March 5, 2012
By John Barnett
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As we open to II Samuel 11, David has finally made it to the top.
Giants are killed, enemies are dead, life on the run is over, and normal life has finally started for David.
As we will see, it is precisely when things are going “great” that we face some of the most lethal spiritual pathogens.
We are lulled into thinking we don’t quite need the Lord as much as: when we were sick; or when we were single; or when we were unemployed; or when we were under attack.
Most people think wouldn’t it be nice to succeed, to make it, to win the lottery of life and have everything you’ve ever wanted.
Actually, if you do a scientific study of those who have “made” it, most wish they hadn’t.
Many find that great success often ruins their lives.
The greatest lesson of this chapter may well be:
*Beware of Life at the Top*
David is at the top of his career, a firmly established and secure King.
David is at the top of his family life with a good home and education for his children all safely settled into Jerusalem, his wives are all busy and have full lives caring for the kids and for David.
David is at the top of his spiritual life: he has written and published some of the greatest songs of all time like Psalm (or Song 23), Psalm 19, 101, 24, and on and on.
David is at the top as far as he or anyone else but God could see.
But as we’ll see as we read 2 Samuel 11: 1-26 it was here in his strong, top of his life years—*he was tempted and failed miserably* (2 Samuel 11).
Join me there as we read these fateful words of the dangerously powerful lusts of sin, and the worst moment of David’s life.
2 Samuel 11 (NKJV)/" It happened in the spring of the year, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the people of Ammon and besieged Rabbah.
But David remained at Jerusalem. 2 Then it happened one evening that David arose from his bed and walked on the roof of the king’s house.
And from the roof he saw a woman bathing, and the woman was very beautiful to behold.
3 So David sent and inquired about the woman.
And someone said, “Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” 4 Then David sent messengers, and took her; and she came to him, and he lay with her, for she was cleansed from her impurity; and she returned to her house.
5 And the woman conceived; so she sent and told David, and said, “I am with child.”
6 Then David sent to Joab, saying, “Send me Uriah the Hittite.”
And Joab sent Uriah to David.
7 When Uriah had come to him, David asked how Joab was doing, and how the people were doing, and how the war prospered.
8 And David said to Uriah, “Go down to your house and wash your feet.”
So Uriah departed from the king’s house, and a gift of food from the king followed him.
9 But Uriah slept at the door of the king’s house with all the servants of his lord, and did not go down to his house.
10 So when they told David, saying, “Uriah did not go down to his house,” David said to Uriah, “Did you not come from a journey?
Why did you not go down to your house?” 11 And Uriah said to David, “The ark and Israel and Judah are dwelling in tents, and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are encamped in the open fields.
Shall I then go to my house to eat and drink, and to lie with my wife?
As you live, and as your soul lives, I will not do this thing.”
12 Then David said to Uriah, “Wait here today also, and tomorrow I will let you depart.”
So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day and the next.
13 Now when David called him, he ate and drank before him; and he made him drunk.
And at evening he went out to lie on his bed with the servants of his lord, but he did not go down to his house.
14 In the morning it happened that David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it by the hand of Uriah.
15 And he wrote in the letter, saying, “Set Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retreat from him, that he may be struck down and die.”
16 So it was, while Joab besieged the city, that he assigned Uriah to a place where he knew there were valiant men.
17 Then the men of the city came out and fought with Joab.
And some of the people of the servants of David fell; and Uriah the Hittite died also.
18 Then Joab sent and told David all the things concerning the war, 19 and charged the messenger, saying, “When you have finished telling the matters of the war to the king, 20 if it happens that the king’s wrath rises, and he says to you: ‘Why did you approach so near to the city when you fought?
Did you not know that they would shoot from the wall?
21 Who struck Abimelech the son of Jerubbesheth?
Was it not a woman who cast a piece of a millstone on him from the wall, so that he died in Thebez?
Why did you go near the wall?’—then you shall say, ‘Your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.’”
22 So the messenger went, and came and told David all that Joab had sent by him.
23 And the messenger said to David, “Surely the men prevailed against us and came out to us in the field; then we drove them back as far as the entrance of the gate.
