Bible Study Series: Life of David
2 Sam 11: David's Great Fall
by F Gordon
The bible doesn’t gloss over the sins of anyone, not even the greatest saints. David was a man after God’s own heart, his life full of victories and heights with God. Yet this dark period of his life is recorded, as well as the sins he engaged in. In all this there is much instruction and warning to us for we are all capable of falling into sin as David did.
1 Cor 10.11-12 Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. 12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.
If we think that we are strong and stand firm, take heed lest we fall. Many think they are incapable of great sin like David but if David can fall, we all can. The flesh nature in us all loves to sin and if we are not controlled by God’s Spirit we are capable of great sin. David at this time is about 50 years of age, he has been king for 20 years and has seven wives. The flesh life or the natural man doesn’t improve or get better with age. We will all battle with the flesh nature until we are finally changed into Christ’s likeness when he returns.
Kings go to war
2 Samuel 11.1
It happened in the spring of the year, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the people of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem.
From the first verse in this chapter we are shown that something is wrong in the life of David. It was the season that kings went to war and David sent his men out, but he remained at Jerusalem. David should have been with his men at war. The king at the head of the army. He failed to follow the path of duty, but why?
Maybe he thought his fighting days were over, “others can go to battle, I’ve fought many battles”. Maybe he wanted to relax, put his feet up and enjoy his riches. Whatever his reasons he should have been with his men, engaged in battle, but neglect had crept into his life which opened the door for temptation. We, like David, need to be aware of comfort, pleasure, and relaxation. These were the sins of Sodom in Ezekiel 16.49. There was pride, fullness of food and abundance of idleness and all these led to great sin that brought forth the judgement of God.
2 Samuel 11.2
Then it happened one evening that David arose from his bed and walked on the roof of the king's house. And from the roof he saw a woman bathing, and the woman was very beautiful to behold.
He arose from his bed and was up at night on the roof of his house. At the time when he should have been asleep he was awake. He was probably lounging and sleeping during the day and therefore couldn’t sleep at night. From his roof, which would have been higher than all others, he saw a woman bathing and she was beautiful to behold. The eye gate is the source of much temptation. Eve saw that the fruit in the garden was desirable and pleasant to the eyes. Being deceived by Satan she disobeyed the command of God and took it. You cannot help seeing beautiful women, they are everywhere, the first look isn’t the problem, it’s the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th look that gets us into trouble. But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Matthew 5.28
David is enticed
2 Samuel 11.3
So David sent and inquired about the woman. And someone said, "Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?"
So David sent and inquired about the woman. This event did not occur all at once, there had been neglect in certain areas of David’s life well before this event. God told Moses in Deuteronomy 17 the rules for a king, rules to keep him safe. He was not to multiply horses for himself, nor let his people return to Egypt, greatly multiply gold and silver for himself or multiply wives for himself. David had a weakness here for he already had seven wives. These rules were to be read by the king so that he would fear God, and keep him on the right path. David’s son Solomon broke all these commandments. So David neglected God’s word concerning wives and God’s warning was that it would turn his heart away. By inquiring after the woman, he is now acting on the temptation with his will.
James 1.14-15 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
The problem lies with us and our fallen adamic nature. We are drawn away and enticed. This is a fishing term; enticing the fish to take a bite so we can catch it. The bait is used by smell and appearance to draw in its victim. So it is with sin, we are tempted when we are drawn away and enticed by our own desires. We all have weaknesses and like David can be tempted by our desires. David should not have been where he was when the temptation came as is the case for many saints today.
A mother heard her child in the pantry and she said to him, “What are you doing with the cookie jar?” The child replied “I’m fighting temptation”. The child is in the wrong place to fight. If you have problems with lust, stay away from pornography, if you have problems with alcohol, stay away from bars. David had a weakness with women and now he is acting on that weakness.
After inquiring a message came back and this should have been a major roadblock for David. This was someone’s daughter and someone’s wife. How would David feel if this was his daughter? What if this was his wife? How would David react? But David passes over these barriers because as James says desire has been conceived by the will and it's about to give birth to sin which gives birth to death. Sin is not barren, it produces death, the wages of sin is death and it always pays.
2 Samuel 11.4-5
Then David sent messengers, and took her; and she came to him, and he lay with her, for she was cleansed from her impurity; and she returned to her house. 5 And the woman conceived; so she sent and told David, and said, "I am with child."
David took what he desired and committed adultery. The blame lay with David not Bathsheba, however she found herself with child. This week, while preparing the message I was listening to a radio talkback about adultery. I had no idea that it was so widespread in our society. 99% of callers regretted and felt guilty for their acts of adultery and the destruction it left on wives, husbands, and children. These acts of sin are active in the body of Christ as well. A pastor once told me that 60% of issues that came to him were of a sexual nature. Many pastors have also fallen like David. Wrecking their marriages, dividing the church, ministries ruined, and God’s witness damaged. We all need to carefully watch our paths. These events in David’s life and in the lives of many saints could have been avoided in the early stages. We have the Holy Spirit to convict us and lead us to repent and turn from sin. We need to be more watchful of ourselves.
1 Peter 5.8-9 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.
We have an enemy who knows our weaknesses, be sober, be vigilant, and resist him. Remain steadfast putting your faith in God.
Prov 4.23 Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.
Matt 15.19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.
Psalm 119.11 Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You! Showing the importance of God’s word ruling our hearts.
Eph 6.10-17 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;
Saints we are in a continual battle against Satan who hates God and hates us. He loves to hinder our walk and destroy our witness. Beware of his wiles. Temptation will come, we cannot help seeing beautiful women, they are everywhere. It’s the second, third, fourth look that gets us into sin. We need to be aware also of enjoying attention given to us from others and be like Joseph who ran away, not toward temptation.
We are all capable of gross sin like David was and if you have fallen, God can forgive you and stand you back on your feet, cleansed. However, like David, we have to face and live with the consequences of our sin.
Next we will look at how David tried to cover his sin of adultery by committing murder.