Today, we continue in our series, Beautifully Broken. Let's quickly recap our series so far.
The first week, we went all the way back to the beginning of time when love originated with Adam and Eve. Last week, we asked God to write a love story only He could write, and remove any discontent from our hearts.
This week, we look at the heartbreak that comes from poor decisions as well as the power of accountability and restoration.
Who is King David?
One of my favorite parts of scripture are the stories shared in 1 & 2 Samuel. Samuel’s calling at an early age as a prophet transformed his ministry to the people of Israel. It also led him to anoint the second king of Israel – King David. One of the most profound moments during the anointing of King David is a reminder for each one of us – man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart.
It is here in this book that the stories of David and Goliath, the friendship of Jonathan and David, and chasing after David by King Saul are shared. It is also where we first hear about Abigail, one of four women in the Bible, who are called out for their beauty. And David would eventually marry her.
King David was anointed at a young age. He was ruggedly handsome according to scripture. He looked after his family’s sheep and fought off lions and bears. He is famously known for killing the giant Goliath and killing thousands of others in battle with the Lord’s help.
He went on the run after King Saul (the first king of Israel) tried to have him killed multiple times. And the best part of King David is he was a man after God’s own heart.
As he got older, he spent less and less time on the battlefield and that’s where we pick up the story.
Poor Choice #1: Wrong Place, Wrong Time
Every spring nations would go to war, but David sent the leaders of his armies out to fight but stayed back at the palace.
It says in 2 Samuel 11:2-3,
“Late one afternoon, after his midday rest, David got out of bed and was walking on the roof of the palace. As he looked out over the city, he noticed a woman of unusual beauty taking a bath. He sent someone to find out who she was, and he was told, ‘She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.’”
Over the years, many have questioned why David was not out fighting, and how circumstances might have been different if he was.
King David was definitely in the wrong place. He should have been at war, but he was checking out his empire and stumbled upon a beautiful woman who was bathing.
What should David have done?
Instead of inquiring as to who she was (which is what he did), he should have fled or left the rooftop as fast as he had ascended it. David noticed a beautiful woman, and that notice in and of itself was not bad. It is what came next that started his poor choices.
It says, “he sent someone to find out who she was.” Maybe inquiring as to who she was, was toeing the line, but once he found out she was someone else’s wife, he should have let it go.
We don’t know the distance from the palace to her rooftop, but one could infer that it was close enough to see her beauty. There is no indication in scripture that Bathsheba was having any marital issues with Uriah. Scholars have made many assumptions about her intentions later in life, but none indicate that she was looking for an affair.
Let’s pick up this story…
Poor Choice #2: He Had an Affair
In 2 Samuel 11:4,
“Then David sent messengers to get her; and when she came to the palace, he slept with her. She had just completed the purification rites after having her menstrual period. Then she returned home.”
As we see from this passage, David and Bathsheba had an affair. King David knew who she was, and whose wife she was, but he chose to make another bad choice.
From the scripture, it is clear that David was the initiator of the affair. He saw her, found out who she was, sent someone to get her, and had slept with her.
What is not clear is, what was Bathsheba’s role or action as part of this request. Scholars believe that one of three things happened:
- The affair was consensual
- The affair was rape on the part of King David
- The affair happened and Bathsheba had no choice because he was the king and you typically did not deny the king his desire.1
What I think is interesting is David probably knew her husband, and that still did not stop him. He saw something he wanted and pursued it. After the affair was over, and no timeframe is provided, it says she “went home”.
The impression I get is that he cast her aside when he was done. Whether this is a true and accurate account one cannot determine from scripture or any commentaries.
Let’s continue in the story…
Poor Choice #3: The Pregnant Cover-Up
After some time, Bathsheba informed King David she was pregnant. Oops…that’s kind of hard to hide considering her husband, Uriah, has been at war for some time.
Upon hearing these words, David sets in motion, a cover-up or so he thought. He called for Uriah to come back home, and spend a night with his wife. However, David misjudged Uriah.
To sweeten the homecoming, it says David sent a gift to Uriah.2 I’m sure it had some delicious food and wine to help make his night extra special, but Uriah would have none of it.
Uriah was committed to his army and his fellow soldiers that he never went home. He stayed on the palace grounds, and David was getting fed up with his commitment.
