Lessons from David and Bathsheba

I am a teacher in my local Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saint congregation. The following article summarizes some of my feelings on the story of David and Bathsheba from 2 Samuel in the Old Testament. This lesson was presented on 29 June 2014 and corresponds with lesson 24 in the Gospel Doctrine class.

Introduction

When you read the scriptures as a whole, and try to find the big picture, you will see that it is a story of a loving heavenly father who repeatedly sends prophets, miracles, plagues, angelic ministers, and even his only begotten son to a fallen world in an attempt to do everything possible to help them return to live with him again. It is a story about his love for us, how he prepared a way for us to be saved from our fallen and sinful condition and one day be redeemed and brought back into his holy presence—if we want it, of course. So every story, every prophet, everyone we read about in one way or another takes us back to this story—of how much we are loved by God and his household, and how he will do everything he possibly can to help us—if we let him.

The story of David, like many others in the Bible, if carefully read, will teach us about the life and mission of Jesus Christ and how only by relying on him and his teachings, can we find salvation and lasting joy.

There are 66 books in the King James Bible written by 40 different authors. There are 3237 biographical sketches in there. And 12% of those chapters, 141 out of 1189, focus on Kind David.

Last week we studied about David the warrior and anointed king and his relationship with King Saul’s family. The manual now skips forward a bit because we just don’t have time cover 1 Samuel 25 through 2 Samuel 10. But those chapters do provide important information about the historical setting for this lesson, so here’s a recap of what we missed.

Soon after David spared Saul’s life, Saul sought David’s life one more time. Again David had the opportunity to kill the king, but he refused to do so. Battles continued between the people of Judah and the surrounding nations, and Saul and Jonathan were killed in one of those battles. David succeeded Saul as king and became one of the greatest kings in the history of Israel.

That’s what we missed. But again, we want to look to the scriptures and find ways that they point us to Jesus.

Up to this point in his life, how was David a type or a shadow of Jesus Christ?

  1. David was born in Bethlehem, the city of Bread.
  2. He started out with humble beginnings and, because of his character and behavior, was taken from a lowly place to the highest place.
  3. David was a good shepherd, someone who could be trusted with responsibility as he cared for the sheep. (1 Samuel 16:11)
  4. He was sent by his father to take care of the sheep; just like Joseph of Egypt we studied about earlier. (1 Samuel 17:8-9)
  5. He was rejected by his brothers. (1 Samuel 17:28)
  6. He was foreordained and anointed to become a great king.
  7. He was strengthened by his past experiences. (1 Samuel 17:28)
  8. Line upon line, he developed his talents and skills and grew in favor with both God and man.
  9. He knew the scriptures.
  10. He was friends with the prophets.
  11. He made friends of those who should have been his enemies.
  12. He took in vagabonds, and sinners, and had mighty men surround him. (1 Samuel 23, 2 Samuel 23:1,2)
  13. He was pursued to be killed. (1 Samuel 19-24)
  14. He was a brave man, with “fight” in him, and was not weak or timid (1 Samuel 16:18)
  15. He was cautious in what he said, and not a blabbermouth (1 Samuel 16:18)
  16. He had a presence about him (1 Samuel 16:18)
  17. It was clear that God was with him blessing what he did and granting him success (1 Samuel 16:18)
  18. He inspired love from others (1 Samuel 16:21)
  19. He was willing to serve other leaders rather than being all about his own agenda (1 Samuel 16:21)
  20. For a while, while he could have led his country to peace, he was in exile, cast out by the current leaders (1 Samuel 22:1-2)
  21. He united the tribes into one nation.
  22. He made Jerusalem the official royal city.
  23. He secured possession of the land that had been promised to his people.
  24. He set up a government based on God’s law.

And there are many other parallels. For me, the fun part of studying the scriptures is trying to find ways the all things testify of Christ. Because then, not only am I looking at the lives of the characters in the scriptures, but I’m thinking about how they were like Jesus. And that opens up ideas about how I can be more like Jesus.

