By Bonnie Scasta, Women’s Ministry Director
Sin is blinding and deceptive, a reality that impacts both those new to the faith and those who have walked with the Lord for many years. Even mature Christians admit if they respond honestly, that they can sometimes run full force into sin without the batting of an eye. The story of King David’s adulterous relationship with Bathsheba—as depicted in 2 Samuel chapters 11 and 12—perfectly depicts how we can wonder deeper into sin without yielding to the conviction of the Holy Spirit.
Although David possessed a keen knowledge of God’s law, he bypassed all he knew to pursue the sin that tantalized him, ultimately committing adultery and then murder. This progressive sequence of deepening sin begins when he sees Bathsheba bathing on a roof, desires her, and then takes her for himself. Consequences of his sinful actions come when she sends word that she is pregnant. In an attempt to cover his sin, David calls Bathsheba’s husband back from war so that he will sleep with her, making her pregnancy look like a natural part of their marital relations. When this plan is unsuccessful, the King sends this innocent man to his death by placing him in the heat of battle, legally freeing the King to claim Bathsheba as his own. One choice led to another; one action required more action; one sin led to more sins. Although Samuel’s account lacks some detail, it appears as if David, who is called elsewhere in scripture “a man after God’s own heart,” did all of this without any conviction, pause, or thought. He, like many of us, was deceived by the allure and false promises of his sin.
You and I can do the same with our own sin. We can be blinded by our own desires and go to great lengths to cover and hide our indiscretions. If left alone in our sin, we will often remain in binding darkness. Thankfully, we can rely on the Holy Spirit—manifested through our conscience, the voice of other believers, and the word of God—to convict our hearts and reveal this deception. In David’s case, God used the prophet, Nathan, to help the King see his sin as the destructive affront to God that it truly was. Using a parable, Nathan helped the spiritually blinded David see once more:
“[Samuel said,] ‘There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor. The rich man had very many flocks and herds, but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb… and he brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children. It used to eat of his morsel and drink from his cup and lie in his arms, and it was like a daughter to him… [the rich man] took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for [a guest].” Then David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the Lord lives, the man who has done this deserves to die.’”
“Nathan said to David, ‘You are the man!’”
“David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the Lord.’” (2 Sam 12:1-6, 7, 13)
When Nathan called out the King’s sin, he could finally see it as detestable. David’s response was to confess his sin against the Lord, no longer trying to hide or cover it up. He did not minimize what he had done or throw accusations back on Nathan. Instead, his reaction was to receive correction and take his sin before the Lord. Nathan assures David that God forgave him his sin, though the consequences of his actions would still follow: “And Nathan said to David, ‘The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die. Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the Lord, the child who is born to you shall die.’” Despite experiencing the consequence of his sin, David still thanked God for his mercy, praising him for his unending goodness (see Psalm 51). I believe this response is, in part, what makes David a man after God’s own heart. It is not because he does everything perfectly or always sees his sin clearly, but because he is quick to repent of his sin when he becomes aware of it.
Are you deceived by the sin in your life? How do you respond when the Holy Spirit or people in your life point out your sin? Are you tempted to hide, minimize, or bring accusations back on those pointing out your deception?
Ask the Lord to use people in your life to reveal your sin and for help to respond as David did with humility and repentance.