We’re beginning, this afternoon, in 2 Samuel, Chapter 11, the last stage of the life of David. As you think of the past years, before this stage, you start to see that David has been very blessed by God. He has been very successful! Yes, I remember that there was a time when he had to run from Saul. Yes, I remember his moment of depression and his mistakes; but still, in view of his whole life, so far, we can say that he has been blessed and very successful! He was successful, as a young shepherd boy. He would go out and fight lions and bears and win. But he, also, was successful, as a young shepherd, in the fight with the giant, Goliath. And he was successful when he played the stringed instruments. Then, you remember, when he became the young, military leader. Never, once, was he defeated. He always was successful. Even on the run from Saul, he always prevailed against his enemies. And, finally, he was, also, successful as a king over Judah and, then, as king over all of Israel. The Bible seems to indicate that David was a leader of leaders; that he had that charisma about him. He seems to be portrayed, as a man of valor and courage! He is a handsome man. He is, in a way, the kind of person that all others want to resemble.
And, yet, this afternoon, we begin the last stage of his life and we find that, from here on, he gets plagued with all these troubles. And it seems like these troubles are of his own making. Virtually, everything we read, from this point forth, about David’s problems, will be the result of his own choices. And, unfortunately, most of his problems seem to start at home. Oh, he is a great king. None are better on the battlefield. But, back at home, David seems to be a poor leader. He keeps making bad choices. You can see that, this afternoon, if you go back to I Samuel, Chapter 30. There, we find that David had two wives. One was named Ahinoam, verse 5; the other was named Abigail. You may remember that Abigail was the wife of Nabal, the mean shepherd. But, when Nabal died, she, later, became the wife of David. But, then you move to 2 Samuel, Chapter 3. And in 2 Samuel 3, David becomes the king of Judah and he begins to add wives to his harem. You read, in verses 2-5, “…” And so, I find that David is adding more and more wives. Now, he has six wives. But then, you move to Chapter 4, of 2 Samuel, and you find he wants one more. He claims back his original wife, Michal, the daughter of Saul. Not only that. Go to 2 Samuel 5. Now David is blessed, again, and he becomes king over all of Israel. But the scripture says, in verse 13, “…” And so, David’s family is growing; and it seems, almost, an unmanageable thing! How is one man going to take care of all those women’s needs? How will one man raise all of his sons and daughters, in the admonition of the Lord? I tell you, this afternoon, that David’s problems, for the rest of his life, will result from this series of mistakes, at home!
Now with that background, we make our way to 2 Samuel, Chapter 11 and we read from verses 1-5 of the continuation of David’s failure to act, as he should, at home. “…”
So, let me recap all of this. It is the springtime of the year. The bad weather has passed and the rainy season has gone. Now the king wants to settle old scores. He sends his armies out; but he decides to remain behind. That is, kind of, unusual because, so far, David has always been in the front lines. Some scholars say that, at this point, David is 50 years old and they assume that, maybe, the reason why he has stayed behind is because he is tired and needs more leisure time. Whatever the reason, he sends out Joab and his officers to do the job for him. He remains at home. And one night, he can’t fall asleep. He is turning, in bed, and, finally, he decides to get up! And, then, he makes his way to his private balcony. I suppose David’s palace was like all other kings’ palaces, at that time. The kings’ palaces were, always, designed so that the bedchamber, of the ruler, might be a quiet place of seclusion. The king was able to lock himself in his chamber and be, as if, he was away from the entire world. His chamber was an elaborate place. And, almost all kings’ chambers had an exterior door. That was designed for the kings to slip out if they wanted to. But the exterior door didn’t lead to the ground. Rather, they led to the rooftop. And so, the kings could go for a walk and no one, in the kingdom, would know about it. And, this night, David is on top of his palace. He is walking, innocently, and now he looks across and sees this woman, who is bathing. And the scripture says that she is beautiful. In fact, it says more than that. The scripture says that she is very, very beautiful.
But that should be nothing to David because David is accustomed to very beautiful women. I know, for a fact, that Abigail, way back in 1 Samuel 25, was described as a very beautiful woman. And remember, David is a man of charisma. He is a man of valor. He is a man, who is handsome. And he goes about selecting wives and he can, probably, select anyone that he wants. And he, probably, chooses very beautiful women. But, this time, he looks across and he sees one, that he does not recognize, and he has to make a choice. Does he continue to look or does he go back down to his bedroom. And, here, is the mistake of David. It is the mistake that will plague a big part of his life. He keeps on looking! You know, I’ve heard people talk about Bathsheba. I’ve heard some preachers stand and say, “Bathsheba was in the wrong, also! She shouldn’t have been on that rooftop and she should not have been bathing, such as that!” And, then, I’ve heard others say, “Well, it’s where they would store the water, from the storms, and that’s where they would warm the water, by the energy of the sun, during the day. And so, it was the appropriate time and the appropriate place to bath.” They say, “She knew most of the men in the kingdom were gone.” And I guess what I am saying, this afternoon, is I have no capability, whatsoever, from scripture, to judge this woman, named Bathsheba! The only one I can judge, this afternoon, from scripture, is the one God judges. That’s the one called David.
