2 Samuel 11: Tempted by the Fruit of Another
“But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then when desire is conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” James 1: 14,15. Tempted by the fruit of another. Tempted but the truth is discovered.
In 2 Samuel 10, King David and his army continue to win battle after battle. They seem invincible. King David is believed to be around 50 years old when this travesty occurs. He has achieved great accomplishments. He is the slayer of Goliath, the victorious shepherd boy, hero of Israel. He has restored Israel to its greatness. He literally has made Israel great again. He is a great military leader, a brave warrior, a poet, composer and musician extraordinaire. He is a visionary, a strong, charismatic leader who is adored by his people and feared and respected by his enemies. David is a “rock star.” His ratings would have been through the roof. He was in good standing throughout the land and region. “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” (I Cor. 10: 12) Let this story, this incident in David’s life be a warning to us all: God does not allow His children to sin successfully. Remember these truths about sin:
- Sin will take you further than you want to go.
- Sin will keep you longer than you wanted to stay.
- Sin will cost you more than you want to pay.
David will suffer the consequences of his sin for the last 20 years of his life. The Lord God chastens those He loves and seeks to make them obedient. David’s sin with Bathsheba is a case study in the anatomy of sin and its results. This account is an illustration of James 1: 14&15. Let us observe carefully the steps of David’s sin from the conception to the committing to the covering here in 2 Samuel 11. Next week in 2 Samuel 12, we will see the confrontation, the confessing and the dire consequences.
Every sin begins with a thought which becomes a desire. We are warned: “Above all else guard your heart with all diligence for out of it spring the issues of life.” (Proverbs 4:23) Desire is a powerful force. Such a powerful force can have great influence in our lives. It can lead us to God Who wants to give us the desires of our heart. Or it can lead us into trouble as we will see in this up- close study of David’s sin. Desire can lead us to our most noble aspirations or lead us to dark sins and deep sorrows. By now most of us have experienced disappointment, hurt and despair. We have things which we hoped would turn out a certain way, but as yet have not. And we began to lose hope. Hope deferred, makes the heart sick. So we must remember these truths:
- We have an old nature, a sinful nature, which wants to lead you into temptation. It wants you to question God’s goodness. The enemy will minimize the risk in order to increase your interest. “You will not surely die- you will be like God.”
- We have a new nature if we are born again by the Spirit. “The sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.” ( Galatians 5:17)
Temptation begins with a single thought. You can ignore that thought or you can entertain that thought. We have the Spirit of God within us who can screen our thoughts and select, delete, admit or cultivate. Remember this truth: as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he. Paul instructs us in 2 Corinthians 10- “to bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”
Let’s turn to our story and see what happened. Verse 1 tells us it happened in the spring of the year at a time when kings go out to battle. But King David remained in Jerusalem. Verse 2 tells us what happens on this evening, while David is alone and idle.
UP ON THE ROOF
“It happened one evening that David arose from his bed and walked on the roof of the king’s house. And from the roof, he saw a woman bathing, and the woman was very beautiful to behold. Notice the she is not just beautiful, she is VERY beautiful. Temptation in and of itself is not sinful. It entices us to sin and disobey God. If it is not dealt with it will lead to the act of sin.
The enemy of your soul, the thief who wants to kill, steal and destroy your life plants a suggestion in your mind. His method is three fold: lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, and pride of life. David is idle and restless. We have all been warned: “an idle mind is the devil’s workshop. “ Idle is not just a lack of activity, for we all need rest; idleness of this type David exhibited is idleness of no purpose. How many times have young people out of boredom and idleness been out driving around and up to nothing and ended up in trouble. When we whined as teenagers, there is nothing to do, this boredom of life, created a vacuum which is going to be filled. And the enemy has lots of suggestions of what you can do to fill this vacuum. Surely there were things which should have occupied David’s mind. David does not hate God, never did. Satan we are told is like a roaring lion going about seeking whom he may devour. If we give him an inch of our life, he will gain a foothold and then lead us to something we find ourselves shocked after we did it. In David’s life he had gained a foothold where David has rationalized certain activities as necessary in his role as king. In Deuteronomy 17: 14-20, God gives instructions and principles for kings to follow.
