Guard Your Heart Against Sin

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I preached the sermon this past Sunday, “The Destructiveness of Sin and the Deliverance of Forgiveness”.  I am posting my notes here and hope it will be a warning for those of us in ministry to be especially diligent in our walk with God.

David is first introduced in the Bible when Samuel, God’s servant, was sent to find him in the household of Jesse. Saul the King displeased God because of his disobedience and God would replace him with David. David was the youngest of Jesse’s son’s and an unlikely choice. When David came to power, he rose in strength and in renown. He is described in the Bible as a man after God’s own heart. David as the King of Israel was a man of courage and the King and Psalmist of Israel. He had slain the giant Goliath, he led a valiant army and never lost a battle, and he was the most powerful man in that part of the known world.

The passage before us describes the darkest time in David’s life, after he had walked with God for many years. He is probably around 50 years old at this time and yet he sinned greatly against God.

In the latter part of January, a water dam burst at a Brazilian iron mine in the southeastern state of Mina Gerais in Brazil. The dam was constructed to hold back the tailings from mining iron ore. A report in the previous September raised concerns about the dam infrastructure, that there were weaknesses and faulty monitoring systems at the mine. As a result of the dam break, many people lost their lives.

This is similar to how sin works when we have weaknesses and faulty monitoring systems for accountability in place. The most dangerous position any of us are ever in spiritually is when we think- such a thing could never happen to me.

1 Corinthians 10:12 Therefore let anyone who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.

We are told in Romans 7:11 that sin deceives and the end result is death. Sin causes the sinner lose their way. Sin gives the false impression that everything is okay. One of the weaknesses in King David’s life to begin with, was he departed from how God said to do things to begin with before the situation we are considering today. He took on multiple wives in contradiction to what God commanded.

Deuteronomy 17 He must not acquire many wives for himself so that his heart won’t go astray. . . .so that he may fear the Lord his God, to observe all the words of his instruction.

According to what we find in 1 Samuel 25 and then 2 Samuel 3, David went against God design.

David had personal success and a sense of entitlement. David strongly held the kingdom, and was the most powerful monarch, he could have what he wanted.

David lacked accountability. Who would question him? Who would point out what he was doing was wrong?

I want us to consider this account of what happened in David’s life with humble hearts and with watchful eyes as a reminder of the destructiveness of sin and the deliverance of forgiveness.

Sin Committed

2 Samuel 11:1-5

The winter months made battle campaigns difficult because of rain and cold weather and they would resume fighting in the spring of the year. David should have been out with the troops for battle but he stayed behind. In 2 Samuel 10 Joab and the army fought against the Syrians and Ammonites and David led a decisive victory at the end of Chapter 10.

“While Joab is busy in laying siege to Rabbah, Satan is laying siege to David, and far sooner prevailed.” (Trapp)

Staying home from battle provided the opportunity for temptation and indulgence.

David got up from his bed and walked out on the roof. Hebrew houses were commonly constructed with a flat roof that served as an upstairs patio where a person could go out on. The wording of David walking on the roof suggests a restlessness. He was restless because he wasn’t where he knew he should be. He was tempted when he saw a woman bathing. She was very beautiful and he pursued the temptation. His sin was not in seeing Bathsheba, it was in choosing to go beyond that.

1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has come upon you except what is common to man. But God is faithful, he will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation he will also provide a way out so that you may be able to bear it.

He pursued the temptation by sending and making an inquiry about her. Someone said- Isn’t this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite? She was married to none other than one of David’s mighty men. He was away in battle and David began to think evidently, “I could get away with this.” He committed adultery in his mind and heart with her up on the roof before he ever followed through with it physically. He sent messengers to get her. “He took her and she came to him”- He had her brought to him and he committed sin following through on a lustful desire.

“In the expression he took her, and she came to him there is no intimation whatever that David brought Bathsheba into his palace through craft or violence, but rather that she same at his request without any hesitation, and offered no resistance to his desires. Consequently, Bathsheba is not to be regarded as free from blame.” (Keil and Delitzch)

David knew what he was doing was wrong, and he did it anyway. If he had thought this through he would have known the cost was much greater than the payoff.

Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.

We commit sin when we embrace temptation and follow our own desires rather than obeying God.

 James 1:13-15 No one undergoing a trial should say, I am being tempted by God, since God is not tempted by evil, and he himself doesn’t tempt anyone. But each person is tempted when he is drawn away and enticed by his own evil desire. Then after desire has conceived it gives birth to sin, and when sin is fully grown it gives birth to death.

Bathsheba conceived, and the plot thickened.

Sin Covered Up

2 Samuel 11:6 through the end of the chapter.

When David found out Bathsheba was pregnant, he should have repented and cut his losses. But he did what unrepentant sinners often do- he tried to hide his sin. Sin begets more sin. . .

The attempt to hide sin is foolish. Sin is never hidden from God, only attempted to be hidden. You can deceive other people, and even yourself, but you can never deceive God.

As soon as we are conscious of sin the right thing to do is not to try and hide it but to take it to the Lord in confession and repentance. David hatched a plan to bring Uriah back from the front lines so he would lay with his wife and David would be off the hook for the pregnancy. Uriah proved to be a man of integrity not wanting to enjoy the comforts of home while his men were out fighting. Even when he tried to deceive him in drinking Uriah refused.

