Truth and Consequences: A Bible Study about David

David is an excellent example of repentance and forgiveness. He understood how to restore his relationship with God.

Before doing this Bible study, please read the 1-minute devotion 3 Consequences and Attitudes Toward Sin.

It explains that God disciplines us and uses consequences to convict and correct us (Hebrews 12: 5-11Galatians 6:7-8). But believers don't suffer eternal consequences because we are in Christ (Romans 6:23). 

The life of King David is an excellent study in forgiveness.
David committed serious sins even as a believer. 

The Prophet Nathan brought God's rebuke to David:

2 Samuel 12:7-14: Nathan said to David...9 Why did you despise the word of the LORD by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. 10 Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.’ 11 “This is what the LORD says: ‘Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity on you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will sleep with your wives in broad daylight. 12 You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.’” 13 Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” Nathan replied, “The LORD has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. 14 But because by doing this you have shown utter contempt for the LORD, the son born to you will die.” 

Sometimes Christians falsely assume that God does not punish our sins because we are redeemed, but that's not true. We don't suffer eternal punishment, but we still suffering earthly consequences. In rare cases, God removes earthly consequences, but that is not typical.  

verse 9: When we violate God's commands, we are "despising God's Word" and "doing evil in God's eyes." 

In Romans 6:1-2, Paul is shocked that some Christians have a casual attitude toward sin: "Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?"  

Verses 10-12: Read the story of David's life and you will see these consequences played out. This part of God's will can be difficult to understand, so let me explain some important truths:

God does not cause anyone to sin in order to bring about this punishment (James 1:13). He knew beforehand who would sin against David and He used these situations for His purposes. Those who committed sins were fully responsible for what they did. 

The death of the innocent child is perhaps the hardest punishment to understand, but that child never suffered the many difficulties he would have suffered had he lived. See Why Babies God to Heaven

Verses 13-14: This is what sets David apart--his immediate admission of guilt without excuse or justification. This restored his relationship with God, but it didn't remove his earthly consequences. And David continued to express that humble, repentant attitude in Psalm 51.

Psalm 51: 3-4, 10-12, 17: I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. 4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge ... 10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me ... 17My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise. 

David makes no excuses for his sins. He admits he has offended God first and foremost. But this might be the most significant thing about David's repentance: He was not resentful about his punishment. He said God was right to punish him. He accepted his consequences. He makes it clear that his most important desire was restoring his relationship with the Lord.

When God forgives us, He removes our eternal consequences, but He rarely removes our earthly consequences.

David Restored His Relationship With God:

The passage below was written after David's death. Note how he is compared to other kings:

1 King 15:1-5: In the eighteenth year of the reign of Jeroboam son of Nebat, Abijah became king of Judah ... 3 He committed all the sins his father had done before him; his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his forefather had been. 4Nevertheless, for David’s sake the Lord his God gave him a lamp in Jerusalem by raising up a son to succeed him and by making Jerusalem strong. 5 For David had done what was right in the eyes of the Lord and had not failed to keep any of the Lord’s commands all the days of his life—except in the case of Uriah the Hittite.

Because of David's sincere repentance, the Lord continued to honor him as a standard of godliness. When we acknowledge our sins, we can restore our relationship with God....and nothing else is more important.

copyright 2015, Gail Burton Purath,, updated 2023
All Scripture NIV unless otherwise noted

David is an excellent example of repentance and forgiveness. He understood how to restore his relationship with God.

David is an excellent example of repentance and forgiveness. He understood how to restore his relationship with God.

Grasshoppers in the Faith

Do you know the Old Testament story about "Grasshopper faith?" Check out this short, helpful Bible study.

Before doing this study, please read the 1-minute introduction: Grasshopper Faith.

It explains how the majority of men who explored the Promised land came back and inspired fear and distrust in God's promises, claiming they were like grasshoppers compared to the people in the lands they were supposed to conquer. See Numbers 13.

This passage prompts me to ask myself if I'm living like a conqueror or a grasshopper when it comes to obstacles in my life.

1. What insights does this passage give about living as conquerors?

Romans 8:1-17: Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 

5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 

8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. 9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.  

12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. 14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 

17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. 


Do you know the Old Testament story about "Grasshopper faith?" Check out this short, helpful Bible study.
Romans 8:1
-4: We are "legally" (i.e. eternally) under no condemnation because Christ has paid the price for our sins, so we can live as "more than conquerors" -- "according to the Spirit." 

5-8: The unbeliever lives "according to the flesh":
  • he has his mind set on fleshly desires
  • he is governed by death
  • he is hostile to God
  • he is unable to obey God's law (since true obedience begins in the heart). 
  • he cannot please God

The characteristics above describe the 10 fearful, unbelieving leaders and the majority of people who followed them and lost their opportunity to conquer the Promised Land.

v.5-6, 9-17 describes the believer, the conqueror who lives in the realm of the Spirit (a proof of his salvation (v.9)

  • has his mind on the Spirit's desires
  • is governed by life and peace
  • is heir to eternal life, a true son/daughter 
  • has spiritual life here and now
  • is no longer a slave to fear
  • has the assurance of God's Spirit that he's saved
  • shares in Christ's suffering and glory
  • has an obligation to live according to the Spirit    
The characteristics above describe Moses, Joshua, and Caleb in the passage.

