Hi girls! Although I missed being with you this past week, it sounds like many of you needed this time off. I appreciated it because my sweet husband invited me to join him on a business trip this past week. So I spent a few days with him in the fun and sun of Miami Beach. It was my first time to Miami, and we had a wonderful time together!! I must say South Beach is a most fascinating place. We had so much fun people watching. When we would wake up in the morning, some people were just getting to bed!
Can you believe we are now over half way through with this study? I have loved every minute of it! What I love about this week’s lesson is how often we see David seeking God for direction in his life. What a powerful example he sets for us. A few of you have asked “how can we know God’s will for our lives?” David lives out the answer to this question.
When we need guidance and direction:
Stop and pray.
Ask God very specifically for what you need.
Invite Him to speak very specifically (through the Word, His Spirit, friends, circumstances, even media)
Stay in communication with Him daily so you will hear Him speak.
Pray for eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart to receive the answer.
God will be faithful!
Below please find the lesson for Week Four and the homework for Week Five.
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This Week’s Memory Verse: The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise. Psalm 51:17
Homework Questions: Please do as many questions as time allows. It is in your reading and studying that God will do His greatest work.
Heavenly Father, this week brings us to some of the most painful parts of David’s story. Father, these chapters are filled with powerful truths that require a humble heart to read and receive. Father, make my heart so very tender to Your Word. Give me ears to hear. Take Your living and active Word and penetrate my heart deep down to its core. Help me not to judge David’s acts, but to focus on the lessons taught him and how to apply them in my own life. Father, thank You that although he lived so many years ago, his life is of great value to You and, thus, to me. Thank You for recording his story so that I may learn from his mistakes. If I harbor sin in my heart, silent or otherwise, Father open my eyes to see it; humble my heart to confess it, and heal my heart to restore it. I ask this in the Name of Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.
After spending this past week celebrating with David as he takes his rightful place as king, today we return to the battlefield with David. Last week we learned much about David’s heart. We saw his humility and reverence for God. We experienced his praise and worship. But today we meet up again with the warrior.
1. Read 2 Samuel 8:1-18. Why do you think the author included this chapter? (verses 6, 11-15).
Reading these battle stories is difficult. David seems harsh and cruel. Like why did he measure people with a line and kill two-thirds of them, or why did he “hamstring” all but one hundred of the horses? We must trust that David had his reasons. We cannot judge him by our standards or even by Christ’s standards because he lived before His time. We know he sought God in his battles. We must trust He listened and obeyed…at least at this point in his career.
Scholars believe David hamstrung the horses in obedience to God’s command in Deuteronomy 17:16 where it says that the king must not acquire great numbers of horses for himself. Interestingly, David’s son Solomon was guilty of breaking this very law (1 Kings 4:26).
The next chapter reveals another reason why David is a man after God’s own heart. I love this story. Last week, Scripture briefly introduced us to Mephibosheth. Do you remember?
2. Read 2 Samuel 9:1-13. What does this reveal about where David’s heart was in that moment?
I find it interesting that after reading about the horrific battles and killing that God follows with this beautiful story. He shows us David’s honor, his compassion, his tenderness, and his loving-kindness. He exhibits the very traits of His Heavenly Father. Reread 1 Samuel 20:14-17. David had pledged to Jonathan that he would never forget the covenant of friendship. David sought Mephibosheth out and brought him home just as God our Father seeks us out and brings us to Him.
Now we will read about one of the darkest and most infamous days in David’s life. For four weeks we have explored the best parts of David’s heart. But now we join David on the roof of his grand palace, standing in a place he should not have been standing, looking where he should not have been looking.
3. Read 2 Samuel 11:1-5. Reread verse 1. What time of year was it?
Why is the time of year significant? Because David’s disobedience began long before he stepped out on the roof. First, it was spring. The customary time for battle. Kings usually led their troops into battle. But this time David chose not to go. Instead, David sent Joab and the entire Israel army to launch the invasion. He stayed in Jerusalem. If he had been where he should have been, leading his men, his sin with Bathsheba might never have happened. Second, David for the past several years had been collecting wives in direct disobedience to God’s Word.
4. Let’s revisit Deuteronomy 17:17. What does God command in this verse?
a. What did David do in 2 Samuel 2:2, 5:13?
b. What does Deuteronomy 17:17 say are the consequences of David’s behavior?
c. Read Jeremiah 17:9 and Proverbs 4:23. State what these verses say in your own words.
d. Relate them to David’s choices.
e. Read 2 Corinthians 10:5.
o How would this verse have helped David?
o List the key verbs in this verse.
o How can this command help you when you find yourself in a position of temptation? Give a specific example if you have one.
5. Reread 2 Samuel 11:2-4. List the progression of David’s sin (thought, word, deed).
6. Read 2 Samuel 11:8-13. What was David’s plan and what was he hoping to accomplish with his plan?
7. Read 2 Samuel 11:14-27.
a. Explain David’s latest scheme.
b. Who did David involve in his plan?
c. Was David’s plan successful? What happened?
8. Read verse 25. What do his words reveal about his heart?
a. What did David do next?
b. Write out the last sentence of verse 27 below.
