August 7, 2020
The Four Seasons of Failure
By Skip Heitzig
Did you know that even King David—the man after God's own heart—was tempted and had a great fall? Though he would be forgiven, he wouldn't be the same. Let's look at the phases of his failure—his affair with Bathsheba—in 2 Samuel 11, which I've categorized according to the seasons of the year:
1. Springtime in David's city. "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…. But David remained at Jerusalem" (v. 1).
David was a warrior, so why didn't he go to war? I don't know exactly why—the text doesn't tell us—but I do know this: if David had been on the battlefield with his men, he would not have been in bed with a woman. The point is that your greatest battles don't come when you're busy but when you're bored.
2. Summertime in David's sight. "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" (v. 2).
Now, notice those words saw and behold. Saw suggests a glance—he couldn't help but notice her. But then he went from seeing to beholding, which suggests a lustful, sinful gaze (see Matthew 5:28). Now, we naturally focus on David's sin here. But I have to say it sure would have helped if Bathsheba hadn't been taking a bath on her rooftop in plain sight.
3. "Fall time" in David's sanctity. Verses 3-4 describe how David sent for Bathsheba and slept with her. He acted on his fantasy here because this was a pattern with him—he already had seven wives and ten concubines. No doubt their night together was pleasurable, but it only lasted one night, and Bathsheba ended up pregnant (see v. 5). The rest of the chapter was a frantic cover-up that eventually led to the assassination of Bathsheba's husband, Uriah, at David's command (see vv. 6-17). One sin led to another—and this wasn't even the end of the story.
4. Wintertime in David's soul. When David heard of Uriah's death, he was callous and remorseless, but Bathsheba mourned (see vv. 23-26). She eventually became David's wife and bore a son, "but the thing that David had done displeased the LORD" (v. 27). David thought his sin was hidden from everyone, but he was wrong. He eventually confessed his sin (see 2 Samuel 12:13; Psalm 32; 51), but not for an entire year. David should have cried out to God that very night. Instead he lost trust with his family, lost trust with his army, and lost intimacy with God.
Now, was David forgiven for his sin? Of course. Immorality is not an unforgivable sin, though its consequences are unique in the pain and shame they bring. Psalm 103:14 says that God knows what we're made of. He knows your struggles better than you do, and He's ready to help (see 1 Corinthians 10:13). David's failure reminds us that we all face battles of temptation and that we all need to look to the Lord as our commander-in-chief, even when—and especially when—we fall.