Live by the Spirit: The Seventh Commandment
“Live by the Spirit: The Seventh Commandment”
July 25, 2021
Scripture Reading: II Samuel 11:1-15, 12:1-14
Teaching Lesson: Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 108 & 109
In the Seventh Commandment found in Exodus 20:14 God says, “You shall not commit
adultery”. This is sometimes a difficult commandment to think about because there is a world
of hurt that surrounds everyone who has ever been a victim or transgressor of it. There is
always forgiveness and there is always grace, but let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that
allowing an “intruder” into one’s family is not so bad.
In our reading from II Samuel 11 and 12 we see this playing out in the royal family of King David.
In Chapter 11 David invites the intruder into his palace and thereby becomes himself an
intruder into another relationship. He fails to protect his family and two people end up dead
and others will be shattered in their inner spirit. If you were to read the whole story beginning
in II Samuel 11 and moving on into the next few chapters, you will see how messed up David’s
family becomes and it all begins with a look and a desire. The Seventh Commandment is
transgressed and Uriah, the husband of Bathsheba dies, and the baby son born from the
adulterous affair between David and Bathsheba also dies.
What is God aiming to protect in the Seventh Commandment?
When King David breaks this commandment, how do we see the effects on his family?
What is “polygamy”? Is it part of God’s creation order?
A while back we studied the story of Joseph and in Genesis 39 we read about an episode in his
life that is an interesting comparison to that of King David in our text. Potiphar’s wife wanted to
seduce Joseph. However, in Genesis 39:9 Joseph says to her, “How can I do such a wicked thing
and sin against God?” Joseph recognizes that not only would he be dishonoring his master by
giving into temptation, but also God himself. This kind of wisdom is absent in the encounter
between David and Bathsheba. King David gives into temptation. Now, if we look at how the
lives of Joseph and David turned out after these incidents, we see a striking difference between
the two. In the case of Joseph, after initially spending some time in jail, he rises to become the
ruler of Egypt. David, on the other hand, sees a slow and steady decline in his reign as king over
Israel. One is raised up and the other is brought low. There are consequences to sin.
What does Proverbs 6:27-29 have to say about adultery?
Who is the very great-grandson of King David who brings grace into the mess of human sin?
The world is messed up and our lives in this world will be messed up. However, as the writer of
Psalm 40 says, “I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me
out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place
to stand.” As Christians we confess that in Jesus Christ (the very great-grandson of King David)
we have been brought out of our slavery to sin and have been renewed by the Holy Spirit. We
stand on solid ground when we stand on the Gospel and this is good news for everybody. The
gospel found in the Seventh Commandment is in knowing that Christ can cleanse the thoughts
of our minds and the secrets of our hearts. He is able to forgive our sins by grace alone.
If Exodus 20:14 states the Seventh Commandment negatively, how do we hear it positively in
How do we hear both grace and truth in Nathan’s words to David in II Samuel 12:13-14?
What does it mean when the Heidelberg Catechism says we are “Temples of the Holy Spirit”?
In light of the Seventh Commandment, how do you protect yourself and your family?
Grace is where we must finish. God has not only redeemed our souls, he also redeems our
bodies. Body and soul, we belong to him. In God’s Will for our lives we keep in step with the
Spirit who leads us on solid ground. In Christ God calls us back to himself and restores our
primary relationship with him. God puts us on solid ground and then turns our hearts towards
each other and makes it possible for reconciliation to take place on the human level as well. Led
by his Word and Spirit we will be faithful to God and each other.