Our journey through the story of the Old Testament now turns to the period of the monarchy, when Israel transitioned from a loose confederation of tribes to a nation with a King. The Bible Project guys tell the story of how the first king of Israel started strong but through a terrible combination of insecurity and pride, led the nation down a dark road. The next King of Israel would begin his story as a person of great character.
Unfortunately, though David is described as, “a man after God’s own heart,” he too succumbs to great moral failure. The story of David and Bathsheba gives us a warning that even “good people” can quite easily slip down a path of sin and destruction, often beginning in seemingly innocent ways. You can read the story in 2 Samuel chapter 11. There are a progression of moral failures that seem to build on each other:
- After many major accomplishments of political and military victory, it seems David has lost focus on his kingly duties. When ancient armies went out to war, the King was expected to be leading them. Instead David stays home in the comfort of his palace. The story of the downfall begins with simple laziness.
- Then, he commits what many would describe as an “inward” or “private sin”. He sees Bathsheba bathing on the roof. He begins to lust after her. Scripture teaches us that our “inward” sins of greed, lust, coveting, jealousy, etc. rarely stay contained in our heart (see Matthew 15:19)
- Then there is the act of adultery. David sleeps with another man’s wife.
- Then comes the “cover up”. When Bathsheba turns out to be pregnant, David crafts a plan to try and hide his sin. When the plan fails, he has an even bigger problem: Uriah will know who it was who had cheated with his wife once he comes home from war and finds her far along in her pregnancy.
- Then comes the ultimate crime: betrayal and murder.
You see the progression. What starts as a character flaw, becomes a personal sin, becomes a sin between adults, becomes a conspiracy, becomes an act of violence. The Bible is pretty pessimistic about humanity’s capacity to “be good”. Fortunately, the Bible is also very optimistic about God’s mercy. Eventually, David repents of his sin. He even writes a song about it, which is the topic of our journaling this week.
Journaling Questions this Week:
Read Psalm 51
- Describe David’s emotions in this Psalm. What is he feeling?
- Describe what it would feel like to have a “clean heart” or a “steadfast spirit”.
- What are the kinds of temptations do you and your friends face that might lead you towards bigger and worse sins?