For two days, Uriah would not leave the grounds. King David tried one last time,
“Then David invited him to dinner and got him drunk. But even then he couldn’t get Uriah to go home to his wife. Again he slept at the palace entrance with the king’s palace guard.” – 2 Samuel 11:13
The problem with cover-ups is that they require lies upon lies to maintain or make happen. David had run out of options, and he resorted to an unbelievable solution to maintain the pregnancy cover-up.
Poor Choice #4: Putting a Hit Out on Uriah
There was no way David could get Uriah to go home and be intimate with his wife, so he put a plan in motion to take out Uriah.
It says in 2 Samuel 11:14 & 15,
“So the next morning David wrote a letter to Joab and gave it to Uriah to deliver. The letter instructed Joab, ‘Station Uriah on the front lines where the battle is fiercest. Then pull back so that he will be killed.’”
Joab did as King David instructed, and it led to Uriah’s death. Bathsheba was informed of her husband’s death and mourned for him accordingly. After her mourning concluded, she became one of David’s wives.
At the end of 2 Samuel 11, we see one important phrase about how God’s heart was grieved at what had happened. It says,
“When the period of mourning was over, David sent for her and brought her to the palace, and she became one of his wives. Then she gave birth to a son. But the Lord was displeased with what David had done.” – 2 Samuel 11:27 (emphasis added)
If King David, a man after God’s own heart behaved so poorly, what hope is there for me or anyone one of us?
The Lord is a God of second, third, fourth, and many more chances of redemption and restoration. Even though David had grieved the heart of God, He put a plan in motion to restore David.
Nathan, the prophet, was sent to David with a story. Nathan told David that a poor man had a baby lamb that had been raised from birth with this family. They loved it like it was part of their family.
One day a rich man was having a party, and instead of killing a lamb from his flock, he took this lamb from the poor man and served it to his guests.
King David was furious. God used a story of sheep to begin David’s restoration process because he could relate as a shepherd.
It says in 2 Samuel 12:5-6,
“'David was furious. ‘As surely as the Lord lives,’ he vowed, ‘any man who would do such a thing deserves to die! He must repay four lambs to the poor man for the one he stole and for having no pity.’”
Then the plot twist…
“Then Nathan said to David, ‘You are that man! The Lord , the God of Israel, says: I anointed you king of Israel and saved you from the power of Saul.’” – 2 Samuel 12:7
King David realized what he had done, humbled himself, and repented of his sins; however, the consequence of his sin was a rebellious household in the years following as well as the death of his son that Bathsheba was carrying.
After the death of the child conceived out of wedlock, David and Bathsheba had another child who was loved by the Lord3, and they named him Solomon as instructed by the Lord.
As we saw in week one of our series, restoration is a journey, not a destination. There are consequences for our sin, but God is in the business of restoration.
You may be wondering if your sin is too great for the Lord to forgive. I can tell you that there is no sin too great for God not to forgive, but you must humble yourself and ask God for forgiveness.
Following his affair with Bathsheba, David penned Psalm 51 that asks God to create in him a clean heart and to restore him. It is one of the most beautiful Psalms you will ever read.
If your heart is aching from a past transgression, I encourage you to read Psalms 51, and your heart will find comfort and restoration with David’s words. The best part is, he has been where you are.
Your transgressions or sins may be different, but your feelings are nearly similar. God uses our accountability partners, friends, pastors, and others to help bring us to account for our sins and to restore us.
Restoration happens in our hearts, and God is there to forgive our sins if we truly ask Him to forgive us.
What do you need restoration for today?
Lord, thank you for Your forgiveness of our sins and restoration of our hearts. Just as you forgave King David, we ask you to forgive us of our sins and restore our hearts so we can serve you better. Thank you for the examples of faith in scripture that point us back to your redemptive nature. Thank you for your forgiveness and love in our lives. Amen!
- David’s act is usually described as adultery, but it may have been rape (compare Gen 34:1–4, the rape of Dinah; Nicol, “Alleged Rape,” 43–54; Exum, Fragmented Women).No information is given about Bathsheba’s feelings. She is only mentioned in the adulterous affair and at the end of David’s life.Bridge, E. J. (2016). Bathsheba, Daughter of Eliam. In J. D. Barry, D. Bomar, D. R. Brown, R. Klippenstein, D. Mangum, C. Sinclair Wolcott, L. Wentz, E. Ritzema, & W. Widder (Eds.), The Lexham Bible Dictionary. Lexham Press. ↩
- 2 Samuel 11:8 ↩︎
- 2 Samuel 12:24 ↩︎
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