Accountable - 2 Samuel 12:1-14

1.      Can you think of a time when you were a child and you were caught doing something wrong?

2.      How did you respond?

3.      What systems do we have in the workplace to hold us accountable for our time and resources? (Check in with time clocks. Set work hours and we are held accountable by our supervisor.)

4.      Can you have freedom without accountability? (Freedom can’t be separated from accountability. We may be free to do as we desire but we are not free from the consequences of our behavior!)

5.      What are the pros and cons to being held accountable for our actions?

6.      Should you dread or welcome an audit in your workplace?

Have you heard the old adage “An idle mind is the Devil’s workshop”? Today’s study is a great example of that old saying.

2 Samuel 8 is a chapter that gives a summary of the people group God used David to defeat during his reign as King of Israel. The events in some of the following chapters actually took place during that time period. Today’s study is one of those events that the writer tells us about that occurred during the events of that chapter. 2 Samuel 11 is the narrated event that led to the confrontation we find in chapter 12.

Read 2 Samuel 11:1

7.      What does this one verse tell us about David in this incident? (David neglected his responsibility of being out in the battle with his men!)

Neglecting our duty is many times the first step to disobedience.

(Tell the story from here about David’s sin with Bathsheba, her subsequent pregnancy and finally the murder of Uriah!)

Nathan the prophet, whom God used to deliver His gracious promise to David, was now sent to deliver a far different message. God was about to call David to account for his sins.

8.      If David was called a man after God’s own heart (1 Sam. 13:14; Acts 13:22), then how can he have also created such deep pain through certain choices? (None of us are immune to sin!)


Nathan Confronts David! 2 Samuel 12:1-4


1.      Why would King David not think it odd that Nathan was telling him about such a great miscarriage of justice? (As King he was the “Supreme Court” for Israel.)

2.      If we take this story Nathan told at face value, what kind of emotions does it stir up in you?

3.      Why do we resist confrontation—anyone telling us that we’ve done wrongly or failed to do rightly? (People compliment us when they confront us. They show confidence that we can repent and do rightly, and they believe we have a future rather than just a past.)

Helpful confrontation might ask questions rather than make declarations. It listens. It truly loves rather than condescends.

4.      How did Nathan manage to confront David with his sin without him realizing it at this point in these verses?

5.      How do you think David had justified his own actions in his heart? (Though the situation may be complicated, we have a choice and “a way out” of sin—1 Cor. 10:13. See Num. 32:23)

6.      How might God confront a person today about his or her sin?

7.      Should we expect to be confronted in some way about our sin?


David Judges! Read 2 Samuel 12:5-6


Notice David did not pass the death penalty, he simply said, “This man deserves to die.” But he did give the punishment stated in the law-four lambs for that one must be paid!

David seems to be blind to his own sin at this point.

1.      Why is it so easy to see sin in others rather than ourselves?

2.      Who was David judging when he judged the rich man?

3.      What does David’s response to Nathan’s story reveal about himself?

4.      What does a person’s response to sin reveal about that person?

5.      Who do think was aware of David’s sins in 2 Samuel 11? (Everyone! People are not as ignorant about what is going on in our lives as we may think they are. In David’s case everyone in his household had to know or at least suspect something wasn’t just right. Joab had to know!)

6.      What is God’s role in justice? Our role? Society’s role? (Justice often comes through natural consequences. God warns us to avoid certain actions because of what happens when anyone does them. Some human pictures of justice match the Bible and some do not. But it is not our job to pass judgment on what God does or doesn’t do in this area.)


God Punishes! Read 2 Samuel 12:7-12


David may have thought he’s covered his sins well and gotten away with it. But Nathan made it clear his sin was not secret and carried consequences.

1.      What had God done for David?

2.      What was God willing to do for David?

Ultimately all sin is ingratitude toward the goodness of God!

Notice how God detailed David’s transgressions through Nathan. Not only had his sin not gone unnoticed to the people it had not gone unnoticed to God!

3.      Are sins ever really secret?

4.      To what examples can you point in support of your answer? (Abraham, Sarah and Hagar. Judah unknowingly slept with his former daughter-in-law, Tamar after her two husbands died and he had not planned to send another son to be her husband.)

5.      Is there a sin that hurts nobody? (Sin is never without ramifications. It may seem that no one knows but you know and God knows. Even if no one else knows, your sin comes between you and God!)

Nathan revealed that David was the rich man in the parable, having taken Bathsheba from Uriah and murdering Uriah.

6.       How does misbehaving show how we currently feel about God?

7.      How do the misdeeds of leaders affect those who follow them? (Leaders are to set the moral example for those who follow them. Nathan explained that the Lord would bring public disaster on David’s household.)

8.      Are sins ever really secret? (Sin is never secret or without ramifications!

9.      To what examples can you point in support of your answer?


David Responds!


1.      If you were reading this account for the first time, how would you expect David to respond?

Unlike many people, David responded to the confrontation of his sin with immediate and complete repentance rather than denials or excuses.

2.      Was God’s forgiveness immediate and complete? (Yes—BUT the consequences can be long lasting and very painful!


Read 2 Samuel 12:13-14


3.      What is the nature of repentance? (Changed behavior and taking responsibility are two indications of repentance.)

4.      How can we tell if repentance has really happened in someone’s heart?

David hurt many people with long-term consequences. He hurt God too.

Read Psalm 51

5.      What do we learn about repentance from Psalm 51? (Repentance looks at one’s self honestly and agrees with God about the gravity of sin; it acknowledges God is fully just and blameless in His judgment of sin; and recognizes that sin is great, but God’s grace is greater and so asks for forgiveness and restoration.)

Psalm 51:10 “God, create a clean heart for me and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

Note that David didn’t pray for the consequences of his sin to be reversed, but for God’s grace to restore and transform him!

6.      In what ways could we draw on God’s grace while enduring the current consequences of sinful behavior?

7.      How can we tell if repentance has happened in ourselves?


Summarize and Challenge!


1.      How possible is it to stop our foolishness before we do it? (When God finished creating mankind He said, “It is very good!” That includes all of our desires, but He also provided godly ways to satisfy all of our desires. When we try to satisfy them any other way we sin.)

2.      Do we need someone to point out our sins or can we listen to God on our own?  (Most of us need an accountability partner. Sometimes that might be our spouse to help us.)

3.      Do you believe that Christians should expect to be confronted about their sins?

4.      Do we recognize sin and understand that judgment accompanies it?

5.      Do we really believe that sin carries consequences and that it is never secret or without ramifications?


The wonderful news is this: when we sin if we confess our sin God is faithful and will forgive our sin and restore a right relationship between us and God! 

Read 1 John 1:9