Friday, September 07, 2007

David and Bathsheba: Adultery and After

There many stories in the Bible with characters that we can identify with. We often say that we made a mistake like this person or that we obtained a victory like some other Bible character. I personally do not remember anyone saying that they were like David and Bathsheba. I certainly have never considered myself to be like them.

This (complacent) attitude reminds me of the story Jesus told in Luke 18:9-14 about the two men who went out to pray. If we say: “I am not like David and Bathsheba,” we seem to identify with the Pharisee. If we do identify with the Pharisee, we will go away unjustified.

When we view sin as Jesus viewed sin, we will admit to the many times we hated someone, or spoke hatefully about someone. How many times have each of us thought and spoken critically of another person, even in the church. How do we react to educated leaders who oppose this “most precious [1888] message?” I am afraid that at times we wish them off this planet.

Perhaps the first insight we receive from this lesson study is to see that everyone else’s sin is our sin corporately, but for the grace of God would be exactly our sin.

Insight number two is: all sin is against God. Our sin does great harm to others and ourselves. It can have lasting results against humanity but the sin is against God.

“Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done [this] evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, [and] be clear when thou judgest” (Psalm 51:4).

“... how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God? (Gen. 39:9)

If we understand this insight, it should be a great deterrent against sin in our lives. If we have a “deep heartfelt appreciation” of the cross of Christ, we will not want to sin against Him. In addition, we will not want to do great harm to our brothers and sisters.

The third in my little list of insights is to see the seriousness of David and Bathsheba’s sin. It was very nearly what we call the, “unpardonable sin.” Note the forethought and planning (scheming) involved in this series of events. This should be a warning to us. David and Bathsheba were not in a “backslidden” condition. They were most likely church members in good and regular standing. David was in a high leadership position—next to the High Priest. They seem to have fallen with their eyes wide open, and their destruction was almost complete and irreversible. We need to be sure we have on the full armor of God, which is primarily for our protection against the enemy. Jesus has already defeated the enemy, who will have no power over us if we have this armor on. If David had followed God’s plan of one man becoming one flesh with (only) one woman in the first place, he might not have fallen for this temptation.

Insight number four is seen in 2 Samuel 12:13: “And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.” It seems like the LORD had already taken care of David’s sin even before he repented and asked for forgiveness. If it were not for God’s merciful forgiveness, David would have been destroyed immediately. So it is with us, “It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not” (Lam. 3:22). “Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” (Rom. 2:4).

The fifth insight is to realize that forgiveness for any sin requires the “cross of Jesus Christ.” So any sin puts Jesus on His cross. A premeditated sin such as David’s and such as many sins we have committed is the same as saying “crucify Him, crucify Him” the same way as the “crowd” shouted at Pilate’s judgment hall so long ago. Our corporate oneness with David and Bathsheba and the rest of the human race allows Jesus to deal with “sin” in a corporate way at the cross. Our personal response of genuine faith to the cross brings to us the personal experience of “justification” and “sanctification” full and complete. We become “children” after God’s own heart when we respond in genuine faith like David did after his great fall.

Perhaps the sixth insight is to see that in spite of God’s forgiveness and taking away of sin, the long-lasting results or consequences of sin still take place. Please take some time in your lesson study this week and write a short (or long) history of the consequences of David and Bathsheba’s sin.

In conclusion, please note how God blessed David and Bathsheba as a married couple. They are in the direct line of “the Seed.” Their repentance must have been deep and sincere. They must have moved into a New Covenant relationship with God or God could not have used them. Their home life must have become exemplary. They must have provided the proper atmosphere for Solomon’s development. I would suggest that David set up a family alter and had family worship to teach his growing son spiritual values. It would appear that they were responsible for much of Solomon’s mature wisdom to make wise choices early in life.

Please spend time in the study of your Sabbath School Quarterly this week and God will bless you abundantly more than you could ever ask or think.

—J. B. Jablonski

If you would like a copy, sent via e-mail, of Robert J. Wieland’s “Seven Memorable Marriages in the Bible,” please request it from: Or, download the PDF document here.

(Note: A series of CDs on these lessons recorded by this Robert J. Wieland is available from the office of the 1888 Message Study Committee: 269-473-1888.) Listen to the audio recording for Lesson 10 now in MP3 format. Click here to listen as a podcast. To stream online or suscribe to podcast go to