One last thing before I continue on with the story, it needs to be said that David was able to establish a patriarchal kingdom that passed authority from father to son for hundreds of years. He was the first of a series of kings that, if the Babylonians, Assyrians, and Romans hadn’t intervened over the next 1000 years, would have been ruling Judea when Jesus was born. In fact, because both Mary and Joseph, Jesus’ step-father, were descendants of David, it may have been that Jesus could have been the actual king over Judea. In fact, here is how Elder James Talmage presented this idea in his book, Jesus the Christ:

“At the time of the Savior’s birth, Israel was ruled by alien monarchs. The rights of the royal Davidic family were unrecognized; and the ruler of the Jews was an appointee of Rome. Had Judah been a free and independent nation, ruled by her rightful sovereign, Joseph the carpenter would have been her crowned king; and his lawful successor to the throne would have been Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” (Jesus the Christ, p. 87.)

That’s something to contemplate isn’t it?

But unfortunately, at this point in David’s life, the story is taking a turning point. He has reached the zenith of his career, and now we start to witness the decline of King David. Unfortunately, the last 20 years of his life were marred by the sinful decisions that are discussed in this lesson.

The title of this lesson is, “Create in Me a Clean Heart,” and we’ll be discussing the story of David and Bathsheba. Hopefully, when we’re finished today, we’ll all fill a little more encouragement to be chaste in thought and action and to repent of our sins.

In fact, one of the lessons that I’ve personally learned this time through these scriptures is the importance of confessing rather than concealing our sins. In just a moment, we’ll step verse by verse through this tragic drama, but I want you to consider this question: How would things have been different if David had confessed rather than concealed his sins?

Now let’s jump into today’s reading in 2 Samuel, chapter 11.

David commits adultery with Bathsheba

2 Samuel 11

1 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.

Let’s talk about a few things in this verse.

First, who was Joab? Joab was the general of the armies of Israel, and he was the son of Zeruiah, a sister of David, which made him a nephew of King David, his uncle. Notice that others from David’s household were away at the front at well. But not David. And not a lot of the able-bodied men around town—they were off fighting a war.

So where was the battle raging on? It was happening in Amman, Jordan, about 45 miles away from Jerusalem.

When was it occurring? It happened in the late spring, when the roads were no longer muddy and armies could go out and fight each other.

Why didn’t David go to battle? He was the great warrior king; perhaps the greatest military leader Israel had yet experienced. That’s the great question, isn’t it? How things would have been different if he made a different choice. By this time of his life, David was middle-aged and probably decided that he no longer needed to fight the battles himself. He relied on his armies to do the work for him, which was unprecedented. After all, this was the time when kings go forth to battle. So he may have been a little comfortable, a little too comfortable. Taking it easy. He had too much leisure time on his hands.

And, I would wager, that he didn’t spend his leisure time studying the scriptures, listening to the prophets, composing poems and songs, attending to the needs of his people, working on the plans for the temple, or any number of things he had done in the past, but now, at this time, chose not to do. And how he chose to use his leisure time, would lead to his downfall. Is there a lesson in there for us? I think so. There definitely is for me.

2 ¶And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king’s house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon.

Now why was David walking on his roof? Many homes in the Holy Land, both then and now, had flat roofs. In the heat of the Middle East, much of the people’s time was spent walking or sitting on their roofs in the refreshing cool of evening or in the day to catch a daytime breeze. The roof of David’s palace was probably high enough that he could have looked into the inner courts of a number of homes nearby. In fact, recent excavations in Jerusalem tell us that this building may have been on a location that placed it about 10 stories higher than the nearby homes.

So what was Bathsheba doing? The Jewish rabbis had expanded on what was written in Leviticus and had created some specific purity laws. According to those laws, a woman must wait seven days after her menses end before purifying herself ritually in a mikvah, a special immersion pool, so that she and her husband may resume sexual relations. The biblical text implies that this ritual purification was the bath that David saw Bathsheba taking. Depending on the length of a woman’s period, this seven-day injunction before purification virtually guarantees that a woman will most likely be ovulating, or close to ovulating, when she resumes having sex.

