Introduction: Do you fear that your prayers are not heard by God
because of some past sin? Does sin cause you to think you cannot
approach a Holy God? This week we look not only at the prayer of
King David after he committed some of the worst sins, we gain an
insight into avoiding those kinds of sins. Let’s jump into our

  1. David’s Initial Sin

    1. Read 2 Samuel 11:1. Verse 1 tells us that it was the time
      that kings go off to war – but our King David did not.
      David had a history of leading his army. (See 2 Samuel 5.)
      Any ideas why David was not leading his army now? Wasn’t
      this the David who had killed Goliath? (1 Samuel 17)
      Wasn’t this the David about whom they sang that he had
      killed “tens of thousands?” ( 1 Samuel 18:7-8)

      1. Do you think that idleness exposes us to sin?

    2. Read 2 Samuel 11:2-3. David is apparently having a little
      trouble sleeping. He starts walking around the roof of the
      palace and is looking down on the homes in the
      neighborhood. He watches a beautiful woman bathing. Is
      this sin?

      1. This beautiful woman knew she could be seen (at
        least from the roof of the palace). Was this sin for

      2. Do you think she cared if someone saw her? Is it
        possible that she wanted to show off her beauty? (I
        read a couple of Bible commentators that attacked her
        modesty because of this.)

      3. She has obviously captured the interest of the King.
        He asks around to find out who she is. Was this sin?
        (I don’t think that David had yet sinned. As King, it
        was common to have more than one wife. To see a
        beautiful woman and inquire about her is consistent
        with “wife shopping.” Remember, we learned last week
        that multiple wives are not a smart move and they are
        not God’s ideal.)

      4. What answer does David get to his question? (Her name
        is Bathsheba and she is married.)

        1. Should that have been the end of David’s
          inquiry? (Yes!)

        2. What do you think about Bathsheba marrying a
          Hittite? (Historically ( Judges 3:5-7), this was
          sin in God’s eyes. The problem was that the
          Hittites served other Gods. We know this
          continued to be a prohibited practice throughout
          the time of David’s life because 1Kings 11:1-2
          notes that Solomon (David’s son) violated this
          prohibition. As we will see as our story
          continues, this particular Hittite, is a
          worshiper of God.)

    3. Read 2 Samuel 11:4. Was it sin for David to send for

      1. Is sin something you fall into on the spur of the
        moment? (This whole sequence shows that sin is a
        “walk” – a progression of actions that start with
        things that are not sin, but that lead towards sin.
        Our goal in life is to “walk” towards righteousness
        and not towards sin.)

      2. Notice the parenthetical in verse 4: Bathsheba
        purified herself. Turn to Leviticus 15:18. Does this
        make any sense to you? (You engage in a gross sin,
        but still sweat the details about the Mosiac law!)

        1. What insight does this give us into the mind of

    4. Read 2 Samuel 11:5. What do you think King David should
      have done at this point?

      1. Remember the law of Moses that Bathsheba was so
        careful to keep? Read Leviticus 20:10.

  2. David’s Compounding Sin

    1. Have you ever noticed how one sin leads to many more?

    2. What does David do to cover up his sin? (Read 2 Samuel
      11:6-9. The first thing David does is call for the husband
      to come back from the front in the hope he will sleep with
      his wife and not be too good at math. It doesn’t work
      because of the husband’s devotion to duty. David then asks
      him to spend another night, and gets him drunk in the hope
      he will go home (or at least think he did). See 2 Samuel

    3. Read 2 Samuel 11:14-17. Why did the husband die? What did
      David gain by this? (He died for David’s pride. He died so
      that David’s sin would not be revealed.)

      1. How does this square with the gospel of Jesus? (Jesus
        died for our sins. David took the life of another for
        his sin.)

      2. Does this still go on today? People taking the life
        of another because of their sin? Because of their

  3. The Road Back

    1. Read 2 Samuel 12:1-7a. Are we sometimes blinded by our own
      sin? Or at least the extent of the sinfulness of our
      actions? Was David blinded by the extent of the
      sinfulness of his sin? (Yes. God sent Nathan with a little
      story that would show David the exceeding selfishness of
      his sin.)

