We have looked carefully at the pain of disobedience. Now we need to carefully move on. Sometimes, it seems we get held hostage by the pain of the past! “We often allow the pain of our past to continue to rule us in our present, and to predetermine our future. That’s not a good place to be. Some people are struggling to breathe in today because they are still choking on yesterday’s toxins. It is like they are trying to drive in the present while looking through a rearview mirror of the past.”
Heartache from sin should have a season, and when the season ends we must get up and wash ourselves off and return to life. We must push past our painful recognition of the sinful behavior into the productive life that God wants us to have! Now let’s share the joy of restoration! Get out from behind the wood shed and wipe your tears, the tears are over! There is a time for joyful restoration, and God gives us the progression from inner peace to outer joy!
Key Principle: Outer restoration begins with inner peace.
Personal Response – Inner change is where it all begins (12:20-24a)
Inner peace brought change, but what brought inner peace? It wasn’t the circumstances. The baby died. It wasn’t that outcomes of the sin were abated. Uriah was still dead, and the court that heard the voice of Nathan knew it. Bathsheba lay in her bed red eyed and sobbing. What brought inner peace?
A. Confession: (12:13). The story reflects that David agreed with God about his sin, and agreed that God alone could bridge the gap to him. David confessed, and that was all that he could do. He could not go back and make the terrible decisions that cost Uriah his wife and his life again. He could only admit with a shame filled heart, “That’s right, I am the man! I am guilty of all of this. This son died because of ME, not because of any fault of HIS!”
Remember the Word on 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). Finally, shams are over, and realities have begun.
B. Connection: (12:16). David sought God day and night for the baby, so the writer clearly has said. Though the baby died, David found himself on his knees seeking God. God may not have given him what he wanted, but God found David where He wanted to find him – back on his knees, seeking to serve and please God. That’s where he belonged that night, more than a year ago when he committed adultery. That’s where he belonged when the idea of killing Uriah came into his mind. Now David was back. He finally became tall when he fell to his knees and sought God. He finally became strong when he admitted he had no strength at all!
C. Contrition: (12:17). David couldn’t eat. He couldn’t wash. He couldn’t sleep. He couldn’t talk. He was, in a word, BROKEN! “The sacrifice God wants is a broken spirit. God, you will not reject a heart that is broken and contrite over sin.” (Psalm 51:17). David truly was repentant. The Hebrew term “contrite” (dawkaw) does not mean “feeling bad” about sin because others have found out and we look stupid. It literally means feeling crushed under the weight of guilt and shame before God for what we have done. It also holds with it the idea of certainty of change as the crushing changes what we will be.
D. Cleansing: (12:18-19). The son died and David knew the son died because of David’s sin. That is the beginning of the story. It is a story of new life. It begins with the death of an innocent son, because that is where we all began our new life. He died… FOR ME. For MY SIN!
Remember the Word on 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” (kawbas) is not the word used for simply washing your face, or rinsing a dish. It refers to the washing of clothes by stomping (by fullers), 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.” [Ps. 51:10-12].
