David’s fateful encounter with Bathsheba created the greatest stain on his legacy, one that is still legendary today. It has often been noted that David was in the wrong place at the wrong time. This passage notes that his adulterous shenanigans occurred at “the time when kings go out to battle.” I imagine that kings would wait until spring to wage their wars because the winter weather was too much of a foe itself. So this particular spring, David’s troops were engaged in combat, but David wasn’t with his men.
As king he should have been there to lead them into battle. But for unexplained reasons, he stayed behind. And that’s when he saw Bathsheba and succumbed to lust.
But David isn’t the first person in the Bible to fall into sin because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Just a few chapters earlier we read about his wife Michal getting into some trouble herself.
Then David danced before the Lord with all his might; and David was wearing a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting and with the sound of the trumpet. Now as the ark of the Lord came into the City of David, Michal, Saul’s daughter, looked through a window and saw King David leaping and whirling before the Lord; and she despised him in her heart. 2 Samuel 6:14-16
Then David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David and said, “How glorious was the king of Israel today, uncovering himself today in the eyes of the maids of his servants, as one of the base fellows shamelessly uncovers himself!” So David said to Michal, “It was before the Lord, who chose me instead of your father and all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the Lord, over Israel. Therefore I will play music before the Lord. And I will be even more undignified than this, and will be humble in my own sight. But as for the maidservants of whom you have spoken, by them I will be held in honor.” Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no children to the day of her death. 2 Samuel 6:20-23
Why was Michal looking through the window at the procession? Why wasn’t she part of the celebration? She was an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham. She should have been just as excited as David to see the Ark of the Covenant coming to town. Perhaps she had good reason not to be physically down there in the action, but her attitude reveals that her heart wasn’t down there. She was following in the footsteps of her father Saul — more concerned with what people think than with what God thinks.
We don’t want that to happen to us. We don’t want to be in the line of fire of Satan’s next big temptation. Let’s put ourselves where the action is, whether it’s a battle to protect the innocent or the praising of God for His presence among us. There’s no safer place to be than where the Lord wants us to be.