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What to Do When We’ve Made a Mistake

2 Samuel 11:1 – 12:25
Hopefully, we will not make too many mistakes in life. Today’s lesson is meant to help us
if we do make huge mistakes, or if we have made mistakes in the past. In those times, we
may feel that life is over and that there is no way for us to move forward. You should
keep this lesson locked in your heart for those times.
We will study how even the best of men, King David, made a huge mistake in life, the
real and terrible consequences of sin, and what we should do when it seems that we are
lost forever.
The Bible says that David was a man after God’s own heart. God gave David incredible
success against all his enemies. God rose David up from tending sheep to become king
over all Israel.
2 Samuel 11:1-27 (read the entire passage)
In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s
men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah.
But David remained in Jerusalem.
2 One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace.
From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, 3 and David sent
someone to find out about her. The man said, “She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam
and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” 4 Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to
him, and he slept with her. (Now she was purifying herself from her monthly
uncleanness.) Then she went back home. 5 The woman conceived and sent word to
David, saying, “I am pregnant.”
Everything in the Old Testament was written down for our instruction. We can see that it
includes even the terrible faults of its heroes, such as King David. We should be eager to
learn these important lessons. It could save your life!
David neglected his duties, he allowed himself to be sucked into temptation, deeper and
deeper. We never anticipate the place where sin leads us. If sin is a downhill slope, it
always starts out very gentle. It was not David’s plan to see Bathsheba bathing. It may not
have been his plan to sleep with her when he called her up to his palace. It was not his
plan that she was the wife of Uriah, who was one of his most devoted and brave soldiers.
David did not plan that Bathsheba would become pregnant, nor that he would murder
Uriah in order to cover up his own sin. David planned none of this. But, by the end,
David had done all of these things willingly and with a cold heart.
No one loved God more than David. He was a godly man, but see how sin is deceitful? It
always promises us one thing but actually gives us another.

2 Samuel 12:1-12 (read the entire passage)
The Lord sent Nathan to David. … 7 Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! This
is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered
you from the hand of Saul. 8 I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives
into your arms. I gave you all Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would
have given you even more. 9 Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is
evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be
your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. 10 Now, therefore, the sword
will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah
the Hittite to be your own.’
11 “This is what the Lord says: ‘Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity
on you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to
you, and he will sleep with your wives in broad daylight. 12 You did it in secret, but I will
do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.’”
13 Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.”
According to this scripture, Bathsheba’s baby was already born before the prophet
Nathan visited David. This means that, for more than nine months—maybe even a year—
David lived without repenting of a terrible sin. Do you think his relationship during that
time was the same as when he was a shepherd in the fields?
I believe that David was far from God at this time, and that he was feeling the absence of
the Holy Spirit in his life. Remember how David’s predecessor, King Saul, disobeyed
God and how the Spirit of God left him. He became increasingly miserable and wicked.
David also showed no signs of turning around. He was sliding down the slope of sin to
But God loved David still. Even though David deserved destruction, God showed him
mercy by convicting David of his sin. We can see that it is true that God takes no pleasure
in the death of the wicked. He would much rather have us repent and live! No one likes to
face their sin, but God sends the Holy Spirit to convict us of our sin so that we will turn
and repent. But how terrible it will be for those who refuse the message of the Spirit!
2 Samuel 12:13
Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.”
David made the right choice. God showed David the reality of his situation, and David
responded in the right way. When King Saul had sinned, he also admitted his fault, but he
was still concerned about his reputation. He asked the prophet Samuel to still honor him
before all the people. But David understood that he had nothing to say, nothing to argue,
nothing to excuse himself. Yes, he had sinned against Bathsheba, against his loyal man
Uriah, against his army and people—but most importantly, he had disobeyed and
offended the just and righteous King of Kings.
Psalm 51:1-17 (read the entire passage)

For the director of music. A psalm of David. When the prophet Nathan came to him after
David had committed adultery with Bathsheba.
1 Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
and justified when you judge.

16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
17 My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart
you, God, will not despise.
If you remember just one thing today, remember Psalm 51. Keep it in your heart so that
when you feel crushed by your sin, you can read it and pray it. Let’s learn from King
David. Allow the Holy Spirit to soften your heart through this psalm. And remember that,
no matter how you feel, that God will not turn away a broken and contrite heart.
When we realize our sin, the devil will push us down further into the mud. He wants us to
feel hopeless and condemned. His goal is to do to us what he did to Judas, who was
seized with remorse after betraying Jesus. Eventually, Judas went and hanged himself.
Satan desires to destroy us completely. But God! God will not turn away the repentant
David did not argue with God or make excuses. He rejected all the thoughts that had led
him into sin and acknowledged the righteous judgment of God.
2 Samuel 12:13-25 (read the entire passage)
13 Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.”
Nathan replied, “The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. 14 But
because by doing this you have shown utter contempt for[a] the Lord, the son born to you
will die.”

22 He answered, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, ‘Who
knows? The Lord may be gracious to me and let the child live.’ 23 But now that he is

dead, why should I go on fasting? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he
will not return to me.”
24 Then David comforted his wife Bathsheba, and he went to her and made love to her.
She gave birth to a son, and they named him Solomon. The Lord loved him; 25 and
because the Lord loved him, he sent word through Nathan the prophet to name him
David put himself completely at God’s mercy. And we can see that God was merciful.
David was headed for complete destruction and his end would have been like Saul, but
God turned the situation around.
But I want to stop and give you a stern warning, not from myself, but from the Word of
God. Can you see the awful effects of sin? We must not despise God or underestimate the
consequences of sin. Sin destroys lives, it destroys the good plans that God has for us. It
will ruin your life and hurt those who are dearest to you.
David was more culpable than most. He was king of Israel, God’s chosen people. By
sinning in this way, David had shown contempt for God. We must realize the effect that
our sin has on others.
Luke 17:1-3
Jesus said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but
woe to anyone through whom they come. 2 It would be better for them to be thrown into
the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to
stumble. 3 So watch yourselves.
Why is the Bible so terrifying when it describes the consequences of sin? Because God is
serious. He loves us and that is why He warns us so urgently. We should have a healthy
fear of sin. Some things can harm your body, but we are talking about much more—even
your soul.
In this case, David’s son died because of what David did. David was confident that the
infant went to be with the Lord, and that he would see him again in heaven. In other
cases, we can see that God relents from a punishment because of people’s repentance, as
in the case of Nineveh, Hezekiah, and even David when he counted the fighting men in
Israel. If there is anyone in the universe who we can trust to make a right and merciful
judgment, it is God. David trusted the judgment of the Lord, though he also appealed to
God’s mercy. It is fine to ask mercy from God concerning the consequences of our sin.
Again, I want to emphasize that death and destruction are not God’s will. These things
happen because we disobey God.
Lastly, I want to point out that God gave David and Bathsheba another son, Solomon, and
that the prophet Nathan said that his name should be Jedidiah, which means “loved by the