And David makes a tremendous mistake because David keeps on looking! And you know, very well, that for the male that God created, the desire comes forth, usually, first from the sight. And then, it turns into passion. And I want all of you, in this audience, to understand this point. When passion takes hold of a life, common sense is usually set aside.
When passion takes hold of a life, intellect is usually cast aside! Loyalties are put aside. Even a man’s allegiance to God will be put aside when passion is full-grown. And David has this passion, now, growing. So, he turns to his servant and says, in verse 3, “Who is this woman? Find out about her!” And the servant goes and returns with the information. It seems, though, that the servant knows what David has on his mind! He knows the thoughts of his king. Don’t you miss that! So he returns with a statement that is meant to stop David, from doing what he is about to do! You may not agree with my logic, this afternoon, with my point of view at first sight; but if you honestly look at it, with some background information, you’ll see what I mean! For this servant says three things to David, any one of which should have stopped him, in his tracks. The first thing he says is, “David, she is married!” And David knew this old law. Adultery was a powerful part of the old law. God had said, in the Commandments, in Deuteronomy 5:18, “….” And in verse 21, “…” And his servant comes and says, “David, she is married!” But, then, he says a second thing. He said, “David, she is the daughter of Eliam! And it makes a difference.” Do you remember the time when David was in the cave of Adullam, so discouraged? Well, the Bible says that 400 men came to him. They, too, were discouraged and in debt and discontent. And David became their leader. According to the Bible, those 400 men became war heroes. And, according to the text, out of those 400, some emerge, 30, to be exact, and they became mighty men, heroes of heroes. Out of those 30, three rose to be leaders of leaders. And the Bible says that the men who emerged were men, who loved David so much they were willing to risk their lives over and over, again, for him. They were the kind of men who were willing to take on 200 men, alone, and kill them, by themselves. They were the kind of men who would fight 400 men, alone, and win. They were the men who made David a success. David was powerful, in battle, in part because of these mighty men. And you go to 2 Samuel 23 and you find the list of those mighty men. And as you read through the list, one name jumps out so strongly. It is Eliam. In verse 34, we see his name, as being included in the 30. And now, the servant of David comes and says, “Master, she is the daughter of Eliam! She is the daughter of your good friend. She is the daughter of one of the mighty men who made you what you are today. David, you can’t do this with your friend’s daughter!”
Now if you don’t agree with this one, you’ve got to agree, with the next point, because the servant adds a third thing. He says, “David, not only is she married, not only is she the daughter of Eliam, but she is the wife of Uriah, the Hittite!” And if you go back to 2 Samuel 23, you read in the very last verse, “…” Uriah, the Hittite, was the last named of the list of the 30 mighty men, heroes of heroes. So, this woman was the wife of another man that helped him to become what he was! Uriah had risked his life for him! He was a man of great dedication, of great devotion, like you can hardly believe! He was a mighty man! And now, the servant has said, “David, she is married; she is the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah, the Hittite! So David, you can’t do this!” But passion is now full-grown. And when passion becomes full-grown, common sense is out of the picture. Intellect is thrown away. Good friendships are ignored and loyalties are forgotten. Even God is removed from the scene! For look again at what David says next, in 2 Samuel 11:40, “…” Now she comes to his room and they enter the act of adultery. The flames of passion consume the hours. But God will not allow the sin to be hidden! She conceives and is with child! And before this story comes to an end, every, single person of Israel will know of David’s sin!
Now, I know the story could be a little offensive to some of you, this afternoon. And I know that it may be a little in bad taste. But, I intend to make some applications from it because it seems like such an appropriate subject, for the 20th century adult. It seems like, perhaps, more than ever, we need to talk honestly about certain matters that tear our nation and our churches apart. And the applications are this.
