Sunday School lessons for Gospel Doctrine Class

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

“Create in Me a Clean Heart”

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What should we do when an unclean thought enters our mind? We should dismiss it immediately right? What happens if we allow the unclean thought to stay in our mind? The consequences of dwelling on unclean thoughts can be harrowingWe are taught this well by King David as we continue in our study of Israel in the Old Testament.  

1 Samuel 25 through 2 Samuel 10 provide important information about the historical setting for the lessons we are taught by David. As we learned in our previous lesson 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. 

At this time battles continued between the people of Judah and the surrounding nations, and Saul and Jonathan were killed in one of those battles. David then succeeded Saul as king.  David was anointed king of Judah (2 Samuel 2:4).  Then Abner (Saul's cousin, commander-in-chief of Saul's army, and the head of Ephraim) made Saul's surviving son, Ishbosheth, king over the northern ten tribes.  After this Abner proposed an alliance between the two feuding nations, but was then assassinated which almost destroyed the uniting process.  Abner had been the real power in the northern faction. Ishbosheth was weak and he was murdered by two of his military leaders who took his head to David.  David then assumed leadership of all of Israel. He also made alliances with other surrounding nations which stabilized his kingdom.  This made David 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 and most all of the good he had done was forgotten, all due to the sinful decisions that he regrettably made.  

Part 1: David commits adultery with Bathsheba and arranges the death of Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband 2 Samuel 11

In 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 11:2 Reads that David was walking on his roof when he saw Bathsheba and was tempted to commit adultery with her.  Here is where I ask myself one question when reading this verse.  Why was David walking on the roof?  I researched and got a pretty interesting answer.   Many homes in the Holy Land, both then and now, had flat roofs. In the heat of the Middle East, much of the people’s time was spent walking or sitting on their roofs in the refreshing cool of evening or in the day to catch a daytime breeze. The roof of David’s palace was probably high enough that he could have looked into the inner courts of a number of homes nearby. And so he did seeing Bathsheba.  

What should David have done when he saw Bathsheba?  He should have turned away, respecting her and following the righteous ways he had been taught.

What did David do that led him to sin with her?  2 Samuel 11:2–4 

2 And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king’s house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon.

3 And David sent and inquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bath-sheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?

