Introduction: In his moments of greatness, David was a man after God’s own heart (1 Sam. 13:14; Acts 13:22). Yet, David was also a sinner. He had a decades-long problem in making idols out of attractive women and catering to the temptations of his flesh. In 2 Samuel 11, David’s failure to control his lusts reached a crisis point. His lusts would lead to adultery. He would then use deceit and lies and eventually murder to conceal his evil acts. From David’s adultery, deceit, and murder, God reveals seven warnings about dealing with sexual temptation.
First, David lusted after Bathsheba because he was in a place where he could see bathing women from his rooftop. Instead of being on his rooftop, he was supposed to be leading his troops into battle. From David’s mistakes, God reveals that you can protect yourself from lust by protecting your eyes from places or things that provoke lust. Second, David invited temptation into his house by having Bathsheba brought to him. His actions led to adultery. From David’s mistakes, God reveals that you should protect yourself from sexual sin by fleeing from circumstances that may entrap you or others. Third, after learning that Bathsheba was pregnant, David tried to deceive Uriah by bringing him home from the front lines to have him sleep with his wife. From David’s mistakes, God reveals that sexual sins frequently lead to deception and concealment. Fourth, when Uriah would not sleep with his wife, David tried to get Uriah drunk to lower his moral standards. From David’s mistake, God reveals that sexual sins frequently corrupt others. Fifth, after his attempts at deceit failed, David ordered Uriah’s murder on the battlefield. From David’s mistake, God reveals that sexual sins frequently lead to even worse sins. Abortion is also the modern equivalent of a murder following an adultery. Sixth, to conceal his murder, David conspired with his general to create a false official report regarding the reasons for Uriah’s death. From David’s mistakes, God reveals that sexual sins frequently lead to lies to conceal the sins. Finally, David took Bathsheba as his wife and showed no remorse for his actions. From his mistakes, God reveals that unrepentant sin can lead to spiritual blindness.
David lusts after Bathsheba from his roof. At a time when David was in the wrong place at the wrong time, he lusted after his neighbor’s wife: “1 Then it happened in the spring, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him and all Israel, and they destroyed the sons of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David stayed at Jerusalem. 2 Now when evening came David arose from his bed and walked around on the roof of the king’s house, and from the roof he saw a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful in appearance.” (2 Sam. 11:1-2). In a parallel account of Joab’s battle, God reveals that Joab fought the Ammonites at the city of Rabbah (now called Amman, Jordan) and eventually overthrew it: “But David stayed at Jerusalem. And Joab struck Rabbah and overthrew it.” (1 Chron. 20:1). Yet, 2 Samuel 11:1 makes clear that David was meant to be part of this battle. In other societies at that time, it was also the role of kings to lead the troops into battle: “ . . . our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.” (1 Sam. 8:20). It was not until the prophet Nathan rebuked David and David repented that the Jews finally took the city (2 Sam. 12:16-31). Instead of leading his troops in battle, David went to his tall roof top to admire women who were bathing on their roofs. He obviously knew when and where to go to give into the lusts of his flesh. Unlike David, you must avoid being in places that provoke lust.
David secretly lusted after Bathsheba from his palace rooftop1
Artemisia Gentileschi (1593-1656) “Bathing Bathsheba” (oil painting 1650)2
Filling your eyes with sinful things leads to even worse sins. David gave into his lusts only after staring at his naked neighbor’s wife. Likewise, Eve ate from the forbidden fruit only after staring at its beauty: “When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.” (Gen. 3:6). Satan uses the lusts of the eyes to entice people to engage in sins raging from pornography to adultery: “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.” (1 Jo. 2:16). His goal is to destroy anyone who submits to him. “But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.” (Jam. 1:14-15). “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders.” (Matt. 15:19).
Even lusting after a married person is an act of adultery. David engaged in adultery merely by lusting after his neighbor’s wife: “but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matt. 5:28). If you are looking at pornography, your sins are just as bad in Jesus’ eyes.
