November 5
David and Bathsheba
2 Samuel 11:1 - 12:25

KEY VERSE: Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in his sight? --2 Samuel 12:9

The story of David and Bathsheba is, in one sense, one of the most encouraging stories in the Bible. It shows us that fine people who serve God are not immune to the temptation to break God's commandments. It shows us the tragic consequences of sin. It shows us how one sin leads to another and to another. But it is encouraging because it teaches us that God is a God of great mercy.

David accepted God's assignment to serve him as the king of the Israelites. He did many things that pleased God. But he was not perfect and finally he disobeyed God by committing both adultery and murder. Still God did not toss him out or destroy him, although he did allow David to suffer the consequences of his sins.

There are many lessons to be learned from this story. David's trouble really began when he allowed himself to look upon, and lust after, the wife of another man. He wanted something that belonged to someone else. Here is a perfect example of how God's commandments are for our good. Had David said to himself, "Bathsheba is very beautiful but she belongs to another man," he could have avoided the roller coaster of sins that began when he insisted upon taking her for himself. David's story can serve as a warning to all of us when we are tempted to break the sanctity of holy matrimony.

However much David may have enjoyed his romp with Bathsheba, he surely must have concluded that it was not worth the load of shame and guilt which it brought him. One can hardly imagine how disgraced he must have felt when Nathan pointed his finger in his face and declared, "Thou art the man!" What a terrible harvest of sin his one night of pleasure earned him.

Still this is an encouraging story, for it shows us that the confession of our sins can lead to the thrilling experience of God's mercy. David still suffered; he paid for his sin in many ways. None of us can imagine the pain he must have suffered as he endured the punishment of God.

But he was forgiven! His peace with God was restored. He received a second chance. What an encouragement it is to realize that though we are sinners, there is mercy and pardon awaiting us when in repentance we come home to the waiting Father.