4 And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her; for she was purified from her uncleanness: and she returned unto her house.
Things were getting too easy for David; he had leisure to stay at home while Joab and his men were out fighting Ammonites and Syrians.  It was unusual for the king to remain at leisure at home while his men were in the field; and it was bitterly ironic that David would take advantage of this.  In his leisure, tragedy struck.  He saw a beautiful woman performing a ritual bath for uncleanness. He looked from his rooftop at his neighbor’s wife, one of his thirty seven mighty men,  2 Sam. 23:8, 39;  Uriah one of his Hittite officers; a decision that caused his leisure time to lead to lust and adultery.  
What might lead people to be tempted to commit sexual sins? Unclean or immoral thoughts. As a man thinketh in his heart so is he Proverbs 23:7
What can we do to avoid being tempted to commit sexual sins?  We can fill your mind with uplifting thoughts,Choose media that will inspire you to do good, Follow the dating standards taught by latter-day prophets and outlined in For the Strength of Youth, or love your spouse with all your heart continuing to “court” (develop your relationship with) your spouse.  We must ensure that the places you go and the activities you participate in will enable you to have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost.
President Spencer W. Kimball:  "As a man thinketh, so does he. If he thinks about it long enough he is likely to do it, whether it be theft, moral sin, or suicide. Thus the time to protect against the calamity is when the the thought begins to shape itself. Destroy the seed and the plant will never grow. Man...can change his thought pattern and become the architect of his destiny." (Miracle of Forgiveness, p114)
Elder Boyd K. Packer taught:  "Have you noticed that without any real intent on your part, in the middle of almost any performance, a shady little thought may creep in from the wings and attract your attention? . . .    "What do you do at a time like that, when the stage of your mind is commandeered by the imps of unclean thinking? Whether they be the gray ones that seem almost clean or the filthy ones that leave no room for doubt?   
"If you can control your thoughts, you can overcome habits--even degrading, personal habits. If you can learn to master them, you will have a happy life. 
"I would teach you this. Choose from among the sacred music of the Church a favorite hymn, one with words that are uplifting and music that is reverent, one that makes you feel something akin to inspiration. . . . 
"Now, use this hymn as the place for your thoughts to go. Make it your emergency channel. Whenever you find that these shady actors have slipped from the sidelines of your thinking onto the stage of your mind, put on this record, as it were. As the music begins and as the words form in your mind, the unworthy thoughts will slip shamefully away. The hymn will change the whole mood on the stage of your mind. Because it is uplifting and clean, the baser thoughts will disappear, for while virtue, by choice, will not associate with filth, evil cannot tolerate the presence of light. . . .
"Once you learn to clear the stage of your mind from unworthy thoughts, keep it busy with learning worthwhile things. Change your environment so that you have things about you that will inspire good and uplifting thoughts. Keep busy with things that are righteous." (Conference Report, Oct 1976)
The ruler of others failed to rule himself. Driven by desire, commanded that Bathsheba be brought to him. No five stones protected him against his own moral Goliath. He was alone with the dark side of his nature, and he was defeated by it.  Shortly after Bathsheba sent word to him that she was with child.  
What did David attempt to do when he learned that Bathsheba was with child?  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.
6 And David sent to Joab, saying, Send me Uriah the Hittite. And Joab sent Uriah to David.
7 And when Uriah was come unto him, David demanded of him how Joab did, and how the people did, and how the war prospered.
8 And David said to Uriah, Go down to thy house, and wash thy feet. And Uriah departed out of the king’s house, and there followed him a mess of meat from the king.
9 But Uriah slept at the door of the king’s house with all the servants of his lord, and went not down to his house.
10 And when they had told David, saying, Uriah went not down unto his house, David said unto Uriah, Camest thou not from thy journey? why then didst thou not go down unto thine house?
11 And Uriah said unto David, The ark, and Israel, and Judah, abide in tents; and my lord Joab, and the servants of my lord, are encamped in the open fields; shall I then go into mine house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? as thou livest, and as thy soul liveth, I will not do this thing.
12 And David said to Uriah, Tarry here to day also, and to morrow I will let thee depart. So Uriah abode in Jerusalem that day, and the morrow.
13 And when David had called him, he did eat and drink before him; and he made him drunk: and at even he went out to lie on his bed with the servants of his lord, but went not down to his house.
Why did David’s plan fail? 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.  To hide his own responsibility for her condition, David ordered Uriah's return to Jerusalem and then urged him to go to his wife. But Uriah, under a soldier's vow of continence and sensitive to the plight of his comrades in the field, refused to do so.  The king plied him with wine, but Uriah stubbornly remained with the king's servants.
11 And Uriah said unto David, The ark, and Israel, and Judah, abide in tents; and my lord Joab, and the servants of my lord, are encamped in the open fields; shall I then go into mine house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? as thou livest, and as thy soul liveth, I will not do this thing.
The story, from tempting thought to accomplished act, is told in four verses. David walked, he saw, he looked, he sent, he took, he lay with her. She conceived and sent a message: "I am with child." David then used all his cleverness to try to avoid responsibility for his actions. Uriah, Bathsheba's husband, was brought home from the battle field. He is mentioned earlier as one of David's hand-picked thirty mighty men (1 Chron. 11:41). The tragic irony of the situation is obvious. While Uriah, David's loyal soldier, was fighting for his master in enemy territory, David was taking Uriah's wife. This irony was heightened by Uriah's refusal to sleep with his wife when he returned home. When Israel went to war the warriors consecrated themselves to continence. While the war lasted they remained consecrated in this way. Even after David tried to overcome his resistance by drink, Uriah would not go in to Bathsheba. Uriah's loyalty foiled David's strategy for covering his adultery...(Studies in Scriptures Vol 3 Robert L Millet)
