WITH HOPE: David owned his sin, was called to repentance
Published 8:34 pm Saturday, June 18, 2022
By Charles Qualls
Maybe it was boredom. Maybe it was prosperity. Maybe it was the need for another conquest after a life in the adrenaline of endless conquests that led to the bad behavior.
Tony Cartledge even throws in the possibility, in his writing of this story, that it was a mid-life crisis of sorts that had made David stroll along the balconies of his palace one day. He looked off at Bathsheba next door and thought “hmmmm!”
In 2 Samuel 11: 26-12: 15, this biblically middle-aged David had moved into a phase of life where he didn’t necessarily go charging off into battle every time he could. He was at home, with every comfort the palace afforded him. As one movie comically proclaimed, “It’s good to be the King!”
No one is making excuses for him, to be sure. But once you get used to fighting battles and living on a fast pulse, the everyday of a normal life could seem a little slow. When you get used to winning, you want to win some more. When you get used to having the finest of everything, but you see something finer, you again want to have the finest.
Will we ever truly know where today’s story had its beginning? The Bible makes one thing clear– it wasn’t a lack of companionship or loneliness that caused King David to do what he did. You’d have to go back to chapters three and five to fill those blanks in.
I’ll bet if most of us think about it, there have been people in our lives we especially didn’t want to disappoint. I went to school with a guy who was a good person. He played on the basketball team. I mean, he was no threat to make it to the NBA. But he was good enough to be on the team.
That is until one day he was no longer on the team. For days, he moped around. Finally, we talked about what had happened. He had broken a team rule. One day before p.e. class I said, “Man you really are taking this hard!” He said, “Well, it’s bad enough that I’m not on the team any more. But what’s worse is that I disappointed Coach. And he was the one person in my life that I never wanted to disappoint.”
David had disappointed God. It was Nathan’s tough job to point that out. Nathan had a lot to unpack with the king whom he served. For a prophet or priest, that could be quite a dangerous job. Speaking this depth of truth to that much power could get your life ended.
For the same reasons that some pastors find it difficult to speak the complete truth today, a priest or prophet in biblical times had to do a lot of mental calculus before they opened their mouths. The woods were full of tales of biblical priests and prophets who had met their ends because they spoke on God’s behalf.
Nathan told a story illustrating David’s sin with Bathsheba, as depicted earlier in 2 Samuel. As every passing day made him feel as though he had gotten away with his sin, David did not at first associate Nathan’s story with his own. He even declared that the character should make restitution and then die.
When Nathan boldly pointed out to king David that David himself was the man in the story, the turning point for us arrived. Our lesson moment is that David owned his sin. Confronted with the depravity of what he had done, David repented. Did he still pay a steep price? Yes. But at least there was healing in the presence of his own God.
If you or I can hear this story today and not be reminded of our worst moment, or one of our worst, then we’re not paying attention. Oh, the act might be unique. The specific sin might seem extreme. But make no mistake. This is not just David’s story. This is my story, too. It’s your story.
David tried to separate his spiritual life from his personal one. I think a lot of us try to separate what we call our real lives from our faith. This story reminds us that God isn’t having that.
Our faith is to be the base of who we are. What slips up on us is that when we don’t let our faith shape the rest of our living, it robs us of life. Make no mistake, we are called to live.
DR. CHARLES QUALLS is senior pastor at Franklin Baptist Church. Contact him at 757-562-5135.