by Wesley Blackburn
We’ve all had some huge “oops” moments over the course of our lives.
You know what I’m talking about. I’m not just talking about the little things or little sins that we’ve all succumbed to at some point over the course of our lives. I’m not talking about something that can come even close to the category of “mistake.” I’m talking about the big, huge, wrong things that all of us have done in our lives where we are only left to look at the mess and wreckage we’ve created and go, “What have I done?” Chances are if I asked you, you could probably think of the one or two things that you’ve done over the course of your life that make you cringe, even today, maybe even years removed from the act itself. Perhaps even years later, you’re still combing through the wreckage, looking for some kind of peace.
2 Samuel 11 and 12 is King David’s “oops” moment. David’s made some questionable decisions before in his life for sure, but this is way more than a questionable decision or a mistake. This is an outright failure. Morally, spiritually, relationally, politically… a failure. In today’s story, David goes out on his roof, sees a beautiful woman named Bathsheba bathing, asks for her to be brought to him, and then sleeps with her. The plot thickens when Bathsheba becomes pregnant.
Bathsheba has a husband named Uriah who is a commander of the Israelite army, currently out fighting a war right now (really classy to sleep with a military hero’s wife, right?). So David calls Bathsheba’s husband back to his palace in an attempt to try to get him to go home and sleep with his wife so that people will think the child Bathsheba is pregnant with is his. No luck. So then David throws a feast for the sole intent of getting Uriah drunk, hoping that he will go home and sleep with his wife. Again, no luck. So, in a script that not even Maury Povich or Jerry Springer could write, David sends Uriah back to the battlefield with instructions to Uriah’s commanding officer to put him in a spot in their next battle where fighting is most intense and then to back off from Uriah, leaving him all alone and sure to die. David’s plan succeeds and no one really knows the difference. He would now take Bathsheba as his wife to console her (a common practice of the day to protect widows).
No one, that is, except for the prophet Nathan. Nathan comes to David and tells him a story of a rich man who had everything and a poor man who just had one little lamb. When the rich man had company come over, he seized this poor man’s lamb (his only treasured possession) and killed it to serve to his guests. David was outraged and demanded that this rich man deserved to die.
And then come Nathan’s words: “YOU are the man!”
Surely, this was the moment when it all came crashing down for David. He had been found out. His little world of deception had come crashing down. And now, he came face-to-face with the consequences. He tore through the Ten Commandments like no one’s business: he coveted, he committed adultery, he murdered. He had dishonored God and even condemned himself, saying in essence that he deserved to die. David was wracked with guilt. Out of this time, David would write Psalm 51, which is one of the most gut-wrenchingly honest writings our world has ever seen.
But out of the wreckage of this horrible series of events, God would still show His merciful character. When first confronted with his sin, despite condemning himself to death, David is told by Nathan that God “has put away your sin; you shall not die” (12:13b). Then, in the final two verses, we see David lie with his wife Bathsheba and conceive another child, Solomon, who would go on to be king of the Israelite Empire after his father David died. But what’s incredible to me is one tiny statement: “the Lord loved [Solomon]” (12:24b).
Even in the midst of his darkest hour, God would give David mercy and grace. The story of David and Bathsheba is one of redemption. Yes, David’s sin would bring some obvious consequences that David will need to work through for the remainder of his life. But God would offer David forgiveness. He would receive redemption. Even in David’s ultimate “oops” moment, God’s grace was bigger, greater, and stronger. What an awesome reminder to us in the midst of our “oops” moments as well.