(1 Samuel 16:7)
Abraham was called God’s friend. Jacob wrestled with God and even was allowed to see a ladder and angels descending and ascending into heaven. Isaiah saw the Lord sitting on His throne and lived to tell about it! The Apostle Paul was taken up into the third heaven and was taught many truths but was not allowed to talk of them. The Apostle John was the only one of the twelve disciples who was not killed because of his teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ. He was referred to as the one Jesus loved.
God DESIRES to have a deep intimate relationship with you and me also. He knows we aren’t perfect, He created us! None of the above were perfect people either. But they had one thing in common, a love for the Lord and a surrendered heart. Their desire was to please the Lord above all else. There were many others with many different stories but today we are to walk with King David.
If we go to the beginning where the prophet Samuel anointed David to be the next king and follow his story, every unbeliever would find it very difficult to understand how and why David loved the Lord so much and why he was committed to surrender his life to Him. To be honest, most who call themselves believers also do not fully understand this story. I wish we had time to walk through his entire life but I’m not sure we’d ever finish this devotional!
But let’s get some background to help us understand. Let’s take a look at the word of the Lord to Samuel, “Now the LORD said to Samuel, ‘How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and go; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have selected a king for Myself among his sons.’" (1 Samuel 16:1 emphasis mine) Now, let’s look at the appointment of Saul who preceded David. Up until this time God had been King over Israel but the people rebelled. The word to Samuel about Saul was quite different. “The LORD said to Samuel, ‘Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them. Like all the deeds which they have done since the day that I brought them up from Egypt even to this day--in that they have forsaken Me and served other gods--so they are doing to you also. Now then, listen to their voice; however, you shall solemnly warn them and tell them of the procedure of the king who will reign over them.’" (1 Samuel 8:7-9 emphasis mine) “Now a day before Saul's coming, the LORD had revealed this to Samuel saying, ‘About this time tomorrow I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin, and you shall anoint him to be prince over My people Israel; and he will deliver My people from the hand of the Philistines. For I have regarded My people, because their cry has come to Me.’ When Samuel saw Saul, the LORD said to him, ‘Behold, the man of whom I spoke to you! This one shall rule over My people.’” (1 Samuel 9:15-17 emphasis mine)
Did you catch the difference? Saul was appointed to rule over God’s people but David was chosen by God for Himself! Why? God knew David intimately, He knew his heart and his dependence on the Lord and He knew that David loved Him. (1 Samuel 16:7) All of that comes from a relationship with the Lord. We see it throughout all Scripture, all the psalms that David wrote and sang to the Lord and how he danced before the Lord in victory when bringing the Ark of the Covenant home.
When we first are introduced to David he is a shepherd. He was the youngest of all Jesse’s children, but when I read the following Scriptures it leads me to believe he was older than we might anticipate. The Lord has rejected Saul as ruler over Israel because of his sin, “Samuel said, ‘Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He has also rejected you from being king.’" (1 Samuel 15:22-23 emphasis mine) (I highly recommend you read the entire 15th chapter!) “Now the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD terrorized him.” (1 Samuel 16:14) “Saul's servants then said to him, ‘Behold now, an evil spirit from God is terrorizing you. Let our lord now command your servants who are before you. Let them seek a man who is a skillful player on the harp; and it shall come about when the evil spirit from God is on you, that he shall play the harp with his hand, and you will be well.’" (1 Samuel 16:15-16 emphasis mine)
“So Saul said to his servants, ‘Provide for me now a man who can play well and bring him to me.’ Then one of the young men said, ‘Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite who is a skillful musician, a mighty man of valor, a warrior, one prudent in speech, and a handsome man; and the LORD is with him.’" (1 Samuel 16:17-18 emphasis mine) David was a young man but a description of this sort is not describing a youth. As we continue to read we learn that he had not fought in an army prior to his going up against Goliath but his reputation for defending himself and his flock apparently were well known! He had built a reputation.
