If you know the storyline of David’s life, you know that his big sin was his affair with Bathsheba. You don’t even have to grow up in church to know the story. He’s the King of Israel. The men are out at war. He should be there with them, but he he stays back. David sees Bathsheba bathing on the rooftop and so desires her that he overrides the warnings of his servants and gets her.
We all know that this story doesn’t end well. David had Uriah put in a dangerous position in battle, essentially ordering this good man’s death. Eventually the prophet Nathan confronts David and David admits his sin.
That’s the story. But I wonder if we miss a powerful lesson in David’s life. I didn’t catch this until recently. When Nathan confronted David about his affair with Bathsheba, he reminded David that he didn’t need any more beautiful woman. He already had other wives.
Yes, you read that. Wives. Now today for someone to have multiple wives is considered weird. Its illegal. Now guys are constantly getting in trouble for affairs, but few if any try to actually take more women on as their wives. But in David’s time, polygamy was not only accepted, it was expected. Especially for a rich and powerful king. In fact, this was one of the warnings from God to Samuel to the people of Israel when they begged for a king just like everyone else. God told them that kings would take their women for themselves. That’s what kings did.
But the question I always wondered is this. Was it right for David to practice polygamy. The Bible tells us that David was a man after God’s own heart. HE was God beloved King. He’s a man whose psalms we read and someone we admire and name our children after.
So maybe it was okay for David to break God’s law and take more than one wife. Right? Wrong.
God’s beautiful picture of marriage has not changed, from the Garden of Eden until the 21st Century. What David did before he sinned with Bathsheba was just as bad as what he did with Bathsheba.
We typically think God was okay with David up until the Bathsheba incident. But the right way of viewing David’s life is to see that his affair with Uriah’s wife was the tipping point in life of unrestrained sexual lust.
You see for a while it seemed as if David was taking multiple wives and getting away with it. So, it must be okay, right? But sooner or later this life of sin catches up to us. I wonder if David’s thinking went like this. Well, God was okay with me taking a few wives, so I think he’ll overlook Bathsheba. I’ve gotten favor with God. I can bend the rules a bit.
This is where we get into trouble. You see, God doesn’t always allow the consequenes of our sin to unfold right away. But as the Scriptures tell us, “what a man sows, that he will reap” (Galatians 6:7). And sometimes God has to break our sin wide open until He gets to us to a point of brokenness and dependence.
Bathsheba was the tipping point of David’s lust. It put out in the open what David knew in his heart. He was enslaved to sexual lust for women. He had gone so far past God’s design for marriage.
The lesson for us is this. Just because we’re getting away with sin right now and nobody knows doesn’t mean it’s the end of the story. Sooner or later we’ll get found out. It’s better to admit our problem, repent, and seek accountability before our sin catches up to us.
Daniel Darling is an author, pastor, and public speaker. His latest book is Crash Course, Forming a Faith Foundation for Life. Visit him on Facebook by clicking here, follow on him on Twitter at twitter.com/dandarling, or check out his website: danieldarling.com.