Tonight our studies in the book of 2 Samuel take us to a crucial chapter in the life of King David. In his relationship with Nathan the prophet we find both the disciplining and the redemption of David as a result of his behavior. You will note that when David was willing to honestly face his sin and confess it, God was there with forgiveness and restoration. Also remember, there are powerful forces of pride and position at stake between the office of King and prophet, and this dynamic certainly played a major role in the scene that unfolds in scripture for us tonight.
Here are some areas of personal application to consider as we listen to this study in 2 Samuel. Are there areas in our life that have not been open to the light in our relationship with God? Are we willing to quickly confess our sin and avoid the danger of a hardened heart? And then, are we willing to gracefully help restore others in their time of need? All these lessons and much more will be found in the verses we cover tonight. And now, let's continue our study of 2 Samuel line on line.
Before we do that, we have the realization that we're gathered here tonight and this is a Bible study primarily for believers. It's for the church. It is the church gathering to study God's word, to worship the God of the word, to take the elements of communion that celebrate his great love. But at the same time, we have been blessed. We are able to broadcast this in many, many ways. One is over the internet. And I mentioned last week, I think, that there's a group in New Jersey, over 90 people that meet to watch line on line, and I must believe that they watch it on TV rather than on a computer screen all at one time. But--
And then we are blessed to be able to have two radio stations that broadcast. One is one of 107.1. That covers a good chunk of the Rio Grande Valley, central and northern New Mexico. And then on 88.3 Massive Radio on translators around the entire state. So there's a lot of people that are friendly eavesdroppers tonight that are listening in. Would you just-- you can't wave to them because they wouldn't see it, so would you just tell them you love them? Clap for them.
[CHEERING AND APPLAUSE]
So from our home to your home, welcome. And tonight-- as you're here in this service, in this place-- well, let's just pretend you're in a big living room and you're just gathered around, we're gathered around the word to meditate upon what the Lord would show us as we go line on line through the books of the Bible.
We're in 2 Samuel chapter 12 tonight. And chapter 11, of course, last week we saw how David fell into sin with Bathsheba. Now, I say David "fell" into sin, and perhaps that's not even an accurate term because honestly people don't "fall" into sin. It would probably be helpful if somebody would just give enough light so that you won't ruin your eyes, just so you could read the text with us. It'd be great tonight. It'd be hard to do it by-- and if you pull out a light-- there you go. If you pulled out a lighter, we'd be suspect about you.
Hey, what are you doing with that lighter? Oh, just in case. One doesn't fall into sin. One steps into it. It's a deliberate stepping into it. Now, you may step too far, thinking that, oh, I can go down this path just so far and I'll be OK, only to be smashed. And there you are on the ground. And you say, I've fallen into sin. But in reality you've made several steps.
A couple years ago when I was snowboarding up here locally-- it was March. It was the end of the day, and I was going to take the tram down. Well, I was on one side of the upper chairlift just at the top where the chairs circumvent that last pole and go back around. So I wanted to get from one side to the other. And I'm watching the chairs go by, and I'm going to dodge them. Well, my problem is, I'm watching them go by, not watching them come at me.
So one goes by and I wait a second, and I start taking a step and another step, and then I turn around. And as I turned around, bam. The chair hit me right in the head and I fell. OK, I fell. But I made steps into the pathway of oncoming chairs.
So I had made certain choices, and I was caught off guard. But it wasn't that I fell, and oops I've fallen and I can't get up. But I have fallen because I've made some serious steps. And I had, like, ten stitches in my forehead because of that.
David made some steps, and we saw them last week. We saw his downfall last week, and tonight we see his repentance, his confession, and his confrontation with a man by the name of Nathan the prophet. Just put in your mind again-- and by now hopefully you have it memorized. There's an outline. There's a flow to the entire book of 2 Samuel.
Chapters 1 through 10 tell of David's triumph, how he grows in power and popularity. Then chapters 11 and 12 talk of David's transgression, how he fell into sin with Bathsheba, tried to cover it up with Uriah the Hittite, failed on both accounts, all accounts. Then chapters 13 through 24 are the consequences, or his troubles. So we have his triumphs, we have his transgression, and we have his troubles that encompass, unfortunately, his entire life.
