Large failures often begin with small compromises. The story of David’s affair with Bathsheba is a popular one, but let’s examine the events that led up to his failure. By studying David’s compromising decisions, we may be able to stop ourselves from sliding down the slippery slope of spiritual failure.
- David wasn’t where he was supposed to be. He was made for battle. From a young age he was killing lions and slaying giants. God uniquely designed him to be a warrior, yet he decided not to go with his men “in the spring time…when kings go out to battle” (2 Samuel 11:2). His reasoning is unknown, but his decision left him exposed to temptation. Lesson learned: be where you should be when you should be there.
- David’s idleness became a breading ground for failure. Notice the author of 2 Samuel describes David’s day as “late one afternoon, when David arose from his couch.” He was a king, which means he would have normally been very busy. No doubt he had a scheduled routine riddled with important tasks, especially during wartime. For some reason, David was lazily going about his day. I highly encourage a routine. Even for those of us who aren’t kings, having a schedule keeps us focused when we want to wander into dangerous territory.
- David investigated, instead of terminated, the temptation. When David saw this “very beautiful” woman bathing, he “sent and inquired about the woman” (2 Samuel 11:2-3). This was no ordinary temptation; nonetheless, he should have walked away instead of dwelling and pursuing this woman. No doubt his inquiry was a product of lust rather than a pure desire to make a new friend.
- David ignored godly counsel. Verse three may be my favorite line from the story of David and Bathsheba. David ignores a nameless messenger when he asks the king “is this not Bathsheba…the wife of Uriah” (2 Samuel 11:3, emphasis mine) before sending him to retrieve Bathsheba. If a godly consultant finds the moment important enough to ask us to reconsider our actions, it is in our best interest to listen closely to what he/she says.
- David acted upon his sinful desires. I can hear his thoughts as I read verses four and five. I mean, I just happened to stumble upon her bathing. It’s not like I was searching for her. Or maybe, I’ll just talk with her, and see what kind of a woman she is. There is no harm in getting to know someone. Who knows what David told himself to silence his conscience? Regardless, he slept with Bathsheba and the trainwreck of consequences ensued. Examine your desires honestly, and submit them to the Lord. It will help you make the right decision.
We can learn from David’s success and failures. Be on guard for for tempting circumstances.