Temptation frequently comes through small tests. David’s temptations grew over decades based upon his behavior in viewing women as objects. Likewise, Potiphar’s wife tempted Joseph “day after day.” (Gen. 39:10). If you fail in the small temptations, you are showing God that you are not ready for Him to entrust you with major responsibility. God cannot tempt you (Jam. 1:13-14). He does, however, test you (Jer. 17:10; 20:12). He tests you to show you where your heart is evil (Jer. 17:9). If He has shown you through the small tests of daily living where your heart is dark, have you repented of your sins? (1 Jo. 1:9).
Make a covenant with your eyes. If you fill your eyes with evil, you will soon act upon it: “The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” (Matt. 6:22-23). If unchecked, lust can overwhelm your decisions. “Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them.” (Ro. 1:24). To avoid David’s mistakes, every believer should make a covenant to avoid staring at people or things that may cause you to stumble: “I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin?” (Job 31:1). The first look is not the sin. It is the second look or the staring that is sinful. What steps have you taken to control your eyes?
Avoid places or people where temptation can arise. Believers must also remove themselves from sinful environments. “If your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it from you. It is better for you to enter life with one eye, than to have two eyes and be cast into the fiery hell.” (Matt. 18:9; Mk. 9:47). David had a choice to avoid his rooftop if he knew that he could see naked women bathing on their roofs. By contrast, Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce Joseph at work (Gen. 39:11). Joseph had little choice in where he worked. Yet, it is never wise to be alone with a person of the opposite sex. Do you protect your heart by controlling where and with whom you hang out?
David invites his married neighbor to his house and commits adultery. After lusting after his neighbor’s wife, David invited her to his house and slept with her: “3 So David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, ‘Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?’ 4 David sent messengers and took her, and when she came to him, he lay with her; and when she had purified herself from her uncleanness, she returned to her house. 5 The woman conceived; and she sent and told David, and said, ‘I am pregnant.’” (2 Sam. 11:3-5). David knew that Uriah was away in battle. Thus, David thought that he could get away with this sin. Bathsheba’s pregnancy prevented David from concealing his sins. David’s actions betrayed many people. Uriah was renowned as a valiant soldier (2 Sam. 23:39). He was also risking his life for David while David slept with his wife. David also dishonored Bathsheba’s family. Her father Eliam served David as one of his mighty men (2 Sam. 23:34). Her grandfather Ahithophel also served David as one of his chief counselors (2 Sam. 23:34; 15:12). He cared only about satisfying his lusts. As a result, many would suffer from his adultery.
David invites Bathsheba to his palace and seduces her3
Flee temptation. David invited temptation into his home. By contrast, Joseph fled from it: “She caught him by his garment, saying, ‘Lie with me!’ And he left his garment in her hand and fled, and went outside.” (Gen. 39:12). You also are commanded to “flee” temptation: “Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body.” (1 Cor. 6:8; 2 Tim. 2:22). Because of Adam and Eve’s sin, your desires are distorted (Gen. 3:15-16; Rom. 8:20). God knows that you are destined for bondage if you try to reason with temptation. Before God gave the Ten Commandments, He declared: “I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the Land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” (Ex. 20:2). His rules are meant to protect you from bondage. Through Jesus’ death, your body was bought with a price (1 Cor. 6:19-20). You are now His servant (Lev. 25:55). You were once a slave to sin. Now, be a slave to righteousness (Ro. 6:17-18). Are you “fleeing” temptation? (2 Tim. 2:22). Or, like David, are you doing things that will lead you back into bondage?
