Day 26

David and Bathsheba

from the 1 & 2 Samuel reading plan


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

BY Guest Writer

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.

Post Comments (36)

36 thoughts on "David and Bathsheba"

  1. Allison Joy says:

    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

    1. Allison Joy says:

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

    2. Esther says:

      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.

  2. C says:

    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.

    1. aprilinsydney says:

      I have a hard time forgiving myself too.

  3. Donna says:

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

  4. Lana says:

    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

    1. Lana says:

      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.

  5. Cynthia says:

    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!

  6. Tochi Heredia says:

    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.

    1. Jennifer Peck says:

      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.

  7. Grancy says:

    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…

    1. GramsieSue says:

      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

    2. Becky says:

      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.

  8. CC says:

    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.

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