In 2 Samuel 11 and 12 is one of the most amazing stories of the Bible. David, the king of Israel, a man after God’s own heart, the little boy who had enough faith to take on Goliath, commits adultery and murder. He takes Bathsheba, probably against her will (who can resist the king?), and after finding out she’s pregnant, tries to get her husband Uriah to sleep with her so the baby can be passed off as his. When that doesn’t work, he orders Joab to set Uriah up so he’ll be killed in the battle.
Now, what is amazing is not that David committed these terrible sins. What is amazing is that God forgave him. Not only did God forgive him, but David is held up in scripture as one of the heroes of the faith. And to add to the strangeness, God continued David’s line on the throne by making Solomon, the son of Bathsheba, king after David.
Now, that is scandalous to the nth degree. Look at what he did! He committed adultery (maybe rape), and murder! He tried to sweep it all under the rug. Does God not care about sin?
Hardly. There were terrible consequences for David and for those around him because of his sin. The son of his union with Bathsheba died. David’s concubines were taken by Absalom, who had sex with them in a tent on the palace roof so everyone would know what was going on. Absalom took the entire kingdom during his rebellion, and many, many people died.
Oh, God cares about sin. He hates our sin. It’s something he cannot help. Sin is simply the opposite of God’s nature.
But he loves us more than he hates our sin. Because he loves us, he does not keep us from sinning, like robots. He permits us to either choose him, or to choose sin. At this point in his life, David chose sin. But look at what he wrote after that:
For the director of music. A psalm of David. When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba.
Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you are proved right when you speak
and justified when you judge.
There’s a lot more, and it would be a good passage for all of us to memorize. But I really want you to consider the note at the top, where it begins "For the director of music." David published and distributed this Psalm. He went public with his sin. He confessed it freely, and then he wrote a Psalm about his sin and sent it to the director of music to be performed.
Don’t hold back. Don’t let shame keep you from proclaiming the grace and freedom you have received. We, too, can be men and women after God’s own heart. In spite of our sin.