Lighthouse Leader Study Guide
Date: October 22, 2017
Series: The kings & the King: A Study of 2 Samuel
2 Samuel 11:1-12:25
This Week’s Printable Resources:
Overview of this Lesson
David and Bathsheba. It was the Bill and Monica escapade of the Old Testament. Even today, over 3000 years later, we are still talking about that night in Jerusalem when passion ignited a flame that would nearly destroy David’s family.
In this week’s lesson, we will examine what for many is the most perplexing question of David’s life: “how can a ‘man after God’s own heart’ do such a thing?” Adultery. Murder. Coverup. It doesn’t make sense! But as we will see, the root of what caused David to send a servant to invite the young and beautiful Bathsheba to his bedroom is the same root that exists with each one of us.
Memory Verse for This Week
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
Humanity (John 3:16): We believe all people are born separated from God by sin, but God in his love sent his Son Jesus Christ as their savior.
This Week’s Take Home Truth
It is inevitable: We will reap what we sow. Yet, God’s grace is unfathomable: We can be forgiven and restored, even in the middle of painful and long-term consequences.
- Looking back at your notes from this week’s sermon, was there anything that particularly caught your attention, challenged or confused you?
- In what ways do you agree or disagree with the adage “Power corrupts”?
Make sure you ask this question this week. It gives people the opportunity to discuss questions or issues that come up beyond the written questions. People’s responses can often lead into one of the questions in the “Digging Deeper” section. Also, some weeks this question will result in a lot of discussion, other weeks, not so much.
Read the Text (2 Samuel 11:-12:25)
In what may be two of the darkest chapters in 2 Samuel, King David’s secret sins are exposed for all to see. Yet, even in the middle of painful and long-term consequences, he finds God’s grace to be sufficient for forgiveness and restoration. Read 2 Samuel 11:1-12:25.
In this section, feel free to develop your own questions to help guide your group’s discussion. Below are some suggestions. Remember, if you are hearing from everyone in your group, chances are you won’t have to time to discuss every question. You may start with one that catches your attention so you don’t run out of time. For example, it’s not odd to start with Question #6, then go to Question #5 and if you have time come back to Question #4.
Summarize what is happening in 2 Samuel 11-12.
The text is clear and easy to follow as the writer of 2 Samuel lays out the details of David’s sin with Bathsheba. For clarity, here’s a brief summary of each chapter:
Chapter 11. When David’s armies are on the battlefield, he stays back in Jerusalem. David sees a beautiful, young woman bathing and he desires her…even though she is married. After sleeping with her, he finds out she is pregnant. In an attempt to cover up his infidelity, David sends for the woman’s husband from the battlefield hoping that when he comes home for a short break from the war, he will sleep with his wife, think the child is his, and all will be well. Unfortunately for David, the man is too honorable. He refuses to enjoy the benefits and comfort of his home when his fellow soldiers are on the battlefield. Eventually, David writes a note to his commanding general and sends it back with the husband. The note instructs the general to put the husband into the frontlines of the war and when the enemy is attacking, to withdraw from the husband so he is killed. David’s plan is successful. The husband comes home in a body bag and David takes his wife as his own.
Chapter 12. God sends Nathan the prophet to confront David about his sin. God is not pleased with what David has done. Even though David has carefully covered his tracks and so no one knows of his infidelity and murder, God knows. He sends Nathan the prophet to confront David. Realizing that Nathan must use wisdom, he tells David a story about a rich man who takes the young ewe lamb of a poor farmer and slaughters the farmer’s lamb so he can have a good meal. David’s anger flares. Surely, as the Lord lives, this man will die for his injustice. Then, in words that ring through history, Nathan drops the hammer: you are the man! The words struck David strike David like a hammer blow, and he immediately acknowledges his sin against the Lord. Unfortunately, Nathan isn’t finished. He outlines for David the punishment the Lord will bring against David’s family: what David did in secret, the Lord will do to his family for all to see! While the consequences begin immediately, they will last for many years.
Who was Uriah the Hittite?
When David was a fugitive, when he was in the wilderness being hunted down by Saul, a group of friends voluntarily came around him. They were called his mighty men, and they risked their lives to save David’s life. One of them was Uriah the Hittite. This isn’t just any old person. This is a man to whom David owes his life. He covets the man’s wife, he commits adultery with the man’s wife, he murders the man, and then he lies to cover it up, half the Ten Commandments being broken in one awful enterprise.
