What David Did: Today’s Mission

“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. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem.” (2 Samuel 11:1)

We’re going to spend the next week or two looking at the story of David and Bathsheba — and David’s prayer of confession and repentances in Psalm 51. It’s a gruesome story in which the hero becomes the villain. We watch uneasily as he quickly slides from lust to adultery to murder.

whatdavid_350But it starts here, in this verse. David was king of Israel. He was famous and wealthy and powerful and already tremendously successful. He had honored God in his heart and in his kingdom, and God had blessed him in huge ways.

So what happened? It started when David decided he didn’t need to do what kings do — go to war with his men. He stayed home. He sat this one out. And that set him up for the fall. Anytime we are not participating in what God has called us to do, we are more likely to do what He’s called us not to do.

Think: Can you remember a time in your life when you your choice to sin followed a choice to stop doing what God called you to do (e.g., going to work, participating in church, encouraging your family, etc.)?

Pray: Ask God to help you to know what He has called you to do today. Then ask Him to help you take those things seriously.

Do: Make a quick list of the things God has called you to do today. It might include school, homework, prayer, reading the Bible, your job, being kind to friends and family, etc.

What David Did: Wise Veggies

“One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, ‘Isn’t this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite?’ ” (2 Samuel 11:2-3)

When someone told me the Veggie Tales team was doing a video for kids about the story of David and Bathsheba, I thought it must be a bad joke. Who wants their toddler learning about lust and adultery and murder from Bob and Larry?

whatdavid_350But the video is great, and I was happy to pop it in for my pre-schooler when he wanted to see it. Instead of taking a man’s wife and having him killed, King Larry takes Junior Asparagus’s beloved rubber ducky though he has hundreds of his own.

It’s not just sly. The VT version of the story gets that David’s sin started before he committed any of those terrible crimes. It started in David’s heart. He believed that A) what God had given to him was not enough and that B) he had the right to break the rules to get what God would not provide.

Think: Do you ever decide that what God has given to you right now in your life is not good enough? Are you ever willing to sin against God to get what you want in the wrong way since you can’t get it in the right way?

Pray: Ask God to help you to trust that He has given you everything you need right now in this moment. Then thank Him for as many of the good things in your life as you can think of.

Do: Make a quick list of three items: one pleasure, one possession, and one position you’d like to have right now. Are you willing to wait for God to provide those things for you in His timing — or would you take an opportunity to sin against God if you could have them right now?

What David Did: Getting Away with Murder

“When Uriah’s wife heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for him. After the time of mourning was over, David had her brought to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing David had done displeased the LORD.” (2 Samuel 11:26-27)

We skipped over a few things between the start of 2 Samuel 11 and the end of it. Using his power as the king, David sends someone to get Bathsheba. Some scholars suggest that he raped her. Either way, he got her pregnant.

whatdavid_350To cover up that crime, he brought her husband Uriah home from the war so he’d sleep with her and think the baby was his. When that failed, David had Uriah killed and took the dead man’s wife for his own. And he got away with all of it because he was the king.

At least he thought he did. The last sentence echoes with deep foreboding. God had seen it all, and He didn’t like it. David was in trouble.

Think: Have you ever done something you thought was seriously wrong but you seemed to get away with it? Do you think anyone ever “gets away” with sin?

Pray: Ask God to remind you that no sins are secret from Him. Ask Him to help you to rely on Him both to avoid sin and — when you fail — to confess it and receive His forgiveness.

Do: In a sentence or two, describe the punishment you think David’s sin deserved.

What David Did: God’s Fiction

“David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, ‘As surely as the LORD lives, the man who did this deserves to die! He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.’ ” (2 Samuel 12:5-6)

God is my favorite fiction writer. Careful: I’m not saying Scripture is fiction. But in Scripture, God sometimes uses the power of fiction to help people see the truth. Jesus was a master storyteller who revealed the deep things of God with simple parables.

whatdavid_350Here, an angry God sends his prophet to David with the story of a rich guy thoughtlessly stealing a poor man’s beloved family pet to feed some guests. You can read David’s fury at this injustice in today’s verse above. He was ready to kill the guy.

God used the story to get David to convict himself. We’re not told if David felt any guilt at all about his adultery and murder before this moment. He did what we all do with stories; he identified with the underdog, with the hero. Then Nathan said, “You are the man!” And David knew he was, in reality, the villain.

Think: Has a fictional book or movie or story ever helped you understand truth more deeply? Why do you think we respond so powerfully to stories about heroes and villains? Why do you think we so naturally root for justice?

Pray: We live in a world crammed with fictional stories on TV, in movies, in video games, and in books. Ask God to lead you to worthwhile stories that will help you see His truth more clearly.

Do: Tune in tomorrow for God’s surprising verdict on David’s sin.

What David Did: I Would Have Given You More

“This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more. Why did you despise the word of the LORD by doing what is evil in his eyes?” (2 Samuel 12:7-9)

God’s rebuke of David is as surprising as it is blistering. Do you notice what His first complaint is? He doesn’t start with describing David’s sinful acts, the adultery and lies and murder we find so villainous. He starts with David’s ungrateful heart.

whatdavid_350God saw Himself as being in relationship with David. He was and wanted to be the source of everything good in David’s life. He showered the king with success, possessions, and power. David refused to be satisfied with God’s goodness. David’s willingness to sin to get more showed he didn’t believe God could or would provide enough.

Our ungrateful hearts lead us in the same direction. Our choices to sin to get what we want show that we don’t trust God’s goodness, power, and love for us. We decide that if He won’t give us our desires now, we’ll set Him aside to take them our own way.

Think: Do you ever judge God’s goodness, love, or power by what He gives to you or keeps from you? Do you think of Him as the source of every good thing in your life?

Pray: Ask God to help you to have a grateful heart and to help you to trust Him alone to provide those good things He wants you to have.

Do: If God started listing the good things He has given you as He did in today’s verse with David, what would be the first 20 or so items on the list? Write those down.

What David Did: I Confess

“Then David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the LORD.’ Nathan replied, ‘The LORD has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. But because by doing this you have made the enemies of the LORD show utter contempt, the son born to you will die.’ ” (2 Samuel 12:13-14)

Starting tomorrow, we’re going to spend a few days looking at David’s written prayer to God about his sin with Bathsheba in Psalm 51. Notice the wisdom in David’s immediate response here, though.

whatdavid_350When confronted with his sin and after hearing what God’s punishment will be, David doesn’t say, “I’m sorry.” He doesn’t make excuses. He doesn’t look for someone else to blame. Instead, he offers a one-sentence confession: “I have sinned against the LORD.”

It’s the same response God looks for from us when dealing with our sin. Confession is agreeing with God that I am wrong and He is right. Period. It’s how we draw close to Him again after we have turned from Him by choosing to sin: “God, I did it. I sinned in this way. I want to be close to you again. Thank you that I am forgiven because of Jesus.”

Think: Do you practice confessing your sin to God when you willfully choose to disobey Him? Is it a hard thing to do? Why or why not?

Pray: Ask God to help you to value your relationship with Him enough to admit when you have wronged Him by choosing your way over His way. Thank Him that all of your sins are forgiven through your faith in Jesus.

Do: If it is not your habit, make a point this week to start confessing your sinful choices to God as soon as you become aware of them.