|THE REPENTANT HEART
2 SAMUEL 12:1-14
Series: David: Heart Matters - Part Ten
Pastor Stephen Muncherian
March 6, 2011
Please turn with me to 2 Samuel 12. If you need a Bible there should be one under a chair someplace in front of you.
We are looking at David and matters of the heart. This morning we’ve come to The Repentant Heart. Repentance is turning around. Turning away from our sin - turning towards God.
In Scripture David is viral. God takes David from the obscurity of being son #8 - shepherding father Jesse’s flocks - God elevates David to His chosen - anointed - king - with the everlasting Messianic dynasty - calls him “a man after God’s own heart.”
62 chapters of the Old Testament are devoted to David. In the New Testament David gets 59 references. If David was on Facebook no one - except Jesus - would have more friends.
And yet - last Sunday
we saw David - a man after God’s own heart - go down a
path of temptation - committing a series of sins that
led to some really terrible consequences. Adultery with Bathsheba. Ordering Uriah killed. Involving Joab and others in
his sin. A whole number
of other soldiers get dead. Widows
are created. Children
without fathers. Generations
are effected. David’s own
family is going to suffer because of David’s sin.
We’re given God’s perspective on all this in chapter 11 - verse 27 - the only place in that whole episode of sin where God is mentioned. 2 Samuel 11:27 says this: But the thing David had done was evil in the sight of the Lord.
There are three things to grab on to here.
First: It was the thing David had done.
David made a willful choice to do what David did. Adultery is a choice. Murder - even indirectly - is a choice. Covering up his sin - trying to tie down loose ends - to deceive people - all that’s a choice.
All those sins may have come as a part of a series of choices going back to David taking on wives - not wife - David disobeying God and obeying his own passions. But ultimately that’s all a choice of the will.
Remember this from last Sunday: “Don’t feed the beast.” If we feed the beast of temptation with compromise - a little sin - it only demands more. Do whatever it takes - cut off whatever needs to be cut off - run from whatever needs to be run from - choose to flee now before we end up like David.
Point being - David didn’t just accidentally discover Bathsheba lying in bed next to him. “Well gosh golly where did you come from?” This is not a momentary opps. David willfully and knowingly chose to sin with Bathsheba and then David willfully and knowingly chose to lie about it.
The word here “evil” in Hebrew - “ra a” - has the idea of something breaking - shattering - of injury - of disaster. Which is what sin is. Sin is self-destructive behavior.
Like pigs stuffing themselves with slop - grateful for their good fortune - fattening themselves up for the slaughter. Sin feels so good - promises so much - satisfies our needs. But the down side is disaster. Right?
God says what David did was evil.
David himself writes in Psalm 32 - “When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer.” (Psalm 32:3,4)
In Psalm 51, he writes, “For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against You, You only, I have sinned and done what was evil in Your sight, so that You are justified when You speak and blameless when You judge.” (Psalm 51:3,4)
David isn’t sitting at home in his cedar lined palace - reclining in his barcalounger - enjoying a caramel macchiato with double shots - iced - basking in the after glow of his adultery.
He’s sleepless in Jerusalem - tossing and turning in bed. His dreams are haunted with the face of Uriah. He’s physically ill. Weight loss the hard way. Food is tasteless. He’s got memories of those meals he shared with Uriah.
He’s in misery. How can he look in the faces of those widows - those children? What kind of husband is David? What kind of father? What kind of king?
There’s no joy. He’s unstable - insecure. Deep down he knows - he knows that he’s miles from God. The intimacy of his relationship with God has been broken.
The wages of sin is… death. That’s what sin does. Slowly kills us while giving the pretense of supplying our deepest needs. Sin is self-destructive.
How many of us have had those times when we’re tying to pretend that the way we’re living is just fine. “I’m having fun. Life is good. I’ve got it together.” But we know that what’s outside is a shell covering what’s down inside - at the heart level - an emptiness - a kind of joyless futility. We’re living in guilt - hopeless - and far from where we’d desire to be with God.
That’s not easy to talk about. But we’ve all been there. Maybe you’re there now.
What David did was evil.
Third: It was evil in the sight of the Lord.
