Sin and Worse Sin

Then David sent messengers, and took her; and she came to him, and he lay with her, for she was cleansed from her impurity; and she returned to her house. (2 Samuel 11:4)

When we think about all the things leading up to David’s sin with Bathsheba, it’s easy to forget that everything leading up to 2 Samuel 11:4 was temptation. In 2 Samuel 11:4 the trap closed in on King David and temptation became actual sin. It simply says, “then David sent messengers, and took her.” In this the man after God’s heart went against his own heart, following through on a lustful impulse. David ignored every warning and way of escape God set before him.

At this very point of temptation, the tempter sometimes quotes the Bible to us, enticing us to sin. The devil knows the Bible well enough, and knows how to twist it against us. He will quote the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:28: I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Then the tempter will preach a devilish sermon on the text: “You have already lusted in your heart and you are therefore already guilty of adultery. Why not enjoy the sin if you are already guilty of it anyway?” The devil’s logic doesn’t stand before the truth of God. While it is true that lust in the heart shows a sinful heart of adultery, the act of adultery is far worse. Adultery in the heart is bad; adultery in action is much worse.

The phrase “took her” is appropriate, because David took something – someone, actually – that did not belong to him. Bathsheba belonged to her husband Uriah, and not to David at all. Yet we should not understand that phrase “took her” as implying that David “took her” against her will. Every sense of the passage is that Bathsheba was a willing partner in the sin. As Adam Clarke says, “We hear nothing of her reluctance, and there is no evidence that she was taken by force.”

The end result was that “he lay with her.” David knew this was wrong, yet he did it anyway. It’s hard to explain David’s thinking here because he wasn’t thinking. He acted on feeling and impulse instead of thinking. If David thought about all this, he would see that the cost was so much greater than he wanted to consider at the time. It might have been different if David knew that this illicit pursuit of pleasure would directly or indirectly result in:

– An unwanted pregnancy
– The murder of a trusted friend
– A dead baby
– His daughter raped by his son
– One son murdered by another son
– A civil war led by one of his sons
– A son who imitates David’s lack of self-control and it leads him and much of Israel away from God
– A cloud over the rest of David’s reign

None of these things were exposed immediately, so it seemed like David “got away” with this sin. But we could only think that if we believe that sin is something good God wants to keep from us. King David did something harmful and destructive to himself and others, and harm and destruction will come of it. Just because David wasn’t caught at the moment doesn’t mean that he got away with anything.

Receive God’s strength this week to stand against every kind of temptation, and receive His wisdom to expose the wicked logic of the tempter.

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