To encourage class members to be chaste in thought and action and to repent of their sins.
Prayerfully study the following scriptures:
2 Samuel 11. David commits adultery with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah (11:1–5). David fails in his attempt to hide his sin (2 Samuel 11:6–13). He arranges for Uriah to die in battle (11:14–17). David marries Bathsheba, and they have a son (11:26–27).
2 Samuel 12:1–23. The prophet Nathan teaches of the severity of David’s sins by telling David a parable (12:1–6). David is told that he will be punished because of his sins (12:7–14; note that in the Joseph Smith Translation of verse 13, Nathan states, “The Lord hath not put away thy sin that thou shalt not die”). The first son of David and Bathsheba dies in infancy (12:15–23).
Additional reading: 2 Samuel 2–10.
If you use the attention activity, bring a spool of thread and a pair of scissors.
As you teach the following scripture passages, discuss how they apply to daily life. Encourage class members to share experiences that relate to the scriptural principles. Because it would be difficult to ask every question or cover every point in the lesson, prayerfully select those that will best meet class members’ needs. You may need to adapt some questions to fit class members’ circumstances.
1 Samuel 25 through 2 Samuel 10 provide important information about the historical setting for this lesson. Since these chapters are not covered in this manual, you may want to summarize them as follows:
Soon after David spared Saul’s life, Saul sought David’s life one more time. Again David had the opportunity to kill the king, but he refused to do so. Battles continued between the people of Judah and the surrounding nations, and Saul and Jonathan were killed in one of those battles. David succeeded Saul as king and became one of the greatest kings in the history of Israel. He united the tribes into one nation, secured possession of the land that had been promised to his people, and set up a government based on God’s law. However, the last 20 years of his life were marred by the sinful decisions that are discussed in this lesson.
Teach and discuss 2 Samuel 11.
David was walking on his roof when he saw Bathsheba and was tempted to commit adultery with her (2 Samuel 11:2). What should David have done when he saw Bathsheba? What did David do that led him to sin with her? (See 2 Samuel 11:2–4.) What might lead people to be tempted to commit sexual sins? What can we do to avoid being tempted to commit sexual sins?
You may want to list class members’ answers on the chalkboard using a chart like the one below. Answers may include the following:
Things to avoid
How to avoid them
Unclean or immoral thoughts
Fill your mind with uplifting thoughts.
Television shows, movies, magazines, books, and music that are pornographic or suggestive in any way
Choose media that will inspire you to do good.
Unwholesome dating activities
Follow the dating standards taught by latter-day prophets and outlined in For the Strength of Youth.
Flirting after marriage
Love your spouse with all your heart. Continue to “court” (develop your relationship with) your spouse.
Places or activities that will not enable you to have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost
Ensure that the places you go and the activities you participate in will enable you to have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost.
You may want to use the first additional teaching idea to discuss ways to dismiss unclean thoughts.
What did David attempt to do when he learned that Bathsheba was with child? (See 2 Samuel 11:6–13. He tried to get Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband, to return home to her. Then it would appear that the unborn child was Uriah’s.) Why did David’s plan fail? (See 2 Samuel 11:11. Uriah would not return home at that time because he was true to his battlefield companions and felt that he should stay with them.)
What more serious sin did David commit in an attempt to hide his immorality? (See 2 Samuel 11:14–17.) From whom do you think David thought he could hide his sin? How do people try to cover up sins today? What happens when we try to cover our sins?
Elder Richard G. Scott said:
“Do not take comfort in the fact that your transgressions are not known by others. That is like an ostrich with his head buried in the sand. He sees only darkness and feels comfortably hidden. In reality he is ridiculously conspicuous. Likewise our every act is seen by our Father in Heaven and His Beloved Son. They know everything about us. …
“If you have seriously transgressed, you will not find any lasting satisfaction or comfort in what you have done. Excusing transgression with a cover-up may appear to fix the problem, but it does not. The tempter is intent on making public your most embarrassing acts at the most harmful time. Lies weave a pattern that is ever more confining and becomes a trap that Satan will spring to your detriment” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1995, 103; or Ensign, May 1995, 77).
You may want to use the second additional teaching idea to illustrate the danger of trying to cover our sins.
Teach and discuss 2 Samuel 12:1–23.
What parable did the prophet Nathan tell to illustrate how displeased the Lord was with David? (See 2 Samuel 12:1–4.) What did David think about the rich man’s actions against the poor man in the parable? (See 2 Samuel 12:5–6.) How had David’s actions been like the rich man’s? (See 2 Samuel 12:7–9.) How did David react to the Lord’s rebuke? (See 2 Samuel 12:13.)
Why do you think David failed to recognize that he was represented by the rich man in the parable? Why are we sometimes unable to recognize our own sinfulness?
What were the consequences of David’s sins? (See 2 Samuel 12:10–14. The fulfillment of these prophecies can be found in 2 Samuel 12:15–23 and subsequent chapters of 2 Samuel and 1 Kings; see also D&C 132:39. Note that adultery is a serious sin, but David forfeited his exaltation because the Lord held him accountable for the murder of Uriah.)
President Marion G. Romney said: “David, … though highly favored of the Lord (he was, in fact, referred to as a man after God’s own heart), yielded to temptation. His unchastity led to murder, and as a consequence, he lost his families and his exaltation” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1979, 60; or Ensign, May 1979, 42).
What are some of the immediate consequences of immorality today? What are some long-term effects for the unrepentant?
Teach and discuss Psalm 51.
In a psalm to the Lord, David expressed a desire to help others repent, saying, “I [will] teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee” (Psalm 51:13). Even though David forfeited his exaltation because he arranged the death of Uriah, we can learn from his repentant attitude as he sought forgiveness for the sin of adultery. His words in Psalm 51 teach many aspects of true repentance. As you study the psalm with class members, discuss how we can apply David’s repentant example to our lives.
In Psalm 51, David first acknowledged God and His mercy (Psalm 51:1). David also acknowledged his own sinfulness (Psalm 51:1–3). Why is it important that we recognize God’s greatness and our own sinfulness when we repent of our sins?
What must we sacrifice in order to receive forgiveness of our sins? (See Psalm 51:16–17.) What do you think it means to have “a broken and a contrite heart”?
How are our sins “ever before [us]” before we are forgiven? (Psalm 51:3). How does that change after we have been forgiven? (See Psalm 51:10; Alma 36:17–19.) How does God look upon our past sins after he has forgiven us? (See Psalm 51:9; Isaiah 43:25; D&C 58:42.)
David described forgiveness as a cleansing (Psalm 51:1–2, 7, 9–10), a restoration (Psalm 51:12), and a deliverance (Psalm 51:14). Why are these appropriate descriptions of the blessing of God’s forgiveness?
The following material supplements the suggested lesson outline. You may want to use one or more of these ideas as part of the lesson.