These are my notes from my ladies’ Sunday School class this morning. I’ll be posting the notes from my class here each week. Click here for last week’s lesson.
Through the Bible in 2014 ~ Week 20 ~ May 11-17
1 Chronicles 19-20, 2 Samuel 10-18, Psalm 20, 65-67, 69-70, 32, 51, 86, 122, 3-4, 12-13, 28, 55
David’s Sin: You da Man!
How could David, a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14), sink to the level of committing adultery and murder? What was he thinking? How did he respond to being confronted by Nathan? What can we learn about how to deal with our own sin?
2 Samuel 11, 12:1-15, Psalm 51
2 Samuel 11- Setting the Stage for Sin
v. 1- “But David remained at Jerusalem.”
As we’ve read about David’s previous battles, where did we always find David when the fighting was going on? Back at the palace? No. He was out there with his men, leading things. This time, he was somewhere he wasn’t supposed to be. Can you think of a time when you were somewhere you knew you shouldn’t have been, which led to temptation?
v. 3- Eliam and Uriah: Mighty Men (2 Samuel 23:34, 39)
Both Eliam and Uriah were part of David’s mighty men. These weren’t just nameless, faceless Joe Blows in his army, but part of his inner circle who had been with him through thick and thin with fierce loyalty.
v. 4- The paternity test
Lest there be any question that maybe this was Uriah’s baby after all, verse 4 makes clear that the reason David saw Bathsheba bathing was that she was cleansing herself after “that time of the month.” David took her afterwards and Uriah was miles away at the battle, so only David could have been the father.
v. 8- Making Whoopee
(If you don’t know what that means, you’re not old enough to remember “The Newlywed Game” from the 1960s-70s. YouTube it.) “Go down to your house and wash your feet.” Since washing was done right before bed, this idiom meant for Uriah to go home and enjoy “knowing” his wife in the biblical sense.
v. 9-13- A man of valor
Uriah, possibly inspired by David’s past honorable leadership, acted more valiantly and loyally here than his king did.
v. 4, 26- A willing participant?
Notice that this passage doesn’t tell us anything about what Bathsheba was thinking or feeling about all this. Remember, David was the king. You didn’t say no to the king if you wanted to live, especially if you were a woman. And furthermore, she knew he was “God’s anointed.” Surely such a man wouldn’t lead her to do anything wrong, would he? So, even if Bathsheba had been attracted to David, there was some level of coercion and advantage taking going on here on David’s part. Verse 26 makes a special point of telling us that she lamented over her husband. She loved him. David didn’t just sin with Bathsheba, he also sinned against her.
v. 27- Evil
I think in this case, the HCSB captures this verse better than the ESV (my preferred/usual translation): “The Lord considered what David had done to be evil.” That pretty much sums up what David had done, and it sums up our sin in God’s eyes as well. Evil.
2 Samuel 12:1-15- A Guilty Verdict
v. 1- Confronathan
Nathan wasn’t just a prophet; he was David’s friend and adviser. God sent him to confront David about his sin, and gave him the wisdom and the words to do it in exactly the right way.
v.1-4- The cast of characters
The rich man represented David. The poor man represented Uriah. The lamb represented Bathsheba. What do you think the traveler represented?
v. 4- Leaving out the welcome mat for temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13)
The traveler represented David’s temptation. Temptation is a lot like a visit from a traveling salesman. It comes and goes, it shows up unexpectedly, and it always tries to get you to spend more than you want to on something that seems fabulous but never lives up to the hype. When temptation rang David’s doorbell, he flung open the door and welcomed it in as an invited guest. As new creatures in Christ, we don’t have to do that. 1 Corinthians 10 says God will always provide a way for us to escape temptation.
One of those ways of escape is to not be home to answer the door. As I mentioned earlier, David wasn’t even supposed to be home when that temptation came around. He was supposed to be out on the battlefield with his troops. One way to avoid temptation is to be where you’re supposed to be and not be where you’re not supposed to be.
v. 4- Offering sacrifices to the idol of self
We also see in verse 4 that the rich man not only refused to send the traveler away and welcomed him in, but he also slaughtered a lamb to feed the traveler. The Israelites did slaughter lambs for food, but what else did they slaughter lambs for? Sacrifices.
David didn’t just welcome temptation in, he sacrificed for it. He was no longer sacrificing to honor God, but to gratify his own selfish desires. He sacrificed things that belonged to him—his integrity, his morals, his reputation, his example to his people, and his relationship with God. But he also sacrificed Bathsheba and Uriah who did NOT belong to him.
