“And it came to pass, after the year was expired, at the time when kings go forth to battle, that David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the children of Ammon, and besieged Rabbah. But David tarried still at Jerusalem” (2 Samuel 11:1). Chapter 11 of 2 Samuel portrays one of the saddest accounts concerning failure found in the entirety of the word of God. The sin could not have been blacker or the crime more heinous. David, the man after God’s own heart, would murder one of his choice servants in cold blood and then take his wife. However, out of this horror would come one of the great attributes of God that would be a signal portrayal of the grace of God. This chapter testifies to the inspiration of the Bible, for only the Holy Spirit would record so faithfully such infamy and horror that gives us true insight into man’s nature as sinful and fallen, and it teaches the reader the humbling lesson that such is the nature he possesses. Also, if divine restraints are withheld and temptations sufficiently attractive and skillfully proffered, there is no depth of evil, shame, and falsehood to which man will not fall.

Why Isn’t This Account Given in 1 Chronicles?

That’s a good question. 1 Chronicles carries almost all the accounts of David as does 1 and 2 Samuel. However, when we come to the 20th Chapter of 1 Chronicles, which gives account of this particular time period, David’s sin with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband, Uriah, are omitted altogether. And yet, in the 21st Chapter of 1 Chronicles, it records, in glaring detail, David’s sin in taking a census. Why one and not the other? We will deal, first of all, with David’s sin in taking a census. The taking of the census, within itself, was not wrong. This had to do with the fact that, in taking the census, David ignored the demanded half shekel of silver that had  been to be paid for each individual in this census, according to Exodus 30:12. In a sense, it was referred to as “ransom money”, meaning, in essence, that all the children of Israel were purchased by the blood of the Lamb, for “silver” was a type of redemption in Old Testament terminology. The command was a half shekel of the sanctuary for each person taken in the census. In ignoring this command of The Lord to pay the ransom money, David, in essence, was bypassing The Cross of Christ, which God can never allow. While his sin with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband, Uriah, were horrible beyond compare, still, as bad as they were, they did not deny The Cross of Christ as the census sin did. With this sin with Bathsheba and her husband forgiven, washed, and cleansed by the precious blood of the Lamb, so to speak, in the mind of God, it no longer existed. Consequently, it would not be included in 1 Chronicles. 1 and 2 Samuel record events as man sees them while 1 and 2 Chronicles records events as God sees them. In your Bible study, when you come to the 20th Chapter of 1 Chronicles and realize that this was the time that David committed this terrible sin, and yet, it is not even mentioned here, you must understand that what you are reading is justification by faith. Also, you had better thank God for this which we have stated because it means that your sins and my sins, once forgiven, are remembered no more by The Lord. Here’s the great blessing, in the eyes of God, they do not even exist. There’s an old song that says, “When at the judgment bar, I stand before the King, He the books will open, He cannot find a thing. Then, will my heart be glad, and tears of joy shall flow, for the old account was settled, was settled long ago!” You see, there are two sets of books in Heaven, one is the chronicle where every name of every born-again believer is inscribed. The other books contain every action, every sin, all wickedness, and all evil that the individual has committed. It is there, proverbially speaking, in black and white (Revelation 20:12). There is only one way that all of those sins, perversions, iniquities, and wickedness can be erased, and that is by the person accepting Jesus Christ as his Savior and Lord. At the moment that this is done, all iniquity is expunged from the books. It remains that way for the child of God. While we should not ever sin, the fact remains that all of us have had to go before The Lord as believers many times confessing our sins before Him. Thank God that He said, in that case, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). This means that those sins are never entered into those books. When the believing sinner comes to Christ, the Perfection of Our Lord is instantly given to that individual, and that’s the way that God looks at us from then on. He looks at us and sees Jesus Christ, providing our faith is in Christ and what He has done for us at The Cross exclusively. That’s the reason that David’s terrible sin with Bathsheba and against her husband, Uriah, are not mentioned in 1 Chronicles. The census sin is mentioned, even though David was forgiven, as a warning that we are to never ignore The Cross of Jesus Christ.

