2Samuel 11:1-5

Sunday Morning Bible Study

April 14, 2002


The mighty Niagara River plummets some 180 feet at the American and Horseshoe Falls. Before the falls, there are violent, turbulent rapids. Farther upstream, however, where the river’s current flows more gently, boats are able to navigate. Just before the Welland River empties into the Niagara, a pedestrian walkway spans the river. Posted on this bridge’s pylons is a warning sign for all boaters: “Do you have an anchor?” followed by, “Do you know how to use it?”

-- Paul Adams in Fresh Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching (Baker), from the editors of Leadership.

I want to talk about temptation today.  Though the passage will make us think of sexual temptations, these principles will apply to all kinds of temptations.  Sometimes I joke about the things we are tempted with by referring to “Jamoca Almond Fudge” ice cream.  But not everyone is tempted by Jamoca Almond Fudge.  For some, it’s Cookies and Cream with Hershey’s chocolate hard shell on the top.

I want to give you some anchors that might keep you from going over the falls.

:1-5  Anatomy of a temptation

:1 And it came to pass, after the year was expired,


There’s danger at the top

David has “arrived”.  He has just conquered the Ammonites and the Syrians.  He’s about to take his trip to Disneyland.
It’s at this point of greatest strength that David will fall into his deepest sin.
(1 Cor 10:12 KJV) Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.
“A time to be careful is when one reaches his goals.” In other words, vulnerability accompanies achievement.

-- Charles R. Swindoll, The Finishing Touch (Word, 1994), p. 76.

:1 at the time when kings go forth to battle

It’s spring, and time to fight the next war.  Fighting wars is a king’s business. Kings are supposed to be in battle with their troops. David is taking a vacation when he should be at work. If you consider the fact that David might have had a hand in what is being recorded, you get the idea that David is telling us that it all started because he wasn’t where he was supposed to be. He was supposed to be in a battle.


Defeat comes when you stop fighting

Peter writes,
(1 Pet 5:8-9 KJV) Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: {9} Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
Paul wrote,
(Eph 6:10-13 KJV) Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. {11} Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. {12} For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. {13} Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Columnist Herb Caen wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle: “Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning a lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn’t matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle; when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.”

:1 But David tarried still at Jerusalem.

tarried stillyashab – to dwell, remain, sit, abide. David’s sitting around in Jerusalem is going to get him into trouble.

There’s another passage that talks about tarrying in Jerusalem. It’s what Jesus says to His disciples just before He ascends into heaven.

(Acts 1:4-8 KJV) And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. {5} For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. {6} When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? {7} And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. {8} But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

The disciples had been with Jesus for three years, learning at the feet of the Master.  But they were still not ready.  These disciples who had trained with Jesus for three years were also the same guys that fled in terror when Jesus had been arrested. It wasn’t until they were empowered with the Holy Spirit that their knowledge was of any value.  And so Jesus told the disciples to wait in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit had come upon them.


There’s a time to wait and a time to go

For some of us, there needs to be a yielding of your life to God. If you try to go out and conquer the world for Jesus and yet you aren’t willing to yield your life completely to God, you’re headed for trouble. You need to listen to what Jesus said to His disciples. You need to “tarry in Jerusalem”.
I don’t consider the empowering of the Holy Spirit to be a feeling you will experience as if you need to wait for some kind of feeling. I consider it to be a yielding, an opening of yourself to the things of God. It’s giving as much of yourself as you are aware of to the Lord. It’s allowing Him complete access to every area of your life.
But for many of us, we’ve been learning to yield to the Lord each week. Some of us have learned to do this every day. Some of us are learning that we have to turn our hearts over to the Lord minute by minute.
And for those of us like this, we need to “get out of Jerusalem”. We need to be careful about waiting for some “experience” when God gives us a command to “go”.
Jesus said that when the Holy Spirit would come upon the disciples, they would receive the ability to be witnesses “both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth”.

That means “go”.

:2 he saw a woman washing herself


Temptation’s open door

It’s not uncommon for temptation to get a hold on us through the eyes.  With Eve, all it took was a look, a good look –
(Gen 3:6 KJV) And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

She didn’t notice all this with just a glance.  She took a good long look.

Once the temptation gets planted through the eyes, we get into trouble if we let it take root.
(James 1:14-15 KJV) But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. {15} Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

Martin Luther said:  “It’s not a wrong for a bird to fly over your head, just don’t let it build a nest in your hair”

Billy Graham said:  “The first look is free.  It’s the second look that kills you.”

Be careful what you let your eyes look at. TV, movies, Internet.

Two Monks

Two monks on a pilgrimage came to the ford of a river. There they saw a girl dressed in all her finery, obviously not knowing what to do since the river was high and she did not want to spoil her clothes. Without more ado, one of the monks took her on his back, carried her across and put her down on dry ground on the other side.

Then the monks continued on their way. But the other monk after an hour started complaining, “Surely it is not right to touch a woman; it is against the commandments to have close contact with women. How could you go against the rules for monks?”

The monk who had carried the girl walked along silently, but finally he remarked, “I set her down by the river an hour ago, why are you still carrying her?”

By Irmgard Schloegl / The Wisdom of Zen Masters from Condensed Chicken Soup for the Soul Copyright 1996 by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen & Patty Hansen

Job said,

(Job 31:1 NLT)  "I made a covenant with my eyes not to look with lust upon a young woman.

Close the door.  Guard your eyes.  Stop it before it gets started.

