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The Story, Week 12: “The Trials of a King”

April 2, 2017

The Story, Week 12: “The Trials of a King”

2 Samuel 11:1-17

 

Children’s Sermon:  Do you ever make mistakes?  Want to share?  I do.  Sometimes I say cross words to people I love.  Sometimes I drive too fast.  Sometimes I refuse to listen to God. 

How do you feel after you make a mistake?  Sometimes, if we get away with it, we might feel sneaky and proud! But do you think God doesn’t know when we make those mistakes?  What do you think God wants us to do when we make a mistake?  Should we say we’re sorry? To who?

God wants us to come to him and be sorry in our hearts when we tell him what we have done.  Then he wants to do something great. He wants to forgive us and change us so that we don’t keep making that mistake.  He wants us to have a life free of guilt and shame.  He wants us to have joy that comes from living in step with him.  Can we make that our goal this week? Let’s ask God to help us.

 

2 Sm 11:1-17. David and Bathsheba

He knew he was doing the wrong thing.  He found out about her before he took her and knew that she was another man’s wife.  He had her anyway and with most of the sin we choose to commit, thought, “No harm done.  Just me having a great time and indulging my passion.  No one will ever know.”  But surprise - she’s pregnant and how are you going to explain that when her husband has been away at war.

 

David does not want to get caught and he goes to extreme measures to try to cover up his sin.  He has Uriah come home on leave so that he can sleep with his wife, but he’s a really committed soldier and will not take advantage of his wife’s bed when his men must sleep without theirs.  David tries really hard to make this happen, but Uriah is stalwart in his resolve.  So David feels he has no choice but to have Uriah killed because that’s better than confessing that he slept with the guy’s wife and got her pregnant!  David makes sure that Uriah is in the front and that the frontline puts itself in harms way and sure enough, he is killed.

 

Bathsheba becomes David’s wife.  Easy peasy, they are out of the woods.  Except for this:  God is not pleased with David’s actions.  Enter Nathan the prophet who is charged with pointing out David’s fault. He uses a story about two men:  One who had many sheep and the other who had just one - but I really appreciate the way this confrontation takes place in the Veggie Tale production of King George and the Rubber Duck.  In this version it was a duck instead of a woman that was taken from another.  Let’s watch.

 

You are that man.

 

If this had been Saul there would have been excuses.  But as we saw last week, David is a man after God’s own heart and when confronted with the fact that he had gone astray and brought displeasure to God he repents and gets right to the admission of guilt in verse 13, “I have sinned against the Lord.”  

 

Just because he repents does not mean there aren’t consequences that will be played out. And they are dire, involving the death of the infant son Bathsheba bore him.  But we get to see David’s heart in all of this as he poured himself out in Psalm 51.  Let’s look a that.  You can find it in your Bible or on page 163 of The Story, or printed in the bulletin.  READ Psalm 51.

 

Now that we’ve read this psalm I want us to comb back through it and look for a few things:

According to this psalm who does David know himself to be?  “S”. (green)

Who does he know God to be?  “G”. 

What is the desire of his heart?  “H”. 

What is his intention?  “I”. 

 

Who does he know God to be?  “G”. 

v.1 God is merciful, love is unfailing, compassionate, able to blot out all sin

v.2 Can wash away all sin and cleanse us from it 

v.4 Has authority to judge

v.6 Desires faithfulness from the beginning of our lives - in the womb! Teaches wisdom - in the womb!

v.7 Has the power to cleanse us

v.10 Can create a pure heart from where sin once controlled; will renew a steadfast spirit in us

v.11 Has the authority to cast sinners away from himself and remove the Holy Spirit from individuals

v.12 Can restore the joy of salvation! and give us a willing spirit to live in obedience

v.14 God can deliver us from guilt, even the guilt of shedding another’s blood

v.16-17 God is not interested in animal sacrifices but in us, surrendered fully to him; a broken and contrite heart is what he desires

 

Who do you know God to be and how does that shape your relationship with him?  How does it shape the expectations of how God will deal with your sin, your pain, your concerns, your joy?

 

We've looked at God and his character through a repentant sinner’s eyes.  Now lets look at the attitude of the repentant sinner.  Repentance doesn’t come easy for most of us.  First we pretend that we haven’t done anything wrong and then we sometimes pull a Saul and make excuses and blame others.  It takes a desire to truly be right with God, to truly repent of our sin.  Let’s look at David’s model.

