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6. David: The Man After God's Heart 3: A Broken and Contrite Heart

2 Samuel 12


Saul tried three times to seize and kill David, but was not successful (1 Samuel 23, 24, 26, Psalm 7:4; 54:3; 57:6). In 1 Samuel 31 we find Saul and his three sons (including Jonathan) killed on the battlefield. Second Samuel opens with David receiving the news of the deaths and mourning the loss, especially the loss of his dear friend, Jonathan. David waits for God’s direction as to where to go next. God then tells David to go to Hebron where he is made king over the house of Judah for seven and a half years. After the death of Saul’s son, King Ish-Bosheth, David was made king over all of Israel (2 Samuel 5:1-5, 1 Chronicles 11:10, 12:38). This occurred 20 years after he was taken out of the sheep pastures and anointed by Samuel.

During this time in history (since the days of Joshua), the people of Israel thought more in terms of tribal than national identity. David was successful in unifying Israel and Judah (the two main factions) by centralizing the government in Jerusalem. Jerusalem was a wise choice politically and served to create harmony and unity between the two factions.

Through David, Jerusalem also became the center of worship for the Israelites as foretold by God in Deuteronomy 12:5. From that time on, Israel offered sacrifices only at Jerusalem and celebrated three special religious festivals there each year. From 1002 to 995 BC, David expanded his kingdom on all sides and rest from war followed (2 Samuel 7:1). Though David did not build the temple, he designed it and made elaborate preparations for his son, Solomon, to build it (1 Chronicles 22).

Chapters 5-10 of 2 Samuel detail David’s many military successes. The tone changes in chapter 11 as it tells of David’s sin with Bathsheba and subsequent murder of her husband, Uriah. The scripture paints a very clear picture of God’s hatred for sin and the sad consequences David must face as he endures many family crises resulting from his moment of indiscretion.

In looking at this low point in his life, we wonder HOW God could possibly call David “a man after God’s own heart.” The answer comes not in looking at David’s personal successes or spiritual failures, but in looking at David’s responsiveness to the Holy Spirit (as we saw in the last lesson) and to his teachable heart. [Optional: If you are not familiar with the story of David and Bathsheba, you may wish to read 2 Samuel 11 as background information for this lesson.]

Day One Study

1. Read 2 Samuel 12. The prophet, Nathan, comes to David with a parable representing David’s sinful deeds. How does God view David’s actions? (Look back also at 2 Samuel 11:27.)

2. Read carefully through verses 7-14. What does God (through Nathan) say is going to happen as a result of David’s sin?

3. How does David react?

4. Instead of David’s contrite (repentant) response, how could he have responded? (See also Proverbs 19:3 for insight.)

Historical Insight: God never lies. All that He said through Nathan came to pass. We can trace the line of David’s sin with Bathsheba to eight consequences that led him on a downward path of grief and heartache.

§         David and Bathsheba’s newborn son dies. (2 Samuel 12:14-18a)

§         David’s son, Amnon, rapes his half-sister, Tamar. (2 Samuel 13:1-21)

§         David’s son, Absalom, hates Amnon. (2 Samuel 13:22)

§         Absalom murders Amnon. (2 Samuel 13:28-29)

§         Absalom rebels and runs away. (2 Samuel 13:37-39)

§         Absalom leads a conspiracy. (2 Samuel 14:1-24)

§         Absalom violates David’s wives. (2 Samuel 16:22)

§         Joab, David’s general (& nephew), murders Absalom. (2 Samuel 18:14 & 33)

(Adapted from Charles Swindoll, David, Bible study guide)

Keep in mind that David lived under the Mosaic LAW not under GRACE as believers do today. God judged David for his behavior and pronounced him guilty. As king, David had great accountability for his actions. Since he was anointed by God, his reputation reflected on God. Therefore, for the sake of God’s HOLY reputation among the nations, David’s sin of adultery had to be judged (2 Samuel 12:14)

5. According to the Law, David deserved death for adultery with Bathsheba (Leviticus 20:10) and murder of Uriah (Leviticus 24:17). However God does not permit it – what did God say? (verse 13)

6. What does this tell you about God? (See also Nehemiah 9:31; Exodus 33:19.)

7. One of the best illustrations of living through the consequences of deliberate sin is found in the life of David. Re-read 2 Samuel 12:16-25. Let’s examine David’s response to the situation. What was the first thing David did when the baby became ill? Where was David’s focus?

8. When the child died what did David do?

9. In such a tragic, emotional circumstance how could David have reacted?

Day Two Study

Psalms 32 & 51 are emotionally descriptive psalms written by David during this time period. (Read both of these if you have time.) In Psalm 51 David confesses his guilt and asks for forgiveness. In Psalm 32 David describes the blessing of forgiveness. Note that in Psalm 32:5, David says God not only forgave him, He also cleansed David of his guilt.

