Backsliding: Watch That First Step!

If you wanted a study of character, nobility, wisdom, courage, and devotion; you could not find a better man than David. The Bible calls him, "...a man after God’s own heart" (Acts 13:22).

Yet there was a dark chapter in David’s life. Even though he was a great man and loved God, David committed a horrible and egregious sin against Almighty God. He entered into an adulterous affair with Bathsheba. Then, in an attempt to cover his sin, he arranged to have her husband killed.

We need to be forewarned! If it could happen to David, it can happen to us. First Corinthians 10:12 says, "...let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." And so, we need to see how and why this happened in the life of this great man.

Second Samuel 11:1-2 says, "And it came to pass, after the year was expired, at the time when kings go forth to battle ... But David tarried still at Jerusalem. 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."

The Sin of Casualness

What was David’s sin? In the beginning, it was simply the sin of casualness. The harvest time was over, and there were battles to be fought; yet David remained at home. He did not do anything wrong in itself; he just failed to do what was right. He was a king, but he lay around in bed all day while others fought.

Maybe the battle-scarred veteran thought, "I’ve done my time on the battlefield; I need a little rest and relaxation." Don’t ever think you have done your service to Jesus and you can quit.

The Sin of Carelessness

It was also a sin of carelessness. David had failed to keep up his guard. How different David was from Joseph. When tempted by Potiphar’s wife, Joseph immediately fled (see Gen. 39:11-13). He obeyed what later would be an injunction by the apostle Paul, "Flee fornication..." (1 Cor. 6:18). Jesus also warned the apostles in Matthew 26:41: "Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation..."

You will have times in your life when everything is going just fine and you don’t feel any unusual temptation, but watch out for the sin of carelessness.

The Sin of Compulsiveness

David’s sin was also a sin of compulsiveness. It has been said that sin is an undetected weakness, an unexpected opportunity, and an unprotected life. That was true in David’s life. He didn’t intend to sin; it just happened. He looked over the parapet, and there she was. He called his servants and said, "Get her for me" (v. 4).

You say, "Well, that couldn’t happen to me." David would have said the same thing before he compulsively fell into sin. There are three people seated in your seat right now: the person you are this very moment; the person you could be for God; and the person you could be for evil.

The Sin of Callousness

But it doesn’t end there. David then became calloused and tried to cover his sin. When he found out Bathsheba had conceived a child, he attempted to hide the fact that the baby was his. When that failed, he arranged for Bathsheba’s husband to be placed on the front line of battle and killed (verses 5-17).

Can you imagine this is David doing such a thing? When he committed adultery with Bathsheba, that was terrible, vile, and wicked; but it was a hot-blooded sin. Now, this is cold-blooded murder! See where his carelessness led him! David had been hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

It Could Happen to You!

This is a sad story, and God was grieved by it (v. 27). David too grieved over his sin and finally cried out to God for mercy. And as we read the rest of his life (2 Sam. 12-1 Kings 2), we see that the consequences of David’s sin followed him; but David received forgiveness from God.

Now, you say, "That’s an interesting story; maybe I can pass it on to somebody else who needs it." You missed the point! David got into trouble with the sin of casualness. He didn’t go roaring into sin. Don’t ever think it couldn’t happen to you. Is your heart cold? Get it warm. Have you been lazy? Go to work. Have you been careless? Keep the fire burning for Jesus. Don’t take that first step toward sin.