Getting in trouble for mistakes you have made is the worst. I’m sure you can think about plenty of times when your failures caused you troubles. Last week, we discussed how David was considered by God a “man after the Lord’s heart,” but David was not perfect. He made mistakes too (HUGE ones)! As a role model that we’re looking up to, what are some lessons we can learn from the great King David’s most famous failures?
After David officially became king, he made quite the great name for himself. He restored a lot of peace to Israel, he established great military strength and power to the nation - David was on fire for God and on fire as a king. After some time of being such a phenomenal king, we reach 2 Samuel 11 and see a snowball of mistakes that David made. His mistakes all begin with him staying home from battle. It would have been the king’s responsibility to lead his nation into battle, which David had done up until this point with great accomplishments - but for this battle, he decided to sit this one out - mistake one. Then one evening, David was on the roof of his palace and spotted a beautiful Bathsheba taking a bath. Instead of avoiding temptation and looking away, David makes his second mistake and gives into temptation - continues to watch and inquires about her to his servants and finds out she is a married woman. As you continue to read in chapter 11, you see David’s mistake culminate to mountainous heights, 2 Samuel 11:4-5:
Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her… Then she went back home. The woman conceived and sent word to David, saying, “I am pregnant.”
The man after God’s own heart commits adultery with this woman… what?! The mistakes of staying home from battle and looking at something he shouldn’t have, built up to a terrible act of adultery. But, unfortunately, it gets worse. Since David was expecting a child with Bathsheba, he had to figure the situation out with her husband, Uriah - who was, by the way, a warrior in the battle David was supposed to be at… David sends a letter to Joab (commander of the army) to resolve his dilemma, 2 Samuel 11:15-17:
In it he wrote, “Put Uriah out in front where the fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so he will be struck down and die.” So while Joab had the city under siege, he put Uriah at a place where he knew the strongest defenders were. When th men of the city came out and fought against Joab, some of the men in David’s army fell; moreover; Uriah the Hittite died.
First adultery, now murder. These are just not actions you would expect from someone who was so on fire for God. Here’s where we learn some lessons from David’s famous failures. First of all: don’t let sin build! David’s mistakes may have started off relatively small, but they reached epic proportions. He sinned in ways I am sure he never would have expected too, and if that can happen to the man after God’s own heart, that can happen to us too! Think of a sin that you really struggle with, and recognize that if you get comfortable with that, it will continue to grow and get out of control. Lying, for example, may start with little white lies to just make yourself look cool in front of your friends, but could grow to lying to get yourself out of some serious trouble. Bad language starts with laughing at bad jokes, before you know it you’re comfortable saying a bad word or two, and all of the sudden cussing is a real issue for you. Sinful social media usage starts with a quick glance here and there, but can build to much bigger issues viewing things you should not put in your brain! Know your weakness and cut it off before it gets out of control! Learn from David’s failures and do not let your sin build.
Another incredibly important lesson learned from David’s sins is how David responded to sin. To get the full impact of David’s response to God, take the time to read through Psalm 51. You will read of a person who is totally broken, genuinely apologetic, incredibly humble, and desperately seeking out God’s mercy. The sins of David is not what you’d expect from a man after God’s heart, but his response is certainly what you would expect from a broken man after God’s heart. Another crucial lesson learned from David’s sin is: confess and repent.
God will forgive even the most gnarly of sins. David was forgiven from his sins, but only after he confessed and asked for forgiveness. God will forgive your sins too, but not until you own up to them. This seems quite obvious, but think for a moment: do you actually do this? Do you ask God to forgive you of the sins you commit? The next time you feel the weight of guilt and you do something you know offends God, don’t forget to confess that and ask God for forgiveness. Read Psalm 51, and make David’s words your words.
Not letting your sin build, confessing, and repenting - these are crucial lessons that we learn from David’s sins and failures. If we make these lessons a priority, we’ll be sure to avoid terrible sins that we wouldn’t expect ourselves to do, and we’ll maintain a close relationship with the Lord as purely as possible.