Now, last week-- and we follow it up this week-- we looked at what happened with David in terms of seasons of the year. And you might say they are seasons of David's sinful behavior. There was the springtime, the summertime, the fall, and the winter.
It was springtime in David's world. It was springtime in David's city, it says in verse one of Chapter 11 when the kings go out to war. But it was also springtime in David's own world, his own life. He was a budding success, amassing power and popularity all around his area, his region.
But he had a burgeoning weakness, and that was with the opposite sex. And in a time of idleness, when he should have been fighting, he was lounging around the palace. And then we see going from springtime in David's life to summertime in David's mind. That's right. It was a hot, sizzling thought-life going on up here. It might be spring out here. I might look great out here. I might be a success out here. But what's going on in my mind and in my heart?
Well, we know what was going on in David's mind because it says in the very next verse that there was a woman who was bathing and he saw her, and it says she was beautiful to behold. David couldn't help the seeing part, but he could help the beholding part. It's one thing to see somebody. It's another thing quite different to behold them. It suggests a gazing. And that's all in his mind. It all happened here.
David's safest bet would have been to run. Run back into the house, put a pillow over his head, and even shout if he wanted to, but just leave. But he didn't do that.
Now, Joseph did several chapters and years before, when a woman grabbed him-- Potiphar's wife-- and was very forward with him and said, come to bed and have sex with me. It says that he turned around and he ran out of the house. Literally, he streaked out of the house.
Because she still had his garment. And he went out naked. And maybe they laughed at him. But better to get laughed at because of that than to suffer a lifetime of consequences, as David does.
So we go from springtime to summertime to fall time. David had a falling. That's the word that we began with. But he made serious steps. We know what he did. He saw Bathsheba. He sent for Bathsheba. He slept with Bathsheba. Then the rest of the chapter is a cover-up. How he tries to bring Uriah in-- who's fighting a battle, where he should have been-- brings him in and tries to say, hey, buddy boy, how's the battle going? Listen, I bet you miss your wife. Why don't you go home? Hang out with your wife.
Because she had turned up pregnant with David's child and he wants to gloss over it and hide it. But of course Uriah had much more integrity than that. Wouldn't do it. And so David knew he would be found out. He orders Uriah to be killed. He has fallen from his relationship with God, fallen from his integrity. And we go from spring to summer to fall.
And the last part is wintertime. And sin is always like that. Let me just say once again that though sin promises you warmth and satisfaction, it leaves you cold and empty and barren. And the last part of the chapter shows us that.
"When the wife of Uriah," verse 26, "heard that Uriah, her husband, was dead, she mourned for her husband. And when her mourning was over David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord."
Now in comes God. David does his thing, makes his choices, covers his tracks. But there's a catch. The catch is, the Lord has seen it all. He hasn't hidden anything. Oh, he has hidden it from Uriah. He has hidden it, at least in part, from other people. But not from the Lord.
Proverbs 5-- Solomon says, the ways of a man are before the eyes of the Lord, and he ponders all of his paths. And the Lord was watching the whole thing. And that's something David overlooked. And now David finds himself a prisoner of his own lust, his own sin, trying to cover this up. He's feeling miserable inside, Empty and wretched.
You say, Skip, how do you know that? It doesn't say he felt miserable. It doesn't say felt wretched. Well, it would seem that David sort of smiled smugly and wiped his hands, saying, ah, scot-free. But not so. You'll read in just a little bit his own admission, how that when he finally confessed his sin that's when the relief came. But all the while-- and by the way, between chapter 11 and chapter 12 is probably an entire year that David lives in this facade, this cover-up of his own sin.
One thing I love about the Lord is his blend of being patient and yet being persistent. On one hand God doesn't write off David, like-- well, you and I probably would. Hey, wait a minute, you're the King. You're the leader. And you're the spiritual leader, man. And you do this? And not only adultery, but you killed a man who was innocent and you killed other people because you had to have his troop up by the wall during the battle. So innocent people were killed because you're trying to cover your adultery? But God doesn't write him off.
There's a great word that describes this character of God, long-suffering. And probably the best way to read it whenever you come across it in the Bible isn't to just read "long-suffering," but say to yourself when you read it, (DRAWING THE WORD OUT) long-suffering. A whole year God was (SLOWLY) long-suffering with David, who was the ultimate egg-head and didn't come clean until Nathan the prophet comes and confronts him.
