2 Samuel 11
by Pastor David Groendyk
The saying holds true: The best of man are men at best. Scripture is never shy about the sins and moral failings of even its greatest heroes, and 2 Samuel 11 presents to us one of the greatest moral failings ever committed by one of Scripture’s greatest heroes. What lessons can we learn from this tragic chapter?
The first lesson is one of the most obvious: we must always be on guard against our sin. David was a very holy man and had very close personal communion with God, and yet his own lust, self-centeredness, and pride consistently won the victory over him during this period of time. Remember this was not a heat-of-the-moment lapse in judgment. David schemed and planned over days (weeks? months?) to cover up his sin. As we were reminded from Hebrews 2 this past Sunday, none of us are so holy or mature or great that our sin cannot take us down. We must know our own hearts and temptations well, always be alert to sin’s strategies, and continually seek God and his grace daily. We’ve already seen that David was not a monogamous man, but now his sin has led to adultery, lying, and murder. If we’re not actively rowing, we will be drifting further from God or (worse) sinking. What sin(s) do you know you struggle with? How can you seek God’s grace today for help?
The second lesson is to see the way this points us to Jesus. Almost everything before chapter 11 put King David in a good light. He’s the hesed-doing king, showing steadfast love and mercy to those inside and outside his kingdom. His kingdom has been established, and he’s consistently defeated his enemies in battle. But from here on out, it will be lots and lots of frustrations for David. Family troubles, national rebellion, and death will follow David wherever he goes. Both quite personally as well as nationally the repercussions from David’s sin will be felt. What happened to that great everlasting covenant the Lord made with David in 2 Samuel 7? What happened to that king? Clearly now we see that David himself will not reign on the throne forever, nor is he worthy to reign on the throne forever. He has displeased the Lord. Even a Gentile outsider like Uriah (notice that he’s a Hittite) is considered more honorable than the Israelite king in this chapter. This is more than just a godly man falling in sin; it’s the anointed one of the Lord who was supposed to bring peace, security, hope, prosperity, and permanence to God’s covenant people openly and unashamedly breaking his covenant with God.
So where do we go from here? Any ancient Israelite or modern day Christian should be asking that question as they’re reading through 2 Samuel. Where do the people of God find any hope? As with every heroic figure we see fall in the Old Testament, our appetite is being whetted for the true king of 2 Samuel 7. The promise in that covenant is that one who is like God’s own son would reign forever, and we have that promise fulfilled in Jesus Christ. King Jesus is the only one we can count on not to disappoint or fail his people. He’s the only one who will perfectly execute all of the Lord’s will. He’s the only one who will ever be fully upright, holy, generous, good, wise, and just in all of his actions. If you ever find yourself unconditionally following or trusting any man, even if it’s in the name of following the Lord, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Whether it’s a pastor, theologian, or author, or whether it’s a president, senator, or judge, no one deserves our loyalty like Jesus, and no one will ever be able to take care of us like Jesus. They are finite, human, and naturally sinful and self-seeking, but our Lord is eternal, almighty, trustworthy, and true. Set your hope fully on God’s anointed king and savior, Jesus Christ. Rest in him fully for your salvation, submit yourself fully to his rule, and trust him fully for his goodness.