David’s long history of indulging the desires of his flesh. David’s weakness for women was not something that happened by accident on his roof. Instead, as his power grew, he fed his lusts of the flesh. Before arriving in Hebron, David had two wives (one too many) (1 Sam. 25:42-3). During his seven-year reign in Hebron, he took four additional wives (2 Sam. 3:2-5). David then forced Abner to kidnap his former wife Michal and make her his seventh wife (2 Sam. 3:12-16). Because Michal was married at the time, he engaged in adultery when he took her as his seventh wife. When he became king, David expanded his number of wives and concubines further. “13 Meanwhile David took more concubines and wives from Jerusalem, after he came from Hebron; . ..” (2 Sam. 5:13(a)). David could not satisfy his lusts by giving into them. Instead, the more he gave into temptation, the more his desires grew: “Sheol and Abaddon are never satisfied, nor are the eyes of man ever satisfied.” (Prov. 27:20). Are you giving into your temptations?
David’s actions constituted adultery under any definition. Before sleeping with his wife, David referred to Uriah as “the Hittite.” (2 Sam. 11:3). This might have been David’s attempt to rationalize his actions. He might have deluded himself into thinking that the Ten Commandments were God’s Covenant with the Jews, not the gentiles. He might have reasoned that God promised the land of the Hittites to Abraham (Gen. 15:18-21). He might have also remembered that Moses commanded the Jews to destroy the Hittites (Dt. 20:17). The Hittites also fought against the Jews as they tried to reclaim the Promised Land (Nu. 13:29; Josh. 9:1; 11:1-5). Uriah, however, forsook his people and their gods to serve Yahweh. He then married a Jew and fought for David. Even under the narrowest possible definition of adultery, David slept with his literal neighbor’s wife: “You shall not have intercourse with your neighbor’s wife, to be defiled with her.” (Lev. 18:20). As God’s appointed King, David was meant to show God’s righteousness. Instead, he dishonored God and showed the gentile to be more righteous than the Jew.
David’s adultery was an abuse of his God-given authority. Many male commentators try to assign partial blame to Bathsheba because there is no record that she struggled or resisted David. Others suggest that she failed to cover herself while bathing on her roof. Yet, the prophet Nathan later limited God’s divine judgment to David. He depicted both Bathsheba and Uriah as the victims (2 Sam. 12:1-12). David was the King of Israel with nearly unlimited power. Bathsheba had no authority to rebuff the advances of her king. She also could not prevent the king with his higher roof from looking down on her. She further would have had no reason to assume that many fighting aged men were still around. Centuries earlier and on a far smaller scale, Joseph explained to Potiphar’s wife that it would have been a sin against God to take the one thing that his master had withheld from him: “There is no one greater in this house than I, and he has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do this great evil and sin against God?” (Gen. 39:9). If you have been entrusted with power, don’t misuse that power by engaging in sexual harassment or using your power to pressure subordinates to date you. Instead, unlike David here, be a holy example to others.
Jesus came to raise the standards for sexual purity. Jesus did not come to repeal the laws against sexual immorality. Instead, He raised the bar on the type of conduct that He expects from believers. For the unsaved, the penalty for adultery is exclusion from heaven (Rev. 21:8; 22:15). If you are engaged in sexual immorality, you also risk removing God’s blessings and protection from your marriage. You may also bring a curse upon your children through family conflict and divorce. Adultery can also teach children that there is little value in a covenant, commitment, selfless love, and God’s Law. Yet, while exhorting us to even higher standards of moral conduct, Jesus also used the example of the woman caught in adultery to urge believers not to judge or condemn others who have sinned in the past (Jo. 8:7). If someone you know has engaged in sexual sins in the past and repented, don’t use that person’s old sins to condemn them.
