|THE FORGIVEN HEART
2 SAMUEL 12:13-25
Series: David: Heart Matters - Part Eleven
Pastor Stephen Muncherian
March 13, 2011
Please turn with me to 2 Samuel 12. If you need a Bible there should be one under a chair in front of you someplace. This morning is our last look at David and Heart Matters.
God calls David “a man after His own heart.” We’ve been exploring what that means. What does it mean to be a man or women after God’s own heart?
What we’ve been seeing is that - when God looked at David - what God saw was a heart that was beating in rhythm with His own. What motivated David in what he did or thought or felt was God. David desiring to please God. God saw in David the heart of a servant. David’s heart was about glorifying God. God saw a surrendered heart. God had complete access to every part of David’s life. David was about God - not David.
We’ve seen that being a man or woman after God’s own heart doesn’t mean perfection. Can we praise God for that? When God looks at your heart what does He see? That’s brutal to think about it. Isn’t it?
Praise God. Having a heart after God’s own heart doesn’t mean having a perfect heart. God is looking for hearts that are open to Him - that will allow Him to take the raw material there - with all our hang ups and failures - that will allow Him to work in us and transform us.
What we’ve seen in David’s life is that God takes nobodies - like a shepherd - or a you or a me - and turns them into somebodies. Because God sees past what everyone else is looking at - including maybe even what we look at. God who’s in it for the long haul - patiently works at transforming that raw material of the heart into men and women of God - from the heart.
This morning we are coming to the forgiven heart. We’d like to begin at 2 Samuel 12 - verse 13.
Two Sunday’s ago we looked at David knowingly and willingly choosing to go down a path of temptation leading to adultery with Bathsheba. Last Sunday we saw Nathan confront David with David’s sin. “You are the man.” Remember that?
“David, you’re the one who gave in to temptation and stole someone else’s lamb - meaning Uriah’s wife Bathsheba - satisfied your desires with someone else’s lamb. David, you’re the man.”
Then 2 Samuel 12 - verse 13: Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.”
David - tormented - struggling to deal with the situation he’s gotten himself into - when he’s confronted by this message from God through Nathan - David comes clean. “My sin is against God.” David turns to God - puts his trust completely in God. That honest - open - without hesitation - admission of guilt - is the beginning point of restoration.
Nathan goes on - 2 Samuel 12 - verse 13: And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has taken away your sin; you shall not die.
Do you see God’s grace there? In Old Testament law. What happens to adulterers? The get dead. Stoned. David coming clean means he’s opening himself up to getting dead at the bottom end of a rock pile. God - in His graciousness - forgives David - God doesn’t kill David - spares David from death.
Verse 14 - Nathan goes on - However - even though God is gracious to you - forgives you and you’re not gonna die over this one - 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.”
In other words - David, there are going to be consequences. And there were. The death of this child - the product of you and Bathsheba and your sin - this child’s death is just the first in a series of consequences.
David repents but Uriah is still dead. Widows are still widows. Children still are without fathers.
Not too far down the line Amnon - one of David’s sons - gives into his lustful temptations. Sound kinda familiar? Like father like son. Amnon rapes his half sister Tamar. Tamar’s full brother Absalom and Amnon spend two bitter hateful acrimonious years hating each other - until finally - Absalom ends up murdering his half brother Amnon.
Then Absalom - David’s son - leads a rebellion against his father. Gets himself proclaimed king while kicking David out of Jerusalem. Then Absalom commits adultery with his father’s concubines. Sound familiar? Like father like.. son. Commits adultery with his father’s concubines on the roof of the palace. Notice the location - the roof patio - and that it’s a sexual sin. Purposefully does this in a location where all of Jerusalem is aware of how he’s shaming his father. Message received. And then Joab - David’s general - murders Absalom.
2 Samuel 18:33 records David’s heart as his son is murdered: “The king was deeply moved and went up to the chamber over the gate and wept. And thus he said as he walked, “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you. O Absalom, my son, my son.”
Can you hear the broken heart of a father? David beaten down. Realizing the consequences his sin have had on his family. There are consequences for our sin.
we move on to verse 15 - we need to make sure that
we’re understanding that relationship of grace -
forgiveness - and consequences.
Paul writes in Galatians 6:7: Do not be misled - you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant.