Now, notice in verse 1 of chapter 12 a phrase that got my attention when I read it. "Then the Lord--" stop. "Then the Lord." David does his thing-- and, by the way, chapter 11 is a whole list of one man's action. One man taking everything in control, doing things his way. In fact, there's an interesting comparison. I took it a little bit further. If you go back to chapter 11, in verse 2 it says, "then it happened one evening that David arose from his bed." Verse 4, "then David sent messengers and took her." Verse 6, "then David sent to Joab saying, send me Uriah the Hittite." Verse 12, "then David said to Uriah, wait here today also and tomorrow I will let you depart." Verse 14, "then in the morning it was so that David wrote a letter to Joab." Verse 25, "then David said to the messenger."
But now we get to, "then the Lord." Now God steps in. Now God, after a year-- he has been so patient, but now he's going to do a few things on his own. Then the Lord showed up. And how did the Lord show up? Well, through your friendly neighborhood prophet, Nathan, who comes in and seemingly has an issue with a problem that needs the king's attention. It's a parable. We know the story already, but it takes David so completely off guard as God, through the prophet Nathan, confronts him with his sin.
Here's the truth. God loves you. God knows that you're flesh. God knows that you fail. And God, because he has given you this beautiful gift of volition, free choice, allows you to make your choices. Walk down the path that you have chosen, even if the path is against his perfect will. And so there you are making one dumb choice after another dumb choice, step after step, and all of a sudden you see a chairlift right in front of your head. Bam! And suddenly God has your attention.
But he let you go for a while, on your own for a while. Oh, he won't rearrange the stars to spell, stop. Go no further. He won't hang two billion-watt speakers from the moon and get a big microphone, hey you, king-boy, adulterer, murderer. Yeah, you. Oh no. He'll let you go.
But there comes a point when, in his love, he intervenes. And it's harsh, perhaps. If step after step is disobedient, he'll step in and he'll show his love. He'll show his kindness. He'll show his disapproval, but he'll always seek to forgive you and win you back.
Then David-- or, "then the Lord sent Nathan to David. And he came to him and he said to him, there were two men in one city, one rich and one poor. The rich man had exceedingly many flocks and herds, but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished and it grew up together with him and with his children. It ate of his own food and drank from his own cup and lay in his bosom, and it was like a daughter to him."
Somebody once said that courage is just fear that has said its prayers. I imagine that when Nathan the prophet-- oh yes, he was God's man. But I imagine that when he stepped into the king's presence knowing the king had ultimate authority and could end his life with one word, probably had a lump in his throat. But he said his prayers. In his fear he became courageous. And he speaks a parable. Why a parable? Why not just say, excuse me, David, you are a jerk. You have sinned against God. He doesn't do that. Why a parable? Because a parable would take a person completely off guard so that he could see the gravity of his sin by seeing it on somebody else.
You know, when somebody confronts us about us we get defensive. Right? Well, I'm not that bad. Well, there's somebody else over there. He's worse than I am. We have all sorts of flaky excuses. David was human, like any of us.
Nathan cleverly, by the spirit of God, gave him a parable to show him his sin in a lesser manner but on somebody else, to see what David would say about it as he sees it worn out, played out on another life. Now, the parable is easy to see who's who. There were two men in a city. That would be one is David and one is Uriah the Hittite. Verse 2, "the rich man had exceedingly many flocks." That's David and his many wives. But the poor man had one. One Little ewe lamb. Just one. And that was Uriah and his wife Bathsheba.
In verse 4, "a traveler came to the rich man, who refused"-- notice this, "refused to take from his own flock and from his own herd to prepare one for the wayfaring man who had come to him. But he took the poor man's lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him. He refused to take from his own, as did David.
David had a harem. He refused to let that lust, that sexual drive that every man has, be satisfied with his wives. And he didn't just have one wife. One would have been enough. He had several. But he refused to have it satisfied in the confines of marriage. He allowed his lust to run wild. And he took that one poor little ewe lamb, the wife of Uriah the Hittite, a woman by the name of Bathsheba. But, as it's couched in the parable, he took the poor man's lamb and prepared it for him who had come to him.
So there's Nathan the prophet speaking a story in the third person, a parable, and Dave is listening, maybe stroking his beard. And as the story goes on this redheaded King is getting hot-headed. He's getting angry inside because he's looking in the mirror. But he is seeing his sin, not as clearly as in the mirror, but on somebody else.
