Introduction: David had just committed acts of adultery and murder. He thought that he could use an ongoing war and lies to cover up his sins. Yet, he could not hide his sins from God. In 2 Samuel 12, God used the prophet Nathan to expose David’s sin and bring him to repentance. From David’s rebuke and repentance, God reveals seven lessons regarding His mercy and grace.
First, because David had become blind to his sins, God had Nathan reveal David’s sin through a parable. Jesus revealed that He also spoke in parables because many are too blinded by sin to see their need for His mercy and grace. Second, David pronounced judgment upon a man in Nathan’s parable and unknowingly cast judgment upon himself. David was in need of God’s mercy and grace. Like David, all have sinned are in need of His mercy and grace. Third, Nathan revealed that God would judge David for his sin. Under the law, his sins carried a double death sentence. Like David’s sins, the wages of all sin is death. Without God’s mercy and grace, the wages of your sin would also be death. Fourth, Nathan revealed that David’s punishment would include conflict within his family and public shame. From David’s example, Jesus reveals that His offer of eternal salvation does not free you from the consequences and the pain of sins on Earth. Fifth, God spared David’s life from the penalty that he deserved because he offered a repentance that was both sincere and included a change in his behavior. From David’s example, God reveals that His full mercy and grace also requires genuine repentance. Sixth, after David repented, God blessed David and Bathsheba with a son named Solomon who would both rule wisely and establish the line leading to the Messiah. From this example, God reveals that His mercy and grace can restore broken families. Finally, after David repented, God also allowed the Jews to defeat the Ammonites. From this example, God reveals that His mercy and grace can also restore a broken nation. The Church, however, needs to bring civil leaders to repentance.
God uses a parable to expose the sins of the spiritually blind King David. Because David was blinded by his sins, God had the prophet convict David through a parable. “1 Then the Lord sent Nathan to David. And he came to him and said, ‘There were two men in one city, the one rich and the other poor. 2 The rich man had a great many flocks and herds. 3 ‘But the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb which he bought and nourished; and it grew up together with him and his children. It would eat of his bread and drink of his cup and lie in his bosom, and was like a daughter to him. 4 Now a traveler came to the rich man, and he was unwilling to take from his own flock or his own herd, to prepare for the wayfarer who had come to him; rather he took the poor man’s ewe lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.”’ (2 Sam. 12:1-4). God would have tried to reach David through the Holy Spirit to either stop David or convict him of his sins. Even when David stopped listening, God sent a prophet to save him. This shows that God is a loving God who does not want his people to perish (2 Pet. 3:9).
Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn (1606-1669) “Nathan Admonishes David” (1653)1
God’s warning to all false shepherds who prey upon His people. Like Nathan, God sent the prophet Ezekiel to warn all leaders who misuse their power and influence to prey upon God’s people: “1 The word of the Lord came to me: 2 ‘Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy, and say to them—to the shepherds: ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: Woe to the shepherds of Israel who have been feeding themselves! Should not shepherds feed the flock? 3 You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the choice animals, but you do not feed the sheep! 4 You have not strengthened the weak, healed the sick, bandaged the injured, brought back the strays, or sought the lost, but with force and harshness you have ruled over them.’ . . . 9 Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: 10 This is what the sovereign Lord says: Look, I am against the shepherds, and I will demand my sheep from their hand. I will no longer let them be shepherds; the shepherds will not feed themselves anymore. I will rescue my sheep from their mouth, so that they will no longer be food for them.”’ (Ezek. 34:1-10). Like David, if you have used your talents to engage in sexual or other sins against others, repent and turn back to God before it is too late.
The Good Shepherd grieves over and tries to reclaim all of His lost sheep. Unlike the shepherds who come only to feed themselves, Jesus (the Good Shepherd) came to serve others: “11 I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, 15 even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd.” (Jo. 10:11-16). He is looking for people to help find His lost sheep and return them to Him (Matt. 28:16-20).
