Column: Couch’s Corner

David and Joseph are two of my favorite biblical figures. Both men chased after God’s heart despite falling into seasons of sin and sadness. Christians can greatly benefit from combining the integrity of Joseph with the repentance of David in their own lives. 

The story of David’s sin with Bathsheba is well known. But to understand the magnitude of God’s grace and forgiveness, we first must understand the severity of our own sin. 

The greater the consequences of our sin, the more God’s forgiveness and redemption is showcased.

 David’s affair with Bathsheba and his murder of her husband Uriah are especially devastating because her husband and father were both within David’s inner circle of Mighty Men. This group had been with David while he was in the wilderness hiding from King Saul, and they were also the military men who assisted David in taking Jerusalem. 

Bathsheba’s father and grandfather were two of the most powerful men in David’s court, which meant that Bathsheba likely grew up knowing and trusting David. Historians believe that David was around 50 years old while Bathsheba was not far from her late teen years when the affair happened.

“Bathsheba grew up in awe of David, the man after God’s own heart, the author of the Psalms, God’s anointed leader,” James Jordan from Biblical Horizons said. “All her life she had viewed him as one of Israel’s preeminent spiritual leaders. She had heard him speak of the Lord many times. She had heard her father and grandfather praise him. So when David called for her, she came.” 

The consequences and ripple effect of David indulging in his adulterous desires were far reaching. Uriah was sent to the front lines of battle to be killed, and when David and Bathsheba’s baby conceived through adultery died, David’s family fell apart. Bathsheba’s grandfather was obviously devastated after his granddaughter’s affair, so he advised Absalom to lie with David’s concubines just as David had done with Bathsheba.

A father’s impact is significant, as is shown through David’s sons’ failures. Amnon raped his own sister, Absalom committed adultery with David’s concubines and Solomon is thought by some biblical experts to have had a sexual addiction due to having 1,000 women sexually available to him. 

God still calls David a man after his own heart despite David’s disastrous life. The Lord saw his genuine repentance, which should give Christians hope that we are never too far gone for God’s forgiveness and grace.

Joseph also faced sexual temptation by his master’s wife, but he refused to give in to her charm. Joseph understood that giving into momentary pleasure was not worth long-term pain. 

Little is known about Joseph’s love life, but it appears that he may have only had one wife, which would have been uncommon in that time and culture. 

Polygamy was never God’s design. Although he allowed for this ancient custom to play out in the Old Testament, he did not encourage its practice. Joseph’s decision to abstain from sexual immorality led to blessing while David’s unbridled lust contributed to his family’s disfunction and downfall. 

I am not elevating Joseph on a pedestal while degrading David. We are all sinners in need of God’s grace. But the contrast of these two testimonies serves as a reminder that decisions we make today are a foreshadowing of consequences to reap in the future. 

Joseph remained so focused on his audience of One that he did not even see adultery as an option. The result was not immediate reward, but isn’t that symbolic of a life lived for the Lord? That kind of life, one we should all be pursuing, is trusting in the Lord through every circumstance while holding on to the hope that our ultimate reward is heaven.

Romans 8:18 says, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing to the glory that is to be revealed to us.”

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