And it came to pass, after the year was expired, at the time when kings go forth to battle, that David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the children of Ammon, and besieged Rabbah. But David tarried still at Jerusalem. -2 Samuel 11:1
Here is a critical verse, listed immediately before a critical (and unfortunate) time in king David’s life. In the very next verses, we read of David’s fall into adultery and murder, which began with: “he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon. . .” (2 Samuel 11:2).
Of course, many arguments could be made that David should have been able to resist this sin. Many warnings against lust have been applied to this instance of David’s sin, but I think it most important to recognize another danger: the danger of straying away from God’s will.
God’s will for David: the battle
If you look back up at the verse quoted at the top of this page, you’ll noticed two things that were happening immediately before David’s fall into sin:
1.) It was a time when kings go forth into battle, (and I believe that this was God’s will for David at this time.)
2.) David sent someone else to do go into battle for him, and stayed home at Jerusalem, (thus exposing himself to the dangers of rebelling against God.)
It’s not unfair to say that even the king should have been at the battle at Rabbah, as David himself was an experienced warrior by this point, and had gone forth to war in numerous times prior to this instance.
In addition, I think that God may have been dropping a bit of a hint as well when He said it was “at the time when kings go forth to battle,” suggesting that David was neglecting his royal duty.
The protection of God’s will
Had David been in God’s will, and at the battle against the Ammonites, he would have never even encountered the temptation that came from seeing the woman Bath-Sheba. He would have had no need to lie and conceal his wrong-doing through murder. He would have been spared a world of turmoil and pain: if he would have simply walked in God’s will, and gone to the place where He had said.
The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe. -Proverbs 18:10
Notice that the righteous are to run into the tower of God’s protection. This implies that we are willingly walking toward Him, and seeking God’s help and grace. Scripture does not say that the righteous accidentally stumble upon His protection.
And in another place in Scripture, we are to take the shield of faith. “Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked” (Ephesians 6:16). Now a shield must still be actively used and put forth against the danger: it is not automatically triggered in battle. We must be facing in the proper direction, and then we are able to resist the evil: and the proper direction for a Christian is found in walking in God’s will.
That is to say, we cannot run contrary to God’s desires, and still expect Him to protect us: this would be tempting God. Satan told Jesus to jump off the high point of the temple, and rely on God to save Him. Yet Jesus replied to him, “It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God” (Matthew 4:7).
Though He will never leave us nor forsake us, clearly God’s provision is for those who are at the very least attempting to walk according to His will. He is a strong tower, and we need but to run into it. But we cannot simply run here and there, and anywhere that we please, and still expect the safety of His strong tower. For it’s written, “the righteous runneth into it, and is safe” (Proverbs 18:10).