Which happens all the time around here. Right? Spring. Things get planted. When we plant tomatoes we expect to harvest... tomatoes. Plant corn and we expect to harvest... corn.
Paul goes on: Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature...
If we plant according to the flesh - if we plant sin - we harvest what’s decaying - dying - if not already dead. Sin is self-destructive. The wages of sin is… death.
Paul goes on: But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. (Galatians 6:7,8 NLT)
The flip side of sowing death is sowing life. If we live pleasing God - obeying God - we harvest - we receive eternal life - life the way God desires for us to live it - abundant life now and forever with God.
Which is a good thing. Yes? Better to plant what brings life. What’s weird is that most of us seem comfortable planting what brings death.
Not too many years ago we were coming back from the coast. It was early evening. I was driving - “slightly” over the speed limit. When I noticed a pretty red light coming up behind me. Any of you ever have that experience?
Why is it that when we see that little red light we start praying for grace - undeserved forgiveness - even though we know we’ve been breaking the law - living in sin?
1 John 1:9 says what? Say it with me: If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Great truth. Great promise. A great struggle for us.
There isn’t anyone in this room who can honestly tell us that they don’t enjoy sinning. Sin has its excitement. Its fun. It satisfies. It stimulates us. But how often - while we’re experiencing the pleasures of sin do we ever stop to think about the consequences of our actions? Way too often we trust God’s promise for His grace - His undeserved forgiveness - that God will clean us up and make everything better - after we’ve enjoyed ourselves wallowing around in the muck of sin.
we’re conditioned to think that God will forgive us so
that all this really isn’t all that horrible. Sinful.
Yes. Horrible. Probably not.
Christians aren’t perfect.
Just forgiven. Can
be a huge copout A
huge mocking of God’s justice.
Paul writes in Romans 6: Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires. Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead - of sowing death - instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God. (Romans 6:12,13 NLT)
In other words - if we slow down and drive the speed limit - obey the law - we’re going to get a whole lot less tickets. A totally different side of justice.
When we purpose to turn from sin - cutting ourselves off from what drags us into the muck of sin - and instead purpose to daily yield ourselves to the Spirit - to God - presenting ourselves to God with hearts open and trusting Him - living expecting God to empower us to live righteously - we sow life. The consequence is life the way God desires for us to live life - now and forever.
Maybe what would make us less comfortable with our sin - planting death - maybe when we talk about grace and God’s forgiveness we need to talk more about God’s justice and the consequences of our actions - bad or good - deathly or godly.
like me - you’ve seen people make pretty major course
corrections in their lives - letting go of sin -
turning towards God - and as they’re trying to live
God’s way they’re getting hammered.
Maybe you’re there this morning.
I’ve heard them ask, “Why is it that now when I’m trying to live God’s way, when now that I’m trying to obey God, it seems like for every step I take forward I get thrown two steps back? Why is this so hard?”
If for years the only weight lifting we’ve done is to lift our fork from our plate to our mouth - even though exercise is the right thing to do - when we start doing real exercise all those years of flabby living are going to fight back.
There are consequences for years of flabby living. But there is a flip side. Amen. Exercise pays off. Righteousness pays off. Sowing by the Spirit Sowing life pays off.
Grace is God not killing us. Grace is God forgiving us. Grace - however - does not mean that sin’s consequences will be removed. Grace is God giving us what we need to move forward through life - even moving forward through the consequences of our sin. God’s grace enables us - by the Spirit - to sow life in the midst of death.
Hear this: The consequences for our actions are tools that God uses to transform our hearts towards His heart - to turn our lives towards Him - to make of us the Godly men and women that we were created to be.
We cannot mock the justice of God. Nor should we. There is a crucial seriousness to our actions - our sin - our obedience. Which is why - the verses we’re coming to this morning are so crucial for us.
David is forgiven - a recipient of God’s grace. But he’s got a whole host of very hard consequences to go through. Consequences that can be used to move David’s heart closer to God’s. To shape him as a Godly man.
Just as we face consequences every day of our lives. Consequences that in the way we go through them - our hearts can be moved closer to God’s - we can experience more of the life we were created to live - now and forever.
