Bible Studies for Life
Exodus 20:14; 2 Samuel 11:1-5
Jarrod Kinsey, pastor
First Baptist Church, Cave Spring
I am blessed to pastor an old, established church that has, in many ways, been frozen in time socially and culturally. Our church is located in the center of our 1,000-resident town a few hundred yards away from the lone red-light and within walking distance to the solitary bank, grocery store, and pharmacy. It’s really a neat step back into an older, perhaps forgotten time.
One aspect that I’ve really appreciated about pastoring a church in this old, throw-back place is their appreciation for traditional values, like the sacredness of marriage. Many in our church have been married for more than 35 years and a few are tracking well beyond the mid-century mark. It’s really been a blessing to this young pastor to hear their stories of lifelong commitment to one another. It’s also something I don’t take lightly or for granted.
There is a reason our Lord has strong words and counsel for us regarding the sacredness of marriage, and it’s for this reason that we should carefully consider the lesson presented this week.
Honor marriage with faithfulness and purity
We first must consider this commandment carefully because of its Old Covenant context. Even a cursory reading of the Old Testament reveals that the practice of polygamy was common and permitted, even within the practices of God’s covenant people. This truth can’t be avoided but deserves attention.
Jesus’ explanation in Matthew 19:8 is helpful: “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.” Jesus, as we will also see in Matthew 5:27-28, provides contextual clarification for the commandments. Though a concession was made in the Mosaic covenant, God’s original intention was for His people to honor marriage with faithfulness and purity.
2 Samuel 11:1-3a
Let faithfulness and purity guard your hearts
Our lesson then turns to the story of David and Bathsheba. In these first few verses of chapter 11, we find David casually on the rooftop of his house. While there, his gaze catches the beauty of a woman below. His gaze becomes a stare, and his stare becomes an inquiry.
Jesus has strong counsel in Matthew 5:27-28 that reveals the real condition of David’s heart at this moment. Jesus explains that even David’s lustful stare has already caused him to commit adultery. Jesus ties the issues of faithfulness and purity to a condition of the heart. Jesus’ words once again serve to reinforce the real intention of the commandments and clarify that explicit sinfulness begins long before any physical activity.
2 Samuel 11:3b-5
Faithfulness includes honoring the marriage commitments of others
An anonymous character in the story raises the question to David, “Isn’t this Uriah’s wife?” Surely this would have shaken David out of his lustful stupor. But much to our surprise, it didn’t. David’s sinful activity had now not only affected him, it was now affecting others, namely Bathsheba and Uriah. The story, of course, culminates with Uriah’s untimely death, indirectly at the hands of David, by the end of chapter 11.
The greater lesson from these last couple of verses onward is that our sin affects others. Sin causes pain, not just for us, but also for the unintended victims who are touched by it. In the case of adultery, unfaithfulness infringes specifically on the marriage commitments of others. Hearts, homes, and marriages are wrecked because this particular sin can have far reaching consequence.
Live it out
Application with this lesson is key because the sin of lust and adultery in the heart can have sudden and devastating reign in one’s life. For this reason, I think it is wise and practical to set up some safeguards to avoid this sin.
Here are several “guard rails” one might consider:
- Allow your spouse to have unbridled access to your social media accounts.
- Don’t allow yourself to be alone with a person of the opposite gender.
- Never routinely text someone of the opposite gender without also copying your spouse on the text.
- Surround yourself with a transparent accountability culture. AND LISTEN TO THEM!