A shepherd’s life was a lonely life and even though there were many shepherds in Israel it wasn’t a life that was sought after or held in high esteem. It was very important because the safety of the flocks were crucial to the owner’s livelihood. But what would a shepherd do all day? Think about that. You are in the middle of nowhere and your job is to be watchful and make sure the flock are safe from predators. Most would find this life rather boring, but David used it to write songs to the Lord. The songs often reflected his circumstances but they always focused on how great and omnipotent God was. He not only wrote the words but he put the words to music. There was something else that happened in those long days apparently. David used them to hone his skills in self-defense and battle skills! He took his job seriously and used the time wisely. I think we could all learn a lot from David. If we put down all our electronic devices and spent some time under the stars talking to God, not only would our hearts change, but our lives would change as well. We just might draw closer to God and allow Him to reveal His truths to us that we may have never considered before.
As I began reading Psalm 38 this evening I felt the Holy Spirit impressing upon my heart that this is critical for us to understand. Psalm 38 not only speaks of David’s realization of God’s judgment because of his sin, it also prophetically speaks of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. It is a foundational truth of our faith that if we are to stand upright in our walk with the Lord we must understand the entirety of God’s character. Not only what today’s preachers want to preach to make you feel good, but the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the whole truth! So here are the questions that are on the table for you and me.
* Are you surrendered to God’s plan for your life?
* Does humility characterize your life?
* How do you treat sin in your life?
* Are you remorseful for your sins to the point that you truly repent?
* Are you willing to accept God’s judgment upon your life in response to sin?
Yes, you read that last one correctly. Many of you may totally disagree that God brings judgment into one’s life when there is sin. If that is you, you most likely have been incorrectly taught that God’s grace not only has forgiven your past sins but all future sins and you never have to repent again. If you even stop and really consider that deception you will realize that doesn’t even make sense. It reminds me of what John the Apostle wrote in his first epistle in chapter one. He included himself in this passage, “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.” (1 John 1:8-10) Note that John used the term “we”, that included himself. He still sinned! Maybe not as much as you or I but when he did sin he confessed that sin and repented! In verse 10 he articulates clearly that believers still sin and if there is no repentance on our part it reflects our heart and “His word is not in us”. That is a frightening thought!
In addition you may have been taught that since all has been forgiven there are no consequences to those sins. The insinuation is that God will not hold you accountable for your words, your actions or your deeds. That goes against everything in Scripture! Why are we warned in the Book of Hebrews about the Lord’s discipline? “FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES, AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES.’ It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.” (Hebrews 12:6-8) Believers sin and need correction from our heavenly Father. Have you ever spoken a careless word? "But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment.” (Matthew 12:36 emphasis mine)
We will learn God’s heart through this walk with David, and we will learn why God referred to David as a man after His own heart. “But the LORD of hosts will be exalted in judgment, and the holy God will show Himself holy in righteousness.” (Isaiah 5:16) Sin cannot stand before a holy God! “For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness; no evil dwells with You.” (Psalms 5:4) “But the LORD abides forever; He has established His throne for judgment, and He will judge the world in righteousness; He will execute judgment for the peoples with equity.” (Psalms 9:7-8)
Read our opening Scripture again. God doesn’t look at a man’s appearance, his position, his family lineage, how much money he has, what type of car he drives or how big his house is. No, God looks at our hearts. No matter how much money we may give to charities and others in need, or volunteer with agencies that help the poor, drug addicted, dying, pastor a church, lead Bible Study groups or head up prayer ministries, etc. that won’t open the gates of heaven to us.
David was a young man when Samuel anointed him with oil as the next king. However, he was anointed for the position but his appointment to the position would take many years of preparation in order to step into the role. The anointing was only the beginning.
