When God is not pleased: 2 Samuel 11.1–27 (14 September 2020)

Bible Society's Daily Reflections follow the M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, designed for those who want to read the whole Bible in one year. Each reflection focuses on one of its four daily chapters. Darllenwch rhain yn Gymraeg.



Lord, open my ears to hear what you have to say to me; open my heart to love your word, and open my mind to understand your truth.


Daily reflection: 2 Samuel 11

David was an Israelite hero. Here, though, we see how someone who had risen very high could fall into terrible sin. The 'man after God's own heart' was guilty of adultery, deceit and murder. Given that Bathsheba probably had very little say in the matter, we can probably add rape to the charge sheet; in contrast to the way 'adulteresses' are often portrayed in the Bible as temptresses (e.g. Proverbs 6.20–7.27), here it's David who takes the initiative all the way.

David was a great man who failed the test that really matters – the test of character. He won't admit what he's done and face the consequences; instead, he does everything he can to avoid them. Most of us won't fall as far as David, but we all face similar trials.

There are some interesting things here. Most Middle Eastern kings probably wouldn't have thought twice about taking a woman they wanted. Israel was different: kings too were under God's law, and everyone knew it – including David. He was desperate to save face because his sin would have compromised him in the eyes of his people. His fear of public humiliation outweighed his fear of God – again, a very common moral test. His machinations appear to work; Uriah is killed, and David marries Bathsheba. But, the narrator tells us, 'the Lord was not pleased with what David had done' (verse 27). Morality isn't about what we can get away with; it's recognising that in everything we do, we're under the judgement of God.



God, forgive me if I've sinned because I've thought too much of what other people think of me, and not enough about pleasing you by doing the right thing. Strengthen my character, and keep me from sin.

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