1- 2 Samuel 12:4 (ESV) 4 Now there came a traveler to the rich man, and he was unwilling to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the guest who had come to him, but he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.”
RAF: Nathan’s portrayal of lust or desire as a traveler is most useful. It is a temporary thing that has the appearance of making legitimate demands, which we then try to meet by illegitimate means.
It WILL go away.
I don’t HAVE to give it a lamb.
I have legitimate means to deal with it. But I am unwilling to use those means.
With every temptation the Lord makes a way of escape – to endure it.
2 – 2 Samuel 12:9 (ESV) 9 Why have you despised the word of the Lord, to do what is evil in his sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and have taken his wife to be your wife and have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites.
RAF: David is charged with striking down Uriah – even though it happened in battle. To make such arrangements is no different than doing the act ourselves.
3 – 2 Samuel 12:10 (ESV) 10 Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’
RAF: All sin involves despising God. Thinking lightly of Him in it. Casting aside His love for us, and ours for Him.
4 – 2 Samuel 12:14 (ESV) 14 Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the Lord, the child who is born to you shall die.”
RAF: From this point on, the wheels seem to come off. The traits in David that allowed for such a series of criminal sins begins to surface in his children.
5 – 2 Samuel 12:26-31 (ESV) 26 Now Joab fought against Rabbah of the Ammonites and took the royal city. 27 And Joab sent messengers to David and said, “I have fought against Rabbah; moreover, I have taken the city of waters. 28 Now then gather the rest of the people together and encamp against the city and take it, lest I take the city and it be called by my name.” 29 So David gathered all the people together and went to Rabbah and fought against it and took it. 30 And he took the crown of their king from his head. The weight of it was a talent of gold, and in it was a precious stone, and it was placed on David’s head. And he brought out the spoil of the city, a very great amount. 31 And he brought out the people who were in it and set them to labor with saws and iron picks and iron axes and made them toil at the brick kilns. And thus he did to all the cities of the Ammonites. Then David and all the people returned to Jerusalem.
RAF: One can only imagine the hollowness of such a victory. How heavy David’s head must have been when that crown was placed upon him. With all of the previous events fresh in his heart and mind, the grace of God itself becomes ponderous. Oh Father, how often we feel as though we are supreme hypocrites when you bless us so in the aftermath of our darkest follies. And yet, that is the nature of your grace. Favor poured out upon those who truly do not desreve it. Thank you for those times when those bestowed blessings make us feel the true depths of our sin. When we see in startling clarity the contrast between what ought to be in the natural, and what is because of Christ.
6 – 2 Samuel 13:15 (ESV) 15 Then Amnon hated her with very great hatred, so that the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her. And Amnon said to her, “Get up! Go!”
RAF: When a legitimate desire is met illicitly, our revulsion at what we’ve done often spills out on the object of our former desire – rather than condemning ourselves. We want to distance ourselves from it, and blame it or them for the sin in our own hearts. In this case, Amnon goes so far as the have Tamar ejected with the words “this woman” (vs. 17) in an effort to depersonalize her, so that he does not feel so bad about his actions. Sexual sin will always lead to the de-personaliztion of the object of our desire. This is why pornogrpahy is so attractive – it brings us de-peronsalized objects of desire right out of the gate – which enables us to defile ourselves with much less guilt. But it is only an illusion. Deep down, in spite of our rationalizations, the weight of the guilt is no less. We have still sinned against that person, even though they are unaware of it. And the resulting shame and confusion adds to the distress. Heavenly Father – keep us pure!
7 – 2 Samuel 13:21-22 (ESV) 21 When King David heard of all these things, he was very angry. 22 But Absalom spoke to Amnon neither good nor bad, for Absalom hated Amnon, because he had violated his sister Tamar.
RAF: David is furious, but he does nothing. Either he is powerless due to guilt from his own sins, or this reveals an underlying pattern we simply didn’t know about before. Either way it is most destructive.
8 – 2 Samuel 13:38-39 (ESV) 38 So Absalom fled and went to Geshur, and was there three years. 39 And the spirit of the king longed to go out to Absalom, because he was comforted about Amnon, since he was dead.
RAF: Once again there is no action David’s part even though there is great desire. He seems paralyzed to act with any surety since his fall with Bathsheba. This is a stunning example of 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.” Having yielded to his flesh, he has now brought great harm to his own soul and his ability to respond as he ought. A man with a soiled conscience second guesses everything. And he either rages against other’s sins disproportionately, or fails to treat them with judgment at all.
9 – 2 Samuel 14:14 (ESV) 14 We must all die; we are like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. But God will not take away life, and he devises means so that the banished one will not remain an outcast.