What more serious sin did David commit in an attempt to hide his immorality? 2 Samuel 11:14–17
14 And it came to pass in the morning, that David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah.
15 And he wrote in the letter, saying, Set ye Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retire ye from him, that he may be smitten, and die.
16 And it came to pass, when Joab observed the city, that he assigned Uriah unto a place where he knew that valiant men were.
17 And the men of the city went out, and fought with Joab: and there fell some of the people of the servants of David; and Uriah the Hittite died also.
David arranged for Uriah's death. This, too, is told in a simple, uncluttered way. David sent the order for Uriah's death to Joab by the hand of Uriah himself: "Set Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retire ye from him, that he may be smitten and die" (2 Sam. 11:15). The messenger who returned after the battle was carefully briefed by Joab: "If so be that the king's wrath arise, and he say unto thee, Wherefore approached thee so nigh unto the city when ye did fight? knew ye not that they would shoot from the wall? . . . why went ye nigh the wall? then say thou, Thy servant Uriah, the Hittite is dead also" (2 Sam. 11:20-21).(Studies in Scriptures Vol 3 Robert L Millet)
The order was hand carried by Uriah himself. Joab obeyed, and Uriah was killed. His loyalty to his king and his comrades cost him his life.  But that same order cost David far more. In one unguarded moment he set in motion a series of events that undid virtually all that he had achieved since his anointing by Samuel the prophet.
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?  In trying to hide his sin of adultery, David committed an even greater sin.  We can compare his sin to a mound of dirt.  What will happen if we try to cover a small mound of dirt? The mound will become larger and more visible.  Our sins like covering a mound of dirt becomes greater and more serious when we try to cover them up.  If we do not want people to see a mound of dirt, what should we do? We should remove the mound rather than cover it.
How can we remove sin from our lives?
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” (Conference Report, Apr. 1995, 103; or Ensign, May 1995, 77)
It is one of the shocking and serious warnings of the Old Testament that a man may be ever so good and great and eminent and still have weaknesses which can lead to deeds that entirely overshadow and defeat the better self!” (Rasmussen, Introduction to the Old Testament, 1:185.)
Part 2:  David is told that he will be punished because of his sins 2 Samuel 12:1–23
Moving to 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).
What parable did the prophet Nathan tell to illustrate how displeased the Lord was with David?  2 Samuel 12:1–4
1 And the Lord sent Nathan unto David. And he came unto him, and said unto him, There were two men in one city; the one rich, and the other poor.
2 The rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds:
3 But the poor man had nothing, save one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up: and it grew up together with him, and with his children; it did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter.
4 And there came a traveller unto the rich man, and he spared to take of his own flock and of his own herd, to dress for the wayfaring man that was come unto him; but took the poor man’s lamb, and dressed it for the man that was come to him.
What did David think about the rich man’s actions against the poor man in the parable?  2 Samuel 12:5–6
5 And David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, As the Lord liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die:
6 And he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.
How had David’s actions been like the rich man’s? 2 Samuel 12:7–9
7 And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul;
8 And I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things.
9 Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon.
How did David react to the Lord’s rebuke?  2 Samuel 12:13
13 And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord. And Nathan said unto David, The Lord also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.
As happens too frequently, it is only when a sinner knows that his sin is known that he begins to repent! The figure of Nathan boldly accusing the king to his face by an allegorical parallel is impressive, though not as surprising in Bible stories as it would be in accounts of other peoples where the will of God was not such a recognized factor in determining the morality of men and in specifying the results. Nathan’s allegory was skillfully drawn, and his climatic ‘Attah ha ish!’ (‘Thou art the man’) must have crashed in upon the conscience of David like the harbingers of doom’s day.  (Old Testament Student Manual)
Why do you think David failed to recognize that he was represented by the rich man in the parable?   We can only suggest some possibilities. For one thing, he was a man of war, one who had ordered the death of a number of men through the years; perhaps he had become somewhat hardened to killing. Then, too, apparently he did not know Uriah well because he did not know Bathsheba's identity. As for taking a woman of his choosing, he was accustomed to that, being a king with numerous wives and concubines.  But, ironically, perhaps his fatal flaw was his earlier unquestioning loyalty toward the Lord's anointed. He well may have transferred that very loyalty to himself. Like Saul, he, too, had become untouchable and beyond judgment. Was he not the king? Did he not have rights and privileges denied lesser men? He saw the woman. He wanted her. He took her.
Why are we sometimes unable to recognize our own sinfulness?
What were the consequences of David’s sins? 2 Samuel 12:10–14
10 Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife.
11 Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun.
12 For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.
13 And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord. And Nathan said unto David, The Lord also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.
