The Crime Scene Investigators came into the room. The woman was missing, and no one heard from her. Foul play was suspected…but there appeared to be no evidence. In the broad daylight, and to the naked eye she had simply vanished. Ah, but these were not easily duped investigators! They closed every bling, and shut off every light. In the darkness, they switched on very bright black lights. What was hidden in the light could now clearly be seen. Blood stains appeared on the floor. Drag marks and footprints in blood were now exposed. The black light didn’t create the stain, it only showed a stain that couldn’t be seen in normal light. So it is with our sin…
Sin has many consequences. Distance from God and those around us grows. Yet, God is not willing to let us wander, and offers us a revealing look at His ability to see what we cannot. What’s more, He shows how He is ready to restore us and remove the turmoil our disobedience creates. He is our peace maker, but only when we give up our pride and come near to him!
Key Principle: When you tired of running, surrender is always an option!
Personal Revelation: God on a mission! (12:1-9)
(12:1 “Then”): This story begins with God acting to reach someone in the delusion that comes when our sin remains covered. There is distance from God (11:27b), but suspiciously, there is not the expected discomfort we have when our friend is mad at us. Out of sight, out of mind! We think no one knows, or at least most don’t, and we carry on. We try to look concerned. Perhaps we keep coming to church, and even, on occasion, get a tear in our eye at the prick of our heart. Maybe we notice that our worship isn’t the same, but we let it slide. Other priorities creep in.
(12:1b “The Lord sent”): There it is. The Lord initiates an opportunity for conviction. It isn’t something we have in mind. HE isn’t someone we have in mind. We have forgotten to care. His standards are less important than our happiness. We fill the hole… but God is not content to let it go. He wants US, and to get us, He will have to wound us with the truth: You cannot live for yourself and Him at the same time! Now comes the call of the prophet.
(12:1b “Nathan”): His name means gift. Isn’t that fitting. The voice of conviction comes as a gift from God. Mature ones, may I say it? Never kick against the pricking of your heart that comes from deep conviction over sin! Don’t let your heart grow calloused!
(12:1b “There were two men, one rich and one poor”): Look at that. The problem was David saw the benefits of what he did, but not the unjust pain he caused another. He felt strangely strong and entitled, when he should have felt saddened for Uriah and his household. He was like a rich man that could not feel the pain of the poor man nearby.
God showed him his fault, but used a story of someone else. We can see faults so much more easily when they are in another! (12:1b-6). Jesus said it:
Matthew 7:1 Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
(12:2-3 “the poor man had but one ewe lamb”): Note the tenderness in the image. The family pet, something we can all feel. This was a cherished and cared for part of the family. It would lie on his belly and chest and be rubbed by a loving master.
(12:4 “he was unwilling to take from his own”): The man wanted to be honorable and hospitable, but at no cost to himself. He didn’t want to take from what was his! He took something from the poor man that was irreplaceable and crushing. He killed something that was close to the man’s heart. He robbed him of his rights, and all to keep him from inconvenience.
(12:5 “David’s anger burned”): Here it is! This is the beginning of the process of conviction. You see, convincing comes before conviction. We have to see our sin from God’s perspective before we feel the need to change! We have to know we are lost in our problem before we will reach for the rescue rope.
(12:6 “had no compassion”): Sin in its essence is selfishness. The first sin was to protect and promote self. Every other sin stems from the same root. We don’t care about someone else when we sin, we care about us. Nathan’s story brought David from anger to the much needed disappointment, sense of fairness and the violation of justice. All this was necessary to get David to see the sin from God’s point of view.
(12:7-8 “You are the man”)” Now the big bombshell… David, YOU are the compassionless rogue of my story. Look where Nathan goes. He takes out God’s list:
- I anointed you King.
- I delivered you from Saul’s attacks.
- I gave you the palace, the treaty marriages, the prestige.
- I gave you the land and brought the tribes to kneel before you.
- If that wasn’t enough, I would have given you yet MORE blessing!