RAF: Due to the damage done to his soul in the affair with Bathsheba and Uriah, David still could not exercise right judgment in his own family affairs. This condition had remained for years. It will show itself yet in the furture. And yet, he was still spot on in dealing with those outside as evidenced in his judgement here. What did he need? A good dose of the Gospel again. And it would be hard to find a more clear presentation of it in the Old Testament than in this sublime verse. “He devises means so that the banished one will not remain an outcast.” How great is our God!
10 – 2 Samuel 14:23-24 (ESV) 23 So Joab arose and went to Geshur and brought Absalom to Jerusalem. 24 And the king said, “Let him dwell apart in his own house; he is not to come into my presence.” So Absalom lived apart in his own house and did not come into the king’s presence.
RAF: Thank you Father that we have no such half-way reconciliation. Thank you that you bring us back into your house. That you restore us as your own.
11 – 2 Samuel 16:20-22 (ESV) 20 Then Absalom said to Ahithophel, “Give your counsel. What shall we do?” 21 Ahithophel said to Absalom, “Go in to your father’s concubines, whom he has left to keep the house, and all Israel will hear that you have made yourself a stench to your father, and the hands of all who are with you will be strengthened.” 22 So they pitched a tent for Absalom on the roof. And Absalom went in to his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel.
RAF: In Chap. 15:1-5, Absalom’s “platform” was that he would see to it justice was better served under him than under his father David. And now, he acts more vilely than could be imagined. Beware of those seeking to win men’s hearts by proclaiming how they will be more just, more righteous than those before them. The thing they set as their flag, will invariably be the very thing reveals their deepest corruption.
12 – 2 Samuel 17:4 (ESV) 4 And the advice seemed right in the eyes of Absalom and all the elders of Israel.
RAF: How deceived even the most “mature” among us can at times be. Imagine the depth of the betrayal David would experience to find “all the elders of Israel” agreed with Ahithophel that David should be summarily executed in this way. We hear the pain of it often in his Psalms.
13 – 2 Samuel 19:17-23 (ESV) 17 And with him were a thousand men from Benjamin. And Ziba the servant of the house of Saul, with his fifteen sons and his twenty servants, rushed down to the Jordan before the king, 18 and they crossed the ford to bring over the king’s household and to do his pleasure. And Shimei the son of Gera fell down before the king, as he was about to cross the Jordan, 19 and said to the king, “Let not my lord hold me guilty or remember how your servant did wrong on the day my lord the king left Jerusalem. Do not let the king take it to heart. 20 For your servant knows that I have sinned. Therefore, behold, I have come this day, the first of all the house of Joseph to come down to meet my lord the king.” 21 Abishai the son of Zeruiah answered, “Shall not Shimei be put to death for this, because he cursed the Lord’s anointed?” 22 But David said, “What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah, that you should this day be as an adversary to me? Shall anyone be put to death in Israel this day? For do I not know that I am this day king over Israel?” 23 And the king said to Shimei, “You shall not die.” And the king gave him his oath.
RAF: There is a personal forgiveness which nevertheless does not completely exonerate the guilty. David swears he will not put Shimei to death. And so he keeps his word. And yet, in 1 Kings 2:8-9, David instructs Solomon to carry out justice in Shimei’s case after David’s death and Solomon’s ascension to the throne. Shimei is granted reprieve on the basis of his petition. But such repreive was not final. He will at last suffer a just demise for his sin. We are to forgive all our enemies, even as Christ has forgiven us. Yet, in criminal cases, the Law ought to still have its due course. These are deep things to consider.
14 – 2 Samuel 19:41-43 (ESV) 41 Then all the men of Israel came to the king and said to the king, “Why have our brothers the men of Judah stolen you away and brought the king and his household over the Jordan, and all David’s men with him?” 42 All the men of Judah answered the men of Israel, “Because the king is our close relative. Why then are you angry over this matter? Have we eaten at all at the king’s expense? Or has he given us any gift?” 43 And the men of Israel answered the men of Judah, “We have ten shares in the king, and in David also we have more than you. Why then did you despise us? Were we not the first to speak of bringing back our king?” But the words of the men of Judah were fiercer than the words of the men of Israel.
RAF: Just because someone wins the argument, doesn’t mean they are right. They may just have “fiercer” words.
15 – 2 Samuel 20:3 (ESV) 3 And David came to his house at Jerusalem. And the king took the ten concubines whom he had left to care for the house and put them in a house under guard and provided for them, but did not go in to them. So they were shut up until the day of their death, living as if in widowhood.
RAF: It is never too late to begin to set right what has gone wrong for so very long. David begins a new day of dealing with the symbols – these poor concubines – of his own lack of restraint sexually (which flowed over to Bathsheba) and that which was then bred into his sons Absalom and Amnon. Watch in the following passages then how his ability to be decisive returns when the compromise is put away.