“In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel. And they ravaged the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem”(2 Samuel 11:1 ESV).
Most of us are familiar with the story of David and Bathsheba. While David should have been out at war with his armies, he stayed back in Jerusalem. Second Samuel tells us that one day David was chilling on his couch when he got up to stretch his legs with a walk on the roof. I imagine that it wasn’t the first time he went up there; and I imagine that this wasn’t the first time that Bathsheba had bathed within view of the palace. But this was likely the first time that these things had happened when Bathsheba’s husband was away at war and the leader of the army stayed home.
Seizing the opportunity to, perhaps, sin without consequence, David sends for Bathsheba. He commits adultery with her and sends her home.
I don’t intend to go into David’s desperate attempts to erase consequence when Bathsheba reveals to David that she is pregnant. Instead, I’d like to discuss the situation that precipitated this whole ugly blotch in the life of a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22).
Have you ever been somewhere you know you shouldn’t be? Or have you ever failed to fulfill your responsibilities? I’ve done both, and so did king David.
It was the responsibility of a king to lead his army into battle. Doing so not only brought glory to the king and struck fear in the hearts of the surrounding nations, but it also endeared the king to the hearts of the warriors and all of the people of the kingdom. In large part, it is what made a king a king.
David’s predecessor, Saul, was always at the fore. But when David killed Goliath the people said, “Saul has struck down his thousands, and David his ten thousands” (1 Samuel 18:7 ESV). The foundation had been set for David’s kingship.
Scripture doesn’t tell us why David stayed home. But David had a responsibility, and he laid that responsibility aside. There was nothing wrong with taking a stroll on the roof. But David was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I think that we often find ourselves in the wrong place at the wrong time.
We all have sins toward which we are drawn. Many would argue that Jesus was speaking hyperbolically when he said, “If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell”(Matthew 5:29 ESV). And it is likely that they are correct. But Jesus makes it abundantly clear that we need to be aware of our weaknesses and propensities and, as a recovering alcoholic should not hang out in bars, we need to avoid places and situations which make us more likely to give in to temptation.
David could have easily avoided his temptation to sin, and all of the sins he committed attempting to cover up that first sin, had he been about the business of a king. As Christians, Jesus has “made us a kingdom, priests to his God” (Revelation 1:6 ESV). As such, we have a responsibility to keep; we are not to avoid that responsibility, but we are to make it our calling not only to go where He says go, when He says go, but also to keep ourselves from those places and situations which compromise our ability to resist sin.
** Image from https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/man-spotted-walking-roof-five-11423865