Now, let’s go back to David. He was up on his roof cooling off—probably nothing wrong with that. He sees Bathsheba bathing. He was impressed with her beauty. And he faced a temptation. Up to this point he still hadn’t sinned. We all are faced with temptations, we can’t always avoid them. It is what we do what we are faced with it, it is how we choose, that reflects our character and our true nature. In this case, for David, the natural man won this battle. And he lingered and allowed his thoughts to turn lusty.

Because we are human, all of us, no matter who we are, have times when we are lonely, or times when we feel sorry for ourselves and think we are entitled to a little fun, or we contemplate doing things that we normally wouldn’t do when our loved ones are around—it is in these conditions and at those times when we are at our weakest and most vulnerable to temptation. We sometimes do things when we think we are alone and by ourselves and tell ourselves that no one will know.

Funny, as Latter-day Saints we have been blessed with some extra knowledge about our mortal existence, sometimes we forget that 70 billion people have lived on this earth before us and have subsequently died. They are now in the spirit world. And where is the spirit world? It is on this earth. Even though our physical eyes can’t normally see them in their spiritual plane, there is plenty of evidence that they, at times, can see us. And don’t forget about the third of the host of heavens who were cast down to earth as unembodied spirits. They are there, most assuredly, whispering lies and relishing in our sins. When you add them to the hosts of spirits, both good and bad, who are interested in us and our decisions, some to help, others to hurt, we are never, ever completely alone. But let’s assume that none of these thing existed at all. The fact remains that we know what we are doing, and we know when we are sinning—thanks to the light of Christ.

We can deceive others, and we think we can deceive ourselves, but it never really works, does it? We can only cover up so much for so long before things start to break down and fall apart. Hypocrisy never leads to emotional and spiritual and interpersonal well-being. In fact, in my opinion, self-deception is far more dangerous to our souls than almost anything, and lies at the root of all evil.

Besides, deceiving ourselves and others is always temporary. In fact, the scriptures are pretty clear that all of our unrepented sins will be eventually “shouted from the rooftops.” We always know the truth. And God, who is truth, also knows the truth. We will each, stand before Him, with a perfect recollection of everything we have ever thought and everything we have ever done. That, my friends, will be one of the unescapable pivot points in our existence; an event that we readily agreed to be a part of before we were given this mortal experience. Whether that is a great or a terrible day depends on how often we choose to follow the Savior. The choice is ours. And ours alone. Life has always been about choices, and David, is about to make a bad one.

3 And David sent and inquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bath-sheba, the daughter of Eliam the wife of Uriah the Hittite?

Let’s talk about these people for a moment.

Bathsheba’s name means, “Daughter of the Oath.” She was probably religiously devout, as indicated by the cleansing ritual. She would later prove to be a wise and protective mother. Of course, back then, women had few rights.

Eliam, also known in Chronicles as Ammiel, was one of David’s Gibborim, a hand-picked group of 30 to 80 mighty men, sort of like the knights of the round table.

Eliam’s father was Ahithophel the Gilonite, one of Kind David’s advisors, who would later conspire with David’s son Absalom to create a civil war and take over the throne, and would later kill himself when the plot failed—seems like a parallel to how Judas betrayed Jesus, doesn’t it.

Uriah, a name which means, “The Lord is Light”, was one of the ethnic Hittite minority who lived in and around the Land of Canaan since before the time of Abraham. Who knows, maybe he was one of the original Jebusite inhabitants of Jerusalem. In fact, some Jewish scholars say he was the intended successor of the last king of Jerusalem before it was conquered by David. Uriah was also one of David’s mighty men, and must have adopted, and least in some part, Israeli culture and religion. He was also a man of honor and integrity, which we shall soon see.

4 And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her; for she was purified from her uncleanness: and she returned unto her house.

