You know the story. David committed adultery with Bathsheeba. He had her husband Uriah and several other men killed by telling Joab to put them in the front lines of battle and withdraw, leaving them stranded to be killed by the enemy. He married Bathsheeba and hid his sin till the child was born. Nathan confronted him and David repented. Unbelievable, God forgave David even though he was due several capital death sentences. But he was given two punishments.
1) The baby died. David fasted and lay on the ground for 7 days while the child was dying, begging God to spare the child. When he found out that the child had died, he washed, changed his clothes, and ate. His servants thought his behavior strange, but 22 He said, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, ‘Who knows, the Lord may be gracious to me, that the child may live.’ 23 But now he has died; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.” (2 Samuel 12:22-23). He “moved on from that punishment”, accepting God’s “no” answer to his prayers. No doubt he would live in guilt over the child’s death for the rest of his life. Many parents can’t move on after the death of a child if they feel responsible. One sad story of a man who backed over his child whom he didn’t see behind his car. The book and movie “The Shack” is a similar sad story. Mac could not move on till Papa showed him that his little girl was happy playing in the meadows in the afterlife somewhere.
2) God would raise up evil from David’s own household. This one would stay with David till he died. He never got to move on from this one. His son Amnon raped his half sister Tamar. His son Absalom killed Amnon. Absalom tried to take the throne and kingdom from David, causing him to flee Jerusalem. Absalom was also the son who lay with David’s concubine on the roof in plain view of those watching in order to show his defiance of David (2 Samuel 16:21,22). David still grieved over Absalom’s death after Joab killed him while he hung from a tree by his long hair. His son Adonijah tried to take the throne as David was dying even though David had decreed that his son Solomon would take his place as king. David had Solomon kill Adonijah after he died. David had 8 wives and 19 sons total, but these three are the ones who caused David much grief. These 3 fulfilled God’s predicted punishment on David. I wonder if his guilty coscience over his sin with Bathsheeba played a role in how he dealt with his children? He did not punish Amnon for raping his sister, but instead exiled Absalom for 2 years for killing Amnon. He mourned the death of Absalom, even though, as Joab reminded him, many had suffered and died perhaps trying to defend David from Absalom trying to kill him. He spoiled Adonijah: 6 His father had never [c]crossed him at any time by asking, “Why have you done so?” (1 Kings 1:6) which contributed to Adonijah rebelling against his father when he was dying. We see an example of a father who just could not practice “tough love” on rebellious children.
The tragedy of this story is that it all started because of one act of adultery with Bathsheeba. David apparently didn’t go up on his roof with the intent of watching Bathsheeba bathing. But when he saw her, he should have turned away and prayed for God to help him not be filled with lust over what he saw. James 1 says that sin is like a birth: the conception, the gestation period, and then the act which brings death. David should have aborted that lust he had when he saw her, but he didn’t. Jesus said, 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, [i]fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders (Matthew 15:19). His heart was full of lust and eventually that led to the act of adultery. You have heard, “a picture is worth a thousand words”. Well a pornographic picture will stay in a man’s mind for many years. I do believe there is a link between porn and sex crimes. One report said in 80% of sex crimes that porn was found at the scene or in the home of the perpetrator. Yet some say porn is harmless for adults, even a safety valve to keep men from committing sex crimes. Porn is perhaps the main issue to deal with, even among Christian men. Surveys have shown that about a third of men in church on Sunday morning had viewed porn within the last month. Even a third of the ministers admitted struggling with watching porn. Porn is not just on a paid TV show in a cheap hotel. It is on TV and movies, all around us.
David’s lust led him to adultery, covering his sin for a year, and murder. He was forgiven, but he paid dearly for his sin. If he could have just looked into the future in a crystal ball and seen what his little, exciting sex affair was going to do to his family and life, do you think he would have had sex with Bathsheeba? Don’t you think he would have restrained his lust? He might have struggled with his lust, but he might not have acted upon it. I think that is the key for Christian men struggling with lust today. They might struggle their whole lives with lust, and maybe even pictures or image in their head or on paper, but can they restrain from acting on their lust? I know Jesus said: “You heard it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery,’ but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman/wife in order to covet her has already committed adultery with her in his heart (Matthew 5:27,28)”. But to commit the act of adultery is far worse in consequences. The effects adultery has on the children is devastating. The example it sets for them. It destroys their perception of what marrital commitment should be. Surely grown children know that most, if not all, fathers were guilty of lust over years because the male children would struggle with it also. But it is awesome to know that his/her dad never committed adultery in 40 or 50 or 60 or more years of marriage. In the meantime, we Christian husbands struggle with how to get those pictures out of our heads and hearts. Paul had a great suggestion: 8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is [e]lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, [f]dwell on these things (Philippians 4:9,10). It’s almost impossible to be thinking of two different things at the same time. If I can picture something in my mind, it blocks out other pictures. If I can picture Jesus hanging on the cross, bleeding, suffering, then tha picture blocks out some lustful picture I was struggling with. Try it. And don’t just let your mind picture that good image, but let your mind dwell on it. Or, picture how your child would react if he/she walked in to your bedroom while you were having an affair, committing adultery and being unfaithful to his/her mother, your wife. Wow, that’s a pretty bold picture, huh? Whatever it takes, come up with a picture that will help you remove the lustful picture or image. Then pray for God to forgive you and for the Spirit to help you in your struggle. We must struggle to cope with lust. We can’t just let it become a habit in our lives that we do regularly, hoping that grace will cover it. Romans 6:1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? Colossians 3:5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Job 31:1 “I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin? Proverbs 6:25 Do not desire her beauty in your heart, and do not let her capture you with her eyelashes; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; 1 Peter 2:11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Hebrews 13:4 Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. Galatians 5:14 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Psalm 101:3 I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless.