2 Samuel 12:1–7a, 9–14 comment (0)
November 13, 2008
By Doug Wilson
Related Scripture: 2 Samuel 12:1–7a, 9–14
Explore the Bible
Associate Professor of Christian Studies, School of Christian Studies, University of Mobile
WHEN TANGLED IN SIN
2 Samuel 12:1–7a, 9–14
Second Samuel 11 introduces the Bible reader to a devastating reality: Even a man after God’s own heart can fall prey to malignant sin and cover-up. David had succumbed to three temptations common to man: the lust of the eyes (longing for Bathsheba), the lust of the flesh (impregnating Bathsheba) and the pride of life (thinking he had gotten away with adultery and murder). Scripture teaches temptation leads to sin, which leads to death.
Christians are not exempt from sexual or ethical immorality. Some take great pains to be sure the sin remains secret, whether they repent of the sin or continue in their activities. God’s Word is clear, however — your sins will find you out.
Sin Confronted (1–4)
Nathan the prophet had the unenviable task of confronting King David. No doubt there was scuttlebutt among the messengers who set up the rendezvous between Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba, and the king, but no one had taken David to task for his sin. Wisely Nathan employed a culturally appropriate practice; he began by telling a parable.
While this may seem strange in our “in-your-face” culture, Duane Elmer explains a number of biblical approaches to confronting sin in his book “Cross-Cultural Conflict.” Nathan told the story of two men with very different assets and the advantage the wealthier man took over the impoverished one. The story was the bridge leading to a pointed confrontation.
The Bible gives instructions about confronting sin. Jesus said to address sin one-on-one first. Moses wrote that two or three witnesses must agree in order to make a public charge. The Galatians received instruction for mature believers to confront sin carefully. James and Jude both encouraged believers to reach out to errant believers. Paul also warned that some individuals will be unrepentant. If they call themselves believers yet refuse to repent, then Christians are to withdraw fellowship from them. Confrontation of sin is for the purpose of repentance and reconciliation.
Sin Personalized (5–7a)
As a former shepherd, David knew how precious a single lamb could be to someone of limited means. How could a herdsman have the audacity to take this poor man’s only precious ewe? His first response was a death sentence.
Upon further consideration, his judgment was for restitution — four lambs for the one slaughtered. Then Nathan lowered the boom: “You are the [guilty] man!”
Jesus gave the word picture of a man with a two-by-four in his own eye attempting to remove a speck of sawdust from someone else’s eye. David’s response was much like the man with a log in his eye. First, he had an illicit relationship with a married woman. Second, he tried to hide his guilt by bringing her husband home from war so that her pregnancy seemed to be by her husband. Finally, when Uriah refused to return to his house during his rest and relaxation, David sent word to have him killed in battle. And now he wanted a man who took a lamb to be punished. What was a lamb in comparison to Uriah’s life, his marriage and his legacy?
Sin Judged (9–12)
The Bible teaches the spiritual law of the harvest: What you sow, you will also reap. Just like in your garden, you will reap the same type of crop as the seeds you sow but you reap more later. David sowed seeds of sexual immorality and murder. One consequence, an impending harvest of those seeds, would be blatant immorality by his son Absalom, who would rape David’s concubines in public and attempt a coup against David. The king was discovering there is no secret sin.
Sin Confessed (13–14)
These final verses point out while there are consequences for sin, repentant sinners find forgiveness and redemption in the Lord. David offered a simple confession of his sin against God, and Nathan extended God’s forgiveness to him. Read Psalm 32 and Psalm 51 for extensive expressions of David’s remorse and repentance.
When we confess our sins, God forgives us and cleanses us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).