David’s Dark Days – Pt. 4: When We’re Guilty (Chris Francis)
We usually record the audio from the sermons each Sunday, but this past Sunday we had some technical difficulties and that did not happen. Since I usually write out my notes before the sermon and it’s a relatively similar version, I figured I’d post those notes below for those who are following this series.
DAVID’S DARK DAYS – Pt. 4
“When We’re Guilty”
The first three weeks of this series we’ve focused on how David was being attacked by King Saul. King Saul was the first king of Israel, but because he rebelled against God and chose to do things his own way, God sent the prophet Samuel to find a man after God’s own heart – a young shepherd boy named David. And Samuel anointed him with oil, oil symbolizing God’s presence with David. However, the question of when David would become king was anyone’s guess.
Then during a battle with the Philistines, David, who was not even enlisted in the Israelite army, volunteered to go fight a giant man named Goliath. And he killed Goliath. and he became famous all over Israel. All the girls had his poster on their bedroom walls, and all guys tried to act like they were his friend.
And that’s when Saul started to wonder, is this the guy who will replace me as king? Even Saul’s own son Jonathan – who Saul wanted to be the heir of the thorne — loved David and knew God had a special plan for David.
So Saul started to attack David, first by throwing spears at him while David was playing the lyre. Then Saul would send him into dangerous battles, secretly hoping he would die in battle.
But David never died. God kept protecting him, blessing him, and so finally Saul made an official decree: Find David, kill him. And David had to go on the run and leave his wife, his best friend Jonathan, and everything else.
He ended up in a cave, and then soon people started to find him — people who knew how whacked and crazy Saul was. And eventually 400 men found david and followed David as the commander of their unofficial army.
And within a couple years, David had two opportunities to kill Saul, but didn’t.
David kept entrusting himself to God, letting God be king, running to God as his refuge, refusing to take matters into his own hands, leading with integrity, suffering persecution and unfair treatment and refusing to return evil with evil.
And we’ve all been inspired by David. Well Today is going to be a bit different.
I’ve been saying that this series is based on the book, “A Tale of Three Kings” about David’s dark days in his relationship with Saul and then with his own son Absalom.
But we’re going to veer from the book and focus on another dark season in David’s life.
A dark season that occurred not because of the sins of others — but a dark season that occurred because of his own sin. His own guilt.
David was indeed declared to be a man after God’s own heart. God chose David to be the ancestor of Jesus.
But David was not Jesus. David was a sinful man, a complex character, and I wanted to focus on this time in his life cause otherwise I think we would paint him as an unrealistic character that none of us could relate to. Cause most of us have been through and maybe are going through difficult times that are a result of our own screw-ups….aren’t we?
So the title of today is called:
When We’re Guilty
Okay so last week we left off with David & Saul going their separate ways after David had a chance to kill Saul in the camp.
Well about four years later, Saul finally died in battle.
And three of his sons are also killed in this battle…including Jonathan, David’s best friend.
And then the book of 1 Samuel ends.
And the book of 2 Samuel begins with David finding out that Saul and Jonathan were killed. And he mourns for them both, he honors them both.
So then David is made king of Judah, the southern part of Israel, he was about 30 years old. Saul’s son Ishbosheth became king of the rest of Israel. So there were two kings and there was this civil war between David’s followers and Saul’s supporters, and finally David became king over all of Israel.
And what we see is that David is very successful. Teh dark days are over, and now it’s a time of blessing and success and praise.
He won many battles against the Philistines, he brought the ark of the covenant into the city of Jerusalem (which contained the tablets of the law and represented the presence of Yahweh). God even promised David in this time that there will always be a king from his line on the throne, and God will establish the throne of David forever. Pretty big deal.
But in this success, David starts to indulge himself a bit. And he gets a bit lazy. And he gets a bit entitled.
First, he starts to assemble a collection of wives….and concubines…. which always brings up questions, “why was he allowed to do that?” he wasn’t, but he did it….and it was the start of the story we’re looking at today. David now had the power to indulge his sexual desires whenever he wanted, and he did…..and he did again…and again…..…
And When he is about 50 years old, he’s gets into real trouble.
By this point, He’s been a king for about 20 years, 7 over Judah and 13 over all of Israel. We’ll pick it up in
2 Samuel 11
In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem.
Right off the bat, the chapter starts off sort of with an UH OH. This is huge. When kings go out to war….David stayed behind. It’s like it said, “At 8am, when kids go to school, Billy went to the park.” You’re like, “Oh, somethings’ gonna’ happen.”
That’s what David is doing — you guys go this time, I’ll stay here. I just want to play video games. He’s the king, so nobody is gonna’ argue with him, but everyone had to wonder, “What’s up with David? The mighty warrior?”
2 One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, 3 and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, “She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.”
He must have been taking an afternoon nap, maybe drank too much wine at breakfast — he’s living the lazy man’s life. Men who were not created to be lazy.
David knew these men. He knew this girls’ father and her husband. They were among his mighty men, men who were of the most loyal to David. David has a choice to make – indulge or resist temptation. What does he do?