14 Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.
Adultery is a serious sin, but David forfeited his exaltation because the Lord held him accountable for the murder of Uriah.  Nathan reminded David that God had saved him from Saul, given him all that Saul possessed, made him king over Israel, and would have given him even more had he asked.  But David had despised the commandment of the Lord and killed 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” (Conference Report, Apr. 1979, 60; or Ensign, May 1979, 42).
His repentant feelings were no doubt sincere, but he could not repent enough to restore the life of his friend, Uriah, nor the virtue of his wife. Though he later hoped and prayed that his soul would not be left forever in hell (the spirit prison), yet the eternal destiny of doers of such twin sins does not look good. (See Psalms 16 and 51; then see Hebrews 6:4–6; Revelation 22:14–15; D&C 132:27; 76:31–37; 29:41 and 42:18, 79.)” (Rasmussen, Introduction to the Old Testament, 1:185.)
The merciless murder of Uriah placed David beyond the mercy of Christ. More, it placed him beyond the security of the sealing powers of the priesthood. According to the Prophet Joseph Smith, there is "a reserve [restriction] made in the seals and power of the Priesthood" rendering the sealing power void for those who commit the unpardonable sin against the Holy Ghost, or the lesser but unforgiveable sin of shedding innocent blood.  The Prophet cited David as an example of such a man: "A murderer, for instance, one that sheds innocent blood, cannot have forgiveness [via the Atonement]. David sought repentance at the hand of God carefully with tears, for the murder of Uriah; but he could only get it through hell: he got the promise that his soul should not be left in hell."  There he has been for three thousand years. What has been his anguish of soul as he has contemplated all that he might have had and all that he might have become! David is surely the most poignant figure in all scripture because he had the potential for genuine greatness. Still, forever is a long time; who can say what the future will bring him?  Although he forfeited the crown of exaltation, 14 eventually he will be saved in a kingdom of glory. But like those repentant Jews who crucified Jesus, he must remain in the spirit world until the next general resurrection. 15 "Even David," said Joseph Smith, "must wait for those times of refreshing [or redemption] before he can come forth and his sins be blotted out."   Although it is often assumed that David will inherit a telestial glory, the "times of refreshing," as the Prophet made clear, occur in connection with Christ's second coming when only celestial and terrestrial souls are resurrected.  It seems, therefore, that in the infinite mercy of God, David will obtain a terrestrial salvation. (Witness of Jesus Christ Richard D Draper)
What are some of the immediate consequences of immorality today? 
What are some long-term effects for the unrepentant?
Part 3:  A repentant David seeks forgiveness Psalm 51
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. And as we are true are honestly repentant we can be like David In his psalm to the Lord, as he expressed a desire to help others repent, saying, “I [will] teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee” Psalm 51:13
In Psalm 51, David first acknowledged God and His mercy Psalm 51:1
1 Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.
David also acknowledged his own sinfulness Psalm 51:1–3
1 Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.
Why is it important that we recognize God’s greatness and our own sinfulness when we repent of our sins?  As we seek to become like our Heavenly Father, we can only do so when we are sufficiently humble before God. That comes with both a recognition of our sins and the fact that only the Lord can redeem us from those sins. When we arrive at this point, we can then become, as Heber C. Kimball often taught, "clay in the hands of the potter."
Heber C. Kimball:  "The potter tried to bring a lump of clay into subjection, and he worked and tugged at it, but the clay was rebellious and would not submit to the will of the potter and marred in his hands. Then of course he had to cut it from the wheel and throw it into the mill to be ground over, in order that it might become passive; after which he takes it again and makes of it a vessel unto honor." (Life of Heber C. Kimball, pp464-465)
What must we sacrifice in order to receive forgiveness of our sins?  Psalm 51:16–17
16 For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
What do you think it means to have “a broken and a contrite heart”?  Elder Neal A. Maxwell said:  "The 'children of Christ,' the 'children of light,' in any dispensation willingly make the sacrifice of a broken heart and a contrite spirit (see 3 Nephi 9:20; D&C 59:8; Psalm 51:17; Ephesians 5:8). The children of Christ are meek and malleable—their hearts can be broken, changed, or made anew. The child of Christ can eventually mature spiritually to become the 'new man or woman, the man or woman of Christ." (Men and Women of Christ, pp44-45)
How are our sins “ever before [us]” before we are forgiven? Psalm 51:3   
How does that change after we have been forgiven? Psalm 51:10; Alma 36:17–19  The pain is removed...
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
17 And it came to pass that as I was thus racked with torment, while I was harrowed up by the memory of my many sins, behold, I remembered also to have heard my father prophesy unto the people concerning the coming of one Jesus Christ, a Son of God, to atone for the sins of the world.
18 Now, as my mind caught hold upon this thought, I cried within my heart: O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me, who am in the gall of bitterness, and am encircled about by the everlasting chains of death.
19 And now, behold, when I thought this, I could remember my pains no more; yea, I was harrowed up by the memory of my sins no more.
How does God look upon our past sins after he has forgiven us?  Psalm 51:9; Isaiah 43:25; D&C 58:42 He remembers them no more....
9 Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.
25 I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.
42 Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more.
David described forgiveness as a cleansing Psalm 51:1–2, 7, 9–10, a restoration Psalm 51:12, and a deliverance Psalm 51:14
14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.
Why are these appropriate descriptions of the blessing of God’s forgiveness?