Temptation is a greater risk during times of prosperity and comfort. David was at his best when he was threatened and forced to cling closely to God. By contrast, David’s greatest failures of his faith came during his times of success. During his times of success, he felt entitled to gratify the desires of his flesh and took more wives or concubines. This sin is not limited to men. Potiphar’s wife felt great power in her household. Joseph’s resistance made her long for him even more. Because her heart was evil, she (like Eve) longed for the one thing in her house that she could not have. (Gen. 39:10-13). Satan will exploit any opening that you give him. If you let your guard down when times are good, Satan will entrap you. As one commentator observes: “prosperity is as dangerous -- and sometimes more dangerous -- than poverty and adversity. We all get weary of the adversities of life. We all yearn for the time when we can kick back and put up our feet and relax a bit. We all tire of agonizing over the bills and not having quite enough money to go around. David certainly looked forward to the time when he could stop fleeing from Saul and begin to reign as king. But let me point out that from a spiritual point of view, David never did better than he did in adversity and weakness. Conversely, David never did worse than he did in prosperity and power. How many psalms do you think David wrote from his palatial bed and from his penthouse? How much meditation on the law took place while David was in Jerusalem, rather than on the battlefield? We are not to be masochists, wanting more and more suffering, but on the other hand we should recognize that success is often a greater test than adversity. Often when it appears “everything's goin' my way” we are in the greatest danger.” (Robert L. (Bob) Deffinbaugh “9. David and Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11:1-4)”). (italics in original).4 Do you allow success or times of plenty to cause you to drop your guard against Satan?
Make no provisions for the flesh. Paul warns believers not to embrace the things of the flesh as you may have done before you came to know Christ: “Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.” (Eph. 2:3). “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” (Gal. 5:16). “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.” (Ro. 13:14). “Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.” (1 Pet. 2:11). “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” (Ro. 12:1). Is your body a living sacrifice for Christ?
Put on the armor of God to resist temptation. Unlike David, believers should put on the armor of God to resist temptation: “The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.” (Ro. 13:12). “Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.” (Eph. 6:11). “Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,” (Eph. 6:13-14; Is. 59:17; 1 Thess. 5:8). Jesus has also left you with His Word as a sword against the devil. “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Heb. 4:12). Are you using each part of God’s armor against the devil?
Rebuke the devil, and he will flee. God does not want you to engage with the devil. Instead, He has given you a tool that was not available to David. He has given you the power to resist Satan and drive him away by rebuking him in faith in Jesus’ name. Jesus’ name is so powerful that the mere use of His name by the archangel Michael was able to drive Satan away: “But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you!”’ (Jude 1:9). The Apostle James also admonished: “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (Jam. 4:7). Likewise, Peter also admonished: “But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.” (1 Pet. 5:9). Have you rebuked Satan’s attacks in Jesus’ name? Or, like David, have you invited them through your actions?
David’s attempt to deceive Bathsheba’s husband Uriah. Upon learning that Bathsheba was pregnant, David engaged in a series of progressively worse sins to cover up his adultery: “6 Then David sent to Joab, saying, ‘Send me Uriah the Hittite.’ So Joab sent Uriah to David. 7 When Uriah came to him, David asked concerning the welfare of Joab and the people and the state of the war. 8 Then David said to Uriah, ‘Go down to your house, and wash your feet.’ And Uriah went out of the king’s house, and a present from the king was sent out after him. 9 But Uriah slept at the door of the king’s house with all the servants of his lord, and did not go down to his house. 10 Now when they told David, saying, ‘Uriah did not go down to his house,’ David said to Uriah, ‘Have you not come from a journey? Why did you not go down to your house?’ 11 Uriah said to David, ‘The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in temporary shelters, and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are camping in the open field. Shall I then go to my house to eat and to drink and to lie with my wife? By your life and the life of your soul, I will not do this thing.’” (2 Sam. 11:6-11). Even for a king, David knew the penalty for adultery. It was a painful death by stoning (Lev. 20:10). To avoid any suspicion that he had caused Bathsheba’s pregnancy, David brought Uriah home under false pretenses and tried to have him sleep with his wife to convince him that he was the father. Uriah, however, refused. He showed that he was more righteous than David through his zeal for God’s ark and his unwillingness to enjoy the comforts of home while other soldiers suffered.