What does David’s sin teach us about the character of mankind?
Here’s what it teaches us. The seeds of the most terrible possible atrocities, the capability of the worst possible deeds, live in every human heart, even the best people, even people who are converted by God.
The best of men are men at best.
For a parallel in modern history, we need to look no further than the holocaust of the Jews from 1933-1945. Few countries have had a more positive impact on Western Civilization than Germany. This is the land that gave us Beethoven, Brahms, Goethe, and Schiller. This is the land that gave birth to Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation. Yet, this is the same country that worked at and perfected their extermination camps in order to efficiently and effectively murder millions of people, including six million Jews.
The people who envisioned, organized, and carried out the atrocities of the Holocaust were ordinary middle-class men and women. They had parents who loved them and children they adored; some grew up as devout Catholics, and one even started seminary before becoming a Nazi, they wrote poetry and played musical instruments. Hidden within each of us is the same seed of evil that gave birth to the Holocaust.
Why did the Las Vegas shooter kill almost 60 people and injure hundreds more?
In the wake of the recent Las Vegas shooting, the police and the media have focused on one question: why? Why did Stephen Paddock do this evil thing?
If you stop and think about this question for a moment, it reveals a harmful belief our culture has allowed to become rooted in our community consciousness. Here’s the lie: evil is the result of something outside of our own character and nature. Our culture today assumes people are Inherently good, and if evil happens, it must be because of some external consequence.
- A person has been “radicalized” by Islamic fundamentalists
- A person was influenced by Hollywood, or video games, or talk radio
- A person was part of a political party, or subscribed to racist magazines, or was under the influence of a communist uncle
- A person loved guns and frequented gun shows
All of these are reasons you will find within the media that help us explain why people do the evil things they do. What you will not hear expressed in the media is the biblical reason people do evil things: because at our core, we are evil. Jeremiah 17:19 tell us,
“The heart is deceitful above all things,
And desperately wicked;
Who can know it?
If you look carefully in your Bible, you will not see any footnotes and qualifiers within this text. There’s not a footnote that points you to the bottom of the page where it says, “the ‘heart’ refers to those who listen to talk radio or have communist-sympathizing uncles.” No, this verse is making a universal application. The heart of ALL men and ALL women is deceitful and desperately wicked.
This is why when we see the evil a Stephen Paddock can bring upon a crowd of innocent people, we look for the why. What circumstances caused him to do this? Why did Stephen Paddock do what he did? Because his heart (and my heart, and your heart) is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.
Does this same logic apply to God’s people, men and women who have by faith become righteous in God’s sight?
I think we can all agree that our culture doesn’t believe in the inherent evil of mankind, but what about you and me? Does this apply to us? Are we inherently evil even after we have accepted Christ as our Savior and committed to a life of obedience, discipleship, and submission? Yes, as long as we are living on this earth, we will battle with the flesh, which is the Bible’s way of saying the evil that is within us. Either we are submitting to the Spirit of God or the flesh is winning.
Think for a minute about many of the heroes of the faith found in Hebrews 11. I think we could all agree that this represents the cream of the crop when it comes to godly, righteous people. Let’s take a quick survey of some of the names mentioned:
- Abraham was a serial liar. Every time he went to Egypt he lied and told everyone his wife Sarah was his sister, not his wife. Even when he didn’t need to lie, he lied.
- Jacob was a cheat and a liar. His inheritance was stolen from his twin brother, and he learned how to “out-cheat” his cheating Uncle Laban.
- Moses needed a course in anger management. His temper was legendary, and it eventually led to God’s decision to not allow Moses to enter the promised land.
In the New Testament we see many examples:
- Peter was two-faced. He was bold and outspoken when he was among friends, but let some little girl ask him if he was a disciple of Jesus and he would turn and curse and say, “no way! I don’t even know him!”
- James and John were the picture of self-centeredness. While Jesus is telling them he is going to Jerusalem to be mocked, scourged, spit upon, and crucified, James and John interrupt Him and ask him to promise them that they will have priority seating right next to Jesus in heaven!
Like the writer of Hebrews, I find myself asking, “I could go on, but what more can I say?” By the time we get to David, we should be like, “of course, why would we expect anything different!”
The Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 10:12 says it plainly: Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.