The Good Shepherd speaks in parables because we are also blind to sin. God likely used a parable involving a shepherd because David was a shepherd as a boy. (1 Sam. 16:11; 17:15, 28). Jesus also speaks to us in parables because we are too blind to understand His truths without them: “Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.” (Matt. 13:13). We need parables to understand Jesus’ sacrifice. As one commentator notes: “It was the story of the slaughter of a lamb which exposed the immensity of David’s sin. It is the story of the slaughter of The Lamb of God which exposes the immensity of our sins.” Robert L. (Bob) Deffinbaugh (“11. David and God (Nathan) (2 Samuel 12)”).
Be a Nathan to a friend trapped in sin. In addition to using a parable, God used Nathan (a friend of David) to confront him. Yet, Nathan did not directly confront David. Instead, he gently allowed David to realize his own sins. Nathan would not have done David any favors if he kept to himself. Will you be a Nathan and gently restore a sinner (Gal. 6:1)?
David casts judgment upon himself for his sins and his hypocrisy. Because David could not see himself in Nathan’s parable, he unknowingly cast judgment upon himself: “5 Then David’s anger burned greatly against the man, and he said to Nathan, ‘As the Lord lives, surely the man who has done this deserves to die. 6 He must make restitution for the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing and had no compassion.” (2 Sam. 12:5-6). David assumed that the parable was a true story about the theft of a sheep. He then proposed killing the thief. At this moment, David acted like Judah when he demanded that Tamar be burned (a penalty not proscribed under God’s law) for a pregnancy that he created: “Then Judah said, ‘Bring her out and let her be burned!”’ (Gen. 38:24(b)). Under God’s law, the penalty for theft was not death. Theft required the payment of a ram offering for the sin against God. (Lev. 6:6-7). The thief was also to restore all stolen funds plus at least a fifth of the value of the stolen property as a penalty or 120% total (Lev. 6:5). Where the theft deprived someone of their livelihood (symbolized by animals), the penalty was twice the value of the stolen property: “If what he stole is actually found alive in his possession, whether an ox or a donkey or a sheep, he shall pay double.” (Ex. 22:4). If the sinner had no remorse, the penalty was four times the value of the property (2 Sam. 12:6). For example, after Zaccheus accepted Jesus as Lord, he promised to pay restitution four times above the amount that he had taken from others in the past (Lk. 19:8). This suggests that Zacchaeus had stolen from others in the past without any remorse. When judging others, David showed that he wanted to be harsher than God permitted. Yet, after recognizing his hypocrisy, he would soon need to ask that God as his judge not impose the death penalty he was due – a plea for mercy.
God will judge you by the standards that you use to judge others. David was fortunate that God did not judge David with the death sentence that David proposed for the thief: “Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things . . . . But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God?” (Ro. 2:1-3). “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. ‘Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?’ Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.” (Matt. 7:1-5). “And He was saying to them, ‘Take care what you listen to. By your standard of measure it will be measured to you; and more will be given you besides.”’ (Mk. 4:24). As God’s appointed judge, David could not rule with hypocrisy. God had to first cleanse him of unrighteousness before he could again judge others.
Cleansing yourself of hypocrisy requires that you humble yourself from any pride. David’s lack of mercy for the thief in Nathan’s parable stemmed from the root sin of pride. He was not ready to show mercy because he could not see his own need for it. “Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.” (Matt. 23:12). “When you are cast down, you will speak with confidence, and the humble person He will save.” (Job 22:29). “But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, ‘God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’” (Jam. 4:6). If you see yourself as better than the sinners around you, you also need to purge your pride.
Like the thief in the parable, all are in need of God’s mercy. Like David at this moment, many view themselves as above the sinners around them. Yet, God is clear that each person is in just as much need of mercy as the thief in Nathan’s parable. God has looked down from heaven and observed that not one person is holy and without sin: “[I]t is written, ‘There is none righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.”’ (Rom. 3:10-11). “[T]here is no one who does good.” (Ps. 14:1; 53:1). “Do not bring your servant into judgment, for no one living is righteous before you.” (Ps. 143:2). “But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God . . .” (Is. 59:2(a)). “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” (1 Jo. 1:8). If you don’t see your need for mercy, you won’t appreciate Jesus’ sacrifice.