There was once a church that was a very disgruntled group of people. Nothing satisfied them. Finally, the pastor left, said, I've had enough of these people, the board of elders, the board of directors, the deacons, everybody. I'm out of here. And he left. The church was losing attendance. A new pastor came in, had vision, drive, tried to revive it to no avail. The people didn't like this guy. They grumbled and complained about every new thing he had coming.
So one Sunday the pastor announced-- he said to the congregation, this church is dead, and it is only right that we give it a decent burial. And so he said, today, Sunday afternoon at 3:00 PM, we're going to have a funeral for our dead church, and I hope you'll attend. Well, not only did everyone in the church come that afternoon, but everybody in town almost just to see what is this guy up to. And so the place was packed. And the other people that came used to attend that church but had dropped out long ago.
And so the pastor stood up, in front of a casket no less. And the casket was open. And he said, our dearly departed, this church, is laying here dead in the casket and it is only right that you come up and pay your last respects. And as you look in the casket you'll discover why the church is dead.
And so the people filed in a long road down the center aisle, and one by one they went by and they walked by the open casket, and there in the casket where the head usually is was a mirror.
So that as the passerbys would go by they would see themself in the casket as the reason why the church was dead. And they all walked away, one by one, heads hung low. That's the idea of the parable.
David, we're having a funeral. Come and look in the casket and see why it's so bad. So David's angry, until a very, very hinging moment. "David's anger was greatly aroused against the man. And he said to Nathan, as the Lord lives, the man who has done this shall surely"-- what?
What? What do you mean die? Why die? That's not biblical. Exodus 22, "if a man steals a sheep or an ox and slaughters it"-- Exodus 22, verse one, says, "if it's an ox you shall restore it five-fold. If it's a sheep, you shall give four sheep for one." Not a death penalty for stealing a lamb. I mean, it sounds al-Qaeda, doesn't it?
He stole a candy bar. Off with his hand. David, took this guy's lamb. It was his pet. He killed his pet. Kill him. What David is doing is signing, in effect, his own death sentence. He is pronouncing judgment on himself because there was a death penalty, if you remember, for adultery. They were to be stoned to death. And David had committed adultery.
But he is willing to level the harshest possible judgment on a lamb stealer, a lamb thief, but not see his own, far greater, sin. The man shall surely die. And Nathan said to David, you are the man.
What that moment must have been like. What their eyes said to each other as they met. As David looked up into the peering eyes of the prophet looking through him. You are the man. Thus says the Lord God of Israel, I anointed you King over Israel. I delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave you your master's house, your master's wives into you're keeping, and gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if that had been too little, I would have given you much more. Why have you despised the commandment of the Lord to do evil in his sight?
You have killed Uriah the Hittite with a sword. You have taken his wife to be your wife. You have killed him with the sword of the people of Ammon. Now, therefore, the sword shall not depart from your house because you have despised me and taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.
Wow. This was totally unexpected. Talk about an unexpected sermon. As long as it was third person, no problem. I can judge what needs to be done. Kill him. Suddenly David realizes, oh. You mean, I'm not the judge? I'm on trial? You are the man. [GASPS] His breath was taken away. The finger of God was now pointing at him for what he had done.
Now, maybe as this is going on-- you are the man. And Nathan starts reciting this litany of, look what God has done. Look what you have done. David must have thought, how did he find out? Who snitched? Who told Mr. Prophet what I have done? I didn't tell anybody.
God. God narced on him.
God told the prophet. God told the spokesman. It's been well-put that secret sin on earth is open scandal in heaven. I'll tell you what. That shows us how much God loves us. In my early Christian walk I struggled with smoking cigarettes. I struggle with smoking other things too, but I had a particular struggle with cigarettes.
And I had been a believer for about a year and a half, almost two years. And I was going through medical training in California, and I was studying and smoking Marlboros. And I knew the Lord wanted me to quit. I knew that my body was a temple. He didn't want it polluted. He didn't want me to invite cancer and other diseases and ruin his temple. And God had been convicting me about it.
