Few sins in the Bible are more well-know than the one that some describe as David’s Great Sin – his sin with Bathsheba. Perhaps it is because we do not expect such gross sin from such a man of God that we draw so much attention to it; or maybe we all too readily identify with it in some way. Whatever the case may be, David’s sin with Bathsheba provides some unique insight into what sin does to the heart and life of a man (or woman) of God. The contrast between what sin promises and what it delivers could not be illustrated more vividly.
In 2 Samuel 11, we read that it was wartime. David should have been out on the battlefield with his men but instead stayed behind in Jerusalem. On a presumably nice evening, in an unguarded moment, David laid eyes on Bathsheba while she was bathing and could not resist the temptation: he ordered her to be brought to him and slept with her. Upon finding out that she was pregnant, a series of events led him to ultimately have Bathsheba’s husband Uriah killed on the battlefield – one of his very own ‘mighty men’.
In the next chapter, God sends Nathan the prophet to confront David with his sin. As a child, I never realized that at least nine months must have passed between David’s sin and Nathan’s bold confrontation of the king. Many commentators even indicate that approximately a year passed between that fateful night and his ultimate repentance. Several Psalms shed a fascinating light on what must have gone on in David’s soul during that dark year of his life. Here is what he says in Psalm 32:
3 For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was dried upt as by the heat of summer.
and your hand has come down on me.
6 I am utterly bowed down and prostrate;
all the day I go about mourning.
I groan because of the tumult of my heart.
3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a rightt spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will return to you.
14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,
O God of my salvation,
and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.
15 O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.