It was springtime, the time of year when kings traditionally took up their armies and went to war to defend their kingdoms. But, inexplicably, King David didn’t go. He sent his army, but he remained at home. And while home he committed an act that would reverberate for generations to come. He committed adultery and then to cover that sin, he committed murder. For payment of his sins God caused the baby born out of the adulterous act to die.
It’s a sad story, isn’t it? How did a man, once called a “friend of God”, fall so low? It’s the same thing we ask when we see modern-day heroes of the faith fall. How can a person be so close to God, yet fall so hard? David’s story has been studied and discussed at great length by theologians. The short answer to this question is that the king allowed his heart to become divided long before the sin occurred. When temptation arrived, it was hard to resist. He didn’t, and the rest is history. There’s a lesson for all of us to learn from David’s fall and subsequent pain.
So often when great Christians in public ministry fall, that’s the last we hear of them. Their years of service are forever marred by the sin that is made public. Sometimes when we fall, we want to think that we have fallen so far that God’s grace couldn’t possibly reach us. But that wasn’t true for King David, it isn’t true for fallen Christian leaders, and it’s certainly not true for us.
In 2 Samuel 12, the prophet Nathan confronts King David with his sin and lets him know the terrible price that God will exact to pay for his sin - the death of the son conceived in his sinful act with Bathsheba. David is brokenhearted. But out of that grief comes restoration and a new purpose for David. He pens.
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…
Create in me a pure heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me
(Psalm 51:1-2. 10)
David was fully restored to God and faithfully walked with Him until the day he died. What a blessing to know that we, too, can experience that forgiveness and have our own renewed fellowship with the Lord - a “springtime” in our Christian walk. How forgiving and how merciful is our great God!