David is hoping nobody else notices his sin. Some did. Some didn’t. Point is that God noticed - big time. God notices today. Sex with someone other than the person you’re married to is just as much a willful and knowing sin today as it was in David’s day.
So is murder and lying and stealing and everything else that God labels for us as sin. Not because God is trying to box us in and keep us from life. But because God is honest with us. All that is evil and self-destructive - and robs us of life as we were created to live life.
Sometimes we think we’re getting away with stuff - in where we’re coming to here chapter 12 - about a year has gone by since that night of adultery - sometimes we think that maybe God has let us off the hook - that maybe we got away with one.
But God - our Heavenly Father - loves His children - us - far too greatly - to allow us to continue in sin - in behavior that’s self-destructive. Like David - who spent that year in agony - we desperately need the healing that God’s discipline offers us.
The Apostle Paul writes in Galatians 6:7: “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.”
I heard it put this way: “God’s wheels grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly fine.” (1)
God does not settle accounts according to our timing and in the ways we think are best. God settles accounts well - completely - justly - at the right time and in the right way - in order to restore us to life.
Okay - join me at 2 Samuel 12 - verse 1: Then the Lord sent Nathan to David.
Who sent Nathan to David? The Lord.
All of what we just talked about is wrapped up in that word “then.” God’s timing is perfect. God didn’t send Nathan the next morning after David and Bathsheba’s night of passion - or when the news came back that Uriah had been murdered - or even after the royal wedding or the birth of David’s child. God sends Nathan when David is ripe for repentance.
Then - God sent Nathan - the right person at the right time.
Who was Nathan? Nathan was a distinguished prophet - a historian - a long time confidential and trusted advisor to David. David knew Nathan well. Over the years Nathan had earned David’s respect. It was well deserved.
Nathan was a godly man. Friendship or no friendship - it took guts - huge confidence before God - for Nathan to go and stand before David - King David - and to tell David what David had been refusing to tell David for a year.
No one else went. There was gossip. Whispers behind the royal back. But nobody was honest enough or bold enough to tell David the truth. Probably Nathan was the only one David would listen to. Only Nathan could go to David.
We may question why God does things in the time He does things or in the way that He does them. We may wonder if God really is paying attention. But, God always does things at the right time in the right way. The wheel has ground to the right point. God knows that David is ready to hear what God is about to say through Nathan.
At the right time - God sent the right man - to David. Timing is… everything.
On the way to the palace Nathan has been thinking. This is a well thought out presentation. If timing is everything - delivery is crucial.
We can just see Nathan reeling David in. Putting just enough bait out there to get David listening on the edge of his barcalounger - thinking that this is something that’s going on in his Jerusalem. David - man of passion - is totally drawn in to the emotion of this story. His guard down - with passion - David sentences himself.
Verse 5: Then David’s anger burned greatly against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the Lord lives, surely the man who has done this deserves to die. He must make restitution for the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing and had no compassion.”
In God’s timing - God’s way - God’s messenger - David is prepared. David sticks his head in the noose. Nathan kicks the stool out from under him.
Verse 7: Nathan then said to David, “You are the man!”
That statement is life changing. Isn’t it? Let’s repeat it together. “You are the man!”
I imagine you could have heard the paint drying. 6 miles away - in Bethlehem - a pin drops. Nathan and David heard it. David standing there with his jaw on the ground - eyes bulging open - staring at Nathan - slowly reviewing his sins. He’d deceived himself into thinking that no one knew. But God knew. David never suspected that anyone - let alone Nathan his friend and counselor - would have confronted him. But there stands Nathan.
The truth… hurts.
Proverbs 27:6 says, “Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.” (NLT) A sincere friend can be trusted because the bruises that come from the truth - when they come from a sincere friend - the motivation is love - the desire is to correct - to restore. To help instead of harm.
A sincere friend - one who really does love us - a sincere friend speaking truth in love is the best thing for a believer hiding sin - can just melt us - bring us to where we need to be before God.
If God has called you to be His messenger - and please make sure that it is God who has called you to be His messenger - then prayerfully - speak the truth in love. God’s message. Don’t mince words. Call sin for what it is. Speak in love. Speak truth. Lead people back to God.