I. Sexual temptations is something that can come upon all of us
Point number one is very brief and easily understood. Sexual temptations and sexual pressure is something that can come upon all of us. But do you know what we commonly think? We say, “Well, that’s just for the young people! They need to hear a lesson like this!” A few times, it will happen that you will find some that say, “Well now, that is also for those in the 20’s and 30’s, who are young married!” I had a man, who had committed adultery three times, who told me, “I don’t need to worry about who I get friendly with, whether a boy or a girl. I am not young, anymore. I don’t burn, like a young man. I am in my 50’s.” But, I remind you that David, according to commentators, was in his 50’s. And for the most part, age doesn’t really make a whole lot of difference. We can all be subject to that kind of pressure. But some people keep saying, “Well, I’ve matured beyond that. I am, now, very strong.” But if you think that would stop you, please remember that David was the king of Israel! Remember that no one knew God any better, than David, in Israel!
See, I have come to realize that people with that sort of attitude are really the most susceptible. And so, maybe, the ones who are strong and powerful and in a high position, need to be more careful! Satan tries, even harder, to get those people because they are a threat to him and his kingdom. So, my first point is easy. Not many, if any, are exempt from sexual temptation.
II. Adultery is wrong! Simply, it is sin.
This is the second point. Also, very quick and very easy! Adultery is wrong! Simply, it is sin. But you see, we live in a world, today, that glamorizes it. You can pick up all kinds of material and read about it! You can watch the noonday soap operas and see it. You can watch the nighttime TV or read the new movie reviews and see how Hollywood glamorizes it. But really it’s just like real life. Just look at the people you work with and you will see it very, very quickly. But you know the saddest thing is that it’s also in our congregation. It seems like we have seen it so much, outside, that now, we have accepted it and brought it within! But God says, “It’s wrong!” Look in I Corinthians 6:9. There you read, “…” When you have time, go back and read the first part of the Book of Proverbs and you will see how God says that adultery is wrong and how the far-reaching consequences will be terrible! And if, perhaps, there is one scripture to take home with you, this afternoon, it’s this one, Hebrews 13:4. The writer of the Book of Hebrews is writing to Christians, who have grown weary and tired. They are thinking about giving up. So he uses all the pages, of this book, saying, “You keep on doing what you know is good! You strengthen those weak hands and you go back to work, as Christians.” Then, in the last part of the book, he gives some very pointed advice. In one of these, he commands, “…” Now that means I’m supposed to honor my own marriage! And I am supposed to honor your marriage, at the same time! And that, brethren, was David’s horrible mistake, his lack! He didn’t honor his own marriage so, needless to say, he didn’t honor the marriage of his friend, this mighty man, Uriah, the Hittite! But marriage is to be honored by all and the marriage is to be kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer. That’s the scripture to take home with you, this afternoon.
So, the second point is this. Adultery is a sin!
III. Stay away from temptation.
So stay off the rooftops. I know how it is in this world. We can easily find material to read or to watch. Or, it can happen at work - too much time with the cute secretary, too much time in with the successful, handsome boss. Or it can happen in our circle of friends, even among Christian friends, who run around with each other, all the time. Spending too much time, in places where we are too vulnerable, with persons of the opposite sex, is stupid. So my first advice is, “Let’s try to avoid those situations, where we are put before bad temptations! Make yourself accountable to your mate. Talk with him/her and apologize, if you have made a wrong choice. That will help you stay away the next time because, it is guaranteed, she/he will hold you accountable.”
See, there are going to be times when you won’t be able to avoid temptations. Satan will see to that! So, when you get in that time of temptation and desire begins to rise and passion is overruling your life, know that passion for any and every man and any and every woman will set aside intellect, loyalties and friendship and will even do away with allegiance to God. Knowing that, the only solution is to run. That’s why 1 Corinthians 6:18 says, “…” That’s why Paul will say to Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:22, “Flee from youthful lust.” And you say, “It’s a coward’s way!” But I tell you that’s the only way! In the heat of passion, don’t try to see how far you can go! Get up and run! And, perhaps, the best example is Joseph! The scripture says that he found himself in a room with Potiphar’s wife. She went, for him, and when the flames of desire started to burn and passion rose, the scriptures say, for Joseph, there was only one way out! That way out was to RUN! And he ran and got free!
So, I speak boldly, this afternoon. In a corrupt world, where our churches are bombarded with the problem, every, single Christian ought to learn to run! We are all susceptible to falling. So I remind you, with all the force of scripture, that adultery is WRONG! Marriage is to be honored by all, my marriage and your marriage. And I beg you to avoid any situation that looks like temptation, by making yourself accountable.
So David made a mistake that I can very well make! Let us learn, this afternoon, from his life, this very important lesson and take home what we need to take home to avoid the trap he fell into. If you need to respond, for any reason, to the invitation today, why don’t you do so while we stand and sing.