(12:9 “Why?”): Listen to pain of one who has been cheated on. Feel the heart of a God that longs for you to know that He wants to pour out blessings, but has been cheated out of becoming the Father He truly wanted to be! Feel the abandonment of the child that watched a parent walk out the door to start a new family somewhere else. Why did you do this thing?
Promised Results: There are Always Consequences (12:10-19)
Friend, there are always consequences for pride and self reliance. God wants us to need Him because it is best for US. Anything else is a cheap second from what He knows will work!
Look at the six consequences mentioned:
- Sword (12:10): Because you irreversibly brought into your life a part of this sin that will not go away, I will retain a reminder of the sin in the troubles that you will experience. Note that it was because of the arrogance of marrying Bathsheba and bringing a respectable and honorable whitewash to the stench of sin beneath that God was so stern. It wasn’t the sexual sin that was the biggest problem, it was the sheer arrogance that we see played out in the deluded decision making. God is specific, it was for the reason of the marriage that He would penalize David’s prized peace. James says that wars and fighting in us come from unleashed lust that tears out of us and crushes those around us in James 4.
- Schemes (12:11a): Corruption of David’s children was a natural result of David’s pride and his attempt to hide his sin from everyone. Perhaps David didn’t know that it would be his sons, but he knew the conspiracies would begin because he was no longer able to be trusted. When you sin before others, you raise a cloud of doubt and suspicion over yourself that you cannot clear quickly. People will not trust again easily, and you have only yourself to blame.
- Sexual violation (12:11b-12): As David took another man’s wife secretly, so would his wives be violated in broad daylight. Our sin has consequences for us, and for those around us. His ability to protect those he was closest to was undermined. From that day forward, you have to wonder if THEY could trust David the same way. They knew the day would come when they would be uncovered and unprotected. They awaited the day of their own violation from that day forward! The things that occurred in the palace after this would probably make Jerry Springer blush.
- Salvation (12:13): David cried out’ “I have sinned”. His heart broke, his face flushed, his eyes welled with tears as he heard the words of the Lord. He stood naked and broken before the Lord. The room was quiet, no one dared move! Nathan answered, “The Lord heard you… that is what He was waiting for! You will not die. He will stay by you, and He will not let this act define everything about you.”
- Scorn (12:14a): Respect will be lost. People will speak of your fidelity with sarcasm. You will feel like you have broken trust with the whole world. You will feel them looking, and it will hurt.
- Sorrow (12:14b-19): I mean this in the deepest sense. David felt the depth of pain at that moment, but his eyes were going to swell with redness as he lay on the floor sobbing in a few short months. The Lord even took the time to reflect the whole story. The pain of David was a pain that can only be known by those who have had, and lost a child. It is immense, overwhelming, horrifying pain. His bed was not slept in, his clothes were not clean, his body was not cleansed. His heart, his life, his joy were ebbing away as the baby lay slipping away from him.
On a hot summer day in south Florida, a little boy decided to go for a swim in the old swimming hole behind his house. In a hurry to dive into the cool water, he ran out the back door, leaving behind shoes, socks, and shirt as he went. He flew into the water, not realizing that as he swam toward the middle of the lake, an alligator was swimming toward the shore.
His father working in the yard saw the two as they got closer and closer together. In utter fear, he ran toward the water, yelling to his son as loudly as he could.
Hearing his voice, the little boy became alarmed and made a U-turn to swim to his father. It was too late. Just as he reached his father, the alligator reached him. From the dock, the father grabbed his little boy by the arms just as the alligator snatched his legs. That began an incredible tug-of-war between the two. The alligator was much stronger than the father, but the father was much too passionate to let go. A farmer happened to drive by, heard his screams, raced from his truck, took aim and shot the alligator.
Remarkably, after weeks and weeks in the hospital, the little boy survived.
