‘In the Spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army. … But David remained in Jerusalem’ (2 Samuel 11:1).
Instead of leading his troops to war, David is taking a break. One evening, idling away his time, he notices Bathsheba, washing herself on the roof of her house, clearly visible to David as he strolls on his palace roof-top.
She was a beautiful lady. But she was also the wife of Uriah, one of the king’s own exclusive crack troops, the ‘thirty mighty men’ (2 Samuel 23:39).
David seduces Bathsheba that night and she becomes pregnant. So then David chooses to protect himself from what he has done by using underhand and shocking means to make sure Uriah is killed in battle and he’s not found out.
Their child is born, David takes Bathsheba as his wife – but God, who knows it all and has seen it all, calls David to account through the prophet Nathan (2 Samuel 12).
In the circumstances, wouldn’t you think that God might have second thoughts about trusting David with all those amazing promises He had given to him for his future?
Nathan the prophet confronts David with his behaviour. When David sees it as it is, he breaks down. He weeps, he repents, he comes to God. He feels that he can never be forgiven for what he has done.
But God forgives. God sees the genuineness of this man; the genuineness of his repentance; the genuineness of his own horror at what has happened. The child of Bathsheba dies, but David, once again, is brought back into relationship with God. God has totally forgiven him.
We learn this from what happens next: Bathsheba and David have another baby and they call him ‘Solomon’. We are told ‘the LORD loved Solomon’ and God had his own special name for this baby – one which meant ‘Loved by the LORD’ (2 Samuel 12:24).
Isn’t that amazing! God has so completely forgiven David for his sin with Bathsheba that it is as though it never happened.
The lesson I see in this story is that God’s forgiveness meant that God never held David’s shocking behaviour against him. When God forgives, He forgives totally and completely. It’s gone. God never holds our past against us. If we ask Him, He will be there to help us as we face the consequences for us and for others for what we may have done, which we have to deal with. But God’s forgiveness is total.
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