproach will not be blotted out. The conception of a child, which should be an occasion of great joy and thankfulness as a gift from God, in this case is a tragedy. And we’re not gonna read the rest of the chapter but David’s attempts to cover up his guilt just compound his sin. This is true, that sin begets more sin. Sexual unfaithfulness leads to a lot of other sin. You could go through basically the Ten Commandments and David pretty well knocks most all of them out. He lies, he deceives, he has stolen a wife in the end, he murders Uriah, he coveted his neighbor’s wife. He also involves others. He involves his servants in the act to begin with, the cover up, and ultimately you keep reading the rest, the 2 Samuel is a tragedy when you see what happens with David’s children and David’s household. When you see even the life of Solomon and his uncontrolled desires towards women. It leaves a tragic legacy.