OLD TESTAMENT - LESSON 24
2 Samuel 11-12; Psalm 51
- David commits adultery with Bathsheba and arranges the death of Uriah,
- David is told that he will be punished because of his sins.
- A repentant David seeks forgiveness.
A study of this lesson should encourage us to be chaste in thought and
action and to repent of our sins.
WHAT ARE YOU WILLING TO DO FOR ETERNAL LIFE?
- The 1897 Klondike Goldrush.
Consider the trail to Dawson city.
- What did it take to get there?
- The goal was Dawson in the Yukon Territory of Canada.
- Canadian government required each person entering the territory, for
the purpose of prospecting for gold, to bring with them one ton of supplies.
I find it amazing what these people were willing to do for the hope
of finding a little gold. What are we willing to do for the hope of eternal
life? If we worked as hard at following the path of salvation as these
men worked at following the trail to Dawson, certainly our calling and
election would be made sure.
- The trail began at Skagway, Alaska. Prior to reaching Skagway there
had been considerable money and effort expended. What sacrifices were made
just to get to the trainhead?
- One would land by boat at Skagway (a lawless town) with his supplies.
- In Skagway, there were not any docks. The boats anchored at the edge
of a sandflat. One's goods had to be carried through the tide to dry land.
- You would then haul your goods nine miles to the foot of a steep trail.
- The goods had to be carried up and over the mountain into Canada. The
trail was steep and much of it was covered with ice and snow. This was
a process that literally took weeks.
- The goods then had to be hauled down the trail to Bennett Lake.
- At the lake you had to build a boat by cutting the trees and then cutting
them into planks.
- Once the ice broke off of the lake then you could load up your boat
and take a dangerous trip down the rapids of the Yukon River.
- Once you arrived in Dawson, you would probably find all the claims
staked out. And if you did get a claim, in all likelyhood it produced little
or no gold.
- The question we must ask ourselves: Why is it that we are sometimes
unwilling to make that kind of sacrifice for the kingdom of God when we
seem to be willing to do it in other areas of our lives?
- Are we willing to sacrifice the "natural man", give up our
carnal desires, and turn to the Lord? David was a righteous man, who got
caught up in his carnal desires and was unwilling to sacrifice those desires
before he got tied up in horrible sins.
David Becomes King
- Once again, Israel went to battle against the Philistines.
After the death of Saul:
- During this battle, three sons of Saul were slain.
- Saul did not wish to be caught by the enemy and asked his armorbearer
to slay him. The armor bearer was afraid to. "Therefore Saul took
a sword, and fell upon it" (1 Samuel 31:4).
"Now there was long war between the house of Saul and the house
of David: but David waxed stronger and stronger, and the house of Saul
waxed weaker and weaker" (2 Sam. 3:1).
- David was anointed king of Judah
- Abner (Saul's cousin, commander-in-chief of Saul's army, and the head
of Ephraim) made Saul's surviving son, Ishbosheth, king over the northern
Soon after David became king of Israel, he went up to war against the
- To make a long story short.
- Abner proposed an alliance between the two feuding factions.
- Abner was assassinated which almost destroyed the uniting process.
- But Abner was the real power in the northern faction. Ishbosheth was
weak and he was murdered by two of his military leaders who took his head
- Thus David assumed leadership of all of Israel. He also made alliances
with other surrounding nations which stabilized his kingdom.
- READ 2 SAMUEL 5:22-25. David calls upon the Lord
& obeys his counsel.
- We see that early in the reign of David as king, he is dependent on
the Lord and willing to follow his counsel.
David, Bathsheba, & Uriah
- READ SAMUEL 11:2-5. David's sin.
- AT WHAT POINT DID DAVID FIRST SIN IN HIS DESIRE FOR BATHSHEBA?
- When David began to dwell on thoughts about Bathsheba. Those thoughts
caused him to take the next step when he "sent and enquired after
the woman" (11:3).
- WHAT SHOULD DAVID HAVE DONE WHEN HE SAW BATHSHEBA?
The Power of Thought
- WHAT MIGHT LEAD PEOPLE TO COMMIT SEXUAL SINS?
WHAT INFLUENCES MIGHT PLANT THOUGHT SEEDS?
- Unclean or immoral thoughts.
- I think this is fundamental to understanding how David went from a
righteous young man to a king that debased himself in moral degradation.
- As a man "thinketh in his heart, so is he" (Proverbs
23:7). Many years ago, a man by the name of James Allen wrote a short book
(As A Man Thinketh) based on this scripture. Consider a few of Mr. Allen's
ideas in relation to the fall of King David and the consequences of unclean
- "As the plant springs from, and could not be without, the seed,
so every act of man springs from the hidden seeds of thought, and could
not have appeared without them." (p3)
- "...cause and effect is as absolute and undeviating in the
hidden realm of thought as in the world of visible and material things."