Once the moment of passion was over, David retreated to his house and sent Bathsheba back to hers. But I doubt either one of them slept well after that. These two people knew the law, and they both knew they trespassed it, and they knew the penalty. What was the law and the penalty? It is found in Leviticus 20:10:

“And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.”

For Bathsheba, she knew she committed adultery, and she certainly bears some responsibility, but on the other hand, people of that day and age, just like today, don’t often say “no” to their supreme leaders, especially when those leaders can be the judge, the jury, and the executioner. But nevertheless, King David thought he was above the law. How true that is, even today. How many politicians do you know who think they are above the laws they created or have sworn to uphold. If they don’t respect those, how do you think they treat the laws of God? Human certainly nature hasn’t changed much over the past 3,000 years.

So the penalty for adultery is death. Even though David won’t carry out the penalty on himself and Bathsheba, both of them and their loved ones will pay dearly because God will not be mocked. Not only will they experience much death and bloodshed in their own family, but David will experience a form of spiritual death that continues to this day.

Of course, sexual sin, while serious and grievous, may be forgiven if one is willing to confess and forsake the sin, and plea for forgiveness from those you offended and from the Savior, whom you also offended, and who paid a terrible price for your sin. But David hasn’t been humbled enough to repent yet. So the plot is about to thicken.

5 And the woman conceived, and sent and told David, and said, I am with child.

Okay, now let’s stop the story for a second and ponder a few things. What choices did David have at this moment? What could he have done? What should he have done?

6 ¶And David sent to Joab, saying, Send me Uriah the Hittite. And Joab sent Uriah to David.

7 And when Uriah was come unto him, David demanded of him how Joab did, and how the people did, and how the war prospered.

8 And David said to Uriah, Go down to thy house, and wash thy feet. And Uriah departed out of the king’s house, and there followed him a mess of meat from the king.

9 But Uriah slept at the door of the king’s house with all the servants of his lord, and went not down to his house.

10 And when they had told David, saying, Uriah went not down unto his house, David said unto Uriah, Camest thou not from thy journey? why then didst thou not go down unto thine house?

11 And Uriah said unto David, The ark, and Israel, and Judah, abide in tents; and my lord Joab, and the servants of my lord, are encamped in the open fields; shall I then go into mine house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? as thou livest, and as thy soul liveth, I will not do this thing.

12 And David said to Uriah, Tarry here to day also, and to morrow I will let thee depart. So Uriah abode in Jerusalem that day, and the morrow.

13 And when David had called him, he did eat and drink before him; and he made him drunk: and at even he went out to lie on his bed with the servants of his lord, but went not down to his house.

14 ¶And it came to pass in the morning, that David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah.

15 And he wrote in the letter, saying, Set ye Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retire ye from him, that he may be smitten, and die.

16 And it came to pass, when Joab observed the city, that he assigned Uriah unto a place where he knew that valiant men were.

17 And the men of the city went out, and fought with Joab: and there fell some of the people of the servants of David; and Uriah the Hittite died also.

And now, David has broken yet another commandment; one that is even more serious that adultery. According to the D&C 42:18, the murderer “shall not have forgiveness in this world, nor in the world to come.” In LDS doctrine, the worse possible sin we can commit is the unpardonable sin of blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, an act which will land you in outer darkness along with Satan and a third of the host of heaven. Next to this sin, in terms of seriousness of penalty, lies murder, an act which while saves your soul from outer darkness, and through, the atonement of Christ allows you to be resurrected to a kingdom of glory, may still cost you your exaltation, according to D&C 76.

Ezra Taft Benson said that murder violates the sanctity of life and cuts off the ability of its victims to “work out their destiny.” Spencer W. Kimball taught that because “man cannot restore life,” and restoration or restitution is a necessary step for repentance, obtaining forgiveness for murder is impossible.

Verses 18-25 go on to explain how Joab reports to David about the death of Uriah. And that takes us to verse 26 and 27.

26 ¶And when the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she mourned for her husband.

