The same God of the old testament is the God of the New Testament. He’s the God of mercy. I see his mercies demonstrated over and over again. David was a mighty warrior who understood the mercy of God. He understood the fathering nature of God. You can read it in the psalms- David’s descriptions of God’s mercy and fairness and love and care.
The story of Bathsheba was described as David’s great sin. Yet David was restored in his relationship with God and still referred to as a man after God’s heart. He was the benchmark for faithful Kings who followed God’s command. Let’s look at some context for David’s great sin and the extent of God’s mercy.
“The Lord did this because David had done what pleased him and had never disobeyed any of his commands, except in the case of Uriah the Hittite.”
1 Kings 15:5 GNT
“Eliphelet the son of Ahasbai the son of Maacah, Eliam the son of Ahithophel of Giloh,”
2 Samuel 23:34 AMP
“Uriah the Hittite—thirty-seven in all.”
2 Samuel 23:39 AMP
“David sent word and inquired about the woman. Someone said, “Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?””
2 Samuel 11:3 AMP
“And Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s counselor, from his city Giloh, while he was offering sacrifices. And the conspiracy grew strong, for the people with Absalom increased continually.”
2 Samuel 15:12 AMP
“These were born to David in Jerusalem: Shimea (Shammua), Shobab, Nathan, Solomon—four by Bath-shua (Bathsheba) daughter of Ammiel (Eliam);”
1 Chronicles 3:5 AMP
So looking at the references: Uriah the Hittite was one of David’s mighty men when he became king. They strengthened and supported his kingdom. He was with David in the trenches when he was newly crowned king following his persecutions from Saul and his family. Uriah was mentioned in 1 Samuel 23, when the thirty men and up to 7 mighty warriors were listed (1 Samuel 23 vs 39). Eliam (Bathsheba’s dad) was also listed in 1 Samuel 23 as one of these mighty warriors. Uriah was (eventually) married to Bathsheba who was the daughter of Eliam who was the son of Ahithophel. So Bathsheba was Ahithophel’s granddaughter. That is why Ahithophel (David’s advisor) kept a grudge and turned against David when Absalom, David’s son, rebelled.
Looking at 1 Chronicles 11, David schemed and planned once he had set eyes on Bathsheba and slept with her. It happened at a time when they kings usually went to war but David stayed back. He got Bathsheba pregnant then devised a plan to get Uriah to take responsibility for the baby. This didn’t work, so he had him killed. Uriah a trusted and loyal soldier delivered the letter to his commander (Joab) that had his own death sentence! The letter was written by David. Yet God still restored and loved him, God (the same God of the old and New Testament) had mercy on him.
Look at another example of David understanding God’s mercy in 1 Chronicles 21. David had sinned with his disobedient census. He was given a list of three possible punishments for the nation of Israel. He understood the merciful and fathering nature of God.
“God was very displeased with the census, and he punished Israel for it. Then David said to God, “I have sinned greatly by taking this census. Please forgive my guilt for doing this foolish thing.” Then the Lord spoke to Gad, David’s seer. This was the message: “Go and say to David, ‘This is what the Lord says: I will give you three choices. Choose one of these punishments, and I will inflict it on you.’” So Gad came to David and said, “These are the choices the Lord has given you. You may choose three years of famine, three months of destruction by the sword of your enemies, or three days of severe plague as the angel of the Lord brings devastation throughout the land of Israel. Decide what answer I should give the Lord who sent me.””
1 Chronicles 21:7-12 NLT
““I’m in a desperate situation!” David replied to Gad. “But let me fall into the hands of the Lord, for his mercy is very great. Do not let me fall into human hands.””
1 Chronicles 21:13 NLT
“So the Lord sent a plague upon Israel, and 70,000 people died as a result. And God sent an angel to destroy Jerusalem. But just as the angel was preparing to destroy it, the Lord relented and said to the death angel, “Stop! That is enough!” At that moment the angel of the Lord was standing by the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.”
1 Chronicles 21:14-15 NLT
“David built an altar there to the Lord and sacrificed burnt offerings and peace offerings. And when David prayed, the Lord answered him by sending fire from heaven to burn up the offering on the altar. Then the Lord spoke to the angel, who put the sword back into its sheath.”
1 Chronicles 21:26-27 NLT
David recognised that the mercy of God would prevail over judgement. Even in the Old Testament God was a God of mercy.
For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment. – James 2:13
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”
Matthew 5:7 NIV
“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,”
Ephesians 2:4 NIV
“He saved us because of his mercy, not because of good deeds we did to be right with God. He saved us through the washing that made us new people. He saved us by making us new through the Holy Spirit.”
Titus 3:5 ICB