David and Bathsheba
“Where does discontent start? You are warm enough, but you shiver. You are fed, yet hunger gnaws you. You have been loved, but your yearning wanders in new fields." -John Steinbeck
Good question – where does discontent start? And where does it lead?
More to the point...Are you discontent? Are you dissatisfied? And if you are – where is that hunger leading you? Is your yearning causing you to wander in new fields?
Today you are going to see what great tragedy can arise out of a lack of satisfaction...what disaster lurks at the end of discontent
The story: the circumstances:
2 Samuel 11:1-5
In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king's men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem.
One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, "Isn't this Bathsheba, the daughter of El-ee-am and the wife of Ur-ee-ah the Hittite?" Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (She had purified herself from her uncleanness.) Then she went back home. 5The woman conceived and sent word to David, saying, "I am pregnant."
In one moment of passion David violates the
7th commandment - You shall not commit adultery.
8th Commandment - You shall not steal.
10th Commandment - You shall not covet your neighbor's wife
And in a few moments you’ll see he breaks the 6th commandment - You shall not murder.
When it comes to sin David is batting .400!
The cover up: 2 Samuel 11:6-26
David calls Uriah back from the battle and tries to get him to sleep with his with his wife...even got him drunk but Uriah refused to go home:
Uriah said to David, "The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in tents, and my master Joab and my lord's men are camped in the open fields. How could I go to my house to eat and drink and lie with my wife? As surely as you live, I will not do such a thing!"
When that didn’t work David pulls out all the stops and tries to cleverly kill him
In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah. In it he wrote, "Put Uriah in the front line where the fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so he will be struck down and die."
It works and when Uriah is killed David either out of guilt or continuing lust takes Bathsheba as yet another of his wives.
When Uriah's wife heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for him. After the time of mourning was over, David had her brought to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son.
What a great guy – huh? Where is God in all this? ...here we see the understatement of the story: Vs. 27...
“But the thing David had done displeased the Lord.”
The rebuke: And God sends a prophet to rebuke David:
2 Samuel 12:1-8
The Lord sent Nathan to David. When he came to him, he said, "There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, 3but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him.
"Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him."
David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, "As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this deserves to die! He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity."
Then Nathan said to David, "You are the man! This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: 'I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave your master's house to you, and your master's wives into your arms. I gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more.
We’ll come back to this rebuke because there are some important warnings regarding discontent and where it leads but here’s just a review of the aftermath:
- David has to live with some severe consequences:
- God bringing chaos and mutiny within his family (next week)
- The death of the little boy conceived by Bathsheba and David
- But...David does repent of his sin and is sincere about it
Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin
For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
Maybe it is this sincere remorse and repentance that allows him to retain the title – “Man after God’s own heart” ...
That’s perhaps one of the take aways from this story... If you have committed a sin such as David’s you can be forgiven...but you might well have to live with life-long consequences.
Here are three other truths that emerge from this awful story...PAY ATTENTION...these may save your life!
Adultery is stealing
Vs 4 - Instead, (the rich man) took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man
- when you commit this kind of immorality with someone else’s spouse you are stealing ! (taking what is not yours...depriving someone else of what is rightfully theirs)
- you can justify it however you want....their marriage was falling apart...they didn’t love each other any more...but you caused a breach of contract! You stole. You are nothing but a thief.
- And btw you are stealing not only that other person’s spouse you are stealing their joy, their family life, maybe even stealing the peace and joy of their children
Funny, you can go to jail for stealing a car or money but not a wife or husband.
Immorality has its roots in discontent
Vs. 7 - 'I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave your master's house to you, and your master's wives into your arms. I gave you the house of Israel and Judah.
Read between the lines of Nathan’s rebuke:
You had all you could have ever wanted...You are rich in every way ...you have a harem and numerous wives ...what is your deal?
Yet – you went looking for something more – something condemned in...
(ironically in Solomon’s collection)
Drink water from your own cistern,
running water from your own well.
Should your springs overflow in the streets,
your streams of water in the public squares?
Let them be yours alone,
never to be shared with strangers.
May your fountain be blessed,
and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.
A loving doe, a graceful deer--
may her breasts satisfy you always,
may you ever be captivated by her love.
Why be captivated, my son, by an adulteress?
Why embrace the bosom of another man's wife?
- you have your own source of joy and satisfaction – you have an overflowing fountain – why go elsewhere???
If you are discontent ask God to provide
Vs. 8 - And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more.
The clear implication from God to David...if you were not satisfied then why you didn’t tell me....why didn’t you ask me for what you needed?
I would have given you what you want! You didn’t have to steal it! You didn’t have to go out of bounds to get it!
Matthew 7:7-8 "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
James 4:2 You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God.
My guess is that few of you have ever applied these truths to that intimate part of your life.
- Maybe you are discontent with your intimacy because you haven’t asked God.
- Maybe you haven’t knocked on that door
- Maybe you don’t believe God can fix that part of your life.
You say – you don’t know my life , friend – things btw me and my spouse haven’t been right for along time.
- so you think that part of your life is beyond God’s help?
- God has his limits? Even God couldn’t fix that!
I beg to differ...
2 Cor. 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times; having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
- in how many things can God make grace abound? ...all things
- How often can he do that? ..at all times
- How much can he give you? ....all that you need
In a minute I want to allow you the opportunity to knock on that particular door with God. I want to give you the chance to talk with him about your needs and desires for intimacy.
But before we do let’s pull this altogether and summarize what we have learned and how it can protect us from breaking all kinds of commandments...
1. Let’s call adultery what it is – stealing
2. Pay attention to your discontent – the more dissatisfied you are the more likely it is you will fall
3. Learn how to take your intimacy needs directly to God, He’s listening and promises to respond.