David was called. Without the calling and anointing of the Lord Himself, all our works are just works, nothing of meaning for the kingdom of heaven. It was David that God chose because of his heart. He was sensitive to the things of God. He depended on God to watch over him and the flocks and keep them safe. When wolves or bears attacked the flocks, David knew that his strength wasn’t sufficient for defending the flock or himself. He knew that his strength came from the Lord! Thus when we hear David proclaim the following to Goliath, we can begin to understand a little bit about David.
As I read the story of David again, I am struck with how he observes a situation and how he responds. Let’s take the situation with Goliath. All of Israel was afraid of him, not only because of his height, which was intimidating, but of his words. He stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel and said to them, "Why do you come out to draw up in battle array? Am I not the Philistine and you servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves and let him come down to me.” (1 Samuel 17:8 emphasis mine) Read the words again with emphasis on the bold and underlined words. He was saying he was great and mighty and the army were nothing but servants of their king. He was telling them they had no power or strength, they were not significant! That, my friend, is intimidation. Defeat them in their minds. This is the same thing the devil did in the Garden of Eden. Even Saul was afraid of him! Remember that because of his sin God had stripped him of his power and authority. "’I regret that I have made Saul king, for he has turned back from following Me and has not carried out My commands…’” (1 Samuel 15:11 emphasis mine) “So Samuel said to him, "’the LORD has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today and has given it to your neighbor, who is better than you.’” (1 Samuel 15:28) “Now the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD terrorized him.” (1 Samuel 16:14 emphasis mine)
Now if the one who is set over you in power is terrified of the enemy, you have a problem. The army of Israel had a major problem! They were at a standstill. No one was willing to fight. They put on their armor, they made formation, they even went out to the battle line and faced the Philistines but when Goliath approached the battle line opposite them, they ran away!
From the reading of Scripture you may think that the only reason David was at the battle front was because his father had sent him to see how his brothers were doing, and that is true. However, do not forget that God goes before those who follow Him. Read that sentence again. God goes before those who follow Him. God is the one who had David at that exact place and at that exact time. What David saw and heard was perceived in a whole different light because he had a relationship with the living God! King Saul tried to dissuade David from fighting Goliath but listen to David’s response, “But David said to Saul, ‘Your servant was tending his father's sheep. When a lion or a bear came and took a lamb from the flock, I went out after him and attacked him, and rescued it from his mouth; and when he rose up against me, I seized him by his beard and struck him and killed him. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, since he has taunted the armies of the living God.’ And David said, The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.’ And Saul said to David, ‘Go, and may the LORD be with you.’" (1 Samuel 17:34-37 emphasis mine)
So David went out to fight against Goliath. Instead of being intimidated by Goliath’s words, David responded in a much different manner. “Then David said to the Philistine, ‘You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted. This day the LORD will deliver you up into my hands, and I will strike you down and remove your head from you. And I will give the dead bodies of the army of the Philistines this day to the birds of the sky and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the LORD does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is the LORD'S and He will give you into our hands.’" (1 Samuel 17:45-47 emphasis mine) And we know that with a sling and a stone Goliath was struck down and David proceeded to cut off his head with Goliath’s own sword.
It’s interesting to note that Scripture speaks of David picking up five smooth stones. For stones to become smooth in the water they must rub against each other. Are we not godly stones and must rub against one another? “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love,” (Ephesians 4:2) David only needed one stone but he had five perfectly suited stones in his bag, it didn’t matter which one he picked!
