If David, the one whom the Lord declared as “a man after His own heart” (I Samuel 13:14b, NLT) could mess up, anybody can. And God will forgive? Absolutely. First John 1:9 plainly teaches: “If we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.”
But even though we know that God forgives and even forgets, we need also know that His forgiveness in no way stops the earthly actions, reactions and consequences set in motion by our sin. David certainly learned that lesson the hard way.
Having slept with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, one of the soldiers in David’s army, David tries to give Uriah some off-time to go home and visit his wife, hoping this will present the opportunity for Uriah to think himself the father of the baby Bathsheba was carrying. But honorable Uriah refuses; he has too much concern and respect for his comrades left behind on the battlefield. He tells David, “As surely as you live, I will not do such a thing!” (II Samuel 11:11b).
About time David just tells the truth and gets it over with, huh? But that’s simply not gonna happen. No, instead, David tells Uriah, “Stay here one more day, and tomorrow I will send you back” (II Samuel 11:12b).
“So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day and the next. At David’s invitation, he ate and drank with him, and David made him drunk. But in the evening Uriah went out to sleep on his mat among his master’s servants; he did not go home” (II Samuel 11:12c-13).
Showing respect for the king who had pulled him from the battlefield and shown him special treatment, Uriah continues to stick close to the king. And this is when David allows evil to completely control his decision:
“In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah. In it he wrote, ‘Put Uriah in the front line where the fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so he will be struck down and die’” (II Samuel 11:14-15).
The “man after (God’s) own heart” committed premeditated murder. And how much crueler could he have been than to send the death warrant by the very man to be executed! Trustworthy Uriah took the sealed letter directly to his leader Joab. Joab, probably thinking there was some traitorous or other serious reason for David’s order, obeys.
“So while Joab had the city under siege, he put Uriah at a place where he knew the strongest defenders were. When the men of the city came out and fought against Joab, some of the men in David’s army fell; moreover, Uriah the Hittite died” (II Samuel 11:16-17).
David was where he shouldn’t have been. He saw what he shouldn’t have seen. He acted upon his lust. He tried to cover his sin; and in doing so, he went farther into sin, even to the point of killing an innocent man.
But note that Uriah wasn’t alone when he died: “Some of the men in David’s army fell.” Joab, obeying David’s direct order, watched his men helplessly slaughtered as he placed them “where he knew the strongest defenders were.”
The consequences of sin are always much higher than any price you ever thought you’d pay. Nothing is worth it. David is about to find that out big-time.
Copyright © 2013
Judy Woodward Bates