 

What is the attitude of his heart?  “H”. 

v.1 He seeks mercy, compassion, and his sin to be erased

v.2 He wants to be cleansed from the sin he has committed

v.3 He understands what he has done and he knows he cannot avoid what he has done

v.4 He knows that the one he has hurt the most is God - God who has given him everything! And he has disobeyed and done grievous things in his sight. He is ready to accept whatever judgement God hands out.  He knows God will be just.

v.5 David understands himself to be a sinner as part of his very humanity

v.6 Because he was taught wisdom in the womb, David holds out no excuse for his behavior; he knew it was wrong - all of it

v.7 he wants it to be washed away; he wants to be cleansed of the sin he committed

v.8 he has been suffering with guilt and is asking to be set free of it; he hopes for joy and gladness to return to him

v.9 He is truly humbled by his sin and doesn’t want God to look at him in it but rather to look away until he is clean again

v.10 He wants to begin again with a clean heart and a renewed spirit that will be steadfast

v.11 He wants to renew his relationship with God and stay close; he begs the Holy Spirit to remain with him

v.12 He seeks restored joy in knowing that God has saved him;

v.14 He trusts God to forgive him for the murder he committed; he declares his dependence on God to be his Savior

v.17 He comes to God just as he is - broken, dirty, needy, sorry, contrite and he trusts God to receive him just as he is.

 

Why do so many of us avoid God until we think we have our act together?  How many people resist coming to a house of worship on a Sunday morning because they think they are too bad to approach God?  How do we change the minds of those who are hurting and seeking God but feel like there is an insurmountable wall that they will never be good enough to get over?

 

Let’s look at David’s plan and see if we can adapt it as our own.

 

What is his intention?  “I”

v.13 Once he is forgiven and clean, David is going to teach other sinners the lesson he has learned so that they know the way to go to return to God

v.14 Once forgiven, he is going to sing of God’s righteousness - letting others know that the Holy God of all creation is inviting sinners to be made clean and right before him

v.15 This will be a theme of his life - the praise of God as long as he has the power of speech

 

Aware of God’s forgiveness of you and your sins, in what ways will you respond?  What is your intention?

 

The Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 3:23 “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God's glorious standard.”  It is a level playing field.  We have all fallen short of God’s standard. We have all missed the mark.  We all have need to repent.  We cannot witness to God’s glory until we admit to our own defeat. Someone who believes they have never sinned and had no need for forgiveness will never be able to share the joy of forgiveness with another. God wants to set sinners free.  It's why Jesus came to surrender his life on the cross.  Jesus died because he wants you to be free of the sin that binds you.  Are you free? Are you living like you’re free?  When you sing the song, “Amazing Grace” are you fully accepting the fact that it applies to you?

 

As we prepare to remember our salvation around this communion table, let us be mindful of the sacrifice made on our behalf by Christ.  He was the only man to live without sin.  He was the only one who never deserved to be punished and die.  And yet, he took on our sin - yours and mine - and received the punishment for our sins.  Let’s learn to live like that death mattered.  Let’s learn to live like those who have been forgiven.  Let us come to the table with gratitude.

 

To prepare our hearts, I’d like us to reread Psalm 51 as a personal prayer.  I invite you to enter into it personally, make it your own.  Don’t be afraid of the silence.  Listen for God to speak to your heart.  Let us pray. (Go sit down and pray - take the last page)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have mercy on me, O God,

    according to your unfailing love;

according to your great compassion

    blot out my transgressions.

 

Wash away all my iniquity

    and cleanse me from my sin.

 

For I know my transgressions,

    and my sin is always before me.

 

Against you, you only, have I sinned

    and done what is evil in your sight;

so you are right in your verdict

    and justified when you judge.

 

Surely I was sinful at birth,

    sinful from the time my mother conceived me.

 

Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;

    you taught me wisdom in that secret place.

 

Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;

    wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

 

Let me hear joy and gladness;

    let the bones you have crushed rejoice.

 

Hide your face from my sins

    and blot out all my iniquity.

 

Create in me a pure heart, O God,

    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

 

Do not cast me from your presence

    or take your Holy Spirit from me.

 

Restore to me the joy of your salvation

    and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

 

Then I will teach transgressors your ways,

    so that sinners will turn back to you.

 

Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,

    you who are God my Savior,

    and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.

 

Open my lips, Lord,

    and my mouth will declare your praise.

 

You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;

    you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.

 

My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;

    a broken and contrite heart

    you, God, will not despise.