Read 1Kings 9:3-9: 3 The Lord said to him:“I have heard the prayer and plea you have made before me; I have consecrated this temple, which you have built, by putting my Name there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.4 “As for you, if you walk before me faithfully with integrity of heart and uprightness, as David your father did, and do all I command and observe my decrees and laws, 5 I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever, as I promised David your father when I said, ‘You shall never fail to have a successor on the throne of Israel.’6 “But if you or your descendants turn away from me and do not observe the commands and decrees I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them, 7 then I will cut off Israel from the land I have given them and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. Israel will then become a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples. 8 This temple will become a heap of rubble. All who pass by will be appalled and will scoff and say, ‘Why has the Lord done such a thing to this land and to this temple?’ 9 People will answer, ‘Because they have forsaken the Lord their God, who brought their ancestors out of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, worshiping and serving them—that is why the Lord brought all this disaster on them.’” (NIV)
This is God’s answer to Solomon’s Prayer of Dedication. The guidelines that God gave to Solomon are pretty simple aren’t they? God tells Solomon in these verses to have “integrity of the heart and uprightness” like his father David did. What do you think God means by integrity of the heart? I mean we know that David was someone who sinned….he was an adulterer, and a murderer he had Bathsheba’s husband killed by ordering him placed at the front of the battle and having the troupes than back away from him…in order to hide his adultery because Bathsheba came up pregnant and he couldn’t get Uriah to sleep with his wife after he ordered him home from the battle. When I think of David, I certainly it certainly doesn’t seem like he had integrity of the heart and uprightness. He was a sinner plain and simple…but in God’s eyes after David had passed away and the throne of David was given to his son, Solomon, God still saw David as someone who had integrity of the heart and uprightness. How can this be?
In Acts 13:22 we are told that God had found David, a man after God’s own heart to replace Saul as King. So how can a person who is a sinner be someone who is after God’s own heart. Someone who is an adulterer and a murderer be someone who has “integrity of the heart and uprightness?”
David did not recognize his own sinfulness. He fell into the trap of thinking that because he was King he was above everyone who recognized him as their King.
After all, it isn’t like Bathsheba had a choice in the matter…she was taking a bath, and David saw her, and wanted her. So, as her King, he sent for her, and probably pretty much took what he wanted from her, or coerced her in some way. It is highly unlikely that she was allowed to say no to him. Women in David’s time did not have a lot of rights, and a woman who was called for by the King would have even less rights than usual.
Yet, she could have been stoned for being an adulterer and so could King David. How desperate might she have become when she found she was pregnant and her husband had not been around in time to get her that way. I am not saying that Bathsheba was innocent, just that her choice to say no might have been a hard one to make. She might have considered that if she had said no, then her outcome would have been bad that way also. I don’t believe that fairy tale that we are told as kids in the sanitized children’s version of the story of this great love….after all, David did have other wives besides Bathsheba…around 8 of them at least that are named, and he had children with most of them. (2Samuel 3:1-5, 1Chronicles 3:1-3, 2Samuel 5:13, 1Samuel 18-19:24, 1Samuel 25)
At any rate, the fact that David sinned is well documented in the story of him and Bathsheba. In fact, we are made aware of how far David had fallen from grace in that instead of allowing Bathsheba’s pregnancy to wake him up to his sin, he just committed more sins to try and hide it.
He had so far forgotten that his role as a King was to serve his people and he reversed it that they were there to serve him…that God had to send him a reprimand in the form of Nathan the prophet. 2Samuel 12:1-13 tells us that Nathan delivered a parable to David which made David wake up to his own sins. God dictated the penalty of David’s actions, which were dire indeed.
Finally, David repented. Then God forgave. God is faithful to forgive. I think that what it means to have “integrity of the heart” is that even while he was in sin, and separated from God by that sin, David was still very aware of who God was, and it was not his desire to ever be separated from God. David still had faith in God, and understood that God was the supreme King of his own life. So the minute that he was confronted with the reality that God knew what his sin was and that he might be able to hide it from people, but never from God…he repented…because his faith and his relationship with God was the most important thing in his life.
This is also the reason that God calls David a man after his own heart. David loved God with all his being and he was truly committed to following God and doing what God wanted him to do. There were still repercussions for David’s act of sin, that is the thing about sin, it hurts us and it hurts those around us, so there is always fall out from it. God forgives us but we still have consequences with the people and society we live in.
We know that God’s forgiveness was complete because when he responded to Solomon’s prayer of dedication, God told Solomon to be like his father, and describes David in verse 4 as “walking faithfully before Him with integrity of heart and uprightness.” God doesn’t want us to fall into sin. If we belong to him and we do so, then he will continually try to get our attention through various means to make us to understand what our sin is and get us to choose to repent of it, and put our eyes back on him. David fell into sin when he took his eyes off of God for just long enough to stare at a bathing Bathsheba. Yet, David had the integrity and humbleness to apologize to God and ask for forgiveness for straying so far from what God deemed was upright. God is looking for people who love him with all their hearts, minds and souls and will keep their eyes on Him for eternity. God isn’t looking for perfect people, but willing, loving and faithful people who are humble enough to recognize that God is sovereign over them and that God knows what is right and best for us.
That is what we can learn from God’s response to Solomon’s prayer at the dedication of the temple and from the story of David and Bathsheba.