“And it came to pass, after the year was expired, at the time when kings go forth to battle, that David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the children of Ammon, and besieged Rabbah. But David tarried still at Jerusalem. And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king's house: and from the roof he saw woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon.” 2 Samuel 11:1-2
For a study of character, nobility, wisdom, courage, and devotion; you will not find a better man than David. In 1 Samuel 13:14 God calls him a man after His own heart. Yet, there’s a dark chapter in David’s life. Second Samuel eleven tells us that David entered into an adulterous affair with Bathsheba. Then in an effort to cover his sin, he had her husband killed.
There’s a lesson here for all of us. David was a great man, yet he fell into sin. We are warned in 1 Corinthians 10:12: “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” In an effort to avoid backsliding like David, it is important for us to understand what led him to this point.
The Cause of David’s Backsliding
In the beginning, David’s sin was simply the sin of casualness. It was the time when kings went to war, yet King David stayed behind. He was not doing anything wrong in itself; he was just failing to do what was right.
It was also a sin of carelessness. He had too much free time. He didn’t rise from his bed until evening. He became careless and failed to keep up his guard.
Then it was a sin of compulsiveness. He didn’t intend to sin. It just happened. So often sin is an undetected weakness, an unexpected opportunity, and an unprotected life.
Finally, his sin became one of callousness. He became hardened by deceitfulness. In chapter eleven, we read that David had Bathsheba’s husband, his devoted servant, killed in order to protect his pride.
These are the causes of his sin, but I want you to see how David suffered and how God dealt in his life after his sin.
The Cost of David’s Backsliding.
David needed mercy, but he tried to cover his sin. Proverbs 28:13 says, “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” If only he had confessed his sin quickly! But about a year went by with David’s unconfessed sin eating at his heart.
Later, as David wrote Psalm 32:3-4, he recalled this time: “When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. For day and night Thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer.”
If you’ve ever had sin in your life and tried to ignore it, you know what David was dealing with. Believe me, the most miserable man in the world is not an unsaved man. It’s a saved man out of fellowship with God.
The Crisis of David’s Backsliding
God loved David too much to let him go on in his sin. He brought him to a crisis. And He also loves us enough to confront us with our sin.
First of all, God convicted David. If you can live in sin, dabble in it, and not be convicted over it, there’s no doubt—you’ve never been saved. If you are saved, God will convict you.
And God chastised him. Hebrews 12:6 clearly states: “For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth…” Chastisement can come in different ways—maybe sickness, heartache, or financial reverse.
Then God challenged David. And He will also bring you to a crisis. God sent Nathan the prophet to David. Perhaps your challenge may come from your wife, one of your children, a pastor, or a friend.
Finally, there was consummation. David was about to be killed if he didn’t get right with God. Nathan said to David, “The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.” Thank God, David repented of his sin and his life was spared. When God brings the challenge and you respond with cold-blooded rebellion, you’re living dangerously.
When you wake up each morning, put on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6). Continue to press the battle to the gates until God calls you home. David was a great man, but he strayed away from God. And don’t think it couldn’t happen to you or that you can just coast on in to heaven. Like David, you can slip into sin. Is your heart cold? Get it warm. You’ve been careless? Check up and keep the fire burning for Jesus. But also like David, God wants to forgive and restore you.