The Cross of Christ

Please understand that the only thing standing between mankind and eternal hell is The Cross of Christ. Also, please understand that any direction taken by the believer other than The Cross of Christ always and without exception leads to self-righteousness. In addition, it must be remembered it was self-righteousness which nailed Christ to The Cross. Sadly and regrettably, this is the great sin of the modern church. It is ignoring The Cross or outright denying its veracity. Jesus Christ is the New Covenant while The Cross of Christ is the meaning of that New Covenant. It was to the Apostle Paul that the meaning of the New Covenant was given (Galatians 1:1-12). If we, as believers, ignore The Cross, we have ignored and laid aside all opportunity for victory, for there is no victory outside The Cross. Millions of believers understand The Cross of Christ as it refers to Salvation. However, they have no understanding at all, and this includes preachers, the part The Cross of Christ plays in our sanctification experience. I speak of how we grow in grace in the knowledge of The Lord. I speak of how we order our behavior. I speak of how we have victory over the world, the flesh, and the devil. As the early church fathers termed it, as The Cross of Christ is an absolute must as it regards redemption, it is the same as it regards sanctification. So, when David ignored the silver that was to be given for every person who was counted, called “a half shekel of the sanctuary”, he was, in essence, ignoring The Cross of Christ. Whether he realized it or not, he was stating that the power of Israel was in her army and in her mighty men, completely ignoring The Lord. However, he was quickly made to realize that Israel’s strength and prosperity were all in the shed blood of The Lamb, exactly as it is in the church presently.

The Temptation

“And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king's house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon” (2 Samuel 11:2). No blame, at this juncture, must be attached to Bathsheba. The place where she was bathing was regarded as perfectly secluded, and probably neither she nor her husband, Uriah, had ever suspected that what went on there could be observed from the roof of the king’s palace. Of course, the question immediately comes to mind as to why David would have done such a thing. Temptation is a powerful factor. There is only one way that we can come out victorious as believers, and that is our faith be exclusively in Christ and The Cross. This, then, gives The Holy Spirit the liberty, the latitude, and the legality to work within our hearts and lives, to give us the power that we need to overcome the powers of satan. Paul clearly said, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2). Whenever Paul uses the term “in Christ Jesus” or one of its derivatives, such as “in Him”, etc., without exception, he is speaking of Christ and what Christ did for us at The Cross. In fact, even though I have not personally counted them, it is said that Paul used the term over 100 times in his 14 Epistles. It is all in Christ Jesus, referring to what He did for us at The Cross. Please understand, were it not for The Cross of Christ, The Lord could not even look at us, much less have communion with us. Even with a believer’s faith properly placed and properly maintained, that does not mean that temptation will vanish away, or else, we can dismiss it with a wave of the hand. It is not that simple. It is never that simple. That’s the reason that Paul said so much about “the flesh”. He was speaking of that which is indigenous to a human being, our education, our motivation, our intellect, our willpower, and our personal talent and ability, etc. While these things themselves are not wrong, nevertheless, if we try to live for God by the means of “the flesh”, we will fail every single time. That’s why the great apostle also said, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Romans 8:1). Unfortunately, almost all the modern church is walking “after the flesh” and not walking “after the Spirit.”

What Does it Mean to Walk After the Flesh?

It means to place our faith and confidence in something else, in fact, in anything other than The Cross of Christ. It doesn’t matter what it is or how good it might be in its own right, if it’s not the Cross of Christ, The Lord labels it as “the flesh”, which guarantees failure. Regrettably, the church staggers and stumbles from one episode of the flesh to the other, with the present one bringing no more victory from the previous one. Once again, it is The Cross of Christ and the Cross of Christ alone that gives us what we must have. Of course, when I speak of The Cross, I’m not speaking of the wooden beam on which Jesus died, but, rather, what He there did.

What Does it Mean to Walk After the Spirit?

Let’s see what it isn’t. It isn’t doing spiritual things, which most people think is the answer. While doing spiritual things may be good, right, and absolutely necessary, that’s not what Paul was talking about. To “walk after the Spirit”, which, of course, refers to The Holy Spirit, means that the believer places his or her faith exclusively in Christ and what Christ did at The Cross. That’s the way The Holy Spirit works. He doesn’t demand much of us, but He does demand that our faith be exclusively in Christ and The Cross. In essence, He tells us that in the passage just quoted from Romans 8:1. Now, we might quickly add that the Old Testament saints did not have the capacity of The Holy Spirit as we do presently. While The Holy Spirit was definitely with them, He was not in them. That’s why Jesus told His disciples a few hours before the crucifixion, and while The Holy Spirit was then with them, after The Cross, He would be in them (John 14:17). And yet, in Old Testament times, The Holy Spirit did come into the heart and life of certain individuals such as prophets and David, for instance, but He did this in order to help them carry out the tasks assigned to them, and then The Holy Spirit would leave. There is not much evidence that The Holy Spirit helped these individuals, whoever they were, as it regarded sanctification. He would help them carry out their task, but there’s not much evidence that He went any further.