God did punish David with the fourfold restitution that he demanded. Although God did not impose the death sentence that David demanded, He did take fourfold restitution that David demanded (2 Sam. 12:6). As one commentator observes, this restitution included four of David’s sons: “David demanded fourfold restitution for the man in Nathan’s parable. God exacted fourfold restitution for Uriah from four of David’s sons: Bathsheba’s child, Amnon, Absalom, and Adonijah.” (David Guzik on 2 Sam. 12).2
Nathan exposes David for his sins and his hypocrisy. After David cast the words of judgment, Nathan opened his eyes and revealed that his was the ungrateful and unremorseful villain in the parable: “7 Nathan then said to David, ‘You are the man! Thus says the Lord God of Israel, ‘It is I who anointed you king over Israel and it is I who delivered you from the hand of Saul. 8 I also gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your care, and I gave you the house of Israel and Judah; and if that had been too little, I would have added to you many more things like these! 9 Why have you despised the word of the Lord by doing evil in His sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword, have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the sons of Ammon.”’’ (2 Sam. 12:7-9). God had blessed David with all that he had. He had also protected David on countless occasions. David had so many blessings to enjoy. He showed that he “despised” God’s Word by his sinful actions.
Nathan confronts David3
David’s many crimes carried multiple death sentences. The punishment for David’s 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 intentional 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). Nathan also accused David of “despising” God’s Word (2 Sam. 12:9). His actions blasphemed God’s holy name: “Therefore, son of man, speak to the house of Israel and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, ‘Yet in this your fathers have blasphemed Me by acting treacherously against Me.’’” (Ezek. 20:27). “For ‘the name of God is blasphemed among the gentiles because of you,’ just as it is written.” (Ro. 2:24). For someone who blasphemed God’s name through his conduct as David did, the penalty for this was also death: “Because he has despised the word of the LORD and has broken His commandment, that person shall be completely cut off; his guilt will be on him.” (Nu. 15:31). David could not appreciate his need for God’s mercy and grace until he recognized the penalty for his sins.
Saul lost his kingdom and his life for mere disobedience and for consulting a medium. While David committed crimes that carried a death sentence, Saul lost his kingdom for mere disobedience: “For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He has also rejected you from being king.” (1 Sam. 15:23). He then lost his life for additional disobedience and for consulting a medium: “So Saul died for his trespass which he committed against the LORD, because of the word of the LORD which he did not keep; and also because he asked counsel of a medium, making inquiry of it,” (1 Chron. 10:13). Thus, David should not have expected God to show leniency for his egregious crimes.
Like David, the wages of your sins is also death. Some might see David as a fool who deserved to die. Yet, even if you have never committed an act of adultery or murder, it only takes one broken commandment to break them all. “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.” (Jam. 2:10). And the wages of all sin are death: “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Ro. 6:23). Will you share His gift with others?
God punishes David with conflict within his house and the public exposure of his sins. As part of David’s punishment, he would experience strife within his household and public shame for his actions: ‘“10 Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’ 11 Thus says the Lord, ‘Behold, I will raise up evil against you from your own household; I will even take your wives before your eyes and give them to your companion, and he will lie with your wives in broad daylight. 12 Indeed you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, and under the sun.’” (2 Sam. 12:10-12). God normally confronts a sinner in private (Matt. 18:15). Yet, leaders are held to a higher standard. Thus, David’s sins would become public and recorded for all time.