The next morning David sent a sealed letter with Uriah back to Joab. He wanted Joab to put him to the front lines in the hottest battle where Uriah would be killed and so he did. Word came back to David of Uriah’s death. David in part said, the sword devours one as well as another. It was his way of trying to ease his conscience- oh well, these things happen.

The story of Achan in the OT is another example of trying to cover sin. Joshua 7 records the event. God delivered Jericho into the Israelites’ hands in Joshua 6. They were instructed to destroy everything in the city with the exception of Rahab and her family as well as the city’s gold, silver, bronze and iron. The metals were to go into the treasury as sacred to the Lord. They were to take nothing for themselves.

Soon after they moved on to Ai and thought it would be easy to overtake but they were soundly defeated. Joshua couldn’t understand why. God told Joshua some Israelites had sinned by taking the devoted things for themselves. The people were to consecrate themselves and the next morning the guilty one would be identified. Achan when confronted, confessed to what he had done. He was stoned, along with his family and they burned everything he had. The story is a reminder of the high price of sin and the cost of not obeying the Lord.

David took Bathsheba as his wife. The last verse of Chapter 11 tells us what God thought about the situation- v27 However, the Lord considered what David had done to be evil.

Sin is evil.

Sin Confronted

David’s state of heart and mind in the days that followed are reflected in Psalm 32:1-5 Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile. When I kept silent, my bones grew old through my groaning all day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was turned into the drought of summer. I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and You forgave the iniquity of my sin.

Intense conviction and continual misery followed David’s sin yet he still did not confess on his own. He knew the struggle of living a double life. He did not listen to his own conscience or to the Holy Spirit. So God sent someone else to confront him.

Numbers 32:23 Take note, you who have sinned against the Lord, and be sure your sin will find you out.

Proverbs 28:13 The one who conceals his sons will not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounced them will find mercy. 

The prophet Nathan came to David. 2 Samuel 12:1-4

There were two men in one city, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had large flocks and herds. The poor man had one little ewe land that he had bought. He raised her and she was close to their family. He would feed her from what little he had and she would sleep in his arms. A traveler came to the rich man and rather than the rich man taking from his vast flock, he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for his guest.

The sin Nathan described is in a sense, theft. David stole something from Uriah. He took what was not his to take.

Vv5-6

David was furious. He passed judgment that the man should die even though it was not a capital crime. “As the Lord lives.” He also would have to restore what he took. David pointed to both repentance and restitution.

People when confronted with their sin will often respond in denial, anger, rationalization, and blame.

Vv7-9

Nathan applied the story in a straightforward and simple way. “You are the man!” (Sadness) Nathan recounted all that God had done for David. God said I anointed you, I delivered you, I gave you. . .

David’s sin was at its foundation, ingratitude to God. God gave him so much and yet he chased after sin.

V9 Why then have you despised the Lord’s command by doing what I consider evil?

By despising the commandment of the Lord, David despised God Himself. 1 John 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.

Sin Confessed

V13 I have sinned against the Lord.

Recognizing what he had done, he confessed. The original Hebrew contains only two words. The words are few, but they are a good sign of a heart that has been confronted and recognizes transgression against God.

“In all this David was pre-eminently revealed as a man after God’s own heart. Other men who had been guilty of such failure might have defended their actions, might have slain the prophet. Not so with this man. He knew God, and he knew the wrong of his action, and he confessed his sin.” (Morgan)

I have sinned- not I made a mistake, an error in judgment, an indiscretion- I have sinned.

Psalm 51

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love;  according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and  cleanse me from my sin! 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, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment.

The Lord has taken away your sin, you will not die.

V14 Nathan said to David, the Lord has put away your sin and you shall not die.

God’s forgiveness is immediate when we confess. I John 1:9 David was spared the penalty for adultery which was death under the Law of Moses and his relationship with God was restored.

Nobody sins in isolation.

 Galatians 6:7-8 Don’t be deceived: God is not mocked. For whatever a person sow he will also reap, because the one who sows to the flesh will reap destruction from the flesh, but the one who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life from the Spirit of God.

Forgiveness is full and free, but consequences of our behavior often remain. In David’s case, the baby that was conceived would not live. This hard to understand and even harder to accept but when sin takes root the innocent often suffer.

David’s family would suffer treachery, violent deaths among his sons, and more. Much of it was rooted in David’s disobedience to God.

God is the God of mercy and grace but let us never forget God is also the God of justice. God laid our sins on Jesus so that in Him we would be forgiven and freed. In David’s life we learn how easy it is to drift away from God’s moral standards. Just a small compromise can lead to big problems if left unchecked.

Stay close to God through prayer and the Word.

Be where you are supposed to be, doing what you are supposed to be doing.

Live with gratitude for what God has given you not ingratitude for what He has withheld.

Stay accountable.

 When temptation comes, run from it don’t embrace it.

When you sin, confess and repent.

What you uncover before the Lord He will cover. What you cover before the Lord He will uncover.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in The Shepherd's Life