… Psalm 32 David’s Sin and Consequences

“Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death”       James 1:14–15

There are few Old Testament stories that make the kind of impact as David’s sin with Bathsheba.  David, a man God had called “righteous”— falling into sin so deep and ugly.  After all, he was human— Jesus spoke of the danger of the lust of the eyes.

In Matthew 5:27–30, he called for purity of thought.  Adultery, like other sin, begins with entertaining the idea in the mind.  Jesus warned against the lustful look by saying, “… every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”   Sin almost never consists of one deed alone—by offending just one point David had broken all of God’s law.

imagesCAFN2HFQThe story of David’s sin with Bathsheba—which included adultery, murder, and the lies and deceptions it took to try to cover those crimes — is about a man who not only had fallen, but also of a man God picked up from a self-imposed pit of despair.  This tragic story begins when looks out from the roof of his palace and spies the very beautiful — Bathsheba. Without even thinking about it, David sent for Bathsheba, who he is told is married to a warrior named Uriah who is away fighting at the time  2 Samuel 11:1–4.

Bathsheba did the only thing she could when the king of Israel sends for her — she went to him. A short time later she sent him word that she was pregnant. In an attempt to cover up his sin, David sends for Uriah and invites him to go home to his wife for the night before going back to the battlefield. Being a man of amazing integrity and loyalty, Uriah refuses to go home to his wife while his men are still out fighting 2 Samuel 11:5–12.

Since David’s plan to cover up his sin has failed, he goes to plan B: have Uriah killed in battle so that no one will be the wiser to what has happened. David sends word to have Uriah placed where the fighting is fiercest so that it will be more likely that he is killed. That is what happens, and when Bathsheba receives word of it, she is sent into a period of mourning over the death of her husband 2 Samuel 11:14–26.

In Psalm 32, David demonstrates a clear understanding of himself as sinful and in need of forgiveness. He also shows remarkable insight into a holy God who delights in forgiving. The bridge David describes between our sin and God’s forgiveness is his confession. We experience the crushing force of conviction when we stubbornly refuse to acknowledge our rebellion to God. But when we confess our sins to Him we experience the joy of forgiveness and restoration that follows.

A Psalm of Contemplation
1     Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
2     Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity,
     And in whose spirit there is no deceit.
3     When I kept silent, my bones grew old–through my groaning all the day long.
4     For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me;
     My vitality was turned into the drought of summer.     
5     I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden.
      I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
     And You forgave the iniquity of my sin.     
6    For this cause everyone who is godly shall pray to You
     In a time when You may be found; surely in a flood of great waters
     They shall not come near him.
7     You are my hiding place, You shall preserve me from trouble–
     You shall surround me with songs of deliverance.     
8     I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go–
      I will guide you with My eye.
9     Do not be like the  horse or like the mule, which have no understanding,
      Which must be harnessed with bit and bridle,
     Else they will not come near you.
10    Many sorrows shall be to the wicked; but he who trusts in the Lord, mercy shall surround him.
11     Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous–
     And shout for joy, all you upright in heart!