    2. David is now convicted of sin. Psalms 51 is believed to be
      the Psalm he wrote as a result. Our lesson (Monday) points
      out that David gave it to the chief musician to be sung in
      public – what a change from David’s former attempts at a

  4. The Prayer

    1. Read Psalms 51:1-3. On what basis is David asking for
      forgiveness? Could he have blamed Bathsheba?

      1. On what basis do you ask for forgiveness? It wasn’t
        your fault? It wasn’t that bad?

      2. When David says (v.3) his sins are always before him,
        what does he mean? How critical is the attitude
        expressed in these first three verses to our
        prayers?(David faces and confesses his sin. He looks
        to God’s love for forgiveness, and does not mention
        any mitigating factors in his sin. Repentance is
        central to the forgiveness of sin. See Matthew 4:17)

    2. Read Psalms 51:4-7. Did David sin only against God?
      Another name comes immediately to mind, and it starts with
      a “U.” What do you say? (Democracies have a common theme
      with the Bible: a higher law exists than the law of the
      “king.” When the king was the highest law, he could decide
      what was right or wrong. David may be saying that under
      man’s law he could kill anyone he wanted and take any wife
      he wanted. However, the higher law of God held him (and
      everyone else in the kingdom) to the rule of law that came
      from God.)

      1. What did David say about God’s justice? What did we
        learn about God’s justice when we studied Job’s
        prayers three weeks ago?

      2. Are babies born innocent? Do we have a natural
        inclination to do what is right? (David gives us a
        great theological truth in verse 5. The reason that
        righteousness by works will not work is that we are
        inherently evil. Mark 10:18 records Jesus’ statement
        that no one is good except God.)

        1. Can you be sinful before you are alive? What
          does David teach in verse 5 about the timing of
          when a baby becomes a living being?

      3. What does verse 6 of David’s prayer teach us about
        hypocrisy? What is God’s view of a “cover up” of our
        sins? (God does not want a Christian with just a
        shiny exterior, He wants “truth in the inner parts”
        and “wisdom in the inmost place.”)

      4. What does David acknowledge is the only way to
        righteousness? (Verse 7 tells us that only by washing
        can we become clean. If you look at Exodus 12:22 and
        generally at Leviticus 14 (among other texts) you
        will see that David is referring to purification and
        protection by blood on the hyssop. Thus, he clearly
        understands that only by the coming sacrifice of
        Christ can we be cleansed of sin.)

        1. Is it that easy for murderers to be forgiven?
          (Yes, when it comes to sin. However, being
          forgiven of sin does not mean you are also
          excused from the natural consequences of your
          sin. David suffered the rest of his life because
          of his sin – losing three of his sons (this baby
          ( 2 Samuel 12:14), Ammon ( 2 Samuel 13:32) and
          Absalom ( 2 Samuel 18:14-15)) directly as a
          result. Ammon and Absalom died as a result of
          David’s loss of moral authority in the area of
          sexual sins. We should obey God not only because
          it is His will, but also because it is best for

    1. Read Psalms 51:8-11. How will David avoid sin in the
      future? (He has a phrase that I often use in my prayers:
      “create in me a pure heart” and “renew a right spirit
      within me.”)

      1. How will a “pure heart” and a “right spirit” keep you
        from sin? (Do you remember our discussion about
        “walking” towards sin? A pure heart and a right
        spirit keep us walking towards righteousness.)

      2. David asks (v.11) to stay in God’s presence. How can
        we be in the presence of God? (We generally associate
        the Holy Spirit with the New Testament. But here,
        David specifically prays for the Holy Spirit and
        reminds us that having the Holy Spirit is having the
        presence of God with us.)

    2. Read Psalms 51:12. Have you felt the joy of salvation? If
      not, is there something about which you need to repent so
      that you can have your joy restored?

      1. Is it possible that you do not turn from your sin
        because of the lack of a “willing” spirit?

    3. Read Psalms 51:13. What will joy in our salvation and a
      willing spirit do for others? (It is an example that turns
      others to God!)

    4. Friend, is your heart right today? Are you walking
      towards righteousness or walking towards sin? If you are
      walking towards sin, have you truly considered the
      possible consequences? If you have already been involved
      in devastating sin, David teaches us that forgiveness and
      a return to joy are possible.

  1. Next Week: A Prayer for God’s Dwelling: Solomon