David was a great example in his fulfillment of his calling as king, and a tragic example in his falling from glory. We can learn from both aspects of his life.  No matter how successful or strong we may be, we are not above temptation and nothing can compensate for failure in our personal lives or in our families. Consider that David was destined for exaltation, destined to rule in heaven forever and ever as a Creator and a God to his future children. As the Lord said, there is no greater gift that He could offer a man than eternal life  D&C 6:13
David had it within his grasp, and then, in a foolish attempt to hide his sin, sent a man to his death. Had he even come to himself after his transgression with Bath-sheba and sought repentance as sincerely and earnestly as he did after Nathan’s parable, there is every indication that he could have come back and received forgiveness. It would have been difficult, but not impossible. But he did the very thing of which so many are guilty—he compounded his sin by trying to cover it up.
However, although David “hath fallen from his exaltation” because he planned the death of Uriah D&C 132:39, he received a promise that his soul would not be left in hell because of his repentance.  Psalm 16:8–10; Acts 2:25–27  David’s humility and heartfelt desire to be restored to God’s grace and acceptance are examples of true principles of repentance.  He has as he promised the Lord, taught transgressors thy ways...
Old Testament Student Manual  
The Two Davids  Rodney Turner, Brigham Young University
Jerusalem: The Eternal City Andrew C Skinner 
Men and Women of Christ, Neil A Maxwell
Life of Heber C Kimball
Witness of Jesus Christ Richard D Draper
Rasmussen, Introduction to the Old Testament, 1:185
Studies in Scriptures Vol 3 Robert L Millet
Miracle of Forgiveness
Conference Reports


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