It happened in the spring of the year, at the time when kings go out to battle… David remained at Jerusalem. 2 Samuel 11:1
It was generally believed that he was about 50 years old or so at this time. He wasn’t an old man yet, but he wasn’t the golden boy anymore either. And women didn’t look at him the same way they used to. He started using Rogaine. He told himself he was going to work out a little more, get a jogging track installed around the palace. He didn’t tell anybody, but he had a little Metamucil added to the royal diet.
What did he want? David didn’t really know. He wanted to feel young. He wanted to feel alive. He wanted to feel vital. He was restless, and he was lonely, and he was a little bored. So, he decided he would stay home.
But what he apparently did not do is he did not talk to God about this.
We find an interesting insight into the God/David relationship in Second Samuel 12:7, about halfway through the verse, after the first phrase. God speaks through David’s pastor, Nathan:
‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. 8 I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your keeping, and gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if that had been too little, I also would have given you much more!
God says to David, “I’ve had my eye on you your whole life long, and I love you, and I want the best for you, and I’ve given you so much. And if all this had been too little, David, I would have given you more. Why didn’t you come to me? Why didn’t you ask me? Why didn’t you talk to me?”
I think of how often in human history God has said that to his children, “And if all this had been too little, I would have given you more.” If more is what it takes to make the human heart content, God will just keep giving more.
But, of course, generally more doesn’t do it.
David’s problem is he did not trust that God really did have his best interest at heart. He did not trust that God was that good. David really thought, as so many of us do at a really deep level, that really when it comes right down to it, “I’m going to have to look out for myself. I can’t really trust that if I abandon myself to God that radically, he will take care of me.”
David should have spent some time alone with God, this God who waits to bless and waits to give and find out why was this drift factor at work in him.
He needed to ask himself why another man’s wife was so beautiful to him that he was willing to risk his kingdom to be with her. He needed to ask himself what was lacking in his walk with God that made holding Bathsheba in his arms more important than being held in the arms of God.
But he doesn’t do that. He drifts.
You are familiar with how this story ends. Nathan comes to King David and confronts him with the truth of his sin. David is undone. He is truly repentant and is never the same.
I want to show you what he wrote in his journal after he had come to terms with his sin and we will get a glimpse of the real reason for his broken world.
Against You, You only, have I sinned. (Psalm 51:4)
David realized that there was a sin underneath the sin. Before he committed physical adultery, he committed spiritual adultery. Before he committed adultery with Bathsheba, he committed adultery against God. He wanted her arms because he didn’t have God’s arms. He wanted her beauty because he didn’t have God’s beauty.
That is the nature of spiritual drift.
But, thank God, David stops the drift and returns to his fist love. And when he does he makes an amazing discovery:
There’s a wideness in God’s mercy,
Like the wideness of the sea;
There’s a kindness in His justice,
Which is more than liberty.
There is no place where earth’s sorrows
Are more felt than up in Heaven;
There is no place where earth’s failings
Have such kindly judgment given. ~ Frederick Faber