So I tried and I tried, and it didn't work. And I put it off, and I obeyed the Lord. And then I just decided, you know what? I'm covered by grace. I'm just going to buy a pack tonight. It was a Tuesday evening. I was living in San Bernardino, California, going to San Bernardino County Medical Center for training. And a girl had come into my life. She was a friend. She was a sister in the Lord. It was a beginning of a relationship. It wasn't anything serious.
But she came back on a Thursday and she said, Skip, I just got to talk to you. I've been praying for you and Tuesday night the Lord laid you on my heart. Oh, he did, did he? What did he lay on you? Well, he just told me to pray for you. And I got this image in my mind, and I feel even weird asking you. But do you smoke? I go, what? You know, acted real spiritual. (LOWER VOICE) What?
She goes, do you smoke? And then I said, well, I'm going to quit right now. No. No, I don't. I've quit. And it was one of these things. It was like the Lord said, you creep.
Come clean. Fess up, man. And I'm thinking, who told her? God. Secrets in on earth is open scandal in heaven. And I finally had to come clean and confess that that was a word of wisdom, a word of knowledge. You are the man.
Unexpected sermons. You know, we Christians are interesting characters. We love sermons. We listen to them Sundays and Wednesdays and on radio programs. We even have our favorite sermon makers on the radio. I like his sermons. Those are great sermons. And then we've gotten even so good we grade sermons. I'll give that a 6.
Yesterday's was a little better, but this is a 6. This is good. Got a good beat. Easy to dance to. Like that sermon.
You see, we love the sermons as long as they're about prophecy, eschatology, what somebody else needs to hear. But as soon as the finger of God through the sermon starts poking us, now that pastor is meddling. He has no right to meddle in my life. He's supposed to preach to others.
I'm supposed to say, my husband needs this tape. Or, my wife needs this tape. Or I'm going to send this to somebody else. But when God starts messing with us-- and so we come to a service and we bring a friend, an unsaved or saved, and we think, oh good, they're going to need to hear this tonight. And then they see what the message is titled and they go, oh no! Not this topic. They shouldn't-- oh, that's the worst. Oh. And it's like God is saying, it's not about them. I'm trying to nail you. I'm trying to speak to your heart. I have something to do in your heart.
David, caught completely off-guard. You are the man. You da man, David. Not in a good sense. Verse 7 is astonishing to me, and I love the approach. David was made to understand God's goodness.
Thus says the Lord, I anointed you King. I delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave you your master's house. I would have given you more. David is forced to recall the goodness of God. You know why? It's the goodness of God that leads to repentance. You know, some evangelists try to dangle people over the fires of hell. You're going to hell. You know what Nathan does? Dangles him over the fires of heaven. To fan into flame his love for God, once again. Look how good God has been to you, David. He's poured out his blessings. Remember what you used to be. Remember what God did for you.
So David is now in the presence of a prophet, forced to think about all the blessings of God. And so he is reminded of God's goodness. Number two, he is reminded of sin's seriousness. For in verse 9, "why have you despised the commandment of the Lord to do evil in his sight?" You know what it means to despise something, right? It means to hate it.
David, you hate God's commands. That could be true of anybody who deliberately sins against God. You're living a lifestyle where you're deliberately sinning against God, and you're going to say, oh, but I love the Lord. No you don't. You hate his commands.
David hated the command, "thou shalt not commit adultery." David hated the command, "thou shalt not bear false witness." David hated the command, "thou shalt not murder." It was even more serious than that. It proved not only did he despise the law, the commandment. He despised God. Verse 10, "now therefore the swords shall never depart from your house because you have despised me."
David, by his lifestyle, for a year was, in effect, saying, I don't want your rule over my life. I don't like your laws. You're a little bit too narrow for me. Oh, but I want to go to church and offer the sacrifices in the temple and say the prayers, but I don't want you to rule over my life. David, you've despised the commandment. You've despised me. Heavy stuff.
Let me ask you a question. It's one thing to be in David's place. It's another thing to be in Nathan's place. Just as you would hate to be in David's place-- wouldn't you? You're with the woman. You're the man. [GROANING] Would you like to be in Nathan's place? I wouldn't. But let me ask you this. Would you ever confront someone with sin? Oh no, I could never do that. I'd love them too much. I'd be their friend. Well then, you're not their friend.
Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. "Open rebuke is better than love carefully concealed," it says in Proverbs. A mark of a friend is that I love them enough to risk, in David's case, even my neck, my prophet-dom, my whole ministry, my reputation even, my friendship. I'm going to approach this guy and tell him, you need to change. God told this to me. I love you. God has been good to you. This is serious stuff, David. He did.
God help us when we need to. Billy Sunday, an evangelist who was very famous for his fiery sermons, once announced to the crowd-- because he had a reputation in the town he was preaching in for being somebody who stirred up the pot, made people angry. And so he began his sermon and he said, they tell me I rub the fur the wrong way. They're wrong, said Sunday. Let the cat turn around.
David, if I'm rubbing you the wrong way, buddy, turn around. Repent. Change direction. Thus says the Lord, "behold"-- verse 11-- "I will raise up adversity against you from your own house. I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor. And he shall lie with your wives in the sight of the sun, for you did it secretly. But I will do this thing before all of Israel, before the sun. Then David said"-- You see, in verse one, "then the Lord sent," and now, "then David said." And now he's saying the right thing.
"David said to Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord." Right on, David. Good for you. Confrontation brought confession. I have sinned against the Lord. You know, he's not mincing words. He's not making excuses. He's telling the truth. I have sinned against the Lord. He's not rationalizing it.
Well, listen, she stepped out. It was her fault. She had the lights on. No. He just said, I have sinned against-- well, you know, I was born this way. I have a genetic propensity toward-- no. I have sinned against the Lord. Well, it's not really sin, it's just sort of a hang up. No. I have sinned-- he called it what it was-- against the Lord.
Open confession. Open rebuke brought open confession. Confrontation brought confession. I have sinned against the Lord. You know what? As soon as David said those words, inside he was going, finally. It's out. Now I don't have to live in deception. I don't have to hide it. It's out. It's horrible. I've been confronted. I've sinned against God. But at least I've confessed it, and I feel so much better.
You say, Skip, you keep saying that. You said it last week. You said it at the beginning. You said it now. How do you know that? Turn to Psalm 32. Psalm 32 was written after David was found out by Nathan the prophet, as with Psalm 51. Both of those psalms should be read in tandem together because they feature the same episode in David's life, his sin against Bathsheba and his murder of Uriah.
Psalm 32, "blessed is he"-- you know what that word means? Happy. You know that word. Better translation, oh how happy-- "is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity." And that will be told to him by Nathan in a few versus when we go back. And who's spirit there is no guile.
Look at this. "When I kept silent my bones grew old. Through my groaning all day long for day and night your hand was heavy upon me." Do you know what it's like to live under the conviction of the heavy hand of God and not do anything about it? That's the worst, man. That's the worst. That's why I say David was empty, miserable, alienated from God for a year. "My vitality was turned into the drought of summer. I acknowledge my sin to you. My iniquity I have not hidden. Then I said, I will confess my transgression to the Lord. And you forgave the iniquity of my sin. For this cause everyone who is godly shall pray to you in a time when you may be found. Surely in a flood of great waters they shall not come near him."
He confessed his sin. Now let me just tell you right now, that when the Bible uses the word "confess" it doesn't mean just admit. OK. OK. I've blown it. I admit it. The word confess means to agree with God. To confess your sin to God means you agree about your sin with God when he says something about your sin. That was wrong. That was wicked. That separated me from you, and I agree with you on what that is. That's what confession is.
And it also accompanies something we call repentance. Not just, I feel really bad about it, man, but I'm going to do it again as soon as we're done here. You admit it. You confess it. You agree. You leave it. You leave it. I'd say, well, how do you leave it? It's so hard. You have to replace it with something different, something better, a new mode of behavior, renewing of your mind, et cetera.
So he confessed his sin to God. And Nathan said to David-- we're about finished. Nathan said to David, "the Lord has also put away your sin, and you shall not die." Why'd he say that? Because that was the punishment for adultery. Death. Capital punishment as stipulated by the law.
Now here's David saying, that guy that wooley thief, kill him. Death to the infidel. And here's God's mercy. David, you've actually done something worthy of death, and you're not going to die. That's God's mercy. No wonder David loved to write things like in Psalms 23, "surely goodness and mercy shall chase me down all the days of my life." Here I am running from God. What's behind me? Mercy. Goodness.
They're after me!
