Bible Thought

Sowing and Reaping in the Life of David

Farmer harvesting with horses.

Recently I preached about the concept of sowing and reaping in our church. This is the basic theme of my Sunday morning preaching for the next couple of weeks.

As mentioned before, the law of the harvest can be summarized in these four statements:

  • You reap what you sow.
  • You reap more than you sow.
  • You reap later than you sow.
  • You reap in proportion to what you sow.

Today we looked at David’s sin against Uriah and Bathsheba. We saw how David experienced the law of sowing and reaping in the life of his family.

Quick Summary

David, Bathsheba and Uriah

You would be well served to read the whole story contained in 2 Samuel 11-12, but here is a quick summary.

King David sent his troops to war. He stayed home and committed adultery with Bathsheba, who was the wife of one of his mighty men of valor named Uriah. When Bathsheba found out she was pregnant with the king’s child, she sent a message to him to let him know. King David was distraught that his sin would be found out, so he put into motion a plan that he hoped would cover his wrong actions.

David called Uriah from the battlefield to give the soldier an opportunity to spend time with his wife. Then people would assume that the baby was his. But Uriah could not bring himself to go home to his wife when his friends were fighting on the battlefield. He slept at the king’s door.

When David discovered this he called Uriah back to him. David caused Uriah to get drunk and then sent him home again to be with his wife. Uriah still refused to go home.

David then sent a message back to Joab, the captain of the army, instructing that Joab put Uriah at the front of the hottest battle and then pull the troops back so that Uriah would fight alone and be killed. Imagine Joab’s surprise when he read the letter from David which was delivered by Uriah! Yet, Joab obeyed and he later sent a message back to David that the deed was done—Uriah was dead.

Pleased that he would be able to hide his sin, David then took Bathsheba to be his wife. Yet 2 Samuel 11:27 says, “…the thing that David had done displeased the LORD.”

Nathan’s Story

Picture of a white lamb.God sent Nathan the prophet to tell a story to David. Though David may have liked a good story on occasion and probably used to enjoy the company of the prophet, he assuredly felt awkward as Nathan told him the story of two men, a traveler and a lamb. David thought he had hidden his sin. We know that this story was told to David after the baby was born. So at least 9 months had passed from his initial sin until he was confronted by Nathan. The Bible does not say how much time passed, but it could have been more than a year that David had been living with his guilt.

Nathan told the story of a rich man who had many sheep and a poor man with only one lamb. This lamb was a family pet. A traveler came to the house of the rich man. The rich man seemed to have no guilt in taking the poor man’s lamb from the family and butchering it for a feast.

David was livid. He could not understand why a man with many sheep would take the lamb of a poor man who only owned one. Worse yet was that the poor man’s family loved this sheep as one of their own family members. David declared that the rich man needed to pay back four times the number of sheep he stole. And then, after restoring four times the number of sheep taken, David declared this man was worthy of death! (2 Samuel 12:5, 6)

With David’s righteous indignation hanging in the air between him and the prophet, Nathan delivered the judgment to David that the king was the rich man guilty of slaying the beloved lamb. The truth of David’s sin and the fact that he had not hidden it like he had hoped, came crashing down on him. God knew that David had stolen someone else’s bride even though he had many wives of his own.

The Harvest

There would be consequences for the sins of David. He was forgiven. God was merciful. But there would still be consequences. A person may sin in a way that causes physical damage. God can forgive the person, but that does not mean they will be wholly restored. This happened in the life of David. He was forgiven, but still suffered consequences for his actions.

Death of the Child

Nathan told David that God would be merciful on him and that David would not die. But there would be consequences in the life of the king and his family. One of which was that the newly born child would die.

Nathan left from speaking with the king and the child became ill. The king’s son was sick for a week until he died. David had fasted and prayed for the life of the child. Though David had been forgiven by God, there were still devastating results because of his sin.

This section of the story contains the comforting words of David that he knew he would see his child again. David knew that the child would not be raised from the dead, but that David would one day go to where the child is—in the comfort of Heaven. Anyone who has lost a child can take solace in these inspired words that God will not hold a young child or baby accountable for their sins. God will whisk them to Heaven to be reunited with their parents again. (2 Samuel 12:18-23)

Beyond the death of the child, God said that David’s sin would result in public consequences. People would know of the sin of David. There would be war. The people of Israel would have no rest. David’s wives would be taken. Evil would come from within the house of David.

This is where David reaped what he had sown. Even though he was forgiven, he could not turn back the law of sowing and reaping.


One of David’s sons named Amnon was in love with his own sister. Her name was Tamar. Amnon devised a plan and ultimately raped his sister. (2 Samuel 13:1-21)


Absalom, another of David’s sons, killed Amnon for his sin (2 Samuel 13:22-33). But Absalom did not stop there. He publicly went into the wives of David and committed adultery with them. (2 Samuel 16:20-22)

The adultery, lying and murder that David committed carried consequences. The sowing of the king resulted in a harvest. David’s children mimicked the behavior of their father.

This is not to say that all children will be wicked because their parents are wicked. However, it is true that our children learn much of their behavior from their parents. We know that Solomon was a good man and a good king. Yet he was born and grew up in the house of a changed man. David was not the same father to Solomon that he had been with his older children. I believe David learned from his mistakes.

You also are not condemned to act out the harvest of your parents. You and I have a choice to allow the Holy Spirit to take control of our life and sow a good harvest. With the Holy Spirit’s guidance we can sow well and reap a wonderful, godly harvest.

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