David tries to deceive Uriah to conceal his adultery5
David’s prior experience engaging in lies and deception to conceal his sins. David previously used lies and deceit to escape punishment from the Philistines. When captured in the city of Gath, he convinced the Philistine King Achish that he posed no threat by pretending to be a madman with saliva dripping down his beard (1 Sam. 21:13-15). David later again deceived King Achish into believing that he was murdering and looting the Jews as a bandit when he was really murdering and looting the Canaanites (1 Sam. 27:10-12). Just as David drew upon his prior success in seducing women to seduce Bathsheba, he drew upon his success in deceiving the Philistines to deceive Uriah.
Deceit and lies place you under Satan’s influence. By employing lies and deceit, David backslid even further in his walk. Adam and Eve also tried to conceal their sins from God in the Garden of Eden by covering up their nakedness. Their efforts were no more successful in fooling God than David’s efforts. If you are using lies and deceit, you also have backslidden in your walk. Lies and deceit are Satan’s tools to turn people away from God (Dt. 11:16; 30:17). If you deceive or lie, you are also under Satan’s influence. “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. . . Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (Jo. 8:44). Like David, an adulterer frequently employs lies and deception to cover up their sins. Are there any lies or deception in your dealings with others?
A godly person only speaks the truth. Solomon warns that “death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Prov. 18:21) and that “a wholesome tongue is a tree of life.” (Prov. 15:4). If David were under the influence of the Holy Spirit, he would have spoken only the truth. “Your word is truth.” (Jo. 17:17(b)). “For He said, ‘Surely, they are My people, sons who will not deal falsely.’” (Is. 63:8(a)). “You shall not . . . deal falsely, nor lie to one another.” (Lev. 19:11). “Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.” (Eph. 4:25). Will you speak God’s truth to others, even if it might cause you embarrassment?
David’s attempt to get Uriah drunk. When Uriah proved to be too strong and moral of a person to be deceived, David tried to cause Uriah to drop his morals by getting him drunk: “12 Then David said to Uriah, ‘Stay here today also, and tomorrow I will let you go.’ So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day and the next. 13 Now David called him, and he ate and drank before him, and he made him drunk; and in the evening he went out to lie on his bed with his lord’s servants, but he did not go down to his house.” (2 Sam. 11:12-13). David’s attempt to stumble Uriah through alcohol also failed. Uriah did not turn down dinner and drinks when his king commanded him. Yet, even under the influence of alcohol, he refused to sleep with his wife or go to his house.
Don’t stumble others with alcohol. David violated God’s rule written with the Holy Spirit on his heart not to use alcohol to try to cause others to stumble in their walk: “It is good not to eat or to drink wine, or to do anything by which your brother stumbles.” (Rom. 14:21). Alcohol can sometimes cause people to lose their inhibitions. Your self-control can become less rigid, and you may be more inclined to say or do things that you should not do. “For they will drink and forget what is decreed.” (Prov. 31:5). “He who loves wine and oil will not become rich.” (Prov. 21:17). In addition to his sin in trying to cause Uriah to stumble, it was also a sin for David to get drunk because he was meant to be a role model to others: “Do not get drunk with wine.” (Eph. 5:18; Prov. 20:1; Isa 5:11; 56:12; Jer. 23:9; Joel 3:3). Any leader should not serve if they are “addicted to wine or strong drink” because they may stumble others (1 Tim 3:3, 8; Tit. 1:7). Likewise, older persons must not be addicted to wine because they may be a role model to others (Tit. 2:3). Any believer in Christ is also part of His “royal priesthood” (1 Pet. 2:9). As a believer, you are also the “light of the world” (Matt. 5:14). As a believer you are also an “ambassador” for Christ (2 Cor. 5:20). Your conduct should not cause any other person to stumble in their walk with God (1 Cor. 10:32; 8:13). Are your actions a fair representation of the light and love of Christ? Or, are you allowing the desires of your flesh to cause others to stumble?