- "A man's mind may be likened to a garden, which may be intelligently
cultivated or allowed to run wild; but whether cultivated or neglected,
it must, and will, bring forth." (p11)
- "The soul attracts that which it secretly harbors; that which
it loves, and also that which it fears; it reaches the height of its cherished
aspirations; it falls to the level of its unchastened desires."
- "Circumstance does not make the man; it reveals him to himself."
- "Men imagine that thought can be kept secret, but it cannot;
it rapidly crystallizes into habit, and habit solidifies into circumstance."
- "Dreams are the seedlings of realities." (p61)
- As Mr. Allen has pointed out, thought is a powerful force. It has the
power to raise us up to do much good or to tear us down and destroy our
life. I had an experience several years ago that demonstrates the power
of a single, stray thought. Fortunately, this is a positive example.
- Early in 1984 I was working at the office on a Saturday morning. We
were trying to catch up with the heavy workload. We were in the process
of filing cards and visiting on a variety of topics as we did so. One of
my associates was telling about a bicycle trip that she had taken in Ireland.
As I listened to her account of her trip in Ireland, my mind wandered and
I thought how fun it would be to go on a bicycle trip.
- Just one thought, a seed, planted by an associate. I nurtured that
seed and thought how fun it would be to do a bicycle trip from my home,
in Seattle at that time, to my folks home in Utah County. I was terribly
out of shape at the time and didn't even own a bicycle. The thought continued
to work on me and a month and a half later, I picked up a new touring bike
from the West Seattle bike shop. I soon realized how out of shape I had
allowed myself to become. The mile and a half ride from the bike shop to
home almost did me in. How could I possibly believe I could ride over 900
- Seeds planted and nurtured continue to grow. Each weekend, starting
in March, I went out and did a little riding. I finally worked up to a
40 mile ride, but when I returned home I didn't think it was possible to
consider riding up to 100 miles per day. I was ready to give up. But I
didn't. I kept on training, finally reaching about 140 miles on a two day
trip. I was tired, but had survived. The following weekend I did the 200
mile, 2 day, Seattle to Portland ride. When I arrived in Portland, hot,
exhausted, and dehydrated, I was ready to give up the ride to Utah.
- But thought is a powerful thing. I had put myself on an unstopable
course. My focus for nearly 6 months had been making the ride to Utah.
The morning after the Portland ride, I decided I would make the trip. I
figured if I wore out, I could take a bus the remainder of the distance.
Four days later I began my odyssey and twelve days after that I rode up
to my folks home in Orem. It was an incredible adventure for myself. What
had brought me across hundreds of miles? A lot of work. But more importantly
was that seed of a thought planted the previous January.
- In a negative way, David's wisp of a thought took possession of him
and took him on a negative journey. We must be absolutely aware of what
goes into our mind. We must control that which influences us and our children.
WHAT CAN WE DO TO AVOID BEING TEMPTED TO COMMIT SEXUAL SINS? (Review
the above list of influences)
- An idle mind.
- It has been said that an idle mind is the devil's workshop.
- "Things were getting to easy for David; he had leisure to stay
at home while Joab and his men were out fighting Ammonites and Syrians.
In his leisure he looked from his rooftop at his neighbor's wife. Leisure
and lust led to adultery and then to murder, which sins had eternal repercussions,
as well as tragic earthly results." (Introduction to the Old Testament,
quoted in Old Testament Student Manual, p290)
- The media: television, movies and videos, magazines, books and music.
- The media has the power to stimulate our minds for good or bad, depending
on our choices.
- Ezra Taft Benson: "Thought precedes action. We cannot help
being influenced by what we read and what we see. A dirty book, a filthy
picture, may be the trigger that sets off a terrible crime." (CR,
- Spencer W. Kimball: "Pornography and erotic stories and pictures
are worse than polluted food. Shun them. The body has power to rid itself
of sickening food. That person who entertains filthy stories or pornographic
pictures and literature records them in his marvelous human computer, the
brain, which can't forget this filth. Once recorded, it will always remain
there, subject to recall—filthy images." (Teachings SWK, p283)
- Neal A. Maxwell: "We are lathered with soap operas in need
of nothing so much as soap—for the scrubbing of themselves. Some seriously
maintain that media violence and sleaze leave consumers untouched. But
revenue is received from commercials precisely because of their influence.
Either we deserve reforms, or sponsors deserve refunds!" (CR,
- Unwholesome dating activities for our youth.
- Flirting after marriage.
- Places or activities that do not encourage the constant companionship
of the Holy Ghost.