There is no sin that you can hide from God. Nathan told David that his secret sins would be made public (2 Sam. 12:12). Unlike David, Joseph did not give into the advances of Potiphar’s wife because he knew that God would have known (Gen. 39:9). “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, watching the evil and the good.” (Prov. 15:3). “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.” (Heb. 4:13). “But if you will not do so, behold, you have sinned against the LORD, and be sure your sin will find you out.” (Nu. 32:23). 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). To fear the Lord, you must hate evil: “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil. . .” (Prov. 8:13). Is there any sin that you are trying to hide?
A person reaps what they sow. God warned David that He would “raise up evil against you from your own household” (2 Sam. 12:11). Through family conflict, David would reap what he had sown: “For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds.” (Matt. 16:27). “Who will render to each person according to his deeds” (Ro. 2:6). “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” (Gal. 6:7-8). “According to what I have seen, those who plow iniquity And those who sow trouble harvest it.” (Job 4:8). “For they sow the wind and they reap the whirlwind. The standing grain has no heads; it yields no grain. Should it yield, strangers would swallow it up.” (Hos. 8:7). “He who sows iniquity will reap vanity, and the rod of his fury will perish.” (Prov. 22:8). Are you laying seeds in your life that will result in family sorrow or the joy of the Lord?
Adultery is a sin that brings misery to the entire family. Like David, an adulterer brings pain and sorrow to his entire family. “He who returns evil for good, evil will not depart from his house.” (Prov. 17:13). Adultery frequently leads to distrust, resentment, hatred and divorce. It impacts both the parents and the children. It can lead a family to financial ruin and both parents and children to different forms of addiction. If you have started down a path that may lead to adultery, stop and repent for the sake of your family.
David’s son would rape the ten women of his concubines as a result of his actions. The prophet Nathan also warned that “I will even take your wives before your eyes and give them to your companion, and he will lie with your wives in broad daylight.” (2 Sam. 12:11). Moses warned that the rape of a person’s spouse was one of the many consequences that could follow from a person’s decision to reject the protection that comes from God’s Law: “You shall betroth a wife, but another man will violate her; you shall build a house, but you will not live in it; you shall plant a vineyard, but you will not use its fruit.” (Dt. 28:30). “Therefore I will give their wives to others, . . .” (Jer. 8:10(a)). Absalom would later fulfill this punishment after he raped the ten women of David’s concubines: “Ahithophel said to Absalom, ‘Go in to your father’s concubines, whom he has left to keep the house; then all Israel will hear that you have made yourself odious to your father. The hands of all who are with you will also be strengthened.’ So they pitched a tent for Absalom on the roof, and Absalom went into his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel.” (2 Sam. 16:21-22). Absalom further lusted after David’s concubines from the same roof that David used to lust after Bathsheba. After freeing the ten women who were his concubines, they lived as widows for the rest of their lives: “Then David came to his house at Jerusalem, and the king took the ten women, the concubines whom he had left to keep the house, and placed them under guard and provided them with sustenance, but did not go in to them. So they were shut up until the day of their death, living as widows.” (2 Sam. 20:3). David’s sins impacted many people for their entire lives. Adultery can also impact the members of your family for their entire lives. If you commit adultery, your family may also be impacted for all their lives.
God spares David after he repents, but still punishes him with the loss of his child. Because David repented, God showed mercy and grace to spare him from the punishment that he deserved. Yet, because there are consequences to sin, he would lose his child: “13 Then David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the Lord. And Nathan said to David, ‘The Lord also has taken away your sin; you shall not die. 14 However, because by this deed you have given occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also that is born to you shall surely die.’ 15 So Nathan went to his house. Then the Lord struck the child that Uriah’s widow bore to David, so that he was very sick. 16 David therefore inquired of God for the child; and David fasted and went and lay all night on the ground. 17 The elders of his household stood beside him in order to raise him up from the ground, but he was unwilling and would not eat food with them. 18 Then it happened on the seventh day that the child died. And the servants of David were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they said, ‘Behold, while the child was still alive, we spoke to him and he did not listen to our voice. How then can we tell him that the child is dead, since he might do himself harm!’ 19 But when David saw that his servants were whispering together, David perceived that the child was dead; so David said to his servants, ‘Is the child dead?’ And they said, ‘He is dead.’ 20 So David arose from the ground, washed, anointed himself, and changed his clothes; and he came into the house of the Lord and worshiped. Then he came to his own house, and when he requested, they set food before him and he ate. 21 Then his servants said to him, ‘What is this thing that you have done? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept; but when the child died, you arose and ate food.’ 22 He said, ‘While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, ‘Who knows, the Lord may be gracious to me, that the child may live.’ 23 But now he has died; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.” (2 Sam. 12:13-23). David’s suffering is an important lesson against the doctrine of “greasy grace” that pervades much of the Church. In order to build their membership, many churches only preach uplifting messages. To avoid offending, many refuse to teach on the consequences and penalties for sin that exist, even when you repent. Jesus will save from eternal damnation, not the earthly consequences of sin.