Verses 15 to 25 are four examples to us of: How to grow life in the midst of sin’s consequences. Let’s say that together. “How to grow life in the midst of sin’s consequences.”
Number one: Pray. Let’s say that together. “Pray.”
Verse 15: So Nathan went to his house. Then the Lord struck the child that Uriah’s widow bore to David, so that he was very sick. David therefore inquired of God for the child; and David fasted and went and lay all night on the ground. The elders of his household stood beside him in order to raise him up from the ground, but he was unwilling and would not eat food with them.
What does it mean that David inquired of God?
“To inquire” translates the Hebrew word “bawkash.” It has the idea of searching - striving - seeking - chasing after. David falls on the ground before God - lays stretched out on the ground - all night. For seven days. He fasts. He weeps. He wants nothing to do with anyone. With all that he is David - forgiven and aware of the consequence of his sin - David seeks after God - pleading with God for the life of his child.
The elders come and find David laid out - weeping - on the floor. They try to lift him up. “Come on David. Get up and let’s go get something to eat.” David’s response? “No, leave me alone.”
There are times when we must be alone with God. The issues are too deep. Too personal. Too painful. There is a crucial value to our lives - way too often neglected - an essential necessity for us to come before God alone in prayer and inquire of Him.
Way too often when we sin and we seek God’s grace we offer these little token prayers of repentance and asking God for forgiveness. “Well God I blew it again. Please forgive me. Thank you for your grace.” And then we go right on speeding down the highway until the next time we blow it. “Well God looks like I blew it again.”
Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” (Matthew 5:3) He’s talking about realizing just how empty and desperate we are for God to rescue us.
Spiritual poverty is like the Prodigal Son - who returns home - having wasted his inheritance - having done everything possible to grieve his father and earn his scorn - who returns destitute and begging for the smallest kindness to be shown to Him.
Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn.” (Matthew 5:4).
Jesus enters into Jerusalem on what we celebrate as Palm Sunday. At some point - in the midst of all the confusion - Jesus comes to a place where He can see the whole city laid out in front of Him. Luke writes, “When Jesus saw the city He wept over it.” He mourned. (Luke 19:41)
In one instant of time Jesus is confronted with the sin of Jerusalem. He sees all the sins the people have committed - the spiritual poverty of the people - their coming judgment because of sin - His crucifixion and carrying of their sin - and ours - and Jesus mourns over the city.
That’s what Jesus means - feeling the depth of our own spiritual bankruptcy - mourning the cost and depth of our sin. Feeling our spiritual poverty and the emptiness of those we live with - those around us - who like us are crying out - in the same ways that we cry out. All of us desperately needing to know God’s comfort and healing - His blessing.
Who are we before God? Why should He be gracious to us? How desperately we need Him to rescue us.
Isn’t that a different attitude in prayer than we generally come to God with? Imagine. David prayed. Fasted. Seven days alone with God.
Second - how to grow life in the midst of sin’s consequences - Get Real. Let’s say that together. “Get real.”
Verse 18: Then it happened on the seventh day that the child died. And the servants of David were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they said, “Behold, while the child was still alive, we spoke to him and he did not listen to our voice. How then can we tell him that the child is dead, since he might do himself harm!”
The servants are looking at David - laying out on the floor for seven days - praying. They’re probably not understanding David’s soul-searching and laying his heart out to God. So they’re afraid - for David. “He’s really taking this bad. Even for David this is kind of weird.”
We can see them off in the corner whispering to themselves. “What do we do? If we tell him the child’s dead it’ll send him over the edge. Maybe we should hide the cutlery before we tell him.”
Verse 19: But when David saw that his servants were whispering together, David perceived that the child was dead; so David said to his servants, “Is the child dead?” And they said, “He is dead.” So David rose from the ground, washed, anointed himself, and changed his clothes; and he came into the house of the Lord and worshiped. Then he came to his own house, and when he requested, they set food before him and he ate.
Those words, “He’s dead” are like a switch being thrown in David’s mind. He gets up. Washes. Sprays on some foo foo juice. Changes his clothes. And does what? Worships.
“God I confessed my sin. I agonized over my sins. Did the prayer thing. Look at how repentant I am. I am one righteous dude. How could you do this to me?” There’s none of that here. No bitterness. No claiming of injustice. What’s here is a simple reality check acknowledging the sovereign God who is just in His dealings with man.
