2 Samuel 11; 1–15 – Standing on Solid Ground
by Gary Sims
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2 Samuel 11:1-15 – Standing on Solid Ground
- 1: “In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab…but David remained at Jerusalem.” – David’s first error in decision making was to abandon his purpose, his leadership of his armies. Perhaps he had grown tired of war or perhaps, soft and comfortable in the luxury of his palace.
- 2: “It happened late one afternoon…” – When things begin to go wrong in our lives, we frequently think back to a single event that seemingly triggers the entire problem. However, one wonders what had been taking place in David’s mind, what festering thoughts had been gnawing away at him that finally broke through and brought forth the fruit of sin.
- 2b-3: “He saw from the roof a woman bathing; the woman was very beautiful. David sent someone to inquire about the woman.” – David’s second mistake was to focus on and to give into his desires.
- 4: “So David sent messengers to get her, and she came to him, and he lay with her.” – Bathsheba probably had little choice in the matter. Refusing the king’s commands could have been punishable by death. David deliberately lived out his desires without considering any of the possible ramifications.
- 5: “I am pregnant.” – It was not long before these ramifications began revealing themselves.
- 8: “Then David said to Uriah, ‘Go down to your house and wash your feet.’” – The cover up begins. David had called Uriah out of the field of battle so that he would sleep with his wife. By this David was hoping to hide the fact that Bathsheba’s pregnancy was from an adulterous affair.
- 11: “Uriah said to David, ‘The ark and Israel and Judah remain in booths…shall I then go to my house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife?’” – Uriah’s loyalty and faithfulness to God and to his fellow soldiers was steadfast. His devotion and righteousness shown bright in comparison to David.
- 15: “In the letter he wrote: ‘Set Uriah in the forefront of the hardest fighting, and then draw back from him, so that he may be struck down and die.’” – Giving into one sin opens the door to so many more.
- Is your life centered on God and the purpose He has created you for? What happens in your life when you deviate from His plan? Do things begin to unravel? Does frustration and dissatisfaction begin to infiltrate your thinking? Do you become quick-tempered? Isolated? Lonely? Self-righteous? Do your desires begin to dominate your thoughts? Do you become narrowly focused and overly intense? Do you begin searching the horizons for ways to fill your emptiness?
- What sinful desire have you given into without care or concern of the ramifications? What “little” indulgences that have crept into your heart have you been unable to resist? At the beginning of today’s story David stands at the top of a very slippery slope of self-ruin. Fully aware of where his actions might lead, he intentionally steps off into the abyss. Have you ever found yourself in a situation where one decision has lead you down the slippery slope of failure? Once on the slope do you think back on that decision and regret the step you took?
- Have you ever tried to “fix” things? Once David began learning the ramifications of giving into his desires, he began to do things to solve the problem. As you “fix” a problem does the situation sometimes seem to worsen or do you undermine your efforts by repeatedly being unable to control your desires and habits? In the middle of your struggles have you ever come to realize that you are not God? That you are powerless to control your tendency to do wrong and that your situation is unmanageable without Him? Have you found, when you come to the conclusion that you are powerless to control your weaknesses and hand over your life to God, that it is only through His grace that you can find the power to change?
- This week’s verses are asking us to look at how our lives can be changed when we give them over to the power of God and allow Him to lead us into the paths of righteousness. Where have you limited God’s power in your life? What issues have you struggled with that you have not given to Him to resolve? Do you rely on the power of God to help you in your life? Have you seen His power at work in you? Do you turn to God and allow Him to provide for you and to meet your needs?
The story of David and Bathsheba is disturbing to us. We can find ourselves saying: “No, David. Don’t do it!” We can be judgmental and suggest that David should have known better. After all that God had done for David, we are surprised at how quickly he turns from God’s path. These verses are disturbing because the truth of our tendencies, our true human nature, is revealed by David. We may resist adultery and most of us will not become murderers, but there is still too much truth in David’s story of demise. When we sin, we want to hide from the truth, cover-up the consequences, and fix things in order to maintain control over our lives. As long as we try to control things, as long as we turn from God or keep our hearts hardened against God, we find that we continue to stand on the slippery slope of self ruin. It is only when we admit that we are powerless to control our sinful ways and turn to God that we begin to find firm footing and experience the transformation in our lives that only comes from God’s grace and forgiveness.
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