Even “A Man After God’s Own Heart” Falls Into Sin
David was on a mountaintop in his relationship with God. He was king and shepherd of all God’s people. He openly expressed his love for God in words and actions. God gave him protection and rest from all his enemies. With the Lord’s protection, David was on top of the world. He was experiencing heaven on earth.
One problem existed though. Heaven on earth still encounters a sin nature and Satan. This is critical for us to remember every day. Sin, pain, and suffering always occur in life. When one is on a cloud with life and lives like he does not have a problem in the world, complacency sets in and sin creeps in. Get the picture? This is dangerous ground that all of us are susceptible to. Be careful. Stay close to the heart of Jesus to keep temptation’s door to sin shut.
Here we find another weak side of David and he is about to have the “big fall.” He became too complacent with life and his relationship with the Lord. He lost touch with reality for only a few minutes. He forgot the lessons from hiding in the wilderness from Saul. A few minutes are all Satan needs to bring us down. Again I reiterate: Stay close to the heart of Jesus to keep sin out.
It took only one look. During this time, David should have been out with his men in battle, but instead he remained in Jerusalem. (Maybe his missing the deep bond with Jonathan affected his complacency.) Either way, David was in for a fall. Here are the three strikes of his downfall.
- STRIKE #1: David glances from his palace roof and sees a female and something she is doing that he should have turned away from. (He never would have seen if he was where he should have been with his men).
- STRIKE #2: David sent for her. Bathsheba came and had sex with David. She then conceived his baby.
- STRIKE #3: Easily sin crept in and took over David’s life – David “the man after God’s own heart.” (It is easy to fall into sin whether in the valley or on the mountaintop. David’s actions are proof of this.)
When sin overtakes one’s life, it is like raging floodwaters. It will destroy everything in its path. Sin crushed David and affected every one associated with him, including the nation of Israel.
David hid his sin by conspiring to use Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband, who was a soldier in David’s army. He brought Uriah home on leave from the battlefront. His plan was to have Uriah sleep with his wife Bathsheba. Bathsheba’s pregnancy would then be justified. However, we see Uriah as one of the most faithful servants/soldiers in the Word of God. It is remarkable that David could not see himself in Uriah – faithful, caring, obedient, and focused on God. This simply shows how sin blinds one to God and makes the sinner spiral downward. David, “the man after God’s own heart,” now had a heart after Satan. If this occurred to David, it can easily occur to us.
Sin’s blindness easily becomes worse. After David could not fool Uriah to sleep with his wife, he returned Uriah back to the battlefield to be killed. David gave “secret orders” to Joab, his army commander, to ensure Uriah died in battle. Uriah wound up carrying his own death warrant. How could David, “the man after God’s heart,” personally look into the eyes of Uriah when giving him the death warrant? Have you ever considered David’s thoughts at that moment? Think about it and relate it to your own life. What an excellent example, however tragic, is David’s sin for us to reflect on – especially how we can become so blind to God’s love. May the Holy Spirit make us aware so we can turn to Jesus. David, for a time, did not turn to God. Since he was “a man after God’s own heart,” it was easier for God to crush him and get his attention through the prophet Nathan.
After Uriah was murdered on the battlefront, David took Bathsheba as one of his wives. Thus he spiraled deeper into sin. II Samuel 11:27 sums up the depraved state of sin David placed himself into. The Lord saw David do evil. When the time of mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house and she became his wife; then she bore him a son But the thing that David had done was evil in the sight of the LORD.
Fortunately there was a Nathan in David’s life. Nathan was a prophet who loved the Lord and clearly heard the Lord’s voice. Nathan was not afraid to speak the truth. God was about to use the prophet Nathan to hold David accountable for these tragic sins. David had lost focus of his intimate relationship with God. Being the king of Israel, God needed to restore David as quickly as possible.
In II Samuel 12, the prophet Nathan told David a simple parable about a rich man taking a poor man’s only lamb to feast on with a visitor. This was the poor man’s only lamb and they both loved one another. The poor man treated the lamb like a daughter, his prized possession. Yet, the rich man, despite having an abundance of his own sheep, snatched the poor man’s lamb for his feast. The rich man was very greedy.
This parable infuriated David because he knew it to be true. He knew the rich man deserved death and he would gladly ensure the death sentence was immediately carried out. God now had David in a position to hear His voice. Then, the prophet Nathan spoke four words to David that are one of the most powerful statements in the Bible. “You are the man.”