Max Lucado wrote: Susanna Petroysan heard her daughter’s pleas, but there was nothing she could do. She and four-year-old Gayaney were trapped beneath tons of collapsed concrete and steel. Beside them in the darkness lay the body of Susanna’s sister-in-law, Karine, one of the fifty-five thousand victims of the worst earthquake in the history of Armenia. Calamity never knocks before it enters, and this time, it had torn down the door. Susanna had gone to Karine’s house to try on a dress. It was December 7, 1988, at 11:30 A.M. The quake hit at 11:41. She had just removed the dress and was clad in stockings and a slip when the fifth-floor apartment began to shake. Susanna grabbed her daughter but had taken only a few steps before the floor opened up and they tumbled in. Susanna, Gayaney, and Karine fell into the basement with the nine-story apartment house crumbling around them. “Mommy, I need a drink. Please give me something.” There was nothing for Susanna to give. She was trapped flat on her back. A concrete panel eighteen inches above her head and a crumpled water pipe above her shoulders kept her from standing. Feeling around in the darkness, she found a twenty-four-ounce jar of blackberry jam that had fallen into the basement. She gave the entire jar to her daughter to eat. It was gone by the second day. “Mommy, I’m so thirsty.” Susanna knew she would die, but she wanted her daughter to live. She found a dress, perhaps the one she had come to try on, and made a bed for Gayaney. Though it was bitter cold, she took off her stockings and wrapped them around the child to keep her warm. The two were trapped for eight days. Because of the darkness, Susanna lost track of time. Because of the cold, she lost the feeling in her fingers and toes. Because of her inability to move, she lost hope. “I was just waiting for death.” She began to hallucinate. Her thoughts wandered. A merciful sleep occasionally freed her from the horror of her entombment, but the sleep would be brief. Something always awakened her: the cold, the hunger, or most often the voice of her daughter. “Mommy, I’m thirsty.” At some point in that eternal night, Susanna had an idea. She remembered a television program about an explorer in the Arctic who was dying of thirst. His comrade slashed open his hand and gave his friend his blood. Her groping fingers, numb from the cold, found a piece of shattered glass. She sliced open her left index finger and gave it to her daughter to suck. The drops of blood weren’t enough. “Please Mommy, some more. Cut another finger.” Susanna has no idea how many times she cut herself. She only knows that if she hadn’t, Gayaney would have died. Her blood was her daughter’s only hope. Beneath the rubble of a fallen world, Jesus pierced His hands. In the wreckage of a collapsed humanity, He ripped open His side. His children were trapped, so He gave His blood. It was all He had, His friends were gone. His strength was waning. His possessions had been gambled away at His feet. Even His Father had turned His head. His blood was all He had. But His blood was all it took.
Public Restoration: Inner peace brought outer transformation (12:20-25)
A. Change (12:20a). It started with a bath. Clean on the inside, he wanted to show his cleanliness on the outside. He got up and got clean because He had done 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.
B. Closeness (12:20b). He got down and worshipped (20b). 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.
C. Confusion (12:21-23). He went in and ate (21). 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.
People are often confused about what happens when they sin: A little boy who broke the glass of a streetlight. He felt so guilty about it he confessed his crime to his dad. Finally, he asked his father, “Daddy, what should I do?” The father replied, “Do? We’re going to have to tell the authorities, and you will have to work to pay for the damage you did.” This is not exactly how the boy wanted to handle the situation. “But Dad,” he said, “I thought all I had to do was ask God to forgive me!”
On the other hand, people often don’t understand how much the sin of another affects them! A little boy was seen digging in his yard by a neighbor. The neighbor approached and inquired what the young man was doing. “I’m burying my goldfish and having a funeral for it”. ‘O, I’m sorry,’ said the neighbor who continued: “That is an awfully big hole for a goldfish, isn’t it?’ The boy patted down the last heap of earth over the now closed whole and replied, “That’s because he’s inside your cat”.
Don’t be surprised that other people, particularly those that you have hurt, or wronged, find it difficult to believe that God is ok with you now. They can’t yet. They have their own justice issues to work out. You hurt THEM, and they may be confused about the outer changes in your life. Maybe you used to get bombed with them on Saturday night and carouse. They see a change, but they don’t understand it. Confusion comes with the package, and that is why God includes it in the model here.
D. Care (12:24). 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!
E. Confidence (12:24b-25). God gave them the celebration of a new son, this time conceived in different circumstances. 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.
If you jump ahead in his life David composed 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.” (Ps 18:20-22)
Is David delusional? Has he deceived himself? No. The proof is in 1 Kings 14:8 where the Lord says in a rebuke to evil king Jeroboam, “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 extended 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)
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. I always liked that Psalm 51 shared what David went through in his heart, so I will close with his words
Ps. 51:2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity And cleanse me from my sin. 3 For … my sin is ever before me. 4 Against You, You only, I have sinned and done what is evil in Your sight… 6 Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being… Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 8 Make me to hear joy and gladness..10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.