David’s First Mistake (David and Bathsheba)

1 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 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.
3 And David sent and enquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bath-sheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?
4 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: and she returned unto her house.
5 And the woman conceived, and sent and told David, and said, I am with child.
26 And when the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she mourned for her husband.
27 And when the mourning was past, David sent and fetched her 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 11:1-5, 26-27, KJV)

Many think that King David’s first sin was when he arose in the middle of the night, and saw Bathsheba bathing. While this certainly was a sin, it wasn’t his first. In verse one it reads, “But David tarried still at Jerusalem.” His first sin was staying in Jerusalem, and refusing to go off to war with his men. Instead of being where he was supposed to be, he placed himself in a position for temptation rather than doing the right thing.

As verse two explains, we see David’s next sin. That of lust. “…the woman was very beautiful to look upon.” Verse three, we see that David acts upon those lustful thoughts and “sent and enquired after the woman.” And then his next great sin was in verse four where he “lay with her” and committed adultery.

When David discovers that Bathsheba is with child, he gets scared and tries to cover up his mistakes. Through the rest of the chapter, David devised a plan to make the death of Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah, look like an accident of war. In verse 26, her husband is killed, and in verse 27, David married Bathsheba and she gives birth to his son.

David’s sin escalated rampantly. Where he was once a righteous king, one act of laziness or fear to go out to war with his men placed him in the wrong situation where he was able to be tempted. And unfortunately, he gave into that, which led to his downfall. We can liken this as a lesson to ourselves. We need to do the things that have been asked of us the first time, rather than placing ourselves in temptuous situations. Rather than being lazy on Sunday morning, we need to wake up, get dressed, and attend our Church services. Rather than watching the football game, we need to read our scriptures first, and then turn on the TV. By doing small first acts, we eliminate the possibility of escalating to other sin.

“Satan tries to get you to take the first step in his direction. Then he continues to lead you one step at a time to do things you never would have considered in the beginning. Immorality does not begin in adultery or perversion. It begins with little indiscretions like sex thoughts, sex discussions, passionate kissing, petting and such. The small indiscretion seems powerless compared to the sturdy body, the strong mind, the sweet spirit of youth who give way to the first temptation. But soon the strong has become weak, the master the slave, spiritual growth curtailed. But if the first unrighteous act is never given root, the tree will grow to beautiful maturity and the youthful life will grow toward God, our Father (Spencer W. Kimball, New Era, 1980, p.41).”

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