Why was The Holy Spirit Then Limited?

Before The Cross, the Holy Spirit was very limited because the blood of bulls and goats could not take away sins (Hebrews 10:4). While the sacrifices did serve, in a fashion, as an atonement, which meant the sins were covered, they were not taken away. That’s the reason that, before the Cross, when believers died, they could not go to Heaven but were taken down into Paradise. In effect, they remained captive to satan, even though satan was very limited as to what he could do to them. In fact, Jesus said that they were comforted (Luke 16:19-31). In other words, every single Old Testament saint in Paradise was awaiting The Cross, which would set them free. When The Cross became a fact, Jesus Himself came down and liberated them from this place and made them His captives (Ephesians 4:8). There was nothing satan could do about it. Now, when believers die, their soul and their spirit instantly go to be with The Lord Jesus Christ in Heaven (Philippians 1:23). So, under the New Covenant, we have a much better Covenant, and one might even say, a much better Contract. It is all based on better promises and all because of what Jesus did at The Cross (Hebrews 8:6).

Can the Believer Reach a Place to Where There Will be No More Temptation?

Not until we die or the trump sounds (1 Corinthians 15:52). However, the believer can reach the place and is supposed to reach the place to where that “sin shall no longer have dominion over you” (Romans 6:14). “Dominion” is a strong word. It means that sin or sins totally dominate the person, despite every effort he makes to try to stop the process. That’s a miserable state for the child of God to be in. In fact, the 7th Chapter of Romans portrays such a believer. Unfortunately, every single believer who has ever lived has had to go through the 7th Chapter of Romans. The crime, and a crime it is, is that most believers stay in the 7th Chapter of Romans for the entirety of their life and living. It is a miserable existence to which Paul testifies. In fact, as it regards the 7th Chapter of Romans, this is a portrayal of Paul’s personal experience after he was saved, baptized with The Holy Spirit, called to preach the Gospel, and, in fact, was preaching. For a timeframe of several years, Paul, not knowing God’s prescribed order of victory, tried to live for God in the only way he knew, which was by keeping commandments. He found, to his dismay, that no matter how hard he tried, he simply could not do it (Romans 7:15-18). I might quickly add, neither can you. And yet, that is where most of the church is, trying to live for God by the means of commandments. It cannot be done. To Paul’s credit, there was no one in the world at that time who knew God’s prescribed way of victory, which was the meaning of the New Covenant, which was the meaning of The Cross. It was to Paul that this great revelation was given, and we continue to speak of the meaning of the New Covenant, which is The Cross (Galatians 1:1-12). Then, Paul gave us this glorious information in his 14 Epistles. While the Bible does not teach sinless perfection, it most definitely does teach that sin is not to have dominion over us. However, this can only come about by the believer placing his faith exclusively in Christ and The Cross. To be sure, we must understand that even though the believer’s faith is exactly where it needs to be, in other words, in the correct object, which is The Cross, that doesn’t mean that all temptation stops or that satan folds his tent and leaves. He will continue to try to hurt us, to cause us problems, and to cause us to yield to temptation until the day we die or the trump sounds. However, as previously stated, we can have total victory over his efforts so that he no longer dominates us with sin. It is all in The Cross. I include the following, and I pray you would study this formula:

  • Jesus Christ is the source of everything we receive from God (John 1:1-2, 14, 29; Romans 6:1-14)
  • The Cross of Christ is the means and the only means by which all of these things are given to us (1 Corinthians 1:17-18, 23; 2:2; Colossians 2:14-15)
  • The Cross of Christ must, without fail, be the object of our faith and the only object of our faith, which means it is, then, truly faith in The Word (Colossians 2:10-15; Romans 6:1-14; Galatians 6:14)
  • With Jesus as the source and The Cross as the means and The Cross as the object of our faith, The Holy Spirit, Who works exclusively within the parameters of the finished work of Christ, will then work mightily on our behalf (Romans 8:1-11; Ephesians 2:13-18)

In essence, that is God’s prescribed order of victory and His only prescribed way of victory.

Yielding to Temptation: The Study of David and Bathsheba

“And David sent and enquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite? And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her; for she was purified from her uncleanness…” (2 Samuel 11:3-4). Uriah was one of David’s mighty men, which means that he was an elite warrior (2 Samuel 23:39).

