1 & 2 Samuel: Day 26

David and Bathsheba

by

Today's Text: 2 Samuel 11:1-27, 2 Samuel 12:1-25, Psalm 51:1-19, Isaiah 42:1-4

Scripture Reading: 2 Samuel 11:1-27, 2 Samuel 12:1-25, Psalm 51:1-19, Isaiah 42:1-4

The sins that tend to shock us most are the ones committed by those who know better.

When we’ve walked with God a long time, learned from Him, depended on Him through dark valleys—when we’ve tasted and seen that the Lord is indeed good—and then choose sin instead, our fall feels twice as far and three times as hard.

If anyone were immune to moral failure, you’d think it would be the boy-turned-king who watched a giant fall at his feet. The one whom God miraculously spared from death and handed a kingdom. The one who wrote dozens of songs about his devotion to God, and God’s devotion to him. The one whom God specifically chose for his loyalty and obedience (1 Samuel 13:14; Psalm 89:20). But even great faith doesn’t inoculate us against temptation.

When it comes to sin, we’re never more than a couple bad choices away from our worst moment. Humility must rule our hearts. Boundaries must guard our choices.

David’s sin, much like many of ours, began as a slow slide. “In the Spring when kings march out to war,” David was home instead (2 Samuel 11:1). Apparently he felt his kingdom was secure enough that his right-hand military man, Joab, could take care of business on his own. Maybe he suffered from vocational boredom or spiritual apathy. Maybe he had a mid-life crisis, or he was just feeling lazy and lax. That’s when temptation came. Then justification. Then trespass.

David’s sin left a wake of consequences that affected not only him, but Uriah, Bathsheba, an innocent baby boy, and an entire nation. But even with all that collateral damage, the real weight of David’s story wasn’t in his failure but in his restoration. God confronted, then offered forgiveness to, the man who undeniably “knew better.”

The implications are too beautiful to ignore: we may have to face natural or divine consequences for our sin, but God never refuses to forgive.

But there’s even more good news woven through this story. One sin—even a whole season of bad choices—doesn’t have to define our lives. Yes, David sinned. He sinned big. But long after David’s body turned to dust, God still measured other kings’ successes or failures by David’s heart (1 Kings 14:7-8; 2 Kings 14:3, 16:2), blessed generations for his sake (2 Kings 8:19, 19:34, 20:6), and made good on His promise to bring the Messiah through his descendents (Psalm 89:3-4; Ezekiel 37:25; Luke 1:69).

David’s life was marked by faith and obedience—not just in spite of his biggest mess-ups, but also because of how he repented and walked through them.

Once again, God’s grace weaves through lives that seem beyond redemption: through David’s story, your story, and mine. But we can rest assured that He is bigger than our greatest failures.

Thanks be to God.

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Jessie Minassian is an author, blogger, and speaker, who prefers to be known for her ability to laugh at herself, a weird obsession with nature-ish stuff, and a penchant for making up words. Learn more about Jessie and her ministry at LifeLoveandGod.com.

  • As a mom struggling to help a young teen deal with issues of purity and failure, the phrase that even great faith cannot inoculate us against temptation is a powerful one. I will be sharing that with him — and keeping it in mind for myself.

    Also, David’s words about God’s delight in truth and Him teaching wisdom In the secret heart sounds like a great verse to start with which to start our school year. Thank you for this wonderful study!

  • Jennifer Peck

    2 Samuel 11:1

    “In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war…” And so begins one of the most tragic stories in all of scripture. We’ve walked with David from the pasture field, tending sheep to the battlefield slaying giants. We saw David extend incredible kindness to Mephiboseth in 2 Samuel 9 and defeat a powerful enemy in chapter 10 and then chapter 11 hits like a ton of bricks! David’s fall did not begin with Bathsheba. It began with being at the wrong place at the wrong time. As king, David should have been out leading his army but instead found himself bored and complacent on his rooftop. If we are not careful we too can fall into temptation and sin because of idleness and not engaged in the work and ministry God has for us. David’s life teaches us how essential it is to continually and intentionally pursue God. We never “arrive”. The earthly reign of Saul and David point to the imperfection of human leaders and our need for a perfect savior ultimately found in Jesus Christ. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.” May we declare the blessedness of Christ our savior as David did in Psalm 32

    “Blessed are those
    whose transgressions are forgiven,
    whose sins are covered.
    Blessed is the one
    whose sin the Lord will never count against them.”

