David found himself a king at war, yet he wasn’t with his men. Scripture says it this way, “at the time when kings go off to war.” One night David was on his roof when he sees a woman bathing (first problem). David sent for her knowing she was the wife of one of his men (second problem). After sleeping with her, he finds out that she is pregnant with his child (third problem). Instead of owning up to his sin, he tries to cover it up in a way only a king can. He calls Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband back from the frontlines and tries to get him to sleep with his wife in order to hide the indiscretion (fourth problem). Unfortunately for David, Uriah is a loyal man and won’t dishonor his men in that way. So, David, feeling backed into a corner, send Uriah back to the frontlines and orders he be put right in front so he will be vulnerable. True to David’s plan, Uriah is killed in battle. David then takes Bathsheba as his wife (fifth problem).
Now comes the truth telling. God sent Nathan to David to speak truth into his life. Nathan comes to David with a parable of sorts…
There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him. Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him.
David was fuming at the idea of someone taking advantage of another person like this. David wanted to put to death the man who would commit such an awful act. This is where Nathan speaks the words none of us want to hear but at one time or another in life we need to hear.
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. I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more. 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. 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.’ This is what the LORD says: ‘Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity upon you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will lie with your wives in broad daylight. You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.’
It is what happens next that sets David apart from Saul. David immediately acknowledges his sin and his sins were forgiven. God went on to punish David through the loss of his son. When David’s son dies, he immediately cleaned up and went to worship. David recognized truth when it was spoken into his life. He didn’t try to explain away his actions as Saul did. David repented and moved on with God. I believe it was this attitude of humility and worship that caused God to describe David as a man after his own heart.