From shepherd boy, to giant slayer, to King, the account of David’s life as told in the Bible is world renown. He was a poet, musician, and warrior. David was even called “a man after God’s own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22). And if David wasn’t grand enough, Jesus, the savior of the world, is his descendant.
However, in today’s reading we’re not encountering another great moment from King David. These chapters reveal quite the opposite. They’re chapters David probably would rather not have been published. And don’t we all have those chapters in our life? Chapters we pray never get read by our friends and family. Yet, David’s life, the good and very bad, are on public display.
This man “after God’s own heart”, spirals down the wrong path in the worst way. First, he wasn’t where he should have been. His men were at war, and as a King, he should have been there instead of on his rooftop. Second, he coveted and wanted what he shouldn’t have–Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, one of his finest warriors.
In only a few sentences, David becomes an adulterer, and a man who uses his power and position against Bathsheba, which in today’s society constitutes rape or sexual assault. To cover up his actions David plots to deceive Bathsheba’s husband, but once his plan fails, he plots Uriah’s death. King David has committed premeditated murder.
The story is scandalous, yet we can pull valuable lessons from it. One, sin does not go unpunished. There are consequences. Because of David’s sin, the “sword” or fighting would never leave the house of David. David’s son also died. Later, you’ll see his family begin to fall apart, warring with one another.
Two, sin affects others, sometimes even years and generations later. Our sin may be personal, but it’s rarely private. In David’s case, Uriah, other soldiers, Bathsheba, David’s baby, and David’s descendents were all impacted in some way because of his personal sin.
Third, God is gracious, merciful, forgiving, and redeeming even though we are sinful. The story of David’s moral failure isn’t really about him at all, but about our God who is so very good. David repents from what he’s done and asks God to forgive him. God does. And he will forgive us too, no matter what we’ve done or will do.
We too can be known as people after God’s own heart, no matter how far we’ve fallen. We only need to turn back to God.