He was a powerful leader. And, for the most part, he was loved by the people he led. After all, he was a national hero.
But there was a dark side.
If you’ve grown up in the church, you know about David and Bathsheba. David was the king of Israel who stayed at home when he should have been on a battlefield with most of the rest of his people. During his staycation, he noticed a beautiful woman nearby and he had sex with her and got her pregnant. They probably didn’t put it like that when you learned about David in Vacation Bible School.
From there, the political corruption in David’s life really gets thick. It might even make some of today’s presidential candidates blush. Or maybe not.
David pulled Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah, off of the battlefield in hopes that a weekend pass of sorts might give him the opportunity to have sex with his wife and thus take the credit for the pregnancy off of him. But it didn’t work. You see, Uriah just didn’t feel right enjoying the privileges of home while his brothers were at battle. If only David had been so noble. So instead of going home, Uriah slept at David’s door.
What was David to do? Nothing, not even getting Uriah drunk, was working. So David decided to do what any rational, level-headed, God-fearing leader would do.
He had Uriah killed.
The plan was for Uriah to die as a hero on the battlefield. Instead, Uriah died with a few other soldiers as victims not only of the enemy’s weapons but of their own king’s corruption. Joab, the leader of David’s army, was devastated. He feared the consequences of the deaths.
But David wasn’t angry. He was delighted. Finally, his problem was gone.
David said to the messenger, “Thus shall you say to Joab, ‘Do not let this matter displease you, for the sword devours now one and now another. Strengthen your attack against the city and overthrow it.’ And encourage him.” 2 Samuel 11:25 (ESV)
“Don’t worry about the men who died. It’s a war. It happens. You’ll do better next time. Now pass the chips and turn the game on,” David essentially replied.
That wasn’t the end of the story. While David managed to hide his sin from everyone, to a certain degree even himself, there was one who knew all about it.
And when the mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD. 2 Samuel 11:27 (ESV)
God knew. And he wasn’t happy. David would be forgiven (2 Samuel 12; Psalm 51) but the consequences of his affair were brutal and long-lasting.
Thankfully, the story doesn’t end there. If you read through 2 Samuel 11, you might notice one word that continually pops up.
Each time it appears in the chapter, it highlights David’s abuse of power.
He sent his people to battle but he did not go (11:1).
He sent messengers to find out about the beautiful Bathsheba (11:3).
He sent messengers again to bring Bathsheba to him (11:4).
He sent word to have Uriah brought home (11:6).
He sent orders to have Uriah killed (11:14).
And finally, David sent to have Bathsheba brought to live in his house (11:27).
When you see the word sent in this chapter, you are seeing David being evil. He sent for his own personal gains, pleasures and well-being. Contrast that to another king.
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. Galatians 4:4-7 (ESV)
When David sent, people died. God sent his Son to die so that his people would have eternal life.
When David sent, he wrecked a family and harmed a nation. But God sent his only Son so that we could be in his family and enjoy life in his perfect kingdom.
Most of us like to identify with David. We think of ourselves as the boy with the slingshot, ready to slay whatever the proverbial giant is before us. This is not a good way to interpret the Bible. If you really want to see your connection to David, just read 2 Samuel 11. Given the time and resources, you would do something similar to what David did.
Or maybe you already have and you’ve somehow managed to keep it hidden for all of these years.
Someone knows and he is not pleased.
But the story doesn’t have to stop there.
Christians aren’t perfect. We all know that. But what does separate us is the covering over our sins. Rather than the veneer of our deceit, we rely on the blood of Jesus to cover our sins.
And it would not be possible if God had not sent his son.