4 Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (Now she had been purifying herself from her monthly uncleanness.) Then she went back home. 5 The woman conceived and sent word to David, saying, “I am pregnant.”
We don’t know how many times it was, but David slept with another woman, who was not his wife, and who was another man’s wife, another man who was fiercely loyal to David.
Now although this was a big deal, to david it probably didn’t feel like a big deal. That’s how sin works. He was already taking on more and more wives whenever he wanted, had a bunch of concubines, and so now he just saw another hot woman in her bath-tub and — well, why no.
David had been fueling his selfish desires for years, feeding sin, giving it doggie treats so that it kept coming back, giving it more and more fertilizer so that it kept growing…..this was not a big leap.
And it says that she came to him — the phrase in Hebrew implies that she consented, came willingly. So it wasn’t like David raped her.
This is no way excuses David’s sin, but it would suggest that this was an on-going affair, not a one-time thing.
And It says that she had been purifying herself from her time of the month, which tells us that there is no way she was pregnant before she slept with david.
But now she was.
And she told David at once. Because she needed him to take care of things. Under the law of Moses, the penalty for adultery, for both the man and woman, was death. You needed a few witnesses in order to carry out the sentence, but since David had servants bring her to him, they probably had that. This was not a secret. The palace knew. The cooks and the maids were talking about it on their cigarette breaks, this was out there.
So David had to cover up this pregnancy. If abortions were possible then, I have no doubt that David would have done it.
So what does David do??
6 So David sent this word to Joab: “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” And Joab sent him to David. 7 When Uriah came to him, David asked him how Joab was, how the soldiers were and how the war was going.
David sent for Bathsheba’s husband. And Uriah shows up and David starts asking him how things were going. This was a phony conversation. Uriah was not a messenger, and messengers were probably already bringing word to david. This would be like if you’re a student in school and your principal calls you down to his office and asks you how your teacher is doing. “Uh…she’s doing a good job, I guess.” Really weird for Uriah.
And the reason David did this is because he was hoping to get Uriah to go sleep with his wife so that when she started to show in her belly, Uriah would think it was his.
We’re going to skip a few verses for time’s sake, but basically what happens is that Uriah wouldn’t do it. Uriah didn’t go home to sleep, but instead slept with David’s servants, with the men who were protecting David, and when David asked him the next day, “why didn’t you go home and enjoy yourself?” Uriah just said, “My comrades are out in the fields fighting for the lord, so I can’t live like a normal civilian right now.”
David’s plan wasn’t working because Uriah had too much integrity. David even got him drunk one night, and Uriah still didn’t do it. He showed more self-control while drunk than David was exercising.
Then in v. 14 David gets really desperate.
14 In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah. 15 In it he wrote, “Put Uriah out in front where the fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so he will be struck down and die.”
In his effort to cover up his sin, he now resorts to a greater sin – murder. And here’s the funny thing – David trusted Uriah so much that he knew Uriah would not read the message that he himself was carrying. The message that would be his death sentence. Incredibly ironic.
16 So while Joab had the city under siege, he put Uriah at a place where he knew the strongest defenders were. 17 When the men of the city came out and fought against Joab, some of the men in David’s army fell; moreover, Uriah the Hittite died.
This is one of the greatest tragedies of the bible. An innocent man, who had been loyal to dAvid and showed nothing but integrity in his last days, is murdered by David – the king who God said was a man after his own heart.
In 1998 the nation was in an uproar when it came out that President Bill Clinton had an affair with an intern a few years earlier. Evangelical Christians were especially outraged
Billy Boy’s escapades were misdemeanors compared to David’s actions here.
And here is my first point — we’re all capable of this. Every one of us. Sin lurks in all our hearts, and if it goes un–addressed, it always grows. Like cancer cells, it always grows If you’re not changing the environment. If there is no confession, if there is no accountability, it will get worse.
And often times we are most vulnerable when things are going well, when we’re at the top of our games.
David’s success caused him to be less dependent on God, less desperate….and to not feel dependable on God always leads to our pride getting the upper hand.
exterior Weakness should breed dependence on God which breeds spiritual strength.
Exterior Strength can breed a lack of dependence which always breeds spiritual weakness.
now let’s keep going.
picking it up in verse 26.
26 When Uriah’s wife heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for him. 27 After the time of mourning was over, David had her brought to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing David had done displeased the Lord.
it seems as though David is out of the debacle. He did what men try to do — he fixed the problem. Taken care of. NOw he even looks like the hero, bringing this poor widow into his home to be his wife, taking care of her, and oh, now she’s pregnant.
But God is not happy. This is the first time in the whole situation that God is mentioned. And he is displeased.
2 Samuel 12
So the Lord sent Nathan the prophet to tell David this story:
Nathan often came to david to tell him about different court cases, in a sense.
And so Nathan goes to David and begins to tell him this story:
“There were two men in a certain town. One was rich, and one was poor. 2 The rich man owned a great many sheep and cattle. 3 The poor man owned nothing but one little lamb he had bought. He raised that little lamb, and it grew up with his children. It ate from the man’s own plate and drank from his cup. He cuddled it in his arms like a baby daughter.
4 One day a guest arrived at the home of the rich man. But instead of killing