A month or so later, Bathsheba sends a terse two-word statement: "I'm pregnant."

Hum. That wasn't what the king expected from their single rendezvous.

I'm pregnant. With those words, David must work fast. In quick order, he sends word to his commander, Joab, on the field, "Bring me Uriah." David makes several attempts to get Uriah to return to his wife. It's a show to legitimize the pregnancy. But Uriah refuses to go back home. He's a faithful warrior. "How could I?" Uriah protests. "How could I go home when the ark of God is on the battlefield?"

Okay. So that plan didn't work. But now the clock is really ticking for David, and if he doesn't take care of this little problem soon, his whole image could crumble. So David sends a letter to the front lines to Joab (a letter carried by Uriah, if you can imagine that) telling Joab to make sure Uriah is in the heaviest fighting, then pull back the troops so that (I'm quoting here) "he may be struck down and die."

Joab complies. Uriah is killed. The widow Bathsheba mourns for her dead husband, and then the king sends for her, and she becomes his fourth wife.

End of story.

At least, it could have been the end. Hey, if this was only David's story to tell that might have been the end of it. His cover-up might have held. He could have congratulated himself on being a good guy, kindly taking in a widow without means. Kind of like the rich young ruler, we could have read the story and just felt sad that David wasn't the king that he might have been. Another life not lived to the full potential.

But David's story, it turns out, wasn't the only story going on here. The prophet Samuel keeps unwinding a bigger story. Because "The thing David had done displeased the Lord." See, if this were only David's story to write, there wouldn't have been any problem. If our stories are ours alone, then we don't need to wrestle with conflict between our ideals and our actions. If your story is yours alone, then go ahead—believe your own hype. Immerse yourself in your PR spin. Keep on making those rationalizations. It's your own story, your own desires, your own ambitions—and don't let anyone else tell you otherwise! That's what our culture tells us, doesn't it?

David could have continued his secret life—and so could we. But it comes with the cost of loneliness.