:3 Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite

David is without excuse. He now knows this is another man’s wife. When he is with her, he will be committing adultery. She will be too.

daughter of Eliam – There are two times in the Bible that the name Eliam is used, and I believe that they are the same person.  It is found here and in the list of David’s “Mighty Men”:

2Sa 23:34 …Eliam the son of Ahithophel the Gilonite,

Eliam was one of the guys closest to David. He was also the son of Ahithophel, one of David’s top advisors (2Sam. 16:23).
Ahithophel would be one of the men who would betray David and join Absalom to overthrow the kingdom (2Sam. 15:12). Could it be that Ahithophel’s treason was related to how David had treated his granddaughter, Bathsheba?

Uriah‘Uwriyah – “Yahweh is my light”. Uriah was also one of David’s mighty men (2Sam. 23:39).

Even after Uriah is dead and David is married to Bathsheba, we see several places in the Scriptures where she is still known as “Uriah’s wife” (2Sam. 12:15; Mat. 1:6)


Think of who you’re going to hurt

I think a very healthy practice is to think about the people your sin will hurt. Think it through.
Think of how it would devastate your spouse.
Think of what it will do to your friends. David’s sin would kill one of his friends (Uriah) and may have been the cause of another of his friends to betray him (Ahithophel).
Think of the very real effect it will have on your children. David’s sin would have a profound influence on his sons, even in seeing some of the same behavior acted out in their lives (2Sam. 12:11; 16:21). Some people say that getting a divorce would be better for the kids than seeing their parents argue all the time. I’m sorry, but I don’t see it. I think kids are way better off in a family where the parents are struggling than in a divorce. I think statistics would justify my position.
I think of what it would do to my family, my parents, my relatives.
Think of what it will do to your testimony. Because of David’s sins, the enemies of God would have a reason to “blaspheme” (2Sam. 12:14). People who mock Christians will have more fuel for their fire.
Think of what it will do to your ministry. We all have people that we influence positively for the Lord. Think of how those people will be hurt. From time to time I run across people who stopped going to church because someone they respected had fallen into sin.
Think of what it will do to those involved in your sin. David carried some responsibility to what he did to Bathsheba. Even though we think of her as Solomon’s mother, the main thing we remember her for is the woman who committed adultery with David.

:4 And David sent messengers, and took her

At this point in David’s life, David has at least seven wives (2Sam. 3:2-5, 11)

There was Michal, the daughter of Saul and David’s first wife. (2Sam. 3:11)

Once David became king of all Israel and ruled in Jerusalem, he would take more wives and “concubines” (2Sam. 5:13).  I haven’t found a complete total, but he had to have had at least 18 wives and concubines (2Sam. 15:16).


Don’t give yourself permission

Somehow, it seems to me that David has given himself permission to do something that God has not given him permission for.
David might have thought, “Well, Michal hasn’t been very nice to me lately”.
David might have argued to himself, “Well, other kings have their harems”. He might have said, “Well, Saul had many wives”.
Does that make it right? See what God says about kings:

(Deu 17:17 KJV) Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away:

God’s original ideas about marriage for all of us are found in the very design of the first marriage. How many wives did God make for Adam? One.

A Second Wife

One Father writes, “When our second child was on the way, my wife and I attended a pre-birth class aimed at couples who had already had at least one child. The instructor raised the issue of breaking the news to the older child. It went like this: “Some parents,” she said, “tell the older child, ‘We love you so much we decided to bring another child into this family.’ But think about that. Ladies, what if your husband came home one day and said, ‘Honey, I love you so much I decided to bring home another wife.’” One of the women spoke up immediately. “Does she cook???””

One wife is enough. Solomon wrote,
(Prov 5:18 KJV) …rejoice with the wife of thy youth.
I think we get ourselves into trouble when we look at our particular situation and think that somehow we are the exception to the rule. We think that somehow we ought to be treated differently.

:4 and she came in unto him, and he lay with her;

We focus on David’s sin, but Bathsheba is sinning as well.

:4 for she was purified from her uncleanness

(2 Sam 11:4 NLT)  She had just completed the purification rites after having her menstrual period

Under the Mosaic Law, a man was not supposed to be intimate with a woman during her period.  It was considered “unclean” (Lev. 15:19; 18:19).

If I’m not mistaken, I think things went like this –

David:  Are you at that time of month?

Bathsheba:  Nope.

David:  Great, let’s go to bed.

What’s wrong with this picture?


Be careful of focusing on the small things when you’re missing the big things

Jesus said to the Pharisees:
(Mat 23:23-24 KJV) Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. {24} Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.

The Pharisees were good at obeying every little detail of the Law. But they were missing the big picture. They were good at the “little” things, but failed miserably at the “BIG” things like justice, mercy, and faith.

It’s not that we should ignore the smaller things, but we need to be sure that we don’t try to feel good about ourselves because we do the “small” things when we are ignoring the BIG things.

It’s nice that David is concerned about being “clean”, but what about committing adultery?
Could it be that sometimes we tell ourselves we’re doing okay because we think of the “little things” when we have a HUGE problem in our life?

:5 And the woman conceived …and said, I am with child.

It’s now too late. David has not only sinned, but now he’s going to be caught.


Your sin will find you out

Don’t think you are going to get away with it forever. If you are a Christian, you will be caught one day.  God will be sure of it.  He loves you too much to let you stay in your sin. 
(Heb 12:6 KJV)  For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
There are several good anchors against temptation, but on of the best is a cowardly response to the fact that you might get caught.

Throw out the anchors beloved.  Don’t go over the falls.  And if you have gone over the falls, run to Jesus.  That’s where you are going to find healing and forgiveness.