by Bob Whitesel, 10/20/14
Let’s look at a great man of God at one of his lowest points. David was king of all Israel. A major player in Near Eastern politics, David commanded the greatest kingdom Israel was ever to know in ancient times. And David was a man especially sensitive to God, who the Bible calls “a man after God’s own heart.”
But this doesn’t mean David wasn’t immune to stumbling and making a colossal error. Let’s read the story and see if we can see where David started his subtle slide into sin.
“In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem. One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, “Isn’t this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (She had purified herself from her uncleanness.) Then she went back home. The woman conceived and sent word to David, saying, “I am pregnant.” 2 Samuel 11:1-5
Did you notice the story started out by saying that this happened “in the spring, at the time when kings go off to war…?” Knowledge of ancient warfare throws light on the story. Spring was the usual time for campaigning, and the king always led his men. But we find David idling away in the palace, dodging his duties. And then when he sees Bathsheba, he seems to think as the king he ought to have anything he desires. And later when she conceives, he will resort to murder and eventually a cover-up to hide his sin.
How did such a spiritually dynamic man (he wrote many of the Psalms) fall so far … so fast? There are many factors, but perhaps one is that he started with little sins and then graduated slowly to bigger and bigger sins. First it was just the small sin of not doing his duty (to lead his men), then it was the sin of covetousness (thinking he could have whatever he wanted), then it was adultery (probably thinking “hey, we’re in love… it must be okay”), and so on and so on.
Let this story be a reminder to all of us that the slope into sin is slippery. And once we start sinning (or sliding) it is hard to stop. Decide to stop sin in its tracks when it first appears. Be at the right place, at the right time and avoid even little sins that can lead us down a slippery slope toward sins we never imagined.