God's trying to bless me. Quick, run! But I can't, because they're pursuing me all the days of my life. David, you're not going to die. "However"-- ooh. Why, "however"? It was just so good. Couldn't you just end there? Couldn't you just say, it's OK, buddy. You're forgiven. God bless you. Let's sing a hymn and go home. Why, "however"?
"However, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also who is born to you shall surely die. And then Nathan departed to his house. Confrontation brought confession. But there's a third part, consequences.
You know, forgiveness doesn't mean the consequences go away, does it? Do they? If I get drunk-- don't worry, I won't-- and I decide, in my drunken stupor, (SLURRING) I'm going to go play in the freeway. Let's a lot of action out there. And so I just meander out into the freeway. (SLURRING) Hello. [MAKES BASHING SOUND]
So there I am in the hospital. Two broken legs, broken arm, fractured skull. I'm laid up like this. And somebody comes in, Skip, what were you doing? I was drunk, man. It was so bad I backslid. Well, have you asked God to forgive you? Well, let's do it right now. Oh, God, forgive me. How come I'm not out of here? How come I'm not healed? You don't get healed because you've done something stupid. That's why. And there are consequences in this life that you will pay out for a long time to come.
And there were consequences in David's life. Number one, violence. You killed Uriah the Hittite by the sword. Verse 10, sword's going to come into your house, David. It happened. Amnon was killed. Absalom was murdered. His other son, Adonijah, was killed.
Second consequence, there was conflict in David's house with his wives and the revolt by Absalom for the kingdom. The worst. The worst was the indifference toward the Lord from unbelievers. It says in verse 14, "by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme."
Imagine that. Here's Israel, a nation chosen by God, miraculously preserved by God. God raises up a King in such a way that it's unmistakable. God is with this guy. And David loved to witness, didn't he? "Magnify the Lord with me. Sing to the Lord all the earth."
OK. He sinned. He's forgiven. God will restore him. Got will use him. God loves him. But there's other issues besides the forgiveness part. God has a big eraser, but David, you've done some things and the consequences of-- your own family's going to feel them. But not only that, but all the things you said about me-- magnify the Lord. Bless the Lord. He's great. He's-- all the witnessing you've done to all the Gentile kings and nations, they're now going to look at you and laugh. And go, oh, he was a believer? He was a follower of God? Why should I follow his God? Didn't do him much good. That's the whole idea when you have given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme.
And the chapter goes on to talk about how the child dies. We learn a lesson. And the lesson is no better seen than in the elements we're about to take. Here it is. I'll sum it up in one statement. Sin is expensive. Sin is very expensive. Sin is the most expensive thing in the world. It costs. Yeah, but it pays. Yeah, pleasure in the short term. Misery in the long term. You're right, it does pay. The wages of sin is death.
I'm here to tell you to quit before payday. Quit before payday. The wages of sin is death. Quit before payday. Satan's writing out the check. Here. Quit. Turn. Stop. It's expensive. Ruined David's life. Ruined Uriah's life. Took his life. Ruined Bathsheba's life. Ruined Joab's life, the army's life, the kingdom. Sin is expensive.
Tonight, in my mind, I'm looking at the cross. And as I look at my Savior bleeding on the cross I say again, sin is very expensive. That's what my sin cost. Well, who put Jesus on the cross? Well, the Romans did. Some would say, oh, the Jews did. I did. I put him there. I drove the nails through his hands. He was there for my sin. Sin is expensive.
Tonight the finger is pointing at me, saying you are the man. The finger is pointing at you. You are the woman. You are the man. And these elements speak of the love of God, because he came to take away our sin. "God made him"-- 2 Corinthians, 5:21-- "who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might be the righteousness of God in Him."
So what we ought to be singing tonight isn't, woe is me, I'm a bad guy. You know, it's me. The finger's pointing at me. That's all true. But if you've taken Jesus as your Savior, you should walk out of here tonight saying, blessed is the man. Oh how happy is the man whose sin is forgiven, whose transgression is covered.
We love to point the finger. Hitler, he was evil. Saddam Hussein. Me. I, along with you, and every human being on the earth put Jesus on the cross. That's what he came for, to wash our sins away. But these elements speak not only of how expensive sin is, but how gracious God is. God has a big eraser.
