By David Faust
From Bill Clinton to Bill Cosby, allegations of sexual misconduct find their way into the daily news—but such problems really aren’t new at all. In the context of marriage, sex has always been one of God’s good gifts, like a cozy fireplace that warms the home. Misused, it’s a wildfire that destroys.
David was a man after God’s own heart. However, a dark episode in his life highlights four unchanging realities about sexual sin.
1. Everyone is vulnerable.
By the age of 50, David was wealthy, well-established as king, known for his devotion to God, and well-regarded by the people he governed. He had a large family, lived in a comfortable home, and deployed a well-trained army to fight his battles. “The Lord gave David victory wherever he went” (2 Samuel 8:14). Everything seemed to be going David’s way.
Yet—“In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war . . . David remained in Jerusalem” (11:1). In the past David stayed busy as a military and spiritual leader, but now he had time on his hands. Facing Goliath brought out the best in him; excessive leisure brought out the worst. It appears David grew overconfident and spiritually stagnant. Who dared to hold the king accountable for his actions?
Sexual temptation is especially enticing when a person is bored or isolated from healthy fellowship and accountability. “If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” (1 Corinthians 10:12).
2. Misplaced sexual desire clouds judgment.
“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” (2 Samuel 11:2). Sexual temptation starts with the eyes. That’s why pornography is so dangerous. If you don’t want to eat sin’s bitter fruit, stay out of the orchard where it grows.
Misplaced desire leads to foolish decisions and makes otherwise smart people do irrational things. Seeing Bathsheba’s beauty, David sent for her, slept with her, impregnated her, tried to make it appear that her husband, Uriah, had fathered the baby, and ultimately gave an order that resulted in Uriah’s death (vv. 3-26).
3. Denying sin only makes things worse.
David covered up what he had done. No one blinked when the widow Bathsheba became his wife. But like thunderclouds forming ahead of a storm, the Scripture declares, “The thing David had done displeased the Lord” (v. 27).
Like pebbles thrown into a pond, sins start small, but their ripples are far-reaching. David lived in denial for a while, but eventually his sins complicated his career, tarnished his reputation, weakened his leadership, damaged his family, and at least for a season, harmed his walk with God.
4. God can forgive and restore.
Thankfully the story doesn’t end with David’s moral failure. In an act of tough love, God sent the prophet Nathan, who confronted the king with the facts (12:1-13). David finally quit denying and evading and began repenting and confessing. He cried out, “Have mercy on me, O God . . . . Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin” (Psalm 51:1, 2).
God uses imperfect people to fulfill his perfect plan. The bloodline of Jesus includes “David . . . the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife” (Matthew 1:6). Despite David’s failure, his life serves as a testimony to God’s amazing grace.
1. What part of David’s story is most relevant to you right now?
2. What steps are you taking to resist sexual temptation?
David Faust serves as the Associate Minister at East 91st Street Christian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The Lookout’s Bible Reading Plan for May 24, 2015
Use this guide to read through the Bible in 12 months. Follow David Faust’s comments on the highlighted text in every issue of The Lookout.
2 Samuel 8–10
2 Samuel 11, 12
2 Samuel 13
2 Samuel 14, 15
2 Samuel 16, 17
2 Samuel 18, 19