While reading the sad story of David, Bathsheba, Uriah and Nathan this morning I thought about why leaders go off the edge and the tragic consequences when they do. Here are a couple of ideas I scribbled in my journal:
It was the season when all good kings go off to war, but David got lazy, delegated his duty to Joab and took the month off. (2 Samuel 11:1) While hanging out on his roof deck, David spotted Bathsheba taking a bath and acted on his lustful thoughts. We all know the rest of the story. David got in trouble because he was not where a leader should have been during that season of time. When leaders stop doing what they are called to do, they invite trouble. There are certain things that can't be delegated – certain battles that we must personally fight. If we refuse to lead and fight we will make a mess of our lives and the lives of those around us.
The Consequences of Sin.
To his credit, David confessed and repented as soon as Nathan confronted him about his sin. Nathan's reply to David's repentance is both comforting and terrifying: "The Lord has taken your sin away. You are not going to die." (2 Samuel 12:13) I am sure David was comforted knowing that God was not going to kill him for his sin. However, while forgiven, David's sin was not quite forgotten. Nathan goes on to spell out the consequences of David's sin: that Bathsheba's child will die and that innocent family members will suffer horribly (vs. 11,14). Sin is easily forgiven, but the sowing and reaping process is rarely suspended. Lest we reason that because God is forgiving we can sin and repent at will, we better remember that sin hurts, and sometimes destroys, innocent bystanders.