Adultery also stumbles others. Like David did to Uriah, an adulterer causes others to stumble in their walk. This includes the innocent spouse, the children, mutual friends and family members. If you are considering adultery, consider all the lives you will wreck.
David’s murder of Uriah. When all other attempt at deceit failed, David resorted to ordering Uriah’s murder to cover up his sins: “14 Now in the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it by the hand of Uriah. 15 He had written in the letter, saying, ‘Place Uriah in the front line of the fiercest battle and withdraw from him, so that he may be struck down and die.’ 16 So it was as Joab kept watch on the city, that he put Uriah at the place where he knew there were valiant men. 17 The men of the city went out and fought against Joab, and some of the people among David’s servants fell; and Uriah the Hittite also died.” (2 Sam. 11:14-17). By placing Uriah on the front lines in the fiercest battle and withdrawing from him, David ensured Uriah’s death. David might have thought that he was not committing murder because Uriah would have died at the hands of the enemy. But God later called David’s actions for what they were – murder.
Pieter Lastman (1583-1633) David gives Uriah a letter sending him to his death (1619)6
David’s adultery and intentional murder carried a double death sentence. David’s actions carried a double death penalty. The punishment for his adultery was death: “If there is a man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, the one who commits adultery with his friend’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.” (Lev. 20:10). “If a man is found lying with a married woman, then both of them shall die, the man who lay with the woman, and the woman; thus you shall purge the evil from Israel.” (Dt. 22:22). The punishment for David’s murder was also death: “Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God He made man.” (Gen 9:6). “He who strikes a man so that he dies shall surely be put to death.” (Ex. 21:12). “If a man takes the life of any human being, he shall surely be put to death.” (Lev. 24:17). “If anyone kills a person, the murderer shall be put to death . . . .” (Nu. 35:30). Out of mercy and grace, God spared David from the penalty that he deserved for his actions.
Adultery frequently leads to hatred, a form of murder. Adultery will frequently cause even worse sins. This can frequently include hatred and resentment between the innocent spouse and the cheating spouse. This can frequently lead to divorce. Adultery can also cause the children to hate the cheating spouse. Any type of hatred is, however, a form of murder in Jesus’ eyes: “Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” (1 Jo. 3:15). “But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.” (Matt. 5:22). Are you doing things that may lead your spouse or children to hate you?
Adultery also frequently leads to abortion. Abortion is the modern equivalent of a murder following an adultery. God creates every baby inside the womb (Ps. 139:13). Thus, abortion is just as abhorrent in God’s eyes as the murder of an adult (Lev. 18:21). For any person who kills their child, God warns: “I will also set My face against that man and will cut him . . .” (Lev. 20:3-4). He also warned the Jews that He would curse the land if they sacrificed their children (Ps. 106:38). When God gave the law of proportionality, He singled out killing an unborn baby as a crime worthy of death (Ex. 21:22-24). Abortion is never an option to God’s eyes for an unwanted pregnancy.
David and Joab conceal Uriah’s murder through lies. After David ordered Uriah’s death, he conspired with Joab to use lies to bear false witness to the reasons for his death: “18 Then Joab sent and reported to David all the events of the war. 19 He charged the messenger, saying, ‘When you have finished telling all the events of the war to the king, 20 and if it happens that the king’s wrath rises and he says to you, ‘Why did you go so near to the city to fight? Did you not know that they would shoot from the wall? 21 Who struck down Abimelech the son of Jerubbesheth? Did not a woman throw an upper millstone on him from the wall so that he died at Thebez? Why did you go so near the wall?’—then you shall say, ‘Your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.’’ 22 So the messenger departed and came and reported to David all that Joab had sent him to tell. 23 The messenger said to David, ‘The men prevailed against us and came out against us in the field, but we pressed them as far as the entrance of the gate. 24 Moreover, the archers shot at your servants from the wall; so some of the king’s servants are dead, and your servant Uriah the Hittite is also dead.’ 25 Then David said to the messenger, ‘Thus you shall say to Joab, ‘Do not let this thing displease you, for the sword devours one as well as another; make your battle against the city stronger and overthrow it’; and so encourage him.’’” (2 Sam. 11:18-25). The ruse that Joab and David created involved David’s fake wrath at Joab for causing Uriah’s death and Joab’s purported failure to learn the lessons of Abimelech, who died after coming too close to a wall that his troops were attacking (Jdgs. 9:52-53). The ruse may have convinced some. But God knew the truth.