David confessed his sins4
God showed David mercy5
Repent of your sins. God spared David only because he repented (2 Sam. 12:13). To be saved, you must also repent to Jesus. In preparation for Jesus, John the Baptist called all sinners to repent. ‘“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”’ (Matt. 3:2). Jesus also began His ministry with a call to repentance: “From that time Jesus began to preach and say, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”’ (Matt. 4:17). “But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!”’ (Lk. 18:13.) If you say that you are without sin the truth is not in you (1 Jo. 1:8). Yet, if you confess your sins, Jesus will forgive you: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 Jo. 1:9). Have you repented of your sins? If you have not repented, you are forcing God to discipline you.
God prepared David for repentance with poor health. Before Nathan confronted David, God softened David’s heart for repentance by plaguing him with poor health: “When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer. Selah.” (Ps. 32:3-4). Poor health can have many causes. Sometimes, people who are mostly blameless in their walk can suffer terrible afflictions. Yet, if you have hidden sins and your health is suffering from the weight of your sins, repent and Jesus can heal you. (Is. 53:5). Don’t let unrepentant sin destroy your health.
David’s psalm of praise for God’s forgiveness and His mercy and grace. In addition to repenting of his sins, David wrote a psalm for generations to sing so that all could follow his example by seeking God’s forgiveness and His mercy and grace: “For the choir director. A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came to him, after he had gone into Bathsheba. Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; according to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against You, You only, I have sinned and done what is evil in Your sight, so that You are justified when You speak and blameless when You judge. . .” (Ps. 51:1-4). Like David, each sinner has a story to tell about their deliverance. Will you sing God’s praises for His forgiveness and His mercy and grace?
Repenting without a change of behavior is meaningless to God. Like David, Saul also repented when God’s prophet confronted him: “Then Saul said to Samuel, ‘I have sinned; I have indeed transgressed the command of the LORD and your words, because I feared the people and listened to their voice.’” (1 Sam. 15:24). Yet, moments later, Saul revealed that he cared more about what the people thought of him than what God thought: “Then he said, ‘I have sinned; but please honor me now before the elders of my people and before Israel, and go back with me, that I may worship the LORD your God.”’ (1 Sam. 15:30). Saul also would at times confess his sins to David for trying to kill him (1 Sam. 24:17; 26:21). But he would then go back to pursuing David. Even Pharaoh once confessed his sins before God. “Then Pharaoh sent for Moses and Aaron, and said to them, ‘I have sinned this time; the LORD is the righteous one, and I and my people are the wicked ones.”’ (Ex. 9:27). Yet, he then went back to persecuting God’s people. David’s repentance was real because it also brought a change in his behavior. He never took another wife or concubine after Bathsheba. If you have repented of a sin, have you changed your behavior that led to the sin? If not, your repentance is worthless.