The custom at that time was a window would mourn the death of her husband for at least 7 but not more than 30 days. This would include expressing tokens of mourning by shedding tears, tearing your clothing, sitting on the floor or low stools, not bathing, not shaving or cutting hair, not wearing cosmetics, not working, not attending parties or celebrations, not listening to music, seeing no company except for fellow mourners and family members. This custom is still maintained by modern Jews, who call it sitting shiva and shloshim.

27 And when the mourning was past, David sent and fetched her to his house, and she became his wife, and bare him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord.

David’s last attempt at concealment was to take Bathsheba as his wife. Now keep in mind, that at this point in time, David already had seven other wives and concubines. According to 1 Chronicles 3:

  1. Michal, daughter of Saul (no children of David)
  2. Ahinoam, mother of Amnon
  3. Abigail, mother of Daniel
  4. Maacah, mother of Absalom
  5. Haggith, mother of Adonijah
  6. Abital, mother of Shephatiah
  7. Eglah, mother of Ithream
  8. Bathsheba, mother of Soloman

Altogether, scripture records that David had 19 sons and one daughter, Tamar, by these wives and a few concubines.

You may ask, why did David practice polygamy?

Well, as you may know, at various times during the history of the world, the Lord has commanded His people to practice plural marriage. For example, He gave this command to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David, and Solomon. Let’s read this in the D&C 132.

1. Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you my servant Joseph, that inasmuch as you have inquired of my hand to know and understand wherein I, the Lord, justified my servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as also Moses, David and Solomon, my servants, as touching the principle and doctrine of their having many wives and concubines—

38 David also received many wives and concubines, and also Solomon and Moses my servants, as also many others of my servants, from the beginning of creation until this time; and in nothing did they sin save in those things which they received not of me.

39 David’s wives and concubines were given unto him of me, by the hand of Nathan, my servant, and others of the prophets who had the keys of this power; and in none of these things did he sin against me save in the case of Uriah and his wife; and, therefore he hath fallen from his exaltation, and received his portion; and he shall not inherit them out of the world, for I gave them unto another, saith the Lord.

So David, thinking that he was “all that”, went around the prophet Nathan and took himself a new wife, acquired without the Lord’s blessing, and thought all was good, he was deceiving himself. But as it said at the end of 2 Samuel 11:

But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord.

Elder Richard G. Scott said:

“Do not take comfort in the fact that your transgressions are not known by others. That is like an ostrich with his head buried in the sand. He sees only darkness and feels comfortably hidden. In reality he is ridiculously conspicuous. Likewise our every act is seen by our Father in Heaven and His Beloved Son. They know everything about us. …

“If you have seriously transgressed, you will not find any lasting satisfaction or comfort in what you have done. Excusing transgression with a cover-up may appear to fix the problem, but it does not. The tempter is intent on making public your most embarrassing acts at the most harmful time. Lies weave a pattern that is ever more confining and becomes a trap that Satan will spring to your detriment” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1995, 103; or Ensign, May 1995, 77).

In trying to hide his sin of adultery, David committed an even greater sin. To discuss the danger of trying to hide our sins, compare sin to a mound of dirt.

What will happen if we try to cover a small mound of dirt? (The mound will become larger and more visible.)

How is covering our sins like covering a mound of dirt? (Our sinfulness becomes greater and more serious when we try to cover our sins.)

If we do not want people to see a mound of dirt, what should we do? (We should remove the mound rather than cover it.) How can we remove sin from our lives?

David is told that he will be punished because of his sins

Now let’s see what the Lord is going to do next. It is a pattern of the Lord’s, by the way. Once he sees a sin, he gives us a chance to repent right away. He often speaks to us through scriptures or prophets. In the case of David, he sent Nathan the prophet. And Nathan, delivers a parable to King David.

2 Samuel 12

1 And the Lord sent Nathan unto David. And he came unto him, and said unto him, There were two men in one city; the one rich, and the other poor.

2 The rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds:

3 But the poor man had nothing, save one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up: and it grew up together with him, and with his children; it did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter.