The Foreknowledge of God

When the Lord called David and had him anointed as king, when he anointed him to fight the great battles of Israel with great victories, and when He also anointed him to write over half the Psalms, The Lord, through foreknowledge, knew that David would commit this terrible sin. And terrible it is, and terrible it was. David would pay dearly, and yet, The Lord would forgive and cleanse David with him maintaining that which The Lord had promised to him.


“And the woman conceived, and sent and told David, and said, I am with child” (2 Samuel 11:5). In fact, her crime was one that made her as well as David liable to the penalty of death (Leviticus 20:10). Had David immediately repented of his sin, a sin against God and against Uriah, against Bathsheba, and against the people of Israel, and then cast himself with anguish of heart upon God, The Lord would have made a way of escape and forgiveness consistent with Himself and morally instructive to David. Instead, David attempted to cover up his sin. It should be ever understood that there is no covering of sin except for the precious blood of Christ. As well, that cannot be obtained unless one humbly and truly repents before God.

David’s Plan to Cover His Sin

The following constitutes the ways that David enacted endeavoring to cover his sin:

  • He sent for Uriah. At that time, Uriah was with Joab fighting the Ammonites, which now is in modern Jordan. Neither Joab, who commanded the army of Israel, nor Uriah knew why he was commanded to come to Jerusalem.
  • David then told Uriah that he should go to his house, thinking he would be with his wife, Bathsheba, and then the pregnancy would be covered, with everyone thinking, including Uriah, that the baby belonged to him. However, Uriah would not go. The Scripture says, “But Uriah slept at the door of the king's house with all the servants of his lord, and went not down to his house” (2 Samuel 11:9).
  • Then David got him drunk, but still, he did not go to his wife. All of this means that the sin deepens when nothing works to cover up the sin, the Scripture says.

The Letter

“And it came to pass in the morning, that David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah. And he wrote in the letter, saying, Set ye Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retire ye from him, that he may be smitten, and die” (2 Samuel 11:14-15). The warrior didn’t know it, but David had written Uriah’s death warrant. It will amount to murder in cold blood of one of David’s loyal subjects. How could this man, who wrote the 23rd Psalm, do this? Note well, sin never betters itself. The slide is always downward. Irrespective of how holy man has been or how educated he might be, sin is a force and power that can only be dealt with by the precious blood of Jesus Christ. Sin is so powerful that even though God could speak words into existence, still, due to His nature, He could not speak sin out of existence. God would have to die on a cruel cross in the form of Jesus Christ offering up Himself as a perfect sacrifice in order to pay in full sin’s demands. The Holy Spirit intends for us here to see not only David’s terrible sins but also our sins as well. Murder is bad enough, but cold-blooded murder is the worst.

The Terrible Sin Committed

At the command of David, Uriah took the letter with him to give to Joab. Uriah had no idea whatsoever that the letter contained his death warrant. It is not known as to exactly what Joab knew at this stage as he read the letter sent to him by David. The wording of the text, however, tells us that Joab now may have known at least something about the situation. In other words, he would have suspected that something had happened. Of course, in the very near future, all of Israel would know. Joab did exactly what David told him to do and placed Uriah in the hottest part of the battle where Uriah was killed. He died never knowing what had happened. The more we read of this, the sicker we become. But again, please allow me to state, if in all of this we do not see ourselves as well, and I mean see ourselves as we should, then we are missing a great part of what The Holy Spirit is here saying. Sin is an evil business, and more evil, if possible, with some than others. Adultery and murder would be wrong in any case. However, with David, it would affect the entire nation of Israel. So, Uriah died, and when David received the news, his answer was callous to say the least. Such is what sin does. He said to the messenger, who was to give the answer to Joab “…Thus shalt thou say unto Joab, Let not this thing displease thee, for the sword devoureth one as well as another: make thy battle more strong against the city, and overthrow it: and encourage thou him” (2 Samuel 11:25). After waiting awhile, David sent and brought Bathsheba to his house “…and she became his wife, and bare him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD” (2 Samuel 11:27). The record reveals that God will show no more favor to “His anointed” than He will to the most ungodly. David may have thought the matter was covered, but he was to find out that it was not covered at all.