The problem is, and here is the point of this lesson, we see someone like David cross our path and we think, “that could never happen to me…I would never do that.” Let me share a secret with you: the moment you accept that you could never do something, you have taken a giant step towards doing it.
How can we identify the seed of sin in our life?
There is a saying that is used in Christian talk that misrepresents what happens when sin wins. The phrase you will hear is that a person “fell into sin,” or they had a “moral fall.” The picture those words conjure up is that this godly person was walking along just fine, living their life for God, when all of a sudden, a giant sinkhole of sin opened up and they fell into it. That’s not what happens. We don’t “fall into sin,” we walk into it, step-by-step.
Emily Dickinson captured this process so well,
Crumbling is not an instant’s act,
A fundamental pause;
Are organized decays.
’Tis first a cobweb on the soul,
A cuticle of dust,
A borer in the axis,
An elemental rust.
Ruin is formal, devil’s work,
Consecutive and slow—
Fail in an instant no man did,
Slipping is crash’s law.
Sin begins when we cultivate the proper soil in our life. What’s the soil that gives root to sin? The soil of pride, or bitterness, or unforgiveness, or lust, or covetousness. There are many types of soils in which sin can take root.
- Do you tolerate “harmless” sexual fantasies?
- Do you imagine what you would do to someone you despise if you were given the opportunity to seek revenge?
- Do you always have to be first and pass off your ambition as “just competitive”?
- Do you imagine yourself living in your neighbor’s house, or driving your neighbor’s car, or being married to your neighbor’s husband?
- Do you have trouble controlling your spending or your eating?
- Do you tolerate angry outbursts because “that’s just the way you’re wired”?
- Do you look out at those around you and feel a sense of “rightness” and superiority as you see how they spend their money, raise their kids, or keep their house?
These are all just tiny seeds of sin that can destroy if you allow them to take root.
In the case of David, we see these being revealed to us throughout the narrative of his life—his passion for women expressed through his decisions (plural) to take many wives and concubines. At each step along the way, David has increased the size of his harem when he had the opportunity. First he had one wife, then two, the six, then many.
Sin is like a single weed in our garden. If you don’t deal with it early, the weeds will eventually take over your garden and destroy it. John Owen’s wrote, “if you are not killing sin, it is killing you.”
There is a sub-point that is worth making here. Many think that when they struggle with an uncontrollable passion, in David’s case sexual passion, there is a point when that passion will be satisfied and then everything will be good. “Just a little bit more” is the lie we tell ourselves. “If I get this object, then I will be satisfied.”
At this state in David’s life (commentator’s estimate he was in his 50s), he had an entire harem of women to satisfy his sexual passions, but it was not enough. He wanted “just one more,” Bathsheba.
Be careful not to fall for this lie of the devil. Sin is not satisfied until it destroys us.
How can you fight against sinful temptation?
Here are some suggestions from June Hunt to help us fight against sinful temptation. The following steps are based on a simple process of leading a transformed life: A New Purpose + A New Priority + A New Plan = Transformed Life.
- Choose to reflect the character of Christ. “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son.” (Romans 8:29)
- Choose to exchange your old habit for a new habit. “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:2)
- Choose to rely on Christ’s strength, not your own strength. “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13)
- Choose to appropriate God’s Gift of self-control. “Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hopefully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (1 Peter 1:13)
Example: Fighting the Temptation of Overeating
- A New Purpose: I want to reflect self-control through my eating and my appearance.
- A New Priority: I will replace my overeating with healthy eating habits.
- A New Plan:
- I will rely on Christ’s strength, not mine…
- to plan and shop for healthy foods
- to remove any tempting foods from my home
- to eat small portions of healthy food
- to refuse fattening foods
- to eat healthy snacks
- to drink plenty of fluids
- to avoid tempting situations and opportunities
- to get involved in enjoyable projects when tempted (exercise, hobbies, reading, etc.)
- to be accountable to a friend each week
- to memorize and claim pertinent Scriptures
- An Appropriate Encouragement from God’s Word: “Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31)
Sin is a declaration of independence from God. But when we choose sin, we find ourselves in slavery to sin. We abolish slavery when we believe God’s Word that the Christian is “dead to sin” sin’s power. Abolish slavery with a declaration of independence from sin, and experience your freedom in Christ.–June Hunt
These questions are given to prompt both reflection and learning on a personal level, and should likely be completed individually and apart from your regular group time.