- President Kimball: "As a man thinketh, so does he. If he thinks
about it long enough he is likely to do it, whether it be theft, moral
sin, or suicide. Thus the time to protect against the calamity is when
the the thought begins to shape itself. Destroy the seed and the plant
will never grow. Man...can change his thought pattern and become the architect
of his destiny." (Miracle of Forgiveness, p114)
- We must make a conscious effort to control our thoughts. Seeds can
sneek in, but only we can nurture them. When we discover those seeds, we
must starve them immediately. We all remember that wise counsel from Elder
Packer: "Have you noticed that without any real intent on your
part, in the middle of almost any performance, a shady little thought may
creep in from the wings and attract your attention? . . .
"What do you do at a time like that, when the stage of your
mind is commandeered by the imps of unclean thinking? Whether they be the
gray ones that seem almost clean or the filthy ones that leave no room
"If you can control your thoughts, you can overcome habits--even
degrading, personal habits. If you can learn to master them, you will have
a happy life.
"I would teach you this. Choose from among the sacred music of the
Church a favorite hymn, one with words that are uplifting and music that
is reverent, one that makes you feel something akin to inspiration. . .
"Now, use this hymn as the place for your thoughts to go. Make
it your emergency channel. Whenever you find that these shady actors have
slipped from the sidelines of your thinking onto the stage of your mind,
put on this record, as it were. As the music begins and as the words form
in your mind, the unworthy thoughts will slip shamefully away. The hymn
will change the whole mood on the stage of your mind. Because it is uplifting
and clean, the baser thoughts will disappear, for while virtue, by choice,
will not associate with filth, evil cannot tolerate the presence of light.
. . .
"Once you learn to clear the stage of your mind from unworthy
thoughts, keep it busy with learning worthwhile things. Change your environment
so that you have things about you that will inspire good and uplifting
thoughts. Keep busy with things that are righteous." (CR, Oct.
Things To Avoid
How To Avoid Them
|Unclean or immoral thoughts
||Fill your mind with uplifting thoughts (see Elder Packer's quotation
|An idle mind
||Seek to be anxiously engaged in a worthy cause.
|Television, movies, magazines, books, and music that are pornographic
or suggestive in any way
||Choose media that will inspire you to do good.
|Unwholesome dating activities
||Follow the dating standards taught by latter-day prophets and outlined
in For The Strength of Youth.
|Flirting after marriage
||Love your spouse with all your heart. Continue to "court"
(develop your relationship with your spouse.
|Places or activities that do not encourage the constant companionship
of the Holy Ghost
||Ensure the the place you go and the activities you participate in will
enable you to have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost.
||Follow the standards taught by latter-day prophets and outlined in
For The Strength of Youth.
David Compounds His Sin
- READ 2 SAMUEL 11:6-13.
- WHAT WAS DAVID ATTEMPTING TO DO HERE?
- Since he had learned that Bathsheba was with child, he tried to get
Uriah to return home to her. It would then appear that the child was Uriah's.
- WHAT DID DAVID THEN DO IN AN ATTEMPT TO HIDE HIS IMMORAL BEHAVIOR?
- READ 2 SAMUEL 11:14-17. David puts Uriah in a
situation that would guarantee his death.
- HOW DO PEOPLE TRY TO COVER UP SINS TODAY?
- In a few instances, there may be those who go to the extent of wht
David did and use murder to cover up their sin.
- In most cases, where one has committed an moral transgression, that
individual spins a web of deceit and lies to hide their immoral behavior.
- WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE TRY TO COVER OUR SINS?
- In all likelyhood, our transgression will eventually be uncovered.
The trail of deceit will only make it worse. It was once said, "One
good thing about telling the truth is you don't have to remember what you
have already said."
- By failing to come forward and beginning to repent of this serious
transgression, one puts his eternal salvation in jeopardy, as did David.
- Richard G. Scott: "Do not take comfort in the fact that your
transgressions are not known by others. That is like an ostrich with his
head buried in the sand. He sees only darkness and feels comfortably hidden.
In reality he is ridiculously conspicuous. Likewise our every act is seen
by our Father in Heaven and His Beloved Son. They know everything about
"If you have seriously transgressed, you will not find any
lasting satisfaction or comfort in what you have done. Excusing transgression
with a cover-up may appear to fix the problem, but it does not. The tempter
is intent on making public your most embarrassing acts at the most harmful
time. Lies weave a pattern that is ever more confining and becomes a trap
that Satan will spring to your detriment." (Ensign, May 1995,
David Is Told That He Will Be Punished Because Of His
- READ 2 SAMUEL 12:1-4. The Lord sends Nathan to
WHAT WERE THE CONSEQUENCES OF DAVID'S SIN?
- HOW DID DAVID REACT TO NATHAN'S PARABLE?
