Then David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the Lord.’
Nathan replied, ‘The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. But because by doing this you have shown utter contempt for the Lord, the son born to you will die.’
At the time of year when kings usually went to war, David was at home, taking a walk on the roof of his palace when he saw Bathsheba. In a few short verses, we read how David went from laziness to lust. When he discovered that he had made Bathsheba, a married woman, pregnant, David escalated the situation from manipulation to murder.
David had broken five of the Ten Commandments: murder, adultery, stealing, lying and coveting. 2 Samuel 11:26 contains one of the biggest understatements in the Bible: But the thing David had done displeased the Lord.
David’s response when confronted by the prophet Nathan is in marked contrast to Saul’s response to confrontation by the prophet Samuel. Saul at first denied that he had sinned and insisted that he had obeyed God. But David immediately admits that he has sinned against God.
Even though the penalty for adultery and murder in the Law of Moses was death, David was told that he was not going to die. This is because of his repentance and because of God’s mercy. Psalm 51 contains the words of a song David wrote at this time in his life. It shows us that there is still the hope of forgiveness, even after terrible mistakes
Even though David was forgiven he still had to live with the consequences of his sin. First of all, his son died. But that was just the start. He now found it difficult to discipline his other sons. Because of the example he had set, he would have felt a hypocrite to judge his sons when they committed adultery or murder.
The following chapters would have to be rated 18 if they were turned into a film. David’s family degenerated into a downward spiral of chaos with incest, rape, vengeance, murder, indecision, rebellion, civil war, exile and finally public humiliation for David.
The message for us today is the same. Good news: there is no sin too great for God to forgive. He gives us a second chance if we genuinely take responsibility, admit our guilt and change our behaviour. Bad news: Even though God forgives us, we still have to live with the consequences of our sin.
The story of David: Part 9 Read 2 Samuel chapters 11 to 15.