Uriah is left to die in battle7
David violated the Ninth Commandment by bearing “false witness” to Uriah’s death. Uriah was David’s neighbor. By conspiring to lie in an official report about the cause of Uriah’s death, he violated the Ninth Commandment: “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” (Ex. 20:16; Dt. 5:20). God sees anyone who provides false statements as treacherous and deceitful. “A truthful witness saves lives, but he who utters lies is treacherous.” (Prov. 14:25). “He who speaks truth tells what is right, but a false witness, deceit.” (Prov. 12:17; 5:18; 25:18). Lies are also one of the sins that God “hates.” “There are six things which the Lord hates, yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: . . . a lying tongue, . . . a false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers.” (Prov. 6:16-19). “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who deal faithfully are His delight.” (Prov. 22:22).
Lying is also a sin that frequently follows adultery. If an adulterer cannot conceal his or her adultery through conceit, the adulterer will frequently turn to lies. The only proper response is to confess to the sin and change the sinful behavior.
Like deceit, lying places you under Satan’s influence. Satan is the father of all liars. “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (Jo. 8:44). Thus, when you lie to conceal a sin, you have placed yourself in communion with the devil. Is there any part of your life where you are living a lie?
Things gained through lies are short lived. Satan can only offer counterfeit pleasures: “The acquisition of treasures by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapor, the pursuit of death.” (Prov. 21:6). David would soon learn that there would be little joy from his wife obtained through lies. If you are using lies to obtain things, your joy will also be short.
David’s failure to repent or acknowledge his sins. Believing that he had succeeded in his murderous deceit, David took Bathsheba as his wife without any signs of remorse: “26 Now when the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she mourned for her husband. 27 When the time of mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house and she became his wife; then she bore him a son. But the thing that David had done was evil in the sight of the Lord.” (2 Sam. 11:26-27). The fact that Bathsheba mourned for her husband suggests that she was unaware of David’s plot to murder Uriah. Bathsheba no doubt felt special to become queen. Yet, David had become blind to his many sins. She was simply his latest sexual conquest in his ever growing harem. He might have further portrayed his marriage as his magnanimous act in caring for a warrior’s widow. If God had not intervened through the prophet Nathan, many more sexual conquests would have likely followed her. David’s evil could no longer be ignored. Out of mercy and grace, God would spare him from the penalties that he deserved under the Law. Yet, he would soon learn that there were consequences to sin.
David’s blindness to his seven deadly sins. Through his actions in this chapter, David violated at least seven of God’s Ten Commandments. First, by lusting after his neighbor’s wife, he violated God’s Tenth Commandment against coveting (Ex. 20:17; Dt. 5:21). Second, by repeatedly giving into his lusts of his flesh, he made an idol out of attractive women and violated God’s Second Commandment (Ex. 20:4-5; Dt. 5:8-9). Third, by sleeping with a married woman, he violated God’s Seventh Commandment against adultery (Ex. 20:14; Dt. 5:18). Fourth, he violate God’s Sixth Commandment against murder when he killed Uriah (Ex. 20:13; Dt. 5:17). Fifth, by engaging in lies and deceit to cover up his neighbor Uriah’s murder, he violated God’s Ninth Commandment against bearing false witness (Ex. 20:16; Dt. 5:20). Sixth, after he later married Bathsheba, he violated God’s law against a leader having more than one wife: “17 He shall not multiply wives for himself, or else his heart will turn away; . . ..” (Dt. 17:17(a)). He further violated God’s purpose of marriage by joining himself together by more than one other person (Matt. 19:4-6; 1 Tim. 3:2). To become king, he would have made a public vow to uphold the Torah. By breaking his vow before God, David also profaned His holy name. He was not “swear falsely by My name, so as to profane the name of your God.” (Lev. 19:12). Thus, his actions also violated the Third Commandment: “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.” (Ex. 20:7; Dt. 5:11). Finally, as God’s appointed king, David violated the Fifth Commandment by dishonoring his heavenly Father. “Honor your father. . .” (Ex. 20:12; Dt. 5:16). Even if he only broke one Commandment, he would have broken them all: “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.” (Jam. 2:10). David came to appreciate and write psalms about God’s mercy and grace only after God showed him his sins. David was a man after God’s heart not because he was perfect. Instead, he was a godly man because he later repented of his many sins.