I hope you stop for a minute here and allow the Holy Spirit to search you and lead you in dealing with anything that is standing in the way of your having a relationship with the Lord that is as transparent and trusting as David had with the Lord. We all struggle some days, but honestly, we don’t have to. If we would just take our eyes off of ourselves and keep them on the living God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob our lives would be so different than what we are currently living! We also need to admit where we have taken credit for victories in our lives and not given God the glory due His name. We aren’t the ones who should be glorified, we were created to glorify God! “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (Genesis 1:26-27) “for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13 emphasis mine) “I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart; I will tell of all Your wonders. I will be glad and exult in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.” (Psalms 9:1-2 emphasis mine) “Sing praises to the LORD, who dwells in Zion; declare among the peoples His deeds.” (Psalms 9:11 emphasis mine) “Ascribe to the LORD, O sons of the mighty, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. Ascribe to the LORD the glory due to His name; Worship the LORD in holy array.” (Psalms 29:1-2 emphasis mine) “I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul will make its boast in the LORD; the humble will hear it and rejoice. O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together.” (Psalms 34:1-3 emphasis mine) “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.” (Ephesians 5:1-2)
While David made some wrong decisions in his life, through the consequences he learned that God’s judgment is true and fair. He is a righteous God and those that follow Him understand that God does discipline us so that we become more like Him and draw closer to Him. “FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES, AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES. It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.” (Hebrews 12:6-8 emphasis mine) God stated this fact clearly when He spoke to David, through His prophet Nathan, about his descendant, Solomon, who would build God’s temple. "I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me; when he commits iniquity, I will correct him with the rod of men and the strokes of the sons of men,” (2 Samuel 7:14)
Let us take a quick look at what happened to King David when he numbered Israel. “Then Satan stood up against Israel and moved David to number Israel. So David said to Joab and to the princes of the people, ‘Go, number Israel from Beersheba even to Dan, and bring me word that I may know their number.’ Joab said, ‘May the LORD add to His people a hundred times as many as they are! But, my lord the king, are they not all my lord's servants? Why does my lord seek this thing? Why should he be a cause of guilt to Israel?’ Nevertheless, the king's word prevailed against Joab. Therefore, Joab departed and went throughout all Israel, and came to Jerusalem.” (1 Chronicles 21:1-4 emphasis mine) “God was displeased with this thing, so He struck Israel.” (1 Chronicles 21:7 emphasis mine)
“David said to God, ‘I have sinned greatly, in that I have done this thing. But now, please take away the iniquity of Your servant, for I have done very foolishly.’" (1 Chronicles 21:8) Even though David repented quickly, there was a consequence from the Lord because of David’s disobedience. “The LORD spoke to Gad, David's seer, saying, ‘Go and speak to David, saying, Thus says the LORD,’ ‘I offer you three things; choose for yourself one of them, which I will do to you.’ So Gad came to David and said to him, ‘Thus says the LORD’, ‘Take for yourself either three years of famine, or three months to be swept away before your foes, while the sword of your enemies overtakes you, or else three days of the sword of the LORD, even pestilence in the land, and the angel of the LORD destroying throughout all the territory of Israel.' ‘Now, therefore, consider what answer I shall return to Him who sent me.’" (1 Chronicles 21:9-12)
Read over those consequences again! I must caution you at this point that some pastors and teachers will try and tell you that this was the old God and that His wrath was only in the Old Testament. If that would be the case why does the Lord teach us that He never changes? “For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us.” (2 Corinthians 1:20) “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8) Also, remember Ananias and Sapphira? We learn of their judgment in Acts 5:1-11. Read the passage carefully, the sin was lying and there was immediate judgment.
Do you understand why God’s judgment was upon David? We have become so secular minded that to even fathom the depth of this act of David’s is beyond our understanding. Why? Because we do not wait upon the Lord and walk according to His plan and His way. We make a plan and drag God along! But before David would go into battle, what did he do? He would inquire of the Lord! He depended on God’s answer before proceeding. There were times that God said “no”. But if God said “yes” then David was assured victory because God went before the army. Yes, David was a mighty warrior but he gave God the glory for the victory. He knew that the victory was not his doing, he was the instrument which God used.
