But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD. (2 Samuel 11:27b)
I don’t know who first said it, but it is absolutely right: “Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.” There is a high cost to low living. David found that out the hard way. The sorrowful, sordid story unfolds in 2 Samuel 11-12.
The moral collapse of the man of God begins with a seemingly small evasion of duty (11:1). At a time when David should have been with his troops staying on the battlefield, he is strolling on the balcony. An idle mind is the Devil’s workshop. It may seem a little thing at first to become slack in worship attendance, neglectful of a daily devotional time, or step back from Christian service. But, nature abhors a vacuum—and if your mind is not filled with God’s Word, Satan will fill it with carnal thoughts; if our calendar is not filled with wholesome activity, it will become filled with worldly pursuits. It is only a matter of time.
We discover David up at night, wandering the palace balcony, where the lion of lust waits to pounce on him (11:2-5). If a man rises early, meets God in prayer and the Word, his spiritual defenses will be strengthened. Staying up late and sleeping in sets a pattern which paves the way for exposure to all manner of evil—seldom does any good activity happen after midnight. How many are swept up into sin—caught up in porn, lured into illicit texting, even swept up into an adulterer’s arms because they were up at night with eyes open that should have been closed in sleep—in anticipation of the next day and getting up and gazing upon the Word of God.
The sin David committed was bad enough, but the sin he covered was worse (11:6-27). Bathsheba becomes pregnant. Her husband, Uriah, will become a casualty of David’s sexual conquest. Uriah was a Hittite—one of the pagan people that Israel had conquered when they took Canaan. Yet, his character outshines one of the chosen people in this story. David, doubtless, never intended for things to go as far as they did, but give the Devil an inch and he will take a mile. Even Joab is drawn into the conspiracy that brought down an innocent man. David had become an adulterer, liar, and now a murderer!
Numbers 32:23 warns, “be sure your sin will find you out.” The secret sin on earth is a public scandal in heaven. David will be exposed. When God sends his prophet to confront the king, he shares a story that will stir a former shepherd’s heart (12:1-6). We are often quick to judge in another what lurks in our own soul. Nathan points his bony finger at David—like an arrow hitting his heart comes the pronouncement, “You are the man!” (v.7) To David’s credit, he is repentant. God will forgive, yet by his own lips, David had pronounced his own punishment: “fourfold,” (v.6). The baby Bathsheba will birth will become sick and die—that’s one. After Amnon, David’s son, rapes his sister, her brother, Absalom will kill Amnon—that’s two. Absalom will lead a rebellion against David, only to be eventually slain by Joab—that’s three. Later, Solomon will execute another of David’s sons, Adonijah—that’s four. We sow evil seed and hope for a crop failure, but God is not mocked (Gal.6:7-8).