Remember Job? Lost everything. Job’s response? Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped. He said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:20,21)
This may be a tough reality to hold onto in the midst of consequences. But a contrite heart - a humble heart - makes no demands. A heart that is really broken before God trusts in the sovereign justice of God. “He is God and I am not. Regardless of whatever comes I will trust Him with my life.”
Third - how to grow life in the midst of sin’s consequences - Claim Scripture. Let’s say that together. “Claim Scripture.”
Verse 21: Then his servants said to him, “What is this thing that you have done? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept; but when the child died, you arose and ate food.” He said, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, ‘Who knows, the Lord may be gracious to me, that the child may live.’ But now he has died; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.”
Have you ever been to a funeral and someone has said, “I can feel Great Uncle Ferdinand looking on down on us now.” Have you heard that? Use your own relative’s name. Okay? Sometimes even a Christian will say something like, “I hear Great Aunt Wilhelmina talking to me. I feel her presence with me.”
Maybe that’s their way of trying to process the death of a loved one. But that’s weird. Death is permanent. Wishful thinking will not get our loved ones back or transform the experience of death into something we think it should be.
When we’re going through really tough stuff - instead of letting our emotions lead us all over the place - leading us into all kinds of foolish thinking - what we need is the solid truth of God’s word.
The servants question is what? “Why aren’t you fasting now? You should be mourning. You’re not making sense.”
David’s answer? “Can I bring him back? I’m going to where he is. Not him coming back to me.”
David’s response is completely realistic - totally Biblical - great theology - straight out of the solid wisdom of God’s word.
There’s a promise here straight out of God’s word. If you’ve lost an infant, this verse says you can’t bring him or her back. But you will see that child in heaven. For David, that promise doesn’t take away the consequence. But can you imagine what a huge comfort - a strength - that would’ve been for him?
That’s where we need to be when we’re moving forward through the consequences of sin. Relying on the counsel of God’s word. There’s a huge stability for us in God’s word. Tremendous encouragement. Reliable instruction.
Fourth - how to grow life in the midst of sin’s consequences - Don’t Give Up. Let’s say that together. “Don’t give up.”
Our tendency - when we’re getting hammered while we’re trying to do things God’s way - our tendency is to slip back into old patterns of coping and handling our lives trusting ourselves.
Look at verse 24: Then David comforted his wife Bathsheba, and went in to her and lay with her; and she gave birth to a son, and he named him Solomon.
Let’s not forget that Bathsheba was hurting too. They grieved. They wept. And then they went on living - moving forward through life. Picking up the pieces. Getting back on target. Going to work. Hanging with friends. Going to school. By God’s grace doing the stuff of life.
Verse 25: Now the Lord loved him and sent word through Nathan the prophet, and he named him Jedidiah for the Lord’s sake.
David names their son Solomon - which means “Peace” or “Peaceable.” A very hopeful name seeing as where David and Bathsheba have been - and what’s coming with Absalom and Amnon and Tamar.
God - however - sends word through Nathan the prophet - that God has named the child Jedidiah. Jedidiah means, “beloved of the Lord.” The name - coming from God - is a huge reassurance - a powerful reminder to David that - in spite of everything that’s happened - in spite of all that’s about to take place - in the midst of all the consequences - God still loves David. God is still with David - even in the midst of those consequences.
We receive God’s grace - His undeserved forgiveness. Even though we live in the consequences of sin - hang on to this - you are beloved of the Lord. God’s love for us - in the midst of sin’s consequences - God’s love for us is poured out through Jesus - Who took on human flesh - Who hung on the cross - Who took on our sin and hung there in our place in the midst of the crud of where we live our lives.
Remember Paul’s words? What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? (Romans 8:31,32)
What you may be going through may be humbling. It may be lonely. It maybe painful - almost too painful to endure. Your heart may be breaking.
Pray. Get Real. Claim Scripture. Don’t Give Up. You are beloved of God. He is for you. He will freely give to you everything you need to keep going. Keep trusting Him.
As a general reference for this sermon/series I have been using the book by Charles Swindoll, David: A Man of Passion and Destiny - I highly recommend this book as a tremendous study on the life of David.
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.