So here we find that David decided to do a head count, he did not ask the Lord. He was warned not to do it because it would be evil in God’s eyes. Why? Pride! He wanted to know how great his kingdom was! It was not David’s kingdom, it was God’s. Victory did not depend on how many were available to fight! Pride is abominable to the Lord God. Do you remember King Hezekiah? “He trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel; so that after him there was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor among those who were before him. For he clung to the LORD; he did not depart from following Him, but kept His commandments, which the LORD had commanded Moses. And the LORD was with him; wherever he went he prospered…” (2 Kings 18:5-7) Pride was also his downfall. Visitors from Babylon came and King Hezekiah showed them ALL of his treasures (2 Kings 20:12-18). When the Lord saw what Hezekiah had done He sent Isaiah to inquire and Hezekiah replied, "...They have seen all that is in my house; there is nothing among my treasuries that I have not shown them." (2 Kings 20:15) Listen to the Lord’s response, “Behold, the days are coming when all that is in your house, and all that your fathers have laid up in store to this day will be carried to Babylon; nothing shall be left,' says the LORD. Some of your sons who shall issue from you, whom you will beget, will be taken away; and they will become officials in the palace of the king of Babylon." (2 Kings 20:17-18) Does it sound like God was pleased? NO! But King Hezekiah still didn’t get it, listen to his response, “Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, ‘The word of the LORD which you have spoken is good.’ For he thought, ‘Is it not so, if there will be peace and truth in my days?’” (2 Kings 20:19 emphasis mine) Who was he interested in being glorified? Himself!
David now had a very difficult decision to make. We need to really understand this situation because you and I are faced with problems every day and God’s judgment of our disobedience doesn’t just affect us, it affects many other people. God doesn’t take sin lightly. In our world of “easy grace” we think we just need to say “sorry” (again and again and again) and God’s fine with that. That is not repentance. Repentance is not only acknowledging our sin but turning away from it. There is a deep remorse in our souls that we have committed sin against the Lord. For me, I get this heavy sick feeling in my stomach, I am ashamed at what I have done. I hate that I could have acted so foolishly. I have to go before the Lord and get right with Him. In the words of David, “please take away the iniquity of Thy servant…” (1 Chronicles 21:8)
There is no “easy grace”. Grace was given by the shed blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It cost Him everything! “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you.” (Titus 2:11-15)
“David said to Gad, ‘I am in great distress; please let me fall into the hand of the LORD, for His mercies are very great. But do not let me fall into the hand of man.’" (1 Chronicles 21:13 emphasis mine) This statement is a testimony to the relationship that David had with the Lord. He knew that the mercies of the Lord never cease. He didn’t expect the Lord to not bring judgment upon him but he knew that God’s compassion was real. Whatever God chose to do, it would be right and it would not be self-serving or obsessive. “So the LORD sent a pestilence on Israel; 70,000 men of Israel fell. And God sent an angel to Jerusalem to destroy it; but as he was about to destroy it, the LORD saw and was sorry over the calamity, and said to the destroying angel, ‘It is enough; now relax your hand.’ And the angel of the LORD was standing by the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.” (1 Chronicles 21:14-15) Don’t misunderstand this verse. Was God sorry for His judgment? No. But He was sorry, full of compassion, that so many were affected because of His servant’s sin. God doesn’t delight in seeing men, women or children die. His desire is that all would turn to Him and know Him intimately and be saved.
“Then David lifted up his eyes and saw the angel of the LORD standing between earth and heaven, with his drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem. Then David and the elders, covered with sackcloth, fell on their faces. David said to God, ‘Is it not I who commanded to count the people? Indeed, I am the one who has sinned and done very wickedly, but these sheep, what have they done? O LORD my God, please let Your hand be against me and my father's household, but not against Your people that they should be plagued.’" (1 Chronicles 21:16-17 emphasis mine) David was greatly grieved and owned his sin. This is important, don’t miss it. We need to stop blaming other people for our sinful nature! We always have a choice! We may not always like the choice and its consequences, but we always have a choice to choose right over wrong.