That’s hard. Yes? But speak the truth in love and there is relief to those who will receive it.
There stands Nathan. “David, you’re the man. You’re the one who gave in to temptation and stole someone else’s lamb - satisfied your desires with someone else’s lamb. David, you’re the man.”
Before David can get his jaw back up of the ground - Nathan goes on - verse 7: Nathan then said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the Lord God of Israel,
Notice that. Who’s message is this? God’s message. Then the Lord sent Nathan. Nathan is God’s messenger.
Verse 7: Nathan then said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the Lord God of Israel, ‘It is I who anointed you king over Israel and it is I who delivered you from the hand of Saul. I also gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your care, and I gave you the house of Israel and Judah; and if that had been too little, I would have added to you many more things like these! Why have you despised the word of the Lord by doing evil in His sight?
Who did David despise? The Lord - who provided all of what David was enjoying. The Lord that David served - David despised - literally treated as worthless.
Verse 9: Why have you despised the word of the Lord by doing evil in His sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword, have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the sons of Ammon. Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me - same word as before - despised Me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’
Verse 10 is a huge turning point in Hebrew history. God had so much more He wanted to pour out into David’s life - in him and through him. But - because of his sin - David never experienced all that. Instead - if we’re looking down the line of history - what did happen to David’s family was a descent into an ongoing nightmare of tragedy - rape - revenge - rebellion - revolution - rejection - remorse. As went the royal family so went the nation. Ongoing tragedy.
Verse 11: Thus says the Lord, ‘Behold, I will raise up evil against you from your own household; I will even take your wives before your eyes and give them to your companion, and he will lie with your wives in broad daylight. Indeed you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, and under the sun.’”
If there was silence before - now its deafening. There’s David. Jaw open. Maybe David dropping to his knees. David looking into Nathan’s eyes. Listening to the voice of God through Nathan.
Verse 13: Then David said to Nathan - the only thing that’s appropriate to say - “I have sinned against the Lord.”
Let’s repeat that together, “I have sinned against the Lord.”
Grab the honesty in that. There’s no, “Are you sure you got the right king? Uriah, I never heard of the guy.”
At the right time - meaning David - tormented - struggling to deal with the situation he’s gotten himself into - meaning David is ready to hear the message that God sends through Nathan - meaning that David knows this message is coming from his God. His sin is against God. God whom he despised. His only way out is honesty before God - to get right with God - to put his trust completely in God. That honest - open - without hesitation - admission of guilt - is the beginning point of restoration.
Verse 13: And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has taken away your sin; you shall not die. - God’s grace and mercy applied.
Verse 14: However, because by this deed you have given occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also that is born to you shall surely die.”
God is always gracious and merciful. Yet there are always consequences for our sin.
The first part of verse 15 tells us that after that Nathan went home. Mission complete. End of confrontation. And David is left alone.
Years ago I had an ingrown toe nail that had become infected. Throbbing with pus - agony. I ended up at the doctor - who’s solution was to cut back part of the nail - draining the pus and exposing the wound.
Which meant lying down on this gurney while he injected some pain killer in the area he was going to work on. Which meant he took a needle - and I mean a long and very pointy needle - and stuck that needle right into the center of that throbbing pussy part of my toe. I am not ashamed to say that I levitated about 3 feet off the gurney when he did that.
Point being that through the pain comes healing. Healing the infection. Relief.
Its not hard to imagine David - alone after Nathan left - having gone through what was certainly painful - feeling a huge relief. The secret is out and I know that God forgives me. Praise God that He is gracious and merciful even when we go through the consequences of our sin.
There are Four Truths About Repentance that it would be good for us to hang on to this morning. Please turn with me to Psalm 51. When David was alone - after Nathan left - David wrote Psalm 51. These are the words that express the repentant heart of David - and they are hugely helpful for us.
Psalm 51 - verse 1: Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; according to the greatness of Your compassion 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, I have sinned and done what is evil in Your sight, so that You are justified when You speak and blameless when You judge. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me. Behold You desire truth in the innermost being, and in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom.
First truth about repentance - Repentance Must Be Sincere. Let’s say that together. “Repentance must be sincere.” Repentance must be unguarded - open - honest.
