David and Bathsheba

A Story of Contrition and Grace

Key Verses

1 Timothy 1:15-16

15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.


Psalm 32:1

Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.



When I was just a child, I owned my very own b-b gun.  It wasn’t very powerful, and seemed to be fairly harmless.  In fact one evening I actually shot a barn swallow right in the chest.  It startled the bird, but it certainly didn’t seem to hurt it.  I literally shot hundreds and hundreds of times at various targets and little living creatures and never had a single problem--at least for a while.


One hot summer afternoon I set a Coke bottle on the sidewalk and sat on the front porch for a little target practice.  I didn’t realize that my brother-in-law’s car was parked just a few feet beyond the bottle.  Sure enough, I missed.  The little b-b flew past its target and shattered the back window of the red Road Runner.  Apparently the intense heat built up inside the car and created the proper conditions so that a small tap from a flying b-b would break it into a thousand pieces.


It was a mistake--an error in judgment.  My only crime was being irresponsible. But, for the first time in my life, I felt horribly guilty.   I walked away and lived with remorse for several hours. Eventually my mother confronted me and I made amends, but I had become aware of the sense of guilt.  Even though this was the first time I experienced such a feeling, it certainly would not be the last.  Since that first experience I’ve learned a lot about guilt and its remedy. 

·         How young were you when you first sensed guilt?

·         How does the feeling of guilt impact a person’s life?

·         We don’t talk much about guilt these days.  Somehow it seems inappropriate and way too harsh.  What is good about the feeling of guilt?  What is bad?


Study the Word (2 Samuel)

The story of David and Bathsheba reveals the only good news about guilt.  David wasn’t just a naive boy who made a mistake.  He committed some of the worst sins recorded in the Bible.  Have your group read the following passages and learn more about the story of David and Bathsheba.


David’s Temptation

·         (11:1): David stays behind in the royal palace and sends Joab to lead the Israelites to fight the Ammonites.

·         (11:2–5): David watches a beautiful woman named Bathsheba as she bathes.

David’s  Sin

·         David’s sin of adultery (11:5):  After learning that Bathsheba is the wife of one of his soldiers, he sends for her and sleeps with her. Soon he learns she is pregnant with his child.

·         David’s sin of deceit  (11:6–13): David tries to cover up his sin of adultery.

·         David’s sin of murder (11:14–27): Failing to deceive Uriah into sleeping with his wife, David arranges for Uriah to be killed in battle so David can make Bathsheba one of his wives.

·         David tries to cover up his sin (11:22–27): News reaches David that Uriah has been killed, so he marries the widowed Bathsheba after her period of mourning. Soon after this, a son is born.

David’s sin is exposed

·         (12:1–12): The Lord sends Nathan the prophet to confront David regarding his sin.


The only good news about guilt is that God wants to forgive.  The Bible reminds us over and over again that David was considered a righteous man.  He did not receive this recognition because he was free of guilt.  He received it because of his willingness to be contrite.  As you read the rest of the story, you will notice that David did not just apologize.  He really repented.  He called upon God’s mercy and grace because he understood the magnitude of his sin.

1.       Unlike Adam, David did not blame someone else (Genesis 3:12)

2.       Unlike Cain, he did not defy the Lord (Genesis 4:9)

3.       Unlike Saul, he did not make excuses (1 Samuel 13:12)

4.       Unlike Ananias, he did not lie (Acts 5:3-4)

5.       Unlike Achan, he did not try to hide his sin (Joshua 7:20)

6.       Instead, David immediately admitted his sin and asked for forgiveness (2 Samuel 13)


David’s Return

·         (12:13): When David confesses his sin, Nathan tells him that the Lord has forgiven him and will not let him die for this sin.

·         David suffers the bitter consequences (12:14–25)

·         David is restored (12:24–25): Later Bathsheba gives birth to Solomon, whose name means “peace.” The Lord, however, tells David that his name should be Jedidiah, meaning “beloved of the Lord.” (Willmington, H. L.: The Outline Bible)

·         David served the Lord the rest of his days (1 Kings 15:5)

·         We have the privilege of knowing exactly what David was thinking after Nathan confronted him. 

o   Psalm 51 is the record of David’s prayer of repentance and confession.

§  His confession was very specific in (vs. 3-4).  “Against you, you only, have I sinned.” 

§  David pleads for mercy by using several phrases, “Have mercy on me”, “Wash me,” “Purge me.” 

v  Have your group identify the different pleas David makes.  There are approximately 21.

v   Why didn’t David just say, “I’m sorry. Please forgive me,” once and leave it at that?

o   Have your students read Psalm 32 and answer the following questions

§  What does David say about sins that go un-confessed? (Psalm 32:3-4)

§  How does David describe those who have been forgiven?

§  David points out the physical impact that sin has on a person’s life.  How does sin impact us physically, spiritually and emotionally?


Life Application

Here is the good news about guilt.  It does not have to control your life.  You can be forgiven and restored.


Read the following passages and claim them for yourself.  When we confess and repent…

·         2 Corinthians 5:17—We become a new creation

·         John 8:36—We are free

·         Psalm 32:1—We are blessed

·         Ephesians 2:12-13—We are brought near to God

·         Isaiah 6:6-7—We do not live with guilt

·         Romans 8:1—We are no longer condemned

·         Psalm 103:11-12 –We are free from our transgressions

·         1 Timothy 1:14-16—We are recipients of God’s mercy and grace.


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