“Then the angel of the LORD commanded Gad to say to David, that David should go up and build an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.” (1 Chronicles 21:18) This next section is so important for us to understand. First of all, in verse 15 we are told that the Lord had sent the angel to Jerusalem but told the angel to not destroy it. The angel of the Lord was standing by the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. This threshing floor was on Mount Moriah. “Then David said to Ornan, ‘Give me the site of this threshing floor, that I may build on it an altar to the LORD; for the full price you shall give it to me, that the plague may be restrained from the people.’ Ornan said to David, ‘Take it for yourself; and let my lord the king do what is good in his sight. See, I will give the oxen for burnt offerings and the threshing sledges for wood and the wheat for the grain offering; I will give it all.’ But King David said to Ornan, ‘No, but I will surely buy it for the full price; for I will not take what is yours for the LORD, or offer a burnt offering which costs me nothing.’ So David gave Ornan 600 shekels of gold by weight for the site. Then David built an altar to the LORD there and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. And he called to the LORD and He answered him with fire from heaven on the altar of burnt offering. The LORD commanded the angel, and he put his sword back in its sheath. At that time, when David saw that the LORD had answered him on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite, he offered sacrifice there.” (1 Chronicles 21:22-28 emphasis mine)
In today’s world of “religion” we are told that the miracles of God are “giving us everything we want”. I could just hear a believer in our time jump on the “free offer” of the threshing floor and the animals for sacrifice! They would be proclaiming for all the world to hear how God provided all that was needed to glorify Him. But read again what David said. An offering which costs us nothing is not glorifying God! And David knew it. There was no question or hesitation to refuse Ornan’s offer and pay Ornan. I really pray that if you are struggling with this portion of the Scripture that you take the time to get alone with the Lord and allow the Holy Spirit to minister to you and lead you into the truth.
So here we are, we’ve walked with David for awhile now and have begun to see his heart of integrity before the Lord. He was not perfect but his love for the Lord was pure. Now we come to Bathsheba. “Then it happened in the spring, 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 sons of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David stayed at Jerusalem.” (2 Samuel 11:1 emphasis mine) David was not where God would have him. When we aren’t in agreement with the Lord’s plan and are doing our own thing we are not under the Lord’s protection. It’s like driving down the interstate and rather than staying in the lanes that are going the same direction as we are, we decide to switch to the opposite moving lanes but continue driving in the opposite direction as the traffic flow. We are in great danger and are going to suffer great consequences! So it was with David.
“Now when evening came David arose from his bed and walked around on the roof of the king's house, and from the roof he saw a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful in appearance. So David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, ‘Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?’ David sent messengers and took her, and when she came to him, he lay with her; and when she had purified herself from her uncleanness, she returned to her house. The woman conceived; and she sent and told David, and said, "I am pregnant." (2 Samuel 11:2-5)
David had nothing to do, he was bored. He laid around all day and then went up to the rooftop in the evening. He didn’t have bad intentions but what he saw gave him delight because he was looking for something exciting to replace what he was missing on the battlefield! When he was told that Bathsheba was the wife of one of his military men that should have ended it. But because he chose not to walk where God would have had him, he chose evil. He chose something that would be exciting and bring him pleasure. He never considered what the consequences could be. Bathsheba could not refuse a king’s request, she could be put to death and so she complied. But then she notified the king that she was pregnant. The sin was going to be exposed!
In 2 Samuel 11:6-25 we read of David’s plan to try and cover up his sin. It reads as a novel! No matter what plan David has to hide his sin, it doesn’t work. When we are in fear, rational thinking goes out the window. He is panicking and the devil has full access to his thinking! He calls Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah, home from the battle and tells him to go home to his wife and he refuses to go home. Listen to his explanation as to why he can’t go home to his wife. “Uriah said to David, ‘The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in temporary shelters, and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are camping in the open field. Shall I then go to my house to eat and to drink and to lie with my wife? By your life and the life of your soul, I will not do this thing.’" (2 Samuel 11:11) A whole devotion could be written on the integrity of Uriah. Uriah’s response to King David should have caused David to repent, but it didn’t. Instead of having an open ear to what the Lord was saying through Uriah, all he could focus on was covering up his own sin. As we read in the rest of the verses, David then devised a plan to have Uriah killed in battle. While that seems as if it couldn’t get much worse, it did. In order to do so, he now was implicating others in his scheme. Sin doesn’t just affect us, it causes much harm to others as well.
