After the time of mourning was over, David had her brought to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing David had done displeased the LORD. 2 Samuel 11:2.
David, the New Testament tells us, was a man after God's own heart (Acts 13:22), something that was said of no other person whose life story is told in the Bible. He was the one who went against the giant Goliath, the one who united Israel and defeated its enemies, yet, tragically, it was for his affair with Bathsheba, that history has most remembered David.
The world judges its’ own by a person's greatest accomplishment, but it judges God's people by their greatest moral failures. The media never cared that a television evangelist had a ministry in South America to orphans, feeding thousands, housing and clothing street kids, but he made headline news for his sordid relationship with a prostitute. The world does not care if someone once touched the lives of millions for good, but it celebrates moral and financial failure. Should we expect more?
How do we explain what happened to David? A clue is found in the opening sentences of the sad story of David and a woman named Bathsheba. Samuel, the prophet, wrote, "In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the King's men…" (2 Samuel 11:1). He was in the wrong place at the wrong time, the same failure which has accounted for many a person's eventual infidelity.
Digressing for a moment, have you ever heard the story of Joshua and the battle when Israel’s army met defeat at the conquest of Ai? It’s found in Joshua chapter 7. One man eventually was to blame for the defeat. His name was Achan and he had disobeyed God’s instructions. Even though God had said, "Take no plunder," Achan had hidden silver and beautiful Babylonian clothing under the floor of his tent. He explained his failure in three phrases, "I saw…I coveted…I took," and those three steps still explain the escalation of casual, chance encounters to adulterous relationships.
But getting back to David and Bathsheba, you may be familiar with story. David went to his rooftop in the cool of the evening and happened to see Bathsheba bathing. Yes, she was beautiful. Yes, David was intrigued. Yes, the king was accustomed to getting what he wanted. But no, his urges were not beyond his control. He coveted what was not his, for Bathsheba was the wife of Uriah, one of David's soldiers. He knew that, and he also knew the consequences which might follow a casual sexual relationship, and what he knew was possible happened.
Bathsheba eventually sent word to David, "I’m pregnant!"
David's adulterous relationship was compounded by murder as David engineered the death of her husband.
You may be thinking, "This happens all the time, maybe without the murder on top. We are sexual beings. We have needs. We have the right to be happy and satisfied!” Sociologists say, "Things are different now."
But talk to marriage counselors and pastors, even bartenders, and they will tell you the consequences of infidelity have not changed. Almost always, it is a death sentence to a marriage.
No, it doesn't always have to be. Saving a broken relationship begins with the assumption of responsibility. David rightly assumed full and complete responsibility for what he had done. No matter how indifferent your spouse, or how troubled your marriage may be, you--not someone else--are responsible for yourself, your choices, and the consequences which inevitably follow. "I have sinned," acknowledged David, and with that confession, the process of forgiveness and restoration began.
Resource reading: 2 Samuel 11:1-12:25