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2 Samuel 11-12: Wicked Sin, Gracious God Print E-mail
2 Samuel
Sunday, 20 August 2017

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Perhaps one your greatest fears is that all your deepest, darkest sins were exposed. What would it be like if someone hacked your Facebook account and over the next 24 hours posted nothing but your sins for everyone to see (complete with video clips and everything)? All of your wicked actions, all of your despicable thoughts, all of your anger, your lust, your pride and arrogance, posted for all of your friends to see. No sin left unseen. How would you respond to such an act? How would you try to cope with the humiliation and shame? Would you try to lie and say it was not true? Would you make excuses and try to lessen the damage? Would you change your name and head for the hills? What would it be like for your worse sins to be exposed for all to see?

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King Davidís worst sins were written down in the Bible for all to read. We have seen the great blessings that God has bestowed on him over the last few weeks: king of Judah and Israel, a palace in Jerusalem, victory over enemies, and the promise of a forever kingdom. But the great story of great King David takes a terrible turn in 2 Samuel 11. By the end of this chapter he will be an adulterer and a murderer. The shiny reputation of this man after Godís own heart will be tarnished forever. And the sins he commits will follow him for the rest of his days as King. It is a bleak story indeed. But it is not the end for David. As dark as 2 Samuel 11 is, there is light for the sinful King in 2 Samuel 12. As wicked as his actions are, they are not greater than the grace of His God. I want us to see this contrast this morning as we work through these two chapters.

The wicked deeds of David (chapter 11)

We might be tempted to jump to Davidís defense: ĎHeís just a man...He was just acting like other kings...He had a moment of weakness.í On and on we could go. But the author of 2 Samuel does not leave much room for such excuses. The story is told in such a way that the reader is left with only one conclusion: Davidís actions are horribly wicked. How does it play out?

The story begins with a normal spring afternoon. His men are off at battle against the Ammonites and David has remained behind in Jerusalem (not necessarily a wrong thing for him to do). But a leisurely stroll on the palace roof brings the Enemy right to Davidís door. Look at verses 1-4. As David is walking, Bathsheba is bathing (neither of them necessarily doing anything wrong). But oh how quickly both of their lives are changed. The verbs capture it: he saw...he sent...he took. In just a few verses David went from good King David to adulterer. He literally had a harem of women and multiple wives, but he wanted what he could not have. He wanted the forbidden. He wanted to lay with another manís wife. And as the king, he could do just that, so he did. Of course, he might be thinking: ĎNo big deal, just a moment of lust that got away with me, I can now go back to my normal life.í In fact, he probably did just that for a few weeks or more. But then the news came. Look at verse 5. His sin has found him out. He is in trouble. How will the king handle this situation now? Surely he will recognize his mistake and repent!

Next comes the attempted cover up. Look at verses 6-8. David sends for Bathshebaís husband Uriah, who was a great warrior for David, someone that the king should have respected. When the soldier arrives, David asks how the war is going (which would have been suspicious for Uriah) and then sends him to go and spend the night with his wife, even sending a present (of probably food and wine). Do you see the ugliness of this act? David is trying to manipulate the whole situation with no thought of Uriah nor Bathsheba. He is only thinking about himself, just trying to cover up his own sin. But the plan fails. Look at verse 9. When David hears this, he stoops even lower. Look at verses 10-13a. David questions Uriah for not sleeping with Bathsheba and we see the manís integrity in his answer: ĎHow can I do that while my fellow soldiers are still on the field.í But even that does not shake David. Rather, he decides to get Uriah drunk. Notice how the text words it: so that he (David) made him drunk. David is using his authority to get Uriah drunk in hopes that he will forget the war and go sleep with his wife. But even drunk, Uriah shows more restraint than David. Look at verse 13b. Uriahís good character is thwarting the Kingís cover up. Surely David will give up. Surely he will confess his sins and repent. Surely he will not take this even further.