More than a conqueror:
Notice that being more than a conqueror comes with an important responsibility ("obligation") according to verse 8. This obligation is the subject of many Scripture passages and is well summed up in Philippians 2:12-13. Only God can produce the actual change in our hearts and lives to make us conquerors over sin, death, and fear, but we have an important role. We must submit to the Spirit and seriously seek to please Him instead of pleasing our fleshly fears. See also Ephesians 5:1-15.

copyright, Gail Burton Purath,, updated in 2023
Do you know the Old Testament story about "Grasshopper faith?" Check out this short, helpful Bible study.

Do you know the Old Testament story about "Grasshopper faith?" Check out this short, helpful Bible study.

Follow the Leader - In Ways that Honor God

A short Bible study looking at two situations, one in the life of Sarah and one in the life of David. One followed bad advice and one rejected it.

Before doing this study, please read the one-minute Introduction: Follow the Leader.

It explains that we must be careful not to follow ungodly leaders. We're called to respect leaders in the church, but we still must test their teaching with God's Word to make sure we aren't mislead. 

The two examples below give us more insight into godly and ungodly "following."

1. For the most part Sarah was a good example of a submissive wife. But this is one of several times she failed.

Genesis 20:1-5: Now Abraham moved on from there into the region of the Negev and lived between Kadesh and Shur. For a while he stayed in Gerar, 2 and there Abraham said of his wife Sarah, “She is my sister.” Then Abimelek king of Gerar sent for Sarah and took her. 3 But God came to Abimelek in a dream one night and said to him, “You are as good as dead because of the woman you have taken; she is a married woman.” 4 Now Abimelek had not gone near her, so he said, “Lord, will you destroy an innocent nation? 5 Did he not say to me, ‘She is my sister,’ and didn’t she also say, ‘He is my brother’? I have done this with a clear conscience and clean hands.” 

Sarah was a bad follower in this situation, doing something ungodly for Abraham when she should have respectfully refused. Even though wives are supposed to submit to their husbands, submission never involves violating God's laws. Note the wording of Colossians 3:18Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Sarah would have been forced into an adulterous sexual relationship with Abimelek if God had not rescued her. 

This principle is true of a soldier and his commanding officer, an employee and her boss, Church members and their pastor, and a child and their parents. Scripture tells us to respect those in authority, but we are never to violate God's commands in the process. God's authority is always supreme.

Then, later in the chapter (verses 11-13) when Abimelek asked Abraham why he deceived him:

11 Abraham replied, “I said to myself, ‘There is surely no fear of God in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife.’ 12 Besides, she really is my sister, the daughter of my father though not of my mother; and she became my wife. 13 And when God had me wander from my father’s household, I said to her, ‘This is how you can show your love to me: Everywhere we go, say of me, “He is my brother.”

Abraham's plan was foolish, dishonest, and lacking in faith. He used a half-truth (i.e. half-lie) to protect himself instead of trusting God. It's interesting that the pagan Abimelek showed more faith than Abraham in this passage - God spoke to Abimelek and he listened!

2. David committed some serious sins, but he understood authority better than most.

1 Samuel 24:1-7: After Saul returned from fighting the Philistines, he was told that David had gone into the wilderness of En-gedi. 2 So Saul chose 3,000 elite troops from all Israel and went to search for David and his men near the rocks of the wild goats. 3 At the place where the road passes some sheepfolds, Saul went into a cave to relieve himself. But as it happened, David and his men were hiding farther back in that very cave! 4 “Now’s your opportunity!” David’s men whispered to him. “Today the Lord is telling you, ‘I will certainly put your enemy into your power, to do with as you wish.’” So David crept forward and cut off a piece of the hem of Saul’s robe. 5 But then David’s conscience began bothering him because he had cut Saul’s robe. 6 He said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do this to my lord the king. I shouldn’t attack the Lord’s anointed one, for the Lord himself has chosen him.” 7 So David restrained his men and did not let them kill Saul. (NLT) 

David finds his enemy Saul in a compromised position. Saul would have killed David if he'd found him in a similar situation. From a human standpoint, Saul certainly deserved to be killed considering the way he had violated God's commands and was intent on murdering David. In addition, David's men told him God had given him this opportunity and he should take it.

But David had a faith-filled understanding of God's commands to respect those in authority. He knew God would deal with Saul in his own way and in his own time, so David refused to harm Saul and even felt remorse for taking a piece of his robe.  

David was a godly follower in this situation--he overcame peer pressure and personal offense to do the right thing. This is one of many reasons that, despite his serious sins, David was a man who had a heart for God. To read more about what set David apart, see 8 Elements of Repentance and Restoration and if you're married, I encourage you to read another devotion that addresses David's attitude toward Saul: Having God's Heart for Your Mother-in-law. (That last one should pique your curiosity 😊)

 © Gail Burton Purath,, 2015, updated in 2024

A short Bible study looking at two situations, one in the life of Sarah and one in the life of David. One followed bad advice and one rejected it.

A short Bible study looking at two situations, one in the life of Sarah and one in the life of David. One followed bad advice and one rejected it.

A short Bible study looking at two situations, one in the life of Sarah and one in the life of David. One followed bad advice and one rejected it.