You may now be wondering how a man who was known as a man after God’s own heart could have committed so many sins. It’s a simple truth, when we disobey God and do our own thing we stop seeking God’s will. We become our own god and forge ahead to please our own desires. And we end up in trouble. David left his heart of love for God at the door and was not praying or consulting God’s will. All he was concerned about was covering up his sin. Fear is a terrible companion, it is destructive and divisive and brings a great separation between us and the Lord.
After the acceptable time of mourning David took Bathsheba as his wife and David thought he had escaped God’s judgment. “Now when the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she mourned for her husband. When the time of mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house and she became his wife; then she bore him a son. But the thing that David had done was evil in the sight of the LORD.” (2 Samuel 11:26-27 emphasis mine)
There are always consequences to our sin but in today’s times we would never call the consequences as an act of the Lord. We are quick to blame God for situations in our lives or blame others. We sue everybody by taking them to court and blame them for our circumstances.
After the birth of the child the Lord sent His prophet Nathan to David. Nathan didn’t come to David pointing fingers and accusing him of the sin, that isn’t God’s way. He came to him with a parable that David could relate to. (2 Samuel 12:1-4). David didn’t know it was a parable, he thought it was real and he had a very strong reaction to this situation that was presented to him. “Then David's anger burned greatly against the man, and he said to Nathan, ‘As the LORD lives, surely the man who has done this deserves to die. He must make restitution for the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing and had no compassion.’" (2 Samuel 12:5-6)
Read Nathan’s response carefully, “Nathan then said to David, ‘You are the man! Thus says the LORD God of Israel, `It is I who anointed you king over Israel and it is I who delivered you from the hand of Saul. I also gave you your master's house and your master's wives into your care, and I gave you the house of Israel and Judah; and if that had been too little, I would have added to you many more things like these! Why have you despised the word of the LORD by doing evil in His sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword, have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the sons of Ammon. Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.' ‘Thus says the LORD, `Behold, I will raise up evil against you from your own household; I will even take your wives before your eyes and give them to your companion, and he will lie with your wives in broad daylight. Indeed you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, and under the sun.' " (2 Samuel 12:7-12 emphasis mine) Wow! Would you respond as David did? “Then David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the LORD.’ And Nathan said to David, ‘The LORD also has taken away your sin; you shall not die.’” (2 Samuel 12:13 emphasis mine) Remember David’s response to Nathan when presented with the story of the two men? David’s response was that the man who did those things should die. Notice that the Lord quickly assures David that he merciful and will not kill him. But there will be another consequence, "However, because by this deed you have given occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born to you shall surely die." (2 Samuel 12:14)
King David was God’s vessel, or representative, on earth to bring glory to the Lord. Throughout most of his life people could easily see God’s hand on David and David giving God the credit due Him. But now there was no glory. Instead David was shamed. He gave others the opportunity to turn away from the Lord and to make them doubt God. To blaspheme God was to speak irreverently about Him, to show contempt or lack of reverence or respect. God takes blasphemy very seriously. Hear these words of Jesus, "He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters. Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.” (Matthew 12:30-32 emphasis mine)