24 The archers shot from the wall at your servants; and some of the king’s servants are dead, and your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.” 25 Then David said to the messenger, “Thus you shall say to Joab: ‘Do not let this thing displease you, for the sword devours one as well as another.
Strengthen your attack against the city, and overthrow it.’
So encourage him.”
26 When the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she mourned for her husband.
27 And when her mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son.
But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD."/
After II Samuel 11 we have a series of events captured by interweaving the record of II Samuel and I Kings with those incredible Psalms that flow from these final years of David’s life.
*The Rest of the Story: A Big Picture Overview*
God made the most of David’s failure by capturing for us what went on inside David and around him during the year of hiding his sin, covering his sin, and then confessing and forsaking his sin.
Then for the rest of his life David wrote about what the aftershocks were like in his life.
To the end of his life and even after, the results of his sin were still around, as in the rivalry between Adonijah and Solomon for the Throne.
So what can we glean from the days after the worst moment in David’s life?
Here is the overview:
From the depths of conviction after his fall into sin with Bathsheba, David wrote *Psalms 32 and 38*—explaining the Miracle of Complete Forgiveness and also how to sing the Song of a soul set free.
If you want to write those two Psalm numbers in the margin of II Samuel 11, that will jog your memory each time you go by this chapter.
Now turn with me at look at each of them for a moment.
• *Psalm 32 A Psalm of David.
1. (Maschil: “Understanding” or “teaching,” particularly public instruction.
Psalms 32; 42; 44; 45; 52; 53; 54; 55; 74; 78; 88; 89; 142).
2. The Old Testament has 15 words for sin it is so bad; this Psalm opens with 4 of them.
3. Also, it is very interesting that Psalm 32 opens with same three words for sin that Psalm 51 opens with.
There are seven Penitential Psalms or Psalms of Confession: Psalms 6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130, 143.
• *Psalm 38 A Psalm of David.
To bring to remembrance.*
Later, when we come to 2 Samuel 11:27-12:14: David—*was painfully chastised and then restored* (2 Samuel 12).
As a result of the pain of chastisement leading to repentance and restoration, David sang of his faithful God in *Psalm 51*—The Pathway Back to God.
Let’s turn there.
• *Psalm 51 To the Chief Musician.
A Psalm of David when Nathan the prophet went to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.
1. Remember that there are seven penitential Psalms out of the 150 different psalms, the 4th or middle is the greatest.
Psalm 51 opens same 3 words for sin as Psalm 32 does.
2. Psalm 51 has three parallel sets of threes:
• 3 words of mercy: mercy, love, compassion;
• 3 words for sin: transgression, iniquity, sin;
• 3 desires from God: cleanse, wash, blot.
After David is fully restored in his relationship with God, as we read 2 Samuel 15:13-37; 16:1-14 we see how David has to learn about overcoming Personal Attacks and Abuse which he writes about in *Psalms 3 and 63*.
• *Psalm 3 A Psalm of David when he fled from Absalom his son*.
This is the first of the Psalms with a setting and the first with a Selah.
• *Psalm 63 A Psalm of David when he was in the wilderness of Judah*.
Because v. 11 calls David King this is most likely running from Absalom in II Samuel 15-19.
The rest of David’s life from II Samuel 22 onward is another incredibly rich portion of Scripture.
David extolled his Master and King in *Psalm 18*—how to overcome feelings of loneliness in the last days before death.
• *Psalm 18 To the Chief Musician.
A Psalm of David the servant of the LORD, who spoke to the LORD the words of this song on the day that the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul.
And he said:*
This Psalm could be entitled: Embracing God—A Long Obedience in Seeking the Lord.
2. The words of this Psalm are recorded in God's Word twice.
Once at David’s coronation (probably Psalm 18) and then again at the close of his life (II Samuel 22:2-51)—it was like a way of saying that he wanted to start his career right and end it well for the Lord!
I Kings 1: David suffered intense loneliness in his waning years—*He had to come to terms with old age and impending death.*