2 Samuel 11-12/1 Chronicles 20: Eyes off the prize

david-and-nathanSo far, we’ve walked with David through the up times of his life. Being called and anointed as Israel’s King, surviving Saul’s jealousy and murder attempts, uniting the tribes of Israel into one cohesive kingdom, establishing Israel as a political and economic powerhouse and centralizing the worship of God in Jerusalem. A pretty good resume. To top that all off Acts 13:22 tells us that God declares that David is a man after his own heart (referring to 1 Samuel 13:14).

We must remember that David is human, as fallen and prone to temptation as the rest of us. It is this side of David that we now begin to journey with. And it all starts with a very simple line in 2 Samuel 11:

In the spring when kings march out to war, David sent Joab with his officers and all Israel. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah, but David remained in Jerusalem.

In the time when David was supposed to be in the field leading his army, defending the nation, building relationships with other nations, he remained home. There is an inference here that David took his eyes off of the prize, off of his responsibilities as King and God’s man. Not that David’s intent was wrong necessarily. Not that he deliberately thought: “I will send Joab out with the army so that I can stay home and see how many women I can seduce while their husbands are away at war…” He probably had other things on his mind or other responsibilities to deal with. But the author of 2 Samuel makes the point of saying that David stayed at home instead of leading his army, and as a direct result of that decision he sees Bathsheba bathing, sleeps with her, gets her pregnant and then has Uriah killed when he can’t cover up the affair. A snowball of decisions that ends in the death of the child born of the affair.

It seems that David’s issues just continue to pile up after this point, although not all of them are his fault or the fault of his sin. His sons create their own problems that end up affecting David and the Israelite kingdom, issues that you will read about in the following days. Overall, however, the themes in all of the stories remain the same. Decisions are made based on lust, greed, thirst for power, and those decisions bear our undesirable and damaging fruit.

An interesting thing to remember in this whole process is that God does not show his displeasure with David, but with David’s actions. This is an important distinction to remember. At no point does God remove his love and grace from David’s life or house, nor does he take away his statement that David was after God’s own heart. David shows true repentance for his actions with Bathsheba and Uriah. But the consequences of his decisions and sin continue to act themselves out in David’s family from this point forward. This is not a sign of God’s wrath, but it is the truth of the consequences of sin. It reminds us that we must not be cavalier or flippant when it comes to sin in our lives. We must take it seriously and learn to flee from it.

Happy reading

  • What was familiar from this passage of scripture?  What was something I already knew?
  • What was new from this piece of scripture? What was something that really stood out for me that I have never paid attention to before?
  • Does Jesus appear in this passage of scripture?
  • How does this passage apply to my life, here and now?  Do I need to do anything about it?
  • What prayer would I offer up to God after reading this piece of scripture?

Tomorrow’s Reading: Psalm 32, 51, 86, 122

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