Confessing our sins to our heavenly Father (which is simply agreeing with God about the truth that you have sinned) is oftentimes easier than accepting His unconditional forgiveness. We often believe we are forgiven but hang on to the guilt. Satan uses guilt to render us useless. As a New Testament believer, we have been declared “not guilty” by God. At the cross, Jesus Christ bore our sins (past, present and future sins) as well as God’s judgment on those sins. We will never have to worry about punishment or judgment as those who are in Christ (see Romans 8:1 & Colossians 2:13-14.)

10. Your Lifes Journey: Are you still beating yourself up about something for which you have received forgiveness? What does David’s acceptance of God’s complete forgiveness teach you about forgiving yourself?

11. Your Lifes Journey: David, having received and accepted God’s forgiveness, went on in his life as King of Israel. Guilt can paralyze us from serving God and make us ineffective in our pursuits. According to Hebrews 9:14, what is the result of being free from guilt?

Scriptural Insight: The New Testament declares that believers have been freed from punishment (John 3:16-18, 5:24; Romans 5:9, 8:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:9; 1 John 4:17-19). Under the New Covenant, God disciplines His children in order to conform them to the likeness of His son (Romans 8:28-30; Philippians 1:6; Revelation 3:19). We live under grace. As New Testament believers we deal with a loving Father who teaches, trains and corrects.

12. We are encouraged as those in Christ to be holy (set apart for God’s special use as in 1 Peter 1:15, 2 Corinthians 7:1) and perfect (mature). We are to avoid allowing sin to reign in our bodies (Romans 6:12-14). We accomplish these admonitions by making choices. How do the following verses relate to the choices we make in our lives?

·         Romans 12:2 –

·         Ephesians 4:22-32 –

·         Philippians 4:8-9 –

Focus on the Meaning: Discipline is training that develops character, self-control or orderliness and efficiency. It is forward looking to a change of behavior and/or character, is individually tailored, personally applied, and is chiefly concerned with what will benefit the individual in question.

13. Though God can and does forgive our sins, He will never call sin “Okay” in order to make you feel good about yourself. Read Hebrews 12:7 and Proverbs 3:12. What does God do for His children?

14. Your Lifes Journey: Explain how God loving us enough to discipline us is beneficial for our walk of faith towards godliness (God-likeness).

15. Your Lifes Journey: Though David fell in his walk of faith, he got back up and went on with his life. David was able to cling to certain truths about God, such as God’s sovereignty, the eternal perspective of life, and God’s love for us even during times of discipline. To what truths about God are you encouraged to cling as you’ve studied this portion of David’s life?

16. Your Lifes Journey: What in David’s life encourages you to persevere in a life of faith despite your successes or failures?

Thoughts To Ponder: A Heart Of Gratitude (1 Chronicles 28-29)

More than 50 years after God plucked David from his father’s sheepfold, God’s work with David is nearly finished. We have seen a life of faith unfold as we’ve followed David from pasture to exile to military success as king to sinfulness and restoration. Now in 1 Chronicles 28 and 29 as David’s life draws to a close, we read about David’s parting words to the people as well as to his son, Solomon, the next king.

Instead of reflecting on his many great accomplishments as warrior-king, David focuses on worship of his God (1 Chronicles 28:2-3). David reflects on the covenant God has made with him to bring about an enduring dynasty through David (see also 2 Samuel 7). Rather than focusing on what he couldn’t do (build the temple), he praises God for what God had given him.

David’s advice to Solomon is good advice to us all. His first advice is in 1 Chronicles 28:9: know the Lord. Next he encourages Solomon to serve the Lord (1 Chronicles 28:9b). Finally, David tells his son to seek the Lord (also verse 9). David concludes his words to his son by giving him detailed instructions for the temple Solomon would build. David’s beautiful prayer of praise and worship is recorded in 1 Chronicles 29:10-19. David’s positive example produced a great outpouring of worship from the people who witnessed the exchange of power.

David had a heart of gratitude for God. David praised God in the field with his father’s sheep. He praised God for delivering him from his enemies. He praised God for helping him bring the ark back to the people of Israel. He praised God for promising him a dynasty that would end in the Messiah. He praised God in good and bad. And at the end of his life he still had a heart to praise God for all he had been blessed with in his lifetime.

The last words written about David’s life in Chronicles appear in 29:28a (NAS): Then he died in a ripe old age, full of days, riches and honor… What an epitaph! God was faithful to complete the good work He began in a shepherd boy many years beforehand. David faithfully served God as one of the greatest kings that ever lived and is remembered by God as “a man after my own heart.”

Related Topics: Curriculum, Faith

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