His legs were extremely scarred by the vicious attack of the animal. And, on his arms, were deep scratches where his father’s fingernails dug into his flesh in his effort to hang on to the son he loved. The newspaper reporter who interviewed the boy after the trauma, asked if he would show him his scars. The boy lifted his pant legs. And then, with obvious pride, he said to the reporter, “But look at my arms. I have great scars on my arms, too. I have them because my Dad wouldn’t let go.”
Private Response (12:20-24a)
He got up and got clean (20): He did what he could to ask the Lord to keep his child alive. When the Lord said no, he knew it was time to set thing right with himself and with his household.
He got down and worshipped (20). David needed to kneel before the Lord that created him. This is the opposite of pride. This was an opportunity for David to become strong once more. The crushing blows of death can only be lifted by the author of life. The wearing of time can only be reversed by the God of eternity.
He went in and ate (20-23). Everyone around him was puzzled. They thought mourning should BEGIN with the child’s death. David saw it differently. David knew what was coming, though he hoped for a different outcome. He readied himself for the job ahead.
He knelt down to his wife’s bed, and comforted her (24a). How very painful! She lost her husband, she lost the baby, and she lay there empty inside. Yet it would not remain that way!
Powerful Restoration (12:24b-25)
God gave them a new son. God communicated His pleasure over the son, by the same mouth that stood in condemnation of David. Jedidiah “Much loved of God” was God’s name for him. Perhaps from birth God marked his life with favor.
What a great end! You see dear ones, we can blow it. We can walk away from God. We can live in arrogance for a time, and perhaps that is exactly what has happened to you. You came in here today with sin in your heart. You weren’t sure that you’d hear this today. In fact, you really didn’t WANT to hear this today. You wanted life to go on without God noticing what happened. You wanted to let the sleeping dog lie. The problem is, Nathan’s words are ringing in your ears this morning.
YOU ARE THAT MAN! YOU ARE THAT WOMAN! You are guilty, and you know it. The problem is, you have to respond to the conviction. You have to break. You have only two choices. You can break or harden… but hardening will do untold more damage in your life.
It is time to get it right, and you know it. Remember, you can leave today with the weight gone, or you can hide and carry it out the door. Psalm 51, the song David wrote tells us what he sang to the Lord in the quietness:
- Confession: “For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight.” (Ps. 51: 3-4a). Solomon said, “If you hide your sins, you will not succeed. If you confess and reject them, you will receive mercy.” (Prov.28:13). “For him who confesses, shams are over, and realities have begun.”
- Contrition: “The sacrifice God wants is a broken spirit. God, you will not reject a heart that is broken and sorry for sin.” (Psalm 51:17). David truly was repentant. To be “contrite” does not mean “feeling bad” about sin, but feeling crushed under the weight of guilt for what we have done. It means a genuine disgust of our as well as a determination to do differently.
- Cleansing: “Take away my sin, and I will be clean. Wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.” (Ps. 51:7). The Hebrew word for “wash” is not the word used for simply washing your face, or rinsing a dish. It refers to the washing of clothes by beating and pounding them against a rock or a scrub board. David is praying for a thorough cleansing from sin and from the dullness that it brings. “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me, Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation.” [vs.10-12].
- Confidence: If you jump ahead to 2 Samuel 22, David has composed a Psalm (18) to commemorate the power and works of God throughout his life and administration. “(The Lord) delivered me because He delighted in me. The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands He has recompensed me. For I have kept the ways of the Lord, and have not wickedly departed from my God.” (vs.20-22). Is David delusional? Has he deceived himself? No. The proof is in 1 Kings 14:8 where in His rebuke to the evil king Jeroboam, the Lord says, “You are not like my servant David, who always obeyed My commands and followed me with all his heart. He did only what I said was right.” You see, the truly amazing testimony of David’s life is that after his great sin, he repented. And because of his deep repentance without making excuse, God extends grace and forgiveness. The most beautiful part of this story is that what God did David He’s willing to do for any of us. We get weighed down with guilt long after God has forgiven us. We need to follow His pathway to forgiveness and then trust His promise to cleanse us. “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:12)