How far David’s heart was from the Lord at this time! He had many opportunities to stop this downward spiral of sin, but he never did.
9. Knowing David as we do now, why do you think he failed to stop and repent as he did in times past? Remember the Spirit of the Living God indwelt Him.
10. Read Psalm 32.
a. How does David describe what it feels like when you keep silent about your sin?
b. What about when we acknowledge and confess our sin?
Friends, we may read stories like this and others like it and wonder what they have to do with us. We need always remember every word of Scripture is God-breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness so that we may be thoroughly equipped for every good work God has planned for us to do. (2 Timothy 3:16).
Isaiah 55:11 says that when God sends His Word into our lives it will not return empty but will accomplish what He desires and achieve the purposes for which He sent it.
When talking about Israel’s history, 1 Corinthians 10:11-12 tells us,
These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall.
But God did not leave David here. God never wants us to stay in a state of unrepentance. He wants forgiveness, reconciliation, and restoration. God knows that spiritual sickness many times leads to physical and emotional illness. God rebuked David through Nathan. He set up a confrontation that would force David to deal with his sin.
11. Read 2 Samuel 12:1-14.
a. Why do you think Nathan used a parable…a sheep parable at that? Identify the characters in this parable (poor man, rich man, little lamb).
b. What did Nathan say in verses 8-9?
c. What powerful words Nathan spoke in verse 9. In the NIV, Nathan asks, “why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what was evil in His sight?” What do you think David felt in his heart as he heard those words?
d. Read John 14:21, 23-24. How does this relate to what we are reading?
Friends, David’s story makes it ever so clear: sin has consequences. Even for a man after God’s own heart. God forgives, but He does not make consequences disappear. Nathan lays out those consequences for David in the next few verses. In verses 9 and 10, he says because you struck down Uriah with the sword and killed him, the sword “will never depart from your household because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.” David would now suffer as had Uriah. Nathan gets more specific in verses 11 and 12.
12. David’s sin created a chain of events that would plague him for the rest of his life. List the consequences you find in verses 10-12.
a. When did David confess his sin?
b. Explain Nathan’s response in verses 13b and 14.
c. How did David respond in verse 16-17 to his child’s illness?
d. What happened in verse 18?
Friends, read the words of Hebrews 12:5-6, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when He rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.”
13. Read the rest of this Hebrews passage, 12:7-11. Write verse 11 below.
a. Are these verses hard for you to accept? If you answered “yes,” explain why?
b. Now read verse 12 and write it below.
Do you see God sometimes needs to discipline us, rebuke us, and train us, so that we may be healed!! He wants us to be strong and healthy, living in His image, filled with His holiness, living the life He planned for us to live. Sometimes sin gets in the way of that. We get “off” the right path because we have wandered away.
If you don’t like this idea of discipline and consequences, really study these verses. Ask God for insight and understanding. Cry out to Him for discernment. James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” God wants you to understand. These are hard truths, but they are TRUTHS…spoken from the very mouth of God.
Now let’s revisit David’s time of confession by reading Psalm 51, one of the most beautiful psalms ever written. In this psalm, David gives us a blueprint, a wonderful model of confession.
Before you begin, find a quiet place, invite God’s presence into your time, and read the powerfully intense words that poured out of David’s broken and contrite heart. Friends, we are blessed to be able to see so deeply into David’s heart…to feel what he was feeling…to know what he was thinking.
14. Read Psalm 51.
a. For what does David ask in verses 1-2?
b. What do words like this require of him that we have not seen recently?
c. What does he acknowledge in verses 3-5? Why do you think he says, “Against you, you only, have I sinned,” when he hurt so many?
d. What does he recognize in verse 5?
o Do you believe this?
o Read Romans 3:10-12 and Romans 5:12. What do they say?
e. Name at least six requests David makes of the Lord in verses 8-12.
As we end our time in Psalm 51, I feel compelled to ask a question. As you have studied this part of David’s life, is there some unconfessed sin in your life? Has God continually brought to mind something from your past, something in your present for which you have failed to come to God? If something has come to mind, please know that your Father in heaven brought you to this study to bring it to light. I believe that with all my heart. Will you believe with me right now that God is ready and waiting to forgive all your unconfessed sin? By Christ’s death on the cross, they are forgiven and removed as far as the east is from the west! It might be an abortion, an affair, a lie you are living, a hardened heart, unbelief, addiction, depression, fear, the list goes on. These are all strongholds that keep you in bondage to sin and apart from your heavenly Father. I encourage you to pray David’s psalm. Make it your own. Place your name in the verses. There is complete freedom in Christ, my friend!!!
Read verse Psalm 51:13.
There is no better feeling than walking in the freedom of forgiveness and healing. When God has brought you to that place, He has given you a testimony…a powerful story to tell. There is no greater evidence for the existence of the Living God than one who has been humbled, cleansed, forgiven, renewed, reconciled, and restored. A changed life has a story to tell and wants to shout it from the rooftops!
I am one of those lives. God uses transformed lives just as David says…to teach others His ways, to point them to His Truth, and to declare His praises.
May God pour out His blessings on you this week as you study His Word!