- The king shall not multiply horses for himself, nor cause his people to return to Egypt to multiply horses.
- Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away.
- Neither shall he multiply silver and gold for himself.
David kept principles 1 & 3- but he multiplied his wives and concubines. This opened David up for sexual sin. The more wives and concubines he had, the more women he desired.*This is another principle of sin: sin never satisfies, it only increases the desire for more. David’s heart was turned away from God by his multiple wives and concubines. We also read the king was to write for himself a copy of this law in a book and read it all the days of his life that he may learn to fear the Lord his God and be careful to observe all the words of the law and the statutes. David could have occupied his mind by reading the law that night up on the roof instead of just walking around. He could have had one of his counselors visit him or send for information about how the war is going. David did not think he needed his armor on for he was not in battle. But our most significant battle is not with flesh and blood but with spiritual wickedness in high places. Without the helmet of salvation on, we don’t think like saved people. Without the belt of truth, we believe lies. Without the breastplate of righteousness, our hearts are vulnerable. We are not guarding our hearts with all diligence. Without the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God and the shield of faith we are helpless before the enemy.
David knew the 10 Commandments. He knew he should not commit adultery nor covet his neighbor’s wife. David saw this woman bathing. Jesus said if you looked at a woman to lust after her, you have already committed adultery with her in your heart. David took a second, longer look. In doing so, his imagination went to work and started to conceive sin. He should have turned away. He should have taken off running like Joseph did from Mrs. Potiphar. Flee fornication. Flee youthful lust. Run! “Watch and pray lest you fall into temptation for the spirit is indeed willing but the flesh is weak. “ (Matthew 26; 41)
GAINING INFORMATION AND KNOWLEDGE
When God told Adam not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, God was telling Adam not to try and gain information and knowledge about it on his own through experience. God was saying to Adam and to us, take my word for it- do not do this. It is harmful. It will cause death. There are deadly consequences. The enemy who is a deceiver and a liar, minimizes the risk. “You will not surely die.” Then he offers a false promise to increase the interest. “You shall be like God.” If there is no consequence for the sin. And the sin fulfills the desire you have, and it is pleasurable, then the desire has conceived and will give birth to sin, and sin to death. For the wages of sin is death. But the gift of God is eternal life. David in his heart has already taken possession of her. His next step is found out who she is. The servant must suspect David’s motives for he warns King David, she is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite.
David must have believed the servant would not tell anyone. But he had forgotten God sees all and knows all. In the workshop of his idle mind, the devil had constructed an idea which appealed to the lust of his eyes, the lust of his flesh and the pride of a king who already had multiple wives and concubines who had only served to increase his sexual appetite rather than satisfy it. A mistress in our lives can be many things. I remember hearing a prominent judge confess openly he loved his wife, but he had shared his love with another mistress. His mistress he confessed was his career, his love of the law and his position as a judge.
THE ACTUAL ACT
In verse 4, David sends for her and she comes to him. There is no implication she was forced. I find it interesting what Proverbs 6, written by Solomon, David and Bathsheba’s son, has to say about adultery. “Can a man take fire to his bosom and his clothes not be burned? Can one walk on hot coals and his feet not be seared? So is he who goes in to his neighbor’s wife;” All of this put at risk for a few moments pleasure.
The next verse comes some weeks later when Bathsheba sent a message to David:” I am with child.”
THE COVER UP
David comes up with a plan to cover up their sin. He will have Uriah her husband sent home on leave. Having been separated from his wife, King David assumed he would go home and spend time with his wife. King David was about to find out just what kind of man Uriah was. He was in fact a better man than David in all this sordid affair. In true soap opera fashion, the plot thickens. Uriah refuses to go home. He is a soldier’s soldier. He cannot permit himself the luxury of being home with his wife and dining with the king while his fellow soldiers are in combat. So Uriah sleeps outside the king’s quarters. Even when David plies him with alcohol, Uriah is a better man drunk than Davis is sober. David sends word to Joab he wants Uriah put in a position in battle where he will surely die. And so it happens in battle, Uriah dies. David thinks problem fixed. He thought wrong.