David’s actions resulted in misery and sorrow. When someone longs for the things of the flesh, God will eventually hand that person over to his lusts (Rom. 1:28). Yet, the pleasure Satan offers for the adulterer does not last long (Heb. 11:25; Lk. 12:19-20). In reference to sinners, David said: “[God] gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.” (Ps. 106:105). “. . . So is the one who goes in to his neighbor’s wife; whoever touches her will not go unpunished.” (Prov. 6:26-29). God also warns of “curses” for those who submit to covetousness (Lev. 26:14-37; Dt. 27:15-26; 28:15-68). The consequences on the parents and the children is both misery and sorrow. As a result of David’s adultery, his health suffered (Ps. 38:3, 18). As one commentator notes, he also suffered many other long-term consequences as well. These included: “An unwanted pregnancy · The murder of a trusted friend · A dead baby · His daughter raped by his son· One son murdered by another son · A civil war led by one of his sons · A son who imitates David’s lack of self-control, leading him and much of Israel away from God . . . At this moment David agreed with the world’s understanding of the purpose of sex, seeing it primarily as the pursuit of a pleasurable experience. With his many wives, David may have never really understood God’s purpose for sex: to be the “cement” that helps bond together a one-flesh relationship.” (David Guzik on 2 Sam. 11).8 God disciplines you when you are willingly wayward in your walk because He loves you and wants to guide you back with his rod (Heb. 12:6). If He has caused you to suffer, He may be protecting you from an even worse sin. Are you rebelling against God? (Ro. 6:15).
Your sexual sins can also cause others to stumble. David’s son Solomon followed after his father’s sexual sins, even though he was once the wisest man alive (1 Kgs. 4:30). Like his father, Solomon also coveted women. His coveting led him to take 700 wives and 300 concubines. These lusts for the flesh led him astray (1 Kgs. 11:3). His lusts also turned his heart away from God. (1 Kgs. 11:4). He then began to serve other gods and did evil in God’s eyes (1 Kgs. 11:5-6). Are your actions causing others to stumble?
Fear God and memorize His Commandments to protect your heart from evil. Today, many see little value in God’s Commandments and His written Word. It was the lack of fear of God that brought David into temptation: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Prov. 1:7; Ps. 111:10; Job 28:28). If you treasure His Commandments and His Word in your heart, He will guide you away from the evil desires of sinners: “My son, observe the commandment of your father and do not forsake the teaching of your mother; bind them continually on your heart; tie them around your neck. When you walk about, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; and when you awake, they will talk to you. . . To keep you from the evil woman, from the smooth tongue of the adulteress.” (Prov. 6:20-22, 24). Have you memorized His Commandments and treated them with reverence?
God will reward those who overcome temptation. If you overcome your temptations, Jesus also promises to reward you. “Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” (Ja. 1:12). Are you giving Christ reasons to reward you?
Image credit: “David and Bathsheba” (1951 movie) https://www.themoviedb.org/t/p/original/dgKitfKCWMa2EOWmBgDgM1RKFuL.jpg↩︎