What are some ways we might sacrifice things, or others, for sin?
v. 5-6- The log in his eye (Matthew 7:3-5)
Isn’t it interesting how we can so clearly see the sin of others while simultaneously being blind to our own sin? “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” (Matt. 7:3)
“He had no pity.” David never considered how his actions would affect Uriah and Bathsheba. He only thought about himself. Temptation and sin blind us to what we’re doing to ourselves, others, and God.
v. 7ff- Faithful are the wounds of a friend (Proverbs 27:6, Galatians 6:1-2, John 15:13)
Nathan was acting in three roles here. He was David’s friend, his brother in the Lord, and the man of God, and he loved David in all three capacities by showing him his sin. In the same way, we are to love our friends, our sisters in Christ, and those under our spiritual leadership or influence. We care enough about them to help them out of sin, even at the risk of the relationship (Gal. 6)
Nathan confronted David wisely. Remember, David was the king—he could do (and had done) whatever he wanted to do, and he had already killed one man. Nathan knew this going in. Nathan also acted lovingly, boldly, and firmly. His commitment to what God had told him to do was greater than the love of his own life (John 15) or the love of his relationship with David. How often do we look the other way to keep the peace or preserve a relationship with someone instead of obeying what God has told us to do?
v. 7-9- Against Thee, Thee only…
I, I, I, I… Notice how many times God refers to Himself in these three verses? He is making it clear—and David gets the message as we will see in Psalm 51:4—that it is primarily God against whom David has sinned. Though others may be casualties or collateral damage (as Uriah and Bathsheba were), when we sin, we set ourselves up as enemies of God and wage war against Him.
v. 8- Gimme, gimme (Hebrews 13:5)
If all God had blessed him with had not been enough, God would have given him more. The fact that God had not given him more shows us that God had given David exactly what He wanted him to have. But David was not content with all the blessings God had given him. He selfishly wanted things God didn’t want him to have.
v. 9-10- Hatred for God’s word = Hatred for God
“Despised” and “evil”- When we sin, no matter how “small” it is, we are showing hatred for God’s word. Hating God’s word is evil. Notice in v. 9, “you have despised the word of the Lord,” and in v. 10, “you have despised me.” To despise God’s word is to despise God Himself.
v. 11-12- Public discipline for private sin? (Numbers 32:23)
Why did God discipline David publicly when he had sinned privately?
First, David had not sinned completely privately. Many people knew at least part of what he had done: the servants he sent to take Bathsheba in the first place (4), the servants who were in the house at the time(s) of the affair, Joab, likely several of the soldiers serving directly under Joab and with Uriah, probably the messenger who brought word of Uriah’s death, Nathan, and of course, Bathsheba herself. And you can bet that a lot of those people didn’t keep what they knew to themselves. “Your sin will find you out,” (Num. 32) is certainly true, especially for sins of this magnitude.
With all those people knowing what David had done, how would it reflect on God if He disciplined David privately? It would look as though God had given him a pass, that certain, special people were above God’s law. That’s how things were for kings of pagan nations. Israel and Israel’s God were different, not like the other nations. Furthermore, it would have diminished God’s justice in the eyes of Israel if God disciplined David privately and Israel couldn’t see it. How could they trust His justice if it looked like His justice was inconsistent?
Second, David was famous, highly visible. Like it or not, he set an example for the people. When he did right, it was a good example. Here, he did wrong and it was a bad example. Through his actions and God’s visible discipline, the people learned what not to do in their own lives.
v. 13- Admission of guilt
David didn’t try to justify his sin or retaliate against Nathan. It is precisely because he was a man after God’s own heart that he simply and humbly confessed, “I have sinned.”
v. 13-14- God’s merciful forgiveness
Because David confessed his sin and repented of it, God mercifully forgave him. While David had said the “rich man” should die for his sin (5), and David was guilty of crimes deserving the death penalty, God removed that penalty from him. The consequences of his sin would remain (the death of the baby), but the punishment was taken away.
Psalm 51- Repentance and Restoration
Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin!
For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words
and blameless in your judgment.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will return to you.
Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,
O God of my salvation,
and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.
O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
Do good to Zion in your good pleasure;
build up the walls of Jerusalem;
then will you delight in right sacrifices,
in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings;
then bulls will be offered on your altar.