Years ago in Spain there was a father and a son who had a falling out, a disagreement. He was a teenager. His name was Paco. The father, a strict disciplinarian, wouldn't bend at all. Paco ran away from home. It put the father into such a depression. He was grieving, looking for his son. Oh, I shouldn't have done it. I was such an idiot. Oh, I wish I could find Paco.
Finally, he decided to go to Madrid and take out a newspaper ad. And it ran, dear Paco, meet me tomorrow at 12:00 noon in front of the newspaper office. All is forgiven. I love you. Signed, Dad. The next morning, 800 Pacos showed up at the newspaper office, all wanting to find forgiveness in such a large city from their father.
Tell you what? It shows you the great need that we all have for forgiveness. It's our greatest need. And it's God's greatest honor to give it to you. And he can because of Jesus. Because these elements, the body and blood, what they speak of-- He can say, you're forgiven. You're forgiven. Walk away and say, oh how happy is the man or the woman.
That is, unless the finger of God has been pointing at you and you've just sort of stayed away and not surrendered, not asked Jesus to forgive you of your sins, stayed where you're at. Then it's my prayer that you will continue to feel the heavy hand of God upon your life, and you will be utterly miserable until you go, forgive me. Forgive me. I come to you, Jesus. Save me. It's where the joy begins.
Heavenly Father, thank you for the truth in your word, that your word never glosses over your workers. All of their flaws, all of their disfigurements are plainly shown. And it's quite easy for us to look at David. It's third person.
But when you point to us maybe there's an area you've been dealing with us about and we feel and sense your finger pointing at us. It's not a finger of a celestial policeman, but a heartbroken father. And as the prodigal son came to himself, I pray we would come to our self, we would wake up, and we would smell the forgiveness and celebrate the joy of living in that forgiveness as Jesus washes away every transgression, every sin.
Lord, as you're dealing with us as believers tonight and you're saying, you're the man, you're the woman-- as we bring that before you and we admit and agree, I have sinned against the Lord, and we ask for your forgiveness. I pray, Lord, that you would turn our mourning, our sorrow into joy.
There may be consequences, but there is forgiveness. There is forgiveness. And then, Father, we would pray for those who would be gathered here this evening, invited by a friend or decided they needed not to be alone tonight but to seek out a church fellowship. And they've come, and you've been trying to get their attention for a long time. Maybe they're at a place in their life where they're willing to listen. Maybe it's the uncertainty of the world, the future, the international unrest, the economy.
Whatever it is that has gotten their attention, whatever it is that has brought them here, thank you that they're here sitting amongst us hearing your word, enjoying your worship. Thank you for them. You love them. And you may be pointing at them, not to drive them away, but that pointed finger would quickly turn into outstretched arms to form an embrace. Bring them to you, Lord.
Right now we're all praying together. If you're here in this room and you have not asked Jesus Christ, God's only son and only solution to the problems of man and sin-- if you've not asked his forgiveness, him to be your savior-- or if you had some kind of experience years ago that you walked away from, hasn't been an authentic part of your life-- no matter what the circumstance, here you are. And you realize that God is trying to get your attention, and he loves you, and you're in a place where you desire to be forgiven by him and have eternal life, you must realize that you need to receive Christ personally. And that means you're willing to repent of your sin. That means you're going to turn from it, by his help, and turn to Him and live for him.
If you're willing to do that, I want you to raise your hand up. Right now, as we're all praying for you, raised it up in the air. And by doing it you're raising it up and just saying, here I am, Lord. And you're saying to me, here I am, Skip. Pray for me. I'm surrendering to him tonight. I want God's forgiveness. Raise it up so I can see it. God bless you, right over here.
"Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us that we should be called the children of God. And that is what we are," wrote John. Lord, we're holding in our very hands elements that speak of your hands being torn open and your body bruised and your blood spilled so that we may be your children, we may be forgiven.
Lord, thank you for dealing openly and honestly with us. We ask for your loving forgiveness and mercy to be extended continually. We receive tonight the forgiveness for the times that we have not been what you've called us to be, our times of doubting, times of anger, times of lust, of coveting, and so many other things.
And we take these elements that speak of the body and blood of Christ, and we behold your love for us in Jesus' name. Amen. Let's take it together. And I'm going to let you hold on to the cup. You can take it home, if you want. But you can also throw it out on the way out. But let's stand and sing one final song. And be those blessed, oh how happy, people as we celebrate. And then we leave tonight after this song. God bless you.