A Case Study in Forgiveness
The thing that David had done was evil in the sight of the Lord.
–2 Samuel 11:27
It is possible to restore a broken relationship with God no matter what you have done. Consider the sordid story of King David.
We read in 2 Samuel 11 about the sin that became a scandal in Israel. David was a successful king at the height of his political career. Apparently he began to think, “God sure is lucky to have me as the king. Maybe God’s laws don’t even apply to me.” We see what that kind of thinking led to. “Then it happened in the spring, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him and all Israel. … But David stayed at Jerusalem” (v. 1). David should have been out with his men in battle, but he became a victim of God’s universal principle: “Whatever a man sows, this he will also reap” (Galatians 6:7). For David, his sowing resulted in the pregnancy of Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah. When Bathsheba delivered the news to David, he went into full-scale panic and tried to cover his sin. He came up with an elaborate scheme, calling Bathsheba’s husband home and trying to get him to sleep with his wife. When that plan didn’t work, David had Uriah killed. He told the commander of the troops, “Place Uriah in the front line of the fiercest battle and withdraw from him, so that he may be struck down and die” (2 Samuel 11:15). After Uriah was killed, David was free to take Bathsheba as his own wife. Then what happened? Nothing. Days went by. Weeks went by. No judgment.
As weeks turned into months David likely began to think, “Maybe I am exempt from God’s standards. Maybe God doesn’t care about my sin. Maybe God doesn’t even exist.” David made a mistake that many of us make when we are involved in sin, and that is confusing God’s patience with God’s tolerance of sin. We think because the lightning bolt doesn’t hit the moment we sin, maybe God really doesn’t care, maybe He has changed his opinion on this matter, or maybe He doesn’t even exist.
That is why David’s son Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 8:11, “Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed quickly, therefore the hearts of the sons of men among them are given fully to do evil.” Don’t ever make the mistake of confusing God’s patience with God’s tolerance of sin. Some of you are involved in secret sin; you think nobody knows what you are doing. But God knows what you are doing. That is why 2 Samuel 11:27 says, “The thing that David had done was evil in the sight of the Lord.” God saw what David was doing, and He gave David a chance to repent. But He had recorded a date on the calendar when David would be confronted with his sin and what had been done in secret would be shouted from the housetops.
Are you tired of running from your past? Are you tired of covering over your sin with lie after lie? Are you tired of feeling distant from God? Forgiveness is possible.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Receiving God’s Gift of Forgiveness” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2015.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.