So David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die. However, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also who is born to you shall surely die.” (2 Samuel 12:13-14)
It began innocent enough. Taking a walk on the roof of the king’s house was not an uncommon thing for David. He had done it many times before. This evening would change his life forever. Peering over his great city, the king reflected on all his servants that trusted in him for leadership. He was king of God’s people and his responsibilities were vast. Looking over the city, he noticed a woman bathing and she was very beautiful to behold. Lingering on the scene, David sent messengers to inquire the identity of the woman. She was Bathsheba, the wife of one of his mighty men who was fighting against the people of Ammon and Rabbah. Her father was a trusted advisor of David named Eliam. Longing for her, he sent messengers to bring her to his house where he lay with her. The culpability of Bathsheba was as clear as David’s. She returned to her house and everything continued as normal until David received a message from Bathsheba that she was pregnant.
David could not be found out for his adultery because the Law demanded death for both he and Bathsheba. Sending a message to his commander Joab, David recalled Uriah, the husband of Bathsheba from the battlefield. His plan was a simple deception to cover his obvious sin. Uriah could not be the father if he was off fighting in the war. There still might be a question of how quickly the child was born but there were answers that could be given to explain the sudden birth. Ironically, when Uriah came to David, a righteous man stood before the king than he who sat on the throne. The king urged Uriah to return home and refresh his wife but he refused. David made Uriah drunk hoping he would go home but again the plan failed. In final desperation, David sent Uriah back to the battle with a note to Joab commanding him to have Uriah killed. The king’s plan finally worked.
Bathsheba mourned for her husband Uriah and then became one of David’s wives. The child was born some months later and David settled back into the role of king. Then a prophet came to visit David and everything changed. Nathan told David of the man who stole his neighbor’s sheep and the king became enraged against the man. He demanded the man be put to death for such an act. It was then the prophet revealed God’s message to David that his deed of treachery did not go unnoticed. David’s reaction was immediate. He confessed his sin realizing he tried to hide something from the Lord and that was not possible. His grief was tremendous. He learned the child born from adultery and deceit would die. David prayed fervently for God to change his mind but to no avail.
The mercy and grace of God is without understanding. No man can embrace the full context of how much God’s love is showered upon man in taking away sin. David was the anointed of God. He had been involved in an adulterous relationship, lied, acted deceptively, caused a man to become drunk and then tried to cover his sin by murder. The consequences of his actions were far reaching. What happened when Nathan came to him was beyond the measure of man’s wisdom. God forgave David. The Law prescribed death but the Lord chose to put away his sin and remove the death penalty. God has the authority because He was the Lawgiver. Mercy. Grace. Forgiveness. He forgave David. How immense. How powerful. How loving His kindness toward David.
That same grace is afforded in Jesus Christ. The Lord God stands ready to forgive and remove the penalty of death upon those who repent and seek His mercy. There is no sin that God will not forgive when a man comes to Him in repentance. The difficult part is living with the consequences. David suffered for the rest of his life because of what he did. The Holy Spirit recounts the sin of David in the genealogy of Jesus hundreds of years later. But the joy of the Lord blessed the life of David because God removed his sin and took away the penalty of death. What higher meaning of forgiveness do we have today than the love God has to remove our sin and take away the fear of death? Thank you God.