“...Then the Lord struck the child that Uriah's widow bore to David, so that he was very sick. David therefore inquired of God for the child; and David fasted and went and lay all night on the ground. The elders of his household stood beside him in order to raise him up from the ground, but he was unwilling and would not eat food with them. Then it happened on the seventh day that the child died. And the servants of David were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they said, ‘Behold, while the child was still alive, we spoke to him and he did not listen to our voice. How then can we tell him that the child is dead, since he might do himself harm!’ But when David saw that his servants were whispering together, David perceived that the child was dead; so David said to his servants, ‘Is the child dead?’ And they said, ‘He is dead.’ So David arose from the ground, washed, anointed himself, and changed his clothes; and he came into the house of the LORD and worshiped. Then he came to his own house, and when he requested, they set food before him and he ate. Then his servants said to him, ‘What is this thing that you have done? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept; but when the child died, you arose and ate food.’ He said, ‘While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, `Who knows, the LORD may be gracious to me, that the child may live.' But now he has died; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.’" (2 Samuel 12:15-23 emphasis mine)
As soon as David knew that the child had died, he “washed, anointed himself, and changed his clothes; and he came into the house of the LORD and worshiped” the Lord. This action gives us great insight into what the Apostle Paul taught, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” (Philippians 4:6-8 emphasis mine) Worship is praising the Lord for who He is and thanking Him for what He has done for us. David had peace. He owned his sin, repented and came into agreement that God’s will in his life was always right...regardless of the consequences. There was such a depth of relationship of trust and faithfulness because God’s ways are always perfect. David knew the narrow way and he knew the consequences of going his own way. "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14)
David’s servants were confused by David’s behavior. David’s response is profound. Please don’t rush through it, take time to allow the Holy Spirit to reveal the whole truth. Once David owned his sin and repented he, again, put his life in the Lord’s hand to deal with him as He pleased in judgment. His remorse was overwhelming and he interceded for the Lord to relent on the proclamation of the child’s death, but he knew that if the Lord did not change His mind, that the judgment was fair and just. Even though the child did not live, David knew that he would meet him after he died. Again, it’s a miraculous reminder that this earth is not our home, our home is in eternity in the Kingdom of God.
Notice David’s priorities. Worshipping the Lord was first. He didn’t go to make himself feel better. He went because God is good and His mercies never cease. “The LORD'S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. ‘The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I have hope in Him.’ The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him.” (Lamentations 3:22-25 emphasis mine) David then ate food to strengthen his physical body so that he had the strength to comfort Bathsheba. We can’t give compassion, love and hope to someone else when we are empty.
“Then David comforted his wife Bathsheba, and went in to her and lay with her; and she gave birth to a son, and he named him Solomon. Now the LORD loved him and sent word through Nathan the prophet, and he named him Jedidiah for the LORD'S sake.” (2 Samuel 12:24-25) Jedidiah means “beloved of the Lord”. “For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime; weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning.” (Psalms 30:5) “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28 emphasis mine)
My dear friends, there are circumstances and even physical ailments in our lives that God uses for His glory. There were issues in the Apostle Paul’s life that God refused to take away. It is a test of our heart! “And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) As we end this time together, I pray that the Lord has touched your heart and the following verse can be said of you, "...Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?" (Luke 24:32) Holy Spirit have Your way in us we pray!
Abba Father, You are great and greatly to be praised! You desire for us to walk upright and deal righteously with our enemies. You desire us to be holy and consecrated to You. You have set us apart to be your witnesses, the vessels that You can use to pour out Your love to the hurting world around us. Jesus taught that we are not to hide Your light under a basket but to let it shine. We are to live our lives by every Word You have given us. It is only Your truth which can set us free to be who You created us to be! Father we ask in the name of Your Son, Jesus Christ, that the Holy Spirit be our guide in these dark days. That the joy of the Lord would be our strength. That we rest beside Your still waters and receive refreshing from the fountain of Life. We submit our bodies, our hearts, our minds and our spirits to You today. Lead us in the paths of righteousness for Your name sake. Thank You that You hear us and will accomplish in us what we have asked today as we wait upon You. We love You with all of our hearts! All this we praise and thank You for in the blessed name of Your only begotten Son, Jesus Christ! Amen.