Finally, David decides to have Uriah killed. Look at verses 14-16. We cannot call this anything other than horrible wickedness. He sends a letter with Uriah that contains Uriahís death sentence. The irony is tragic. This good soldier who did all that he could to not disqualify himself from battle is now betrayed by the very king for whom he is fighting. Joab sends him, and some other soldiers with him, to their death at the kingís command. David is responsible for the death of numerous men, all in an attempt to hide his sin. When Joabís messenger tells David what has happened, his response is sickening. Look at verses 22-25. Joab is concerned that David will be upset about the foolish loss of his men, but not David. He essentially says: ĎThese things happen in war, no reason to be upset about it. Some people live and some people die. Oh well, be encouraged!í I think the author includes these details of the story for us to see just how far David has fallen. They give us a picture of a truly wicked man who thinks that he has gotten away with adultery and murder. We cannot help but see the heinousness of Davidís actions. Look at how the chapter ends in verses 26-27. Uriah is dead, David marries Bathsheba, and it seems like the king has literally gotten away with murder. But the Lord is not pleased. David may have fooled the entire kingdom, but he has not fooled God. The Lord always sees the sins of men. And the Lord always deals with the sins of men (even if He does so in various ways). So how will the Lord respond to the sin of David? We see the answer in chapter 12.

The glorious grace of God (chapter 12)

That God does not destroy David off of the face of the earth in chapter 12 is a testament to His grace. But He goes much further than that. God responds to Davidís sin with extravagant grace. Just consider some of the ways that we see this.

God shows David grace in sending Nathan to confront him. Look at verses 1-6. Nathan uses the wisdom of God in confronting David. His approach is subtle: he tells him a story about a rich manís mistreatment of a poor man. David cannot help but be angered by the actions of the rich man so he yells out judgment and demands restitution. At that point, Nathan has the king exactly where he wants him. Look at what he does next in verse 7a. You are the man! Nathan turns the tables on David and helps him see just how wicked his dealings with Bathsheba and Uriah really are. He then delivers Godís judgments against David. Look at verses 7b-9.

God gave David everything he could ever need and would have given him even more. But David wanted the forbidden. He wanted what he couldnít have. Instead of being satisfied in all the blessings that God had given, David took Bathsheba and killed Uriah to cover it up. And notice that God lays the blame of Uriahís death squarely at Davidís feet: ĎYou have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the swordí. There is no getting around Davidís guilt in this manís death. And now come the consequences. Look at verses 10-12. These verses prepare us for the rest of 2 Samuel. These judgments will come to pass in terrible ways in Davidís life, including the loss of four sons. They are serious consequences and serious warnings to us all against taking sin lightly.

But is David forgiven? Is this the end of Davidís relationship with God? It should have been, but it is not. Why? David is forgiven because our God is a gracious God. Look at verses 13-15a. David repents of his sin and the Lord forgives him. He spares his life. But again, David will have to face consequences, one of those being the death of his son, which takes place in verses 15b-23. Look at those with me. It is a strange scene. David cries out for God to spare the son but the Lord does not. Part of Davidís consequences for his wickedness is the death of his son. When this happens, he worships God and takes comfort in the fact that he will one day go to his son, a very comforting thought for any who have lost children. This consequence is tragic and it will not be the last, as we will see in the rest of the book. 

The chapter closes with God showing more grace in Davidís life. Even though they lost one child together, the Lord does allow Bathsheba and David to have a son. Look at verses 24-25. This child is loved by the Lord and will play a significant role in the history of Israel, as well as our own redemption! Not only that, but the chapter closes with Joab having victory over the Ammonites, which brings this part of the story to a close. In light of the ugliness of Davidís sin in chapter 11, we cannot help but be amazed at Godís extravagant grace in chapter 12.

Conclusion
The story of Davidís sin with Bathsheba leaves us with an important questions that we have not yet considered: how can God show such grace to David and still be just? How can the God who is holy, holy, holy, forgive such a wicked sinner? The answer to this question will come from Davidís greater Son, who will be born in the line of Solomon (see Matthew 1). Jesus, son of David, will be God in the flesh who lives a perfect life and pays for Davidís sin at the cross. This is what Paul is explaining in Romans 3:21-26.

Consider those verses for a moment. Jesus came and died so that sinners could be justified by his grace as a gift, which is received by faith. Paul says that the cross and justification by faith demonstrated Godís righteousness because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. What former sins? How about the sin of David! God showed David extravagant grace in 2 Samuel 12 because He knew that Christ would pay for those sins at the cross. Jesus died to pay for Davidís lust. He died to pay for Davidís killing of Uriah. He died so that God would be just in justifying David. And if you turn from your sins, repent like David, and put your faith in Jesusí death and resurrection, then God will be just in justifying you from your sins. We are all born wicked sinners like David. We are all desperate for a Savior, desperate for Godís grace. And through faith in Jesus, we can all know such extravagant grace. I pray you will know it today! Amen.

~ William Marshall ~

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 04 October 2017 )

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