We interrupt this blog post for Breaking News …
“Hello, I’m Samuel ben Elkanah of Truth News. This just in to our newsroom, an exclusive bombshell report from our Jerusalem affiliate: Special Counsel Nathan today has filed a five-count indictment against none other than King David, charging the beloved ruler and national hero with sexual misconduct, theft, murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and dereliction of his divinely appointed office. As of now, the palace press office has released no statement responding to the indictment. Stay tuned to Truth News for further updates as this explosive story unfolds.”
We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog post.
Can you imagine the Israelite people’s reactions when news began to leak about King David’s shameful, sinful crimes involving Bathsheba and her husband, Uriah, a loyal combat veteran in the king’s army? I suspect that, initially, most Israelite citizens were shocked and speechless. King David was not only a national political legend but also the people’s spiritual hero. He was a man after God’s own heart, the sweet psalmist of Israel, the king to whom the Lord made this promise: “Your house and kingdom will endure before me forever, and your throne will be established forever” (2 Sam. 7:16).
Today, in all honesty, I—a twenty-first century Gentile Christ-follower and lover of both the Old and New Testament Scriptures—still sit in stunned disbelief whenever I read the account of David’s sins, confession, and forgiveness in 2 Samuel 11–12. The description of his sins (11:1-27) frightens me and pierces my heart with conviction. If King David could fall into committing such wickedness, so could any of us if we let down our guard and give Satan a foothold in our lives.
King David’s story shows us at least three reasons that none of us can live without God’s grace.
First, David’s story shows that even the best of us fall horribly short when it comes to meeting God’s standard of righteousness. Romans 3:23 reminds us that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Some of the most pious looking and pious acting people of Jesus’ day were the Pharisees. But Jesus told his followers “unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never get into the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:20). Ephesians 2:8-9 says that we are “saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift—not from works, so that no one can boast.” King David was a man after God’s own heart, but he was also a sinner in dire need of God’s grace. He realized this fact about himself and described it in Psalm 51:5. He confessed that he was guilty, sinful, and rebellious and had been this way from the moment he was conceived in his mother’s womb.
Second, David’s story shows that apart from God’s grace, we all as sinners deserve to die and be forever condemned to hell. David himself agreed with this verdict after the prophet Nathan told him a parable about a rich man who stole a poor man’s only pet lamb. To quote David upon hearing the parable, “As the Lord lives, the man who did this deserves to die” (2 Sam. 12:5). Romans 6:23 declares that “the wages of sin is death.” In Revelation 20:14-15, the apostle John envisioned the great judgment of the end time when “death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire … and anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.” Death and hell is the verdict that every sinner deserves—including David, who confessed to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord” (2 Sam. 12:13a). But God’s grace is greater than all our sin!
Third, David’s story shows that only by God’s grace can we find hope for a better future. The same New Testament verse that says “the wages of sin is death” goes on to declare “but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23). Following David’s sincere confession of his sin, the prophet Nathan assured the repentant king, “And the Lord has taken away your sin; you will not die” (2 Sam. 12:13b).
Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace, Freely bestowed on all who believe;
All who are longing to see His face, Will you this moment His grace receive?
Grace, grace, God’s grace, Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace, Grace that is greater than all our sin.
(Excerpted from “Grace Greater than Our Sin,” words by Julia H. Johnston, The Worship Hymnal, No. 105).
David Briscoe is a content editor at Lifeway for Explore the Bible resources.