  • Kristin Micks

    David’s assurance of God’s grace blows me away. He was a man after God’s own heart and knew God in a personal way. David arguable commits one of the worst sins, adultery and murder all in one. I can look at myself and think “well I have never done anything that bad” but the truth is i am just as bad in my heart. And God specializes in the heart. David sin and he knew he had betrayed God. But what’s amazing is that David KNEW the grace of God. Even after this enormous sin he says “purify me and I will be made clean, wash me and I will be whiter than snow”

  • Karen From Virginia

    Although I have read this story many times, today I sat with fresh eyes. Fresh eyes that see how wrong David was, but glory in amazement at how restorative God is. David was confronted and his only response was I sinned against the Lord. I want to have that response when I am convicted.
    I was also blessed when I read about Solomon being born and that the Lord loved him. To me, this reflected truly God had forgiven and moved forward to bless. How thankful I am I do you see God blessing David after this really difficult bad time. So often it is easy to dwell on our mistakes or the mistakes of others when forgiveness is already happened. It is full of hope to realize that when we fail and we go astray, God is there to forgive, to restore, and to continue the calling that he has for us. What a God that we love!

  • Allison Joy

    I love this version of “Create in Me a Clean Heart.” I wish I could figure out the second verse, but man, do I LOVE the harmonies in this version. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQD7x0MeVak

    • Allison Joy

      And by “figure out” I mean figure out what verses the second verse is from.

    • Esther

      Beautiful harmonies in this version – thanks for sharing!! – I believe the second verse is taken from Psalm 51:1,2 – the same chapter as verse one of the song.

  • I also went through a divorce and felt I gave up way to quickly in the marriage and didn’t handle things as well as I should have. I understood that God forgave me but the harder part for me was forgiving myself. I couldn’t get past myself and the guilt and shame of it all overcame me. I’m making progress now as I put God first, and it’s getting easier day by day. The holy spirit is working through me and for that I will be forever grateful.

  • Shane and Shane have a great song ” psalm 51, wisdom in the secret heart”. Enjoy!

  • Between the great scripture and devotional, the note section in the workbook was not big enough!!! So much goodness here. My notes were similar to everyone else’s. Sin always has consequences. Even when you are anointed. But when you ask God to help you purify your hear as David

    • Lana

      did in Psalm 51, God will do it! He is faithful. Without asking God for help in this matter, David might not have had the heart to worship God after the death of his baby. That was a miracle. God will always answer miracles regarding heart purification.

  • David shows how to be restored after committing such colossal sins. God is faithful to forgive. The sad thing is when those who should know better fall in such a public display and do not seek the Lord. God is only a whisper away! Seek Him while He may be found! No sin is too great that Jesus cannot forgive!
    Psalm 51:17 Bring to God your broken spirit, your broken and contrite heart. He will take your brokenness and make you whole. Thank You,Jesus!

  • Tochi Heredia

    I’ve read this passage many, many times, yet today I saw it with brand new eyes. It is like a glass of cold water on a scorching day, and I’ve burnt myself under the sun of my sinful nature more times than I care to admit.

    This is the first time I see this story for what it really is: not an anecdote on failure, but a reminder of redemption. It is not about how short we always fall, but how prone He is to reach out to us and pull us back on our feet.
    Thank you, Lord! I’m amazed, humbled and deeply moved by Your love. Thank you for your fatherly discipline and motherly care.