4 And there came a traveller unto the rich man, and he spared to take of his own flock and of his own herd, to dress for the wayfaring man that was come unto him; but took the poor man’s lamb, and dressed it for the man that was come to him.

Parables are great because they keep people off guard. You’re sitting back enjoying the story and don’t even realize the hidden message until later, or until someone points it out to you. Let’s look at David’s reaction to the parable.

5 And David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, As the Lord liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die:

6 And he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.

So David was riled up. As the ultimate judge over Israel, he declared the man should not only pay restitution times four, but suffer the death penalty. How ironic, especially considering how David just put to death the innocent Uriah.

7 ¶And Nathan said to David, “Attah ha ish!” Thou art the man.

I don’t think so few words had ever been felt with such impact as those did to David. He was a smart man. He thought he had concealed everything. But he had let his passions rule and he had forgotten about God, who is all-seeing. As happens too frequently, it is only when a sinner knows that his sin is known that he begins to repent!

Now let’s finish Nathan’s message to David.

7 Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul;

8 And I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things.

9 Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon.

10 Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife.

11 Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun.

12 For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.

Wow. Finally, the Lord had David’s attention. And David said:

13 And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord. And Nathan said unto David, The Lord also hath not put away thy sin that thou shalt not die.

And sure enough, David was not punished immediately by death; but he did not escape punishment. The earthly fulfillment of these prophecies can be found in 2 Samuel 12:15–23 and subsequent chapters of 2 Samuel and 1 Kings

His repentant feelings were no doubt sincere, but he could not repent enough to restore the life of his friend, Uriah, nor the virtue of his wife. Though he later hoped and prayed that his soul would not be left forever in hell (the spirit prison), yet the eternal destiny of doers of such twin sins does not look good.

President Marion G. Romney said:

“David, … though highly favored of the Lord (he was, in fact, referred to as a man after God’s own heart), yielded to temptation. His unchastity led to murder, and as a consequence, he lost his families and his exaltation” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1979, 60; or Ensign, May 1979, 42).

What are some of the immediate consequences of immorality today? What are some long-term effects for the unrepentant?

A repentant David seeks forgiveness

Now, let us jump to a chapter in the scripture that starts to talk about how David is trying to repent and seeks forgiveness. Let’s look at Psalm 51.

Psalm 51

1 Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving kindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.

First, David acknowledges God and his mercy. An important first step.

2 Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.

3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.

Then he acknowledges his own sinfulness. Why is it important that we recognize God’s greatness and our own sinfulness when we repent of our sins?

Now let’s jump to verse 7. In this verse David refers to repentance as a cleansing:

7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Also, let’s look at verse 10 and 11:

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.

And then, in verse 12 he talks about repentance being a restoration:

12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.

And verse 14 talks about a deliverance:

14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.

Why are these appropriate descriptions of the blessing of God’s forgiveness?

In verses 16-17 we learn what we need to sacrifice in order to receive forgiveness of our sins.

16 For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.

17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

Also notice that verse 13, David expressed a desire to help others repent, saying:

13 Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.

Even though David forfeited his exaltation because he arranged the death of Uriah, we can learn from his repentant attitude as he sought forgiveness for the sin of adultery. His words in Psalm 51 teach many aspects of true repentance.

It is never too late to repent. Consider these words by Elder Boyd K. Packer:

“The discouraging idea that a mistake (or even a series of them) makes it everlastingly too late, does not come from the Lord. He has said that if we will repent, not only will He forgive us our transgressions, but He will forget them and remember our sins no more. … Repentance is like soap; it can wash sin away. Ground-in dirt may take the strong detergent of discipline to get the stains out, but out they will come” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1989, 72; or Ensign, May 1989, 59).

 

Conclusion

No matter how successful or strong we may be, we are not above temptation. We cannot deceive God. We cannot deceive ourselves. And in the end, we cannot deceive others. Therefore, we need to make any necessary changes in our lives that will help us be chaste in thought and action.

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