Published August 12, 2010
2 Samuel 11:2-5, 14-15; 2 Sam. 12:7a, 10-14; Ps. 51:1-4
Bible Studies for Life, Aug 22
The story of David’s sin with Bathsheba is one of the most well-known in the Bible. Because Romans 15:4 says, “… everything that was written in the past was written to teach us …” We want to learn how to avoid the chastening of God.
Sin always has consequences - Ps. 32:2; Sam. 12:14; 3-20; Gal. 6:7-8.
Even for David. Though David confessed his sin when he was confronted by Nathan, and he received forgiveness, the baby conceived in David’s adultery died. But this was not the only consequence. According to Psalm 32, in the approximately one year between the time of the adultery and the time Nathan confronted him, David experienced severe physical and emotional pain.
Then, after David confessed, the baby died. But in 2 Samuel 13-20 we find there were more consequences. These included the rape of a daughter by her half-brother, the murder of the rapist brother by another of David’s sons, and the rebellion of Absalom.
Obviously, David never stopped to consider the pain he would experience, nor the pain his sin would inflict on others, before he chose “to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time.” It can be a powerful deterrent to keep us from sinning if we remember that “God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows” (Gal. 6:7).
Repent of sin promptly - 2 Sam. 11:2-5; 1 John 1:9
David knew what he did was wrong. Yet he did not repent immediately after his adultery. Because the baby conceived in the adultery had already been born (12:15), David went at least nine months without confessing his sin.
The Bible does not tell us that all the consequences would have been avoided, but David certainly would not have experienced all the personal pain of being disciplined (Ps. 32) if he had confessed immediately.
God has provided the way to avoid chastening by confessing our sins (1 John 1:9). Paul said that “… if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment” (1 Cor. 11:31).
Refuse to ‘chain sin’ - 2 Sam. 11:6-27; Num. 32:23.
“Chain smoking” is lighting a cigarette off a cigarette that is being smoked; that is, smoking one cigarette after another. This can also be done with sin.
When David found out Bathsheba was pregnant, he had another opportunity to confess his sin. But he chose to try to cover up his sin by bringing Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah, home from the war. David lied about the reason for doing this. David said he wanted to know how the war was going. But David secretly hoped for Uriah to go home, have relations with his wife, and think the child that would be born was his. But Uriah was so loyal a soldier that he did not go home, but slept outside the palace.
Then, instead of confessing, David sinned again. He got Uriah drunk, hoping that then he would go home to his wife. Still Uriah did not go home.
Still no confession. Finally David grew desperate. He arranged for Uriah’s death, and forced Joab to be his accomplice by ordering Joab to put Uriah at the hottest point of bathe, then having the other troops withdraw so Uriah would be killed – a form of contract murder.
Attempting to cover up or hide our sins can be tempting. So we must remember the Bible principle of Proverbs 28:13: “He who conceals his sins does not prosper …” and Numbers 32:23, “You may be sure your sin will find you out.”
Respond to God’s rebuke - Ps. 12:1-13a; 51:1-12.
Eventually, as David continued to cover his sin, God sent the prophet Nathan to confront David directly. No doubt, this was not an assignment that Nathan wanted. Nevertheless, he did it. Finally, when his sin was openly declared and he was told what a wicked thing he had done, David broke.
Verse 13 – which simply says, “I have sinned against the Lord” – does not convey the anguish and sorrowful repentance David expressed. The Bible devotes an entire chapter to David’s lament over his sin and his impassioned plea for forgiveness.
Hopefully, our “chain sinning” will not get this bad. But it may. If it does, we need to respond as David did. Many times, God’s rebuke will be delivered by an individual. When we are confronted by a brother or sister, we should respond as David did, rather than lashing out at God’s messenger.
Receive and rest in God’s forgiveness - Ps. 51:13-19; 1 John 1:9
After David had pleaded for forgiveness in verses 1-12, he began to tell God that once he was forgiven, he would begin to speak to other transgressors and sinners so they would also return to God. He spoke of how he would sing and praise the Lord.
This is remarkable to see David make the transition from mourning over sin to begin speaking of serving God again. And David did resume serving God.
When we sin, and then confess that sin, we need to remember 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Often, when we commit a particularly grievous sin, we continue to “beat ourselves up,” or let Satan do that to us.
We should be grieved, and even feel bad when we commit sins, especially sexual sins and something as horrible as murder. Yet, we must believe God and accept his forgiveness, for His Son paid the penalty for all our sins. And when God forgives our sins, he will never bring them up again! Hallelujah!
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