Looking back at this week’s teaching and study, what’s the most important thing to remember?
Becoming A House of Prayer
“Even them I will bring to My holy mountain, And make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices; Will be accepted on My altar; For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.” – Isaiah 56:7.
Prayer Focus for the Week of October 22
We are in the midst of our 40 Days of Prayer at First Family. Make a commitment to lead your family in a focused time of prayer each day between now and Thanksgiving.
If you are not receiving the daily prayer prompts, you can request to be added to the list by simply sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Prayer List” in the subject field.
Questions to consider as you continue to reflect on what you learned this week:
- Take Action: Identify one area of temptation in your life, where the seed of sin is waiting to take root. Begin by reading Romans 6 and meditating on what the Apostle Paul is telling us in this important chapter. Write out some thoughts and action points you see in this text. Next, outline a plan of action based on the suggestions from this week’s lesson, if you need a copy of the notes from this lesson, you can find them online at www.ffcgroups.com.
- Take Courage: We will never outlive the seeds of sin in our life, but we can have victory over temptation. If you have fallen, remember God’s grace in our life. To help us picture God’s view of Christians who have fallen into sin, Jesus told the parable of the prodigal son. Jesus concluded this parable with the following words, “So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him” (Luke 15:20). The father is waiting for you with open arms…let his grace abound in you.
Work to memorize this week’s memory verse, Psalm 51:10–“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. “
Humanity (John 3:16): We believe all people are born separated from God by sin, but God in his love sent his Son Jesus Christ as their savior.
Remember to use the daily Bible reading plan as part of your walk with Christ, taking the time to reflect on each passage and what it means for your lives.
Coming Dates This Fall:
10/25/2017 – Mobilization Conference Begins
10/27/2017 – 2017 GO Trip Reports
10/29/2017 – Guest Speaker: Ray Chang
10/29/2017 – International Dinner & Commissioning
10/30/2017 – Lighthouse Midterm Break; No Groups the week of 10/30/2017
11/05/2017 – Daylight Savings Time Ends
11/05/2017 – Fireside Chats Begin
11/13/2017 – Operation Christmas Child; 11/13 – 11/20
11/19/2017 – Harvest Offering
11/19/2017 – Thanksgiving Night of Worship
11/23/2017 – Thanksgiving Day; Church Facilities Closed
11/24/2017 – 40 Days of Prayer Ends
11/29/2017 – Fall Wednesday Night Ministries End
12/09/2017 – Kids’ Christmas Musical
12/24/2017 – Christmas Eve at First Family
12/25/2017 – Christmas Day
12/31/2017 – New Year’s Eve Day; Ankeny: 10:00 am | Bondurant: 10:00 am
01/01/2018 – New Year’s Day
01/07/2018 – Lighthouse Spring Semester Begins
Fall Teaching Schedule:
09/10/17 – 2 Samuel 1:1-27
David mourns the deaths of Saul and Jonathan.
09/17/17 – 2 Samuel 2:1-4:12
David becomes King of Judah; Civil War in Israel.
9/24/27 – 2 Samuel 5
David becomes King of Israel; War with the Philistines.
10/01/17 – 2 Samuel 6
David seeks to bring the ark to Jerusalem.
10/08/17 – 2 Samuel 7
The Davidic Covenant.
10/15/17 – 2 Samuel 8-10
David consolidates his kingdom.
10/22/17 – 2 Samuel 11:1-12:25
David’s great sin that brings destruction to his family.
10/29/17 – Guest Speaker
International Dinner (No Groups)
11/05/17 – 2 Samuel 12:26-13:39
Nathan rebukes David for his sin; David repents; the rape of David’s daughter, Tamar.
11/12/17 – 2 Samuel 14-15
The Parable of Two Sons; Absalom rebels against David.
11/19/17 – 2 Samuel 16-17
Absalom captures Jerusalem, lies with David’s concubines to show his contempt for his father.
11/26/17 – 2 Samuel 18
Civil War between Absalom and David. Joab kills Absalom. David mourns the death of his son.
12/03/17 – 2 Samuel 19-21
David is restored to the throne, but conflict and turmoil continue to plague David.
12/10/17 – 2 Samuel 22:1-23:7
David nears the end of his life as conflict and turmoil continue.
12/17/17 – 2 Samuel 23:8-24:25
David’s last words; David sins again and the Lord judges Israel; 70,000 die from a plague.