After the period of mourning, David takes Bathsheba as his wife and she bore him a son.
Temptation is attractive, which is what makes it so dangerous. Did you notice, Bathsheba was not just beautiful, she was VERY beautiful. We know everyone sins and falls short of the glory of God. But we must remember everyone sins because they were tempted. What must we do when tempted? We must do what Jesus did when He was tempted in the wilderness in Matthew 4. Let me say something very simple- the best way to deal with temptation is to avoid it. If unavoidable, run from it. To avoid temptation ask yourself three questions about a situation:
- What is the wise thing for me to do in light of my past experience?
- What is the wise thing for me to do in my present situation?
- What is the wise thing for me to do in regard to my future plans?
We are told to be on guard. James told us God does not tempt us. Our enemy the devil is called “the tempter.” In 1 Corinthians 10: 13 we read: “ No temptation has overtaken you such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” Notice the word- overtaken. The devil wants to take over. To keep him from taking over, we must overcome the temptation. The Lord promises us here He will make a way for us to escape so we might bear it. Jesus was tempted in every way that we are tempted but without sin. He conquered temptation. He overcame it. So can you and I because we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. We shall overcome. We are overcomers.
First understand the three ways the enemy tempts as clearly seen in his first temptation of Eve.
- Lust of the flesh. Eve saw it was good for food.
- Lust of the eyes. It was beautiful and pleasant to look at.
- Pride of life. It offered a great benefit- it would make her wise like God.
When we look at the armor provided for us in Ephesian 6- all of the armor is defensive. The one offensive weapon is the Sword of the Spirit which is the word of God. The word used here for word is rhema, not logos. Logos is the entire word of God. Rhema is a specific verse or passage for a specific immediate situation. Listen to this verse: “For in that He Himself (Jesus) has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are being tempted.” Hebrews 2: 18. Jesus has in that place of temptation and He has promised to guide you out and help you find the way. He is the Way. He is an overcomer- who wants to help you and show you the way to overcome.
A sword was used in hand-to-hand combat. And this is what we face- hand-to-hand combat. We must be skilled in handling the Word of God. Jesus was a master swordsman. The first temptation was at the end of the 40 day fast, when Jesus hungered. Satan tempts Jesus to turn the stone into bread. This temptation is to act independent of the Father. To satisfy your desire your own way. David saw she was very beautiful and he desired her for himself. Jesus said man does not live by bread alone, but by every word of God which proceeds from His mouth. The Word is more important than eating and being nourished by physical food. Jesus told the disciples in John 4, he had food to eat of which they knew not.
The second temptation is to presume God will bail you out of your problem. It uses faulty logic, i.e., I am already forgiven of all my sins, so I can presume, God has forgiven me of this already. The enemy selectively uses the Word of God to confuse us, make us doubt its accuracy. Be not deceived, God is not mocked, what so ever a man sows that shall he also reap.
The third temptation of Jesus offered a short cut to accomplishing His will to save the lost. It involved worshipping Satan. When we sin, we worship something more than God. Jesus told the enemy: “you shall worship the Lord your God and Him only you shall serve.” The devil departed. Resist the devil and he will flee.
You must be prepared. Always be prepared. When temptation and the tempter and your old nature and the culture around you gang up on you to tempt you- you cannot say to them: wait a minute while I go get my Bible and look up in the concordance how to deal with this. Rhema is that personal sword you always carry with you and bring out for such time as this.
David did not call the things he knew to mind. He had disobeyed God in the area of wives and concubines, which he was told not to do. David was drawn by his own desires and enticed- tempted. Tempted by the fruit of another. David was tempted by the fruit of the vine of the earth. Tempted by the fruit of another. Truth was about to be discovered.
Have you discovered the truth? It will set you free.