    • Jennifer Peck

      Yes, thank you for your insight. So often we can read stories like this and see only see them as punitive but our God is the God of restoration. In this story we find hope. Praise God.

  • On another subject in this passage— how David dealt with the illness of his son, his fasting and praying for the little one, but once the child died, he washed, dressed, and ate. His words “I will go to him, but he will not return to me,” are really powerful to me. When faced with a grave illness of a family member, I want to follow his example of praying with all I have, but if that prayer isn’t answered the way I was wanting, I want to accept that and be able to rejoice that I will see them again. …just some thoughts…

    • GramsieSue

      Yes, because we don’t always get what we want. We don’t see the full picture. God has a perfect plan. We can rejoice in Him

    • Becky

      When our son died, this passage was very meaningful to my husband also. We prayed and fasted and wept, but he did die, and we will go to him someday.

  • I remember talking to a pastor once about how sometimes the “greats” of the Bible (Moses, Abraham, David, Mary) can seem difficult to relate to at times and that their faith that we see can make my faith seem so small and my failures so overwhelming. But that’s really not true, is it? In a strange way, I’m so thankful that God knew we needed to have a picture of these men and women’s sins and weaknesses as well because they also had seasons of difficulty trusting God, of trying to control everything, of just living the way they wanted. It makes them seem less like “Bible characters” and more like the humans that you and I could relate to and have a conversation with about all of the ups and downs of life. And reading through 1 and 2 Samuel with that perspective has really opened up a whole new meaning to these passages for me.

  • I am loving the chance to read 1&2 Samuel along with the Psalms as they were written in real time! Many thanks for this opportunity, SRT!

  • Marytony

    Yes, it is true that those that “know better” are the ones that the sin feels “bigger”. But it is so true that no one is immune to temptation and sin.
    I take two points away from this devotional… first, how God forgives if we repent regardless of the sin. We will still need to deal with consequences, but our sin was already dealt with.
    The second, is a reminder that all of us can fall and fail… and that God’s mercy has not been reduced or shortened one bit… so why should ours? I ask this, because I’ve seen how we tend to extend grace freely to unbelievers, but deal more severely with a christian because he/she “should know better”.

    • Tori Rose

      That’s such a good challenge! We need to be reminded that grace is also for those of us who “should know better”, we’re just as tempted to sin. Thanks for sharing

  • Tricia C

    Amen!
    Grateful for God’s forgiveness. Glory to His Name.
    I know that though we are forgiven we have to suffer the consequences for what we have done. That hurts sometime. But, in the end, His Grace and Mercy are what matters.

  • churchmouse

    “God never fails to forgive.” How comforting this truth. And the truth that my life is not defined by my sin but by His grace. I confess, repent. He redeems. Others may remember my sin but He does not. Others may “tsk tsk” years after one who has fallen. But if that one has repented the Lord says “well done, my good and faithful servant.” There will always be those who concentrate on the sin but God concentrates on the repentance. That one who sinned is now known as one who is redeemed. So “tsk” all you want. I hear hallelujahs!

    • CJ

      I LOVE this! To God be the glory for speaking through you.

    • GramsieSue

      Love that! “I hear hallelujahs!” Sometimes I have a hard time forgiving myself but this has made me see more clearly that I repented, God forgave, and I am Redeemed! ❤️

  • I’ve always hated this passage, and it is still hard for me to read. Nevertheless, psalm 51 brought me back to the Lord when I thought I had sinned too much. I was 14.

  • Awesome devotion. One of the reasons I really struggled with the question of God’s forgiveness after my divorce was because I have been a Christian for many years, so I realized afterward that I should have handled that season very differently. I could not conceptualize God’s willingness to forgive me. The story of David and Bathsheba was the very one that helped me understand that we are all broken and even those with much stronger faith than I fall victim to temptation…AND God forgives us all.

  • I seriously needed to read and hear of God’s grace as once again I messed up, yesterday! But yes, I sit today, forgiven and thankful for God’s grace. Humbled!

  • God’s grace…I am speechless.

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