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King David had been ruling Israel for 20 years when the downward spiral began. He had gone from victory to victory. He had distinguished himself in many ways: man of God, skilled musician, gifted poet, wise and compassionate ruler and a man of great courage. He was on a roll. And that’s when temptation hit.

When David was facing Goliath, he was trusting in the Lord. When David was running from Saul, he was calling out to God. When he was anointed as Israel’s king and ascended the throne, he prayed for God’s help. But 20 years had gone by, and David was kicking back, taking a spiritual vacation. His heart was slowly but surely turning away from God.

God had warned Israel that their kings were never to take concubines (see Deuteronomy 17:16–17). Why? Because their hearts would turn away. That is what was happening to David. He was being consumed by lust. The problems is that you don’t feed lust; you starve it. David had been feeding his lust with concubines, and one thing was leading to another.

One warm spring night when the soldiers went to war, David went to bed. He was in bed when he should’ve been in battle. He was staying up late, sleeping in and being physically and spiritually lazy. And then he saw the beautiful Bathsheba, who was bathing herself on a rooftop, and he immediately wanted to know who she was.

Someone told him, “She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite” (2 Samuel 11:3 NLT). In other words, “She’s married and you’re married, so forget about it.” Sometimes other people have a better sense of what we’re doing than we have. The messenger knew David was a womanizer. And he knew what David saw. God was putting up a roadblock in David’s life to keep him from sinning.

In the same way, God puts up roadblocks in our lives. When we try to do something wrong, God doesn’t make it easy for us; he makes it difficult. That’s why I think it’s so ridiculous when someone claims they just fell into adultery, kind of like tripping over a rug. They didn’t fall into anything; they planned it, plotted it, and executed it. They had to jump through a lot of hoops to end up in that situation.

That’s what David did. He went for it. Then Bathsheba sent word that she was pregnant. He was in a mess of a situation. But David wasn’t coming clean. Instead, he had an idea. He thought, “I’ll bring back Uriah from the battle to go spend the night with his wife. He’ll think it’s his child, not mine.” So he gave the order, and Uriah was brought back from the battlefield and sent to his home.

Uriah, however, couldn’t bear the thought of being with his wife while his fellow soldiers were still on the front lines. So he slept outside his house the first night. The next night, David got him drunk and then sent him home. Still, Uriah would not sleep with his wife.

Yet David wouldn’t give up. He ordered his general to send a charge against the enemy and then have everyone fall back, leaving Uriah on his own. As a result, Uriah was killed in battle, and word came back that Uriah was dead.

Then we read, “The Lord was displeased with what David had done” (2 Samuel 11:27 NLT). David married Bathsheba and thought no one would ever know. Despite this, he was miserable. Someone who is really a man or woman of God will live in guilt when they’re sinning. They eventually will get right with God. And that is what David did. He was still the man after God’s own heart.

In the aftermath he wrote, “Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight!” (Psalm 32:1 NLT)

For 12 months David had fought the conviction of the Holy Spirit. He wasn’t experiencing God’s presence as he had before. Was he still in a relationship with God? Yes. Was he in fellowship with God? No.

When your children disobey you and disappoint you, are they still your children? Yes they are. Are they in a good relationship with you at the moment? Probably not. That is where David was. But he repented.

God forgave David, but David still faced repercussions for his sins. He saw it played out in the lives of his children. His sons and daughters behaved badly. They rebelled against him, and they did some of the very things he himself did. He lost a lot of moral authority. Yet he was forgiven by God and made his way into the Messianic line.

David’s genealogy is the most exclusive in human history. And who else made it into that genealogy? Bathsheba. That’s called the grace of God. God gives second chances. Yes, David fell, and he fell big. But he came back strong.

We have ups and downs in our lives, but the Christian life should not be up and down. Rather, the Christian life should be in and out: in for worship and out for service. Jesus said, “I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures” (John 10:9 NLT). We come in and find pasture. We get refueled. We get perspective. Then we go out into the world to be world changers.

However, the only way you’re going to be a world changer is if your world is changed first. God cannot forgive the sin that you will not confess. David could have lived in sin. David could have ended in sin. But he came back to the Lord.

The Bible says, “If we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness” (1 John 1:9 NLT). Jesus died for me, and he died for you. He rose from the dead three days later and is ready to come into your life, if you would like him to. You can be forgiven of your sin.

Read more at Hope for when we fall — and fall big.