It is understandable to see how David reacted to the sheep parable. The Lord used David’s passion and experience as a shepherd to make his point about David’s sins. The innocent sheep is always protected by the shepherd – as David did when he pursued lions and bears. God, through the prophet Nathan, was able to deliver the blow that would reveal the coming death of David due to his grave sin. “YOU ARE THE MAN, DAVID.”
Because of sin, consequences will follow. When one genuinely repents of sin, God forgives and removes the sin as if it never occurs, but often He leaves the consequences – usually for our own benefit, to learn from our mistakes. The result of David’s sin is there will always be a dark cloud over his family for the remainder of his earthly life. In addition, the baby conceived with Bathsheba died.
After Nathan revealed David’s sin and spoke God’s judgment, David’s response showed another reason why God called him “a man after My own heart.” David took accountability for his sin and accepted God’s just punishment. Speaking from a heart of love, David was ready to accept death. He repented and turned back to the Lord. Then Nathan said to David, “The Lord has also taken away your sin; you shall not die.” Here we see the love, grace, and mercy of God at work. Many see God in the Old Testament as only vengeful and wrathful. That is a lie, as evidenced God forgiving David. God is the same God of both the Old Testament and the New Testament. He is only vengeful and wrathful against sin. He is full of love, mercy, and grace for all people – especially when we turn our hearts to Him, to receive Him. When one does not turn his heart to God, sin controls him and God’s judgment comes against the sin. Therefore, WILL YOU GIVE YOUR HEART TO JESUS? Jesus took God’s entire wrath against your sin on the cross.
Are you hiding any sin(s) from God? If yes, this prevents you from becoming or growing into “a person after God’s own heart.” Give your heart to Jesus and see the restoration He will make in your life. God forgave and restored David. He will do the same for you. Come. Ask Jesus to live in you, to be the Lord and Savior of your life. Do you hear the knock on your heart? It’s Jesus.
If you open the door, just watch what the love of Jesus will do. David opened his heart and God moved in. Watch how God moved into David’s heart. David expressed it in words. They were words right from his heart to God’s heart. Make them yours – from your heart to God’s heart. They are from Psalm 51. Psalm 51 is one of the most heartfelt prayers ever recorded.
Psalm 51: A Contrite Sinner’s Prayer for Pardon.
A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.
(v1) Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness;
According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions.
(v2) Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity
And cleanse me from my sin.
(v3) For I know my transgressions,
And my sin is ever before me.
(v4) Against You, You only, I have sinned
And done what is evil in Your sight,
So that You are justified when You speak
And blameless when You judge.
(v5) Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
And in sin my mother conceived me.
(v6) Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being,
And in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom.
(v7) Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
(v8) Make me to hear joy and gladness,
Let the bones which You have broken rejoice.
(v9) Hide Your face from my sins
And blot out all my iniquities.
(v10) Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
(v11) Do not cast me away from Your presence
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
(v12) Restore to me the joy of Your salvation
And sustain me with a willing spirit.
(v13) Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners will be converted to You.
(v14) Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, the God of my salvation;
Then my tongue will joyfully sing of Your righteousness.
(v15) O Lord, open my lips,
That my mouth may declare Your praise.
(v16) For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it;
You are not pleased with burnt offering.
(v17) The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.
(v18) By Your favor do good to Zion;
Build the walls of Jerusalem.
(v19) Then You will delight in righteous sacrifices,
In burnt offering and whole burnt offering;
Then young bulls will be offered on Your altar.
Psalm 51 is not the prayer of a condemned man. David initially felt condemned accepting the responsibility for his sin and pending death sentence. He acknowledged that only against God did he sin and do evil. Psalm 51 shows the words of an ex-condemned man who has received God’s mercy and forgiveness. The God that David forgot he now remembered. He remembered the love and the personal experience of God all the earlier years of his life. The sheep parable told through the prophet Nathan certainly reminded him. David thought of what a fool he had been to take God for granted and fall into a downward spiral of sin. (Sound familiar in your own life?) Yet, David now had reason to rejoice – all because of God’s love for him. God restored David to relationship with Him because David took responsibility and gave a contrite heart of repentance of God. This is what God is looking for in us. By taking responsibility for our sins and by offering a contrite heart of repentance to God, we become “a person after God’s own heart.” We will realize, as David expressed, “Against You only have I sinned, Lord, and done what is evil in Your sight.”