False repentance comes from the judgments and suggestions of the people around us. True repentance - sincere repentance - comes when we realize that we’ve willfully and knowingly chosen to disobey God.
Its like the Check Engine light comes on in our car. Anyone ever have that happen? We see that light there glowing and saying that something needs attending to. So we take out a hammer and smash the light and keep on driving. Sooner or later something pretty serious is going to happen to the car. We can only ignore the real problem so long. Right? The way to handle the Check Engine light is to check the engine.
So many people - Christians - carry around these little hammers and are taking swings at their Check Engine lights rather than dealing with the deeper issues of the heart that need working on.
I’ve had numerous husbands come and talk to me about their wives. “My wife left me.” And they’ll go through this long list of things that they’ve done “to change their lives around.” So could I please talk to their wives and convince them that they’ve really changed and that their wife should take them back. Like somehow if they can just go down this list it will prove that everything is okay now.
I have news for us
guys. What women are
really looking for is not did you complete some task
list but have you allowed God to change your heart. Any women who takes back her
husband without him allowing God to change his heart
first is just asking for trouble.
Same with husbands taking back wives.
Insincere repentance is based on getting caught - getting outed - what other people think of us - gaining favor - skipping unpleasantries - getting things back to normal. Smash the stupid light and let’s keep driving.
True repentance comes when we realize that we’ve chosen to sin against God. That any true change in our lives needs to begin with God. We need to begin with our hearts unguarded - open - honest before God. “I have sinned against the Lord. What I did was evil in Your sight. Your evaluation is just.” “I am the man.”
Second Repentance Must Be Complete. Let’s say that together. “Repentance must be complete.”
Psalm 51 - verse 7: Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness, let the bones which You have broken rejoice. Hide Your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquities. 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 and sustain me with a willing spirit.
Repentance is turning around and not going back. Turning from the direction we were heading to totally pursuing the direction God has for s to pursue. Either we’re turned or we’re not turned. Its that simple. Snow that isn’t white is dirty snow. Either our lives are clean or they’re dirty.
Create in me a clean heart is an appeal to God to remove anything that’s unclean. When we ask God to purify us - to clean us - to enter in with His Spirit and restore us - do we really mean it? Whatever it takes? Whatever He desires to cut out of our lives?
If repentance is to be complete it means we’ve got to make a complete break. To let go of what needs letting go of. Not going where we used to go. Not watching what we used to watch. Not listening to what we used to listen to. Not hanging around the crowd we used to hang around with. Turning from what needs turning from.
Third - Repentance Must Be Humble. Let’s say that together. “Repentance must be humble.”
Psalm 51 - verse 16: For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; You are not pleased with burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.
Broken and contrite people are grateful just to be alive. God’s grace is unearned. God’s mercy is undeserved. Forgiveness in place of eternal punishment is impossible to wrap our minds around. Friendship with God who is holy instead of wrath is unimaginable.
Who are we that God should treat us with such favor? Who are we to bargain with God to mitigate our punishment or tell Him just how much of our lives He can have? To demand and have expectations of how He should treat us?
Fourth - Repentance Must Be Believed. Let’s say that together. “Repentance must be believed.”
This truth is all over Psalm 51 - in David’s response to God.
1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to… forgive us our sins and to… cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Nathan tells David, “The Lord has taken away your sin. But, there will be consequences.”
Sometimes we look at the consequences and think that God really hasn’t forgiven us. Like things are still hopeless. Like we’re still trapped in where out sin has led us. We’re tempted to think that what other people say about us or what we think about ourselves is more important than what God says about us.
When we repent God promises forgiveness and restoration through the blood of Jesus. There may be some pretty severe consequences. But, God still forgives us. God will do what He says He will do when we trust Him that He’ll do it.
Are we together on this? Repentance is turning from sin to God - from the heart - totally opened before God - humbly receiving His grace and mercy and forgiveness - and whatever other judgment He lovingly desires to apply to our lives. Repentance is accepting God’s judgment of our lives and totally trusting God with our lives.
1. Charles Swindoll, David: A Man of Passion and Destiny
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE ®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by the Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.