In northern Thailand, the Wild Boars youth soccer team decided to explore a cave together. After an hour they turned to go back and found that the entrance to the cave was flooded. Rising water pushed them deeper into the cave, day after day, until they were finally trapped more than two miles (four kilometers) inside. When they were heroically rescued two weeks later, many wondered how they had become so hopelessly trapped. Answer: one step at a time.
In Israel, Nathan confronted David for killing his loyal soldier, Uriah. How did the man “after [God’s] own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14) become guilty of murder? One step at a time. David didn’t go from zero to murder in one afternoon. He warmed up to it, over time, as one bad decision bled into others. It started with a second glance that turned into a lustful stare. He abused his kingly power by sending for Bathsheba, then tried to cover up her pregnancy by calling her husband home from the front. When Uriah refused to visit his wife while his comrades were at war, David decided he would have to die.
We may not be guilty of murder or trapped in a cave of our own making, but we’re either moving toward Jesus or toward trouble. Big problems don’t develop overnight. They break upon us gradually, one step at a time.
David committed adultery and murder (2 Samuel 11) and assumed that as king he was answerable to no one. A year later, God sent the prophet Nathan to confront him about his wickedness (ch. 12). After confessing and repenting of his sins, David wrote Psalm 51, and many believe this is also the context for Psalm 32. Though forgiven, David had to face the consequences of his sin. His son conceived with Bathsheba died (2 Samuel 12:13–18). And just as Uriah was killed by the sword (vv. 9–10), three of David’s other sons—Amnon (13:28–29), Absalom (18:14–15), and Adonijah (1 King 2:23–25)—died by the sword.