David After Bathsheba: The Ugly & Beautiful Story of Grace
Every churchgoer knows the story of David.
They also know the story of David with Bathsheba.
But, the Church rarely talks about what happened after David.
Yet, it’s essential that we do….because it shows us the healing power and responsibility of undeserved grace.
David’s affair with Bathsheba was wrong on so many levels.
One, Bathsheba was the wife of one of David’s closest bodyguards, men who risked their life for him on regular basis.
Two, David wasn’t supposed to be at home looking at Batsheba anyway. The Bible makes a note of this in 2 Kings 11:1, the text reads: “When kings go off to war…” yet the king didn’t go to war. He sent Joab.
Three, David knew who Bathsheba before he sinned with her. 2 Kings 11:3 says that David asked for her after he was told that Bathsheba was someone else’s wife.
Four, David tried to cover up his sin multiple times. David assumed he only had a one-time fling with Bathsheba. When that fling revealed a pregnancy, he tried to cover it up by getting Bathsheba’s husband to stay home. This way, David could say “I didn’t sleep with Bathsheba. Batsheba’s husband is the baby daddy.” This didn’t work, so David resorted to murder.
Fifth, it leveraged David’s power as a king over Bathsheba. We don’t know if Bathsheba wanted to be with David, but we do know that David had the power to kill Bathsheba if she refused.
Is this the same David that said “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts..” (Psalm 139:23)?
Yet, this is often where Churches stop.
They don’t cover the disastrous aftermath. David lost a child. His sons led a rebellion. One of his sons murdered his brother. One of David’s daughters was violated by her brother and another son slept with all of David’s concubines in full pulic view. The country was slowly going into civil war after another son tried to take over the throne from David, but was later killed.
It was a lot.
But worse of all. David felt like He had lost God.
In Psalm 13:1: How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?”
and in another Psalm (86:2):
O LORD, God of my salvation,
I cry out day and night before you.
Let my prayer come before you;
incline your ear to my cry!
This horrible set of circumstances is what God wanted David to avoid.
We read in 2 Samuel 12: 11
I will raise up trouble against you from within your own house; and I will take your wives before your eyes, and give them to your neighbour, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this very sun. For you did it secretly; but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.’
Yet something miraculous happens: David confessed. After hearing all of that and knowing that he deserved the death penalty, David confessed.
Then, another thing happened: God accepted it.
The very next verse we read, “And Nathan said unto David, The Lord also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.” (2 Samuel 12:12)
Yet…..God did not remove the consequences of David’s actions. He was forgiven, but the consequences were not forgotten.
The thing is, David’s sin wasn’t just about cheating. It revealed all kinds of sins. David played favorites with his children, as evidenced by David’s responses when his sons get out of line. He also collected a lot of wives and concubines, whenever he wanted.(Read the command in Deuteronomy 17:17). This created a chaotic household where lack of discipline almost tore everything down.
Yet, God gave David mercy.
The way that God gives David mercy shows us how God works. God will save us from the penalty from the consequences of our sin.
In this way, we learn the consequences of our actions, but we also get the lesson of being saved from the full penalty of our actions.
David, apparently, got the lesson.
David’s confession went beyond just words.
After the confession, we see that David went through a period of repentance. He went back to the front of the army, like he should have in the first place. We also see that David stops collecting wives like he did before his affair with Bathsheba. We don’t read of any other affairs or murders. We don’t hear any other chaos.
But we do have plenty of Psalms that have a new spirit, like this one, from Psalm 107:1 and 2:
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his love endures forever.
Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story…”