Faithful. Trustworthy. Honorable. That was David. The Bible is a wonderful book, first and foremost because it’s the divine Word of God. It’s also a wonderful book because of its absolute honesty in showing us the lives of its people. David, the one whom the Lord declared as “a man after His own heart” (I Samuel 13:14b, NLT), wasn’t perfect.
We read this part of David’s story in Second Samuel 11: “In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army. But David remained in Jerusalem” (verse 1a, 1c).
Folks, this one verse says a mouthful: “at the time when kings go off to war.” What was it time for David to do? Go away with the rest of his army. What did David do instead? “Remained in Jerusalem.”
How many lives have been torn apart because someone was where they shouldn’t have been? And the sad truth is that even when God forgives you, nothing that poor decision sets into motion can be undone. It’s a whole lot less messy to avoid the sin than to try to clean up the disaster it created. David sure learned that the hard way.
“One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful” (II Samuel 11:2).
Evening was the time for bathing. And aside from the palace, there was likely no home tall enough to give a person a view of this woman’s rooftop bath. So let’s look at the facts: (1) David knew baths were taken in the evening; and (2) he knew he was up high enough to see anything that was happening on the other rooftops.
But maybe he just wasn’t thinking. David’s intent in going out onto his own rooftop might have been absolutely innocent. Probably bored and restless and wondering how his army was faring, David couldn’t sleep. And because all of his close friends were members of his armed forces, he didn’t have any of his usual guys to talk to or hang out with. What’s the old saying? “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.” Lot of truth in that one.
Sin is never idle. Sin is active. It’s progressive. David, having taken the first step, now has an option: turn his head and go back inside the palace or keep looking. David opts for door number two.
Which leads to step number three: “David sent someone to find out about her” (II Samuel 11:3a). And he learns: “Isn’t this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” (II Samuel 3b).
David had a whole harem to choose from. David knew what he was contemplating was wrong. David had already taken three steps in the wrong direction. And now he takes the fourth one: “David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her” (II Samuel 11:4a).
He looks. He lusts. And even after learning she’s a married woman, he acts on his lust. And that, my friends, is the beginning of a downward spiral that David can’t even begin to imagine.
“Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay” (author unknown).
Copyright © 2012
Judy Woodward Bates