Nathan The Prophet

That which we try to hide from The Lord is never hidden from The Lord. David would now find that out. To be sure, as hurtful as it was, it would ultimately be a blessing. The reason is obvious. David had to be suffering the bitter pangs of conscience 24 hours a day. The Scripture says, “And the LORD sent Nathan unto David. And he came unto him, and said unto him, There were two men in one city; the one rich, and the other poor” (2 Samuel 12:1). On Nathan’s last visit to David, at least of which there is a record according to 2 Samuel Chapter 7, the prophet had brought the greatest message that could ever be brought to a mere mortal. He said to David that through his lineage would come the Messiah, the King of Kings (2 Samuel 7:18-19). Now, God, by the same prophet, sends the worst message that a man could ever hear. Beautifully and strangely enough, because of the grace of God, the second message of doom because of David’s great sin does not nullify the great message of honor and redemption that had been given at the beginning. Nathan tells David a story, no doubt given to him by The Holy Spirit. It is given in the form of a parable. He spoke of two men being in one city, the one rich and the other poor. He told of how the rich man had vast herds of sheep while the poor man had nothing actually one little ewe lamb “…which he had bought and nourished up…” (2 Samuel 12:3). He went on to tell how the rich man had a traveler come to his house with the rich man obligated to provide a meal, etc. Despite the fact that he had huge herds of sheep, he would not take one of them, but he, rather, went and took “…the poor man's lamb…” (2 Samuel 12:4). David heard Nathan relating this illustration and became incensed that a man would do such a thing. David said, “…As the LORD liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die” (2 Samuel 12:5). The correct translation should be “A man who would do such thing is a wretch who deserves to die.” David then said that the rich man would have to restore fourfold what he had taken, which was exactly in accordance with the Mosaic law (Exodus 22:1).

You Are the Man

When David ceased speaking, Nathan the Prophet had to deliver a message to David, which was not a very pleasant thing to deliver. The Scripture says, “And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man” (2 Samuel 12:7). Abruptly and with sudden vehemence came the application to David himself. So skillfully had the parable been contrived that, up to that point, David had no suspicion that he was the rich man who had acted so meanly by his poorer neighbor, Uriah. Now, he stood self-condemned. When we pass judgment, we had better be careful, as David, that we are not passing judgment on ourselves.

The Word of The Lord

After dropping the bombshell, so to speak, “Thou art the man,” The Holy Spirit, through Nathan, now finished the message. He said unto him, “Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul; And I gave thee thy master's house, and thy master's wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things. Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon” (2 Samuel 12:7-9). If it is to be noticed, The Lord blamed David with the murder of Uriah, despite the fact that it was actually the Ammonites who performed the deed. It was David who planned it, who set it in motion, and made it possible to be carried out. Therefore, in the eyes of God, he, David, and not the Ammonites, was the murderer. The Lord pulled no punches and made no excuses. The lesson here is all sin in its ultimate conclusion is against God. It is an insult to God, a slap in His face, a denial of His rulership, and a great threat to His kingdom. It is the ruination of all that is good. What David had covered up, The Lord openly and fully revealed.

The Penalty

“Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife” (2 Samuel 12:10). And so it was. This sentence was fulfilled in the murder of Amnon, David’s son (2 Samuel 13:28), who had been encouraged in his crime by his father’s example. Upon this, followed Absalom’s rebellion and death (2 Samuel 18:14). And finally, in his last hours, when David made Solomon his successor, he knew that he was virtually passing the sentence of death upon Adonijah, the eldest of his surviving sons. What a fearful choice. However, had he not done so, Bathsheba and her four sons would doubtless have been killed as well. “Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun. For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun” (2 Samuel 12:11-12). All of this came to pass exactly as The Lord said. For instance, Absalom, David’s son, went against him and endeavored to take the throne for himself. He did not succeed, but you can imagine the sorrow and heartache that it caused. In fact, thousands were killed because of this.

I Have Sinned Against The Lord

The Scripture says, “And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die. Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die” (2 Samuel 12:13-14). David had a true knowledge of God, and therefore, when charged with this sin, his first thought was not the punishment that would surely follow but the injury done to God. We find in this that God’s response to true repentance was the same as it always has been. However, that does not abrogate the penalty for sin, which must be left to The Lord and not man.

I know that my Redeemer lives,

And on the earth again shall stand.

I know eternal life He gives,

That grace and power are in His hand.

I know His promise never fails;

The Word He speaks, it cannot die.

Tho’ cruel death my flesh assails,

Yet I shall see Him by and by.

I know my mansion He prepares,

That where He is, there I may be.

A wonderous thought for me He cares,

And He, at last, will come for me.