Introduction: When I was growing up, I learned in my Christian
school that sin was followed by calamity. That is often true. You
deserve the punishment, you get the punishment, and you should know
better than to ask God to shield you from what you deserve, right?
Maybe not. Our lesson this week looks at one of the Bible’s
greatest warriors for God, who engaged in great sin, and then
suffered punishment. But, for some reason, he still seemed to be
grateful for God’s protection. It seems a mystery. Let’s jump into
our study of the Bible and see what we can learn!

  1. Called to Account

    1. Read 2 Samuel 12:1-3. Whose idea was it to tell this
      story to King David? (God sent Nathan.)

      1. Can you identify with the poor man in the story
        because you have a pet that you love?

    2. Read 2 Samuel 12:4-6. Put yourself in King David’s place.
      Why would you think Nathan was telling you this story?
      (The king was also a judge. No doubt David thought Nathan
      was bringing some complex issue to him to resolve.)

      1. Do you agree with David’s conclusion?

      2. Isn’t it a bit extreme to require a man to die over
        an animal? (David isn’t requiring death, he is of
        the opinion that this is a extreme violation of
        human rights.)

    3. Read 2 Samuel 12:7-9. Why do you think that God wanted
      Nathan to approach King David in this way – with a story?
      (He wanted David to declare a verdict stripped of self-justification.)

      1. Have you ever heard someone say something, not
        accusing you, but which had the effect of convicting
        you of your sin? (This has happened to me. I thought
        the sin was not that bad (and maybe not even sin),
        until someone said something that put it in its true

      2. If you were David, would you point out that you did
        not kill Uriah’s wife, thus the analogy is not
        accurate? (David is stuck, because the reply would
        be, “No, you killed the neighbor (Uriah) instead.”)

      3. Nathan’s story helps reveal the root of these
        terrible sins. What is it? (Selfishness. Wanting
        something we do not have – something owned by
        someone else.)

    4. Read 2 Samuel 12:10-12. How does God view David’s sin?
      (That David has “despised” God.)

      1. Why is this so personal with God? David does not
        seem to despise anyone – he just fell for a pretty
        woman and was thereafter trying to keep his sin a
        secret. (God does not view the Ten Commandments as
        some sort of recommended list. God views our actions
        as reflecting on His love for us. We do not love Him
        when we seriously harm our neighbors.)

      2. If you were David, how would you view the future?

    5. Read 2 Samuel 12:13. What do you think caused David’s
      confession, the story, the statement that he had despised
      God, or the prediction about the future?

      1. Is David’s statement factually correct? After all,
        David committed adultery and had the husband killed.
        Is it correct to say he “sinned against the Lord” as
        opposed to those more directly in David’s path?

      2. What does God say about David’s sin? (It is
        forgiven. It is “taken away.”)

  2. Forgiven

    1. Read Psalms 32:1-2. David is commenting on the sin we
      just discussed. I thought that David’s problem was that
      he was covering up his sin – and God had to confront him
      with it? What does it mean that God “covers” our sins?
      (After they are forgiven, God considers them to be

      1. Note the phrase, “in whose spirit is no deceit.” How
        important is it for us to get to this point? (Use
        this as a thermometer in life: if you have to
        mislead people, that is an indication that something
        is wrong with your behavior.)

    2. Read Psalms 32:3-4. How does sin affect our health?
      (David says that he felt lousy (groaning) and he felt
      physically diminished (bones wasting, strength sapped).)

      1. What does it mean for God’s “hand” to be “heavy on
        me” both day and night? (His conscience bothered
        him. He had trouble sleeping because of it.)

      2. Let’s back up a moment. If David was so guilt ridden
        that he could not sleep at night, why did Nathan
        have to sneak up on him with a story to convict him
        of his sin? (This Psalm is written later in time.
        When we are in the middle of sin, we have a hard
        time seeing things clearly. Later, we have a clearer
        vision of our sin.)

    3. Read Psalms 32:5. What is the first step to recovery from
      the pressure of guilt and remorse? (Confessing our sins
      to God. We must stop lying to ourselves about our sins.)

      1. Notice this interesting phrase “you forgave the
        guilt of my sin.” I thought God forgave sin. What
        else does this phrase suggest? (David noted God’s
        “heavy hand” on him. That was guilt. God not only
        forgives sin, but he releases us from guilt.)

      2. Isn’t it natural to feel guilty about some terrible
        thing we did – even after we are forgiven? (Read
        Revelation 12:10. Satan is the one who accuses us of
        forgiven sin. If we have made things right, to the
        extent possible, there is nothing more we can so.
        God forgives our sins and He releases us from

  3. Consequences

    1. Re-read 2 Samuel 12:10-12. What good is it to release
      David from guilt if he ends up with all of these terrible

      1. Has God really forgiven David if He saddles him with
        these consequences?

      2. Did God really inspire the public rape of David’s
        wives? (Read 2 Samuel 16:22, Leviticus 20:11 and
        James 1:13-15. God hates sin. It seems impossible to
        me that God inspired David’s son Absalom to sin.
        Instead, it seems more reasonable to read this as
        God’s prophecy about the future consequences of
        David’s sin.)

      3. We discussed Psalms 32:1 which says that forgiven
        sins are “covered.” Do these consequences seem like
        a “cover” to you? Notice that God uses the term
        “broad daylight” twice – just the opposite of
        “covered” or “secret!”(Sin will kill us. Guilt makes
        our body waste away. God removes both of those. Our
        sins, however, set in motion circumstances which God
        will use as a punishment.)

        1. What is the purpose of this punishment? (Read 2
          Samuel 12:14. One aspect of sin is God’s glory.
          If His favored King, the King He blessed,
          engages in such terrible behavior, that
          reflects badly on God. God will show His
          enemies that the rules of the universe are
          true: Disobedience to God brings adverse
          consequences – even to those God loves.)

    2. Read Psalms 32:6-7. Wait a minute! We just discussed how
      God forgives sin, but He allows the consequences of our
      sins to punish us. What is David talking about? (If David
      had followed God, he would not have been in all of this
      trouble. However, I think David is saying more – that
      even in the consequences God protected him.)

      1. Is such a thing possible? God allows the punishment
        and then shields you in the process? In the middle
        of punishment you feel like singing about it?(Read
        Luke 7:47. When you realize how much you have been
        forgiven, you love “much.” You come to terms with
        the practical consequences because you realize they
        are your fault and they are just. At the same time
        God loves you so much He died for your terrible
        sins. He forgave you. In gratitude you praise God!
        He did not kill you. He did not put you away. He
        loves you!)

    3. Read Psalms 32:8-9. I doubt many of those reading this
      have committed adultery and then murdered the innocent
      spouse. What is King David’s invitation to us? (Learn
      from reading his story. Learn of God’s love and
      forgiveness. Learn about consequences. You can either
      follow “counsel” like this, or you can be like a mule and
      let your sins yank you around in life. It is your

    4. Read Psalms 38:10-11. What is God’s promise to us? (His
      love will not fail! If we confess our sins, and trust
      God’s word about the best way to live, gladness,
      rejoicing, songs of praise will lift us out of the
      practical consequences of our sins.)

    5. Friend, how about you? Sin is attractive. Sin seems fun.
      But, sin has two terrible consequences. By sinning we
      show that we despise God’s love and sacrifice for us. By
      sinning, we open ourselves up to terrible consequences.
      Will you determine today to avoid the lesson of the mule,
      and instead learn from David’s story?

  4. Next week: Garments of Splendor.