David’s son still bore the consequences of his sins. Even though God spared David’s life, Nathan warned that David’s son would still die because of his sins, and there was nothing David was able to do to stop it (2 Sam. 12:14-23). Normally, God will not allow a son to die because of a father’s sins: “Fathers shall not be put to death for their sons, nor shall sons be put to death for their fathers; everyone shall be put to death for his own sin.” (Dt. 24:16; Ezek. 18:20). But David named the fourfold penalty to Nathan (2 Sam. 12:6). This would be the first of four children that he would lose because of his sins.
Out of mercy and grace, God used Bathsheba and David to carry the line of the Messiah. To show that Jesus would bring redemption for mankind’s sins, God used the line between David and Bathsheba to give birth to both Israel’s wisest king and the line leading to the Messiah: “24 Then David comforted his wife Bathsheba, and went in to her and lay with her; and she gave birth to a son, and he named him Solomon. Now the Lord loved him 25 and sent word through Nathan the prophet, and he named him Jedidiah for the Lord’s sake.” (2 Sam. 12:24-25). The name “Jedidiah” means “loved of the Lord”. To show his love for the repentant sinner David, God would shower His blessings on their child Solomon. ‘“Behold, a son will be born to you, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies on every side; for his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quiet to Israel in his days.”’ (1 Chron. 22:9).
God showed grace in allowing Bathsheba and Davidto give birth to Solomon6
By repenting, David spared Solomon from God’s curse. If God had not forgiven David, Solomon would have also been cursed under the law: “Cursed shall be the offspring of your body and the produce of your ground, the increase of your herd and the young of your flock.” (Dt. 28:15, 18). This shows that God’s forgiveness is complete. If he has forgiven you, don’t allow Satan to continue to condemn you.
Although a second marriage is never part of God’s plan, God can forgive all sinners. Divorce is never part of God’s plan. It is something that God only tolerates out of the hardness of many people’s hearts (Matt. 19:8). Thus, many believers carry the weight of prior failed marriages. The second chance that God gave to David and Bathsheba shows that God can forgive and bless a second marriage, even though He would never have wanted that for you. But believers should not look upon this as a license to casually end a marriage. David and Bathsheba still suffered greatly from their actions.
Out of mercy and grace, God allowed David to defeat the Ammonites. Also out of mercy and grace, God empowered David and his army to prevail in their battle against the Ammonites: “26 Now Joab fought against Rabbah of the sons of Ammon and captured the royal city. 27 Joab sent messengers to David and said, ‘I have fought against Rabbah, I have even captured the city of waters. 28 Now therefore, gather the rest of the people together and camp against the city and capture it, or I will capture the city myself and it will be named after me.’ 29 So David gathered all the people and went to Rabbah, fought against it and captured it. 30 Then he took the crown of their king from his head; and its weight was a talent of gold, and in it was a precious stone; and it was placed on David’s head. And he brought out the spoil of the city in great amounts. 31 He also brought out the people who were in it, and set them under saws, sharp iron instruments, and iron axes, and made them pass through the brickkiln. And thus he did to all the cities of the sons of Ammon. Then David and all the people returned to Jerusalem.” (2 Sam. 12:26-31; 1 Chron. 20:1-4). Joab struggled for nearly a year to take Rabbah, modern day Ammon Jordan. David was meant to lead this fight (2 Sam. 11:1). Instead, he was home sleeping with his neighbor’s wife. His actions created turmoil for the entire nation. If he had gone where he was supposed to go, he and the nation never would have suffered. Only after David repented did the Jews prevail and win the war (2 Sam. 10:17-18).
When leaders repent, God can even restore a broken nation. Because David repented, God did not condemn the Jews to defeat. This is the normal punishment for a disobedient leader or nation. “The LORD shall cause you to be defeated before your enemies; you will go out one way against them, but you will flee seven ways before them, and you will be an example of terror to all the kingdoms of the earth.” (Dt. 28:25; Lev. 26:17). This shows that a nation can have its blessings restored when its leaders repent. Thus, the Church has a role to play for the conviction of a nation’s leaders. The Church must also be salt, an irritant in the wound of sin. Are you and your church fulfilling your roles?