- READ 2 SAMUEL 12:5-6. David angered at the man
in the story.
- READ 2 SAMUEL 12:7-9. David accused by Nathan.
- READ 2 SAMUEL 12:13. David confesses to the sin.
- WHY DID DAVID FAIL TO RECOGNIZE THAT HE WAS REPRESENTED BY THE RICH
MAN IN THE PARABLE? WHY ARE WE SOMETIMES UNABLE TO RECOGNIZE OUR OWN SINFULNESS?
- I think that we sometimes get so caught up in our justifications and
rationalizations, that we lose sensitivity to the greatness of the sin.
David thought that he had sufficiently covered his tracks. He thought he
could continue to go on with his life as before. Instead, his poor example
has come screaming down the centuries as a warning against sin and the
folly of attempting to cover up sin.
- READ 2 SAMUEL 12:10-14.
- In contrast to the KJV, the JST reads, "And Nathan said unto
David, The Lord also hath not put away thy sin that thou shalt not
- "David's wives and concubines were given unto him of me, by
the hand of Nathan, my servant, and others of the prophets who had the
keys of this power; and in none of these things did he sin against me save
in the case of Uriah and his wife; and, therefore he hath fallen from his
exaltation, and received his portion; and he shall not inherit them out
of the world, for I gave them unto another, saith the Lord" (D&C
- Marion G. Romney: "David,...though highly favored of the Lord
(he was, in fact, referred to as a man after God's own heart), yielded
to temptation. His unchastity led to murder, and as a consequence, he lost
his families and his exaltation." (Ensign, May 1979, p42)
- Bruce R. McConkie: "Murderers are forgiven eventually but only
in the sense that all sins are forgiven except the sin against the Holy
Ghost; they are not forgiven in the sense that celestial salvation is made
available to them. (Matt. 12:31-32; Teachings, p. 356-357.) After they
have paid the full penalty for their crime, they shall go on to a telestial
inheritance. (Rev. 22:15.)" (Mormon Doctrine, p520)
A Repentant David Seeks Forgiveness
- Although David forfeited his exaltation because of arranging for the
death of Uriah, the 51st Psalm teaches much about a repentant attitude
and seeking forgiveness.
- READ PSALM 51:1-3.
READ PSALM 51:16-17.
- WHY IS IT IMPORTANT THAT WE RECOGNIZE GOD'S GREATNESS AND OUR OWN SINFULLNESS
WHEN WE REPENT OF OUR SINS?
- As we seek to become like our Heavenly Father, we can only do so when
we are sufficiently humble before God. That comes in both a recognition
of our sins and the in the fact that only God can remove those sins from
us. When we arrive at this point, we can then become, as Heber C. Kimball
often taught, "clay in the hands of the potter".
- Heber C. Kimball: "The potter tried to bring a lump of clay
into subjection, and he worked and tugged at it, but the clay was rebellious
and would not submit to the will of the potter and marred in his hands.
Then of course he had to cut it from the wheel and throw it into the mill
to be ground over, in order that it might become passive; after which he
takes it again and makes of it a vessel unto honor." (Life of
David said that his sin was ever before him (51:3).
- WHAT MUST WE SACRIFICE IN ORDER TO RECEIVE FORGIVENESS OF OUR SINS?
- WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO HAVE A BROKEN AND A CONTRITE HEART?
- Neal A. Maxwell: "The 'children of Christ,' the 'children of
light,' in any dispensation willingly make the sacrifice of a broken heart
and a contrite spirit (see 3 Nephi 9:20; D&C 59:8; Psalm 51:17; Ephesians
5:8). The children of Christ are meek and malleable—their hearts can be
broken, changed, or made anew. The child of Christ can eventually mature
spiritually to become the 'new man or woman, the man or woman of Christ."
(Men and Women of Christ, pp44-45)
- HOW ARE OUR SINS EVER BEFORE US BEFORE WE ARE FORGIVEN?
- WHAT ARE THE BLESSINGS OF RECEIVING FORGIVENESS?
- "Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit
within me." (Psalm 51:10)
- READ ALMA 37:17-19. The memory of sin is removed.
- "I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for
mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins" (Isaiah 43:25).
The story of David should be a solemn warning to all of us that we are
not above temptation. As the old saying goes, "Prevention is better
than the cure." We need to do all that we can to avoid situations
that put temptation before us. Should temptation sneek in, we need to be
prepared to expunge it. Elder Packer's idea of utilizing a favorite hymn
is one way of being prepared. Reciting a favorite scripture or turning
to the Lord in prayer would be like throwing water on a small fire. We
cannot allow the temptation to take root and flourish. If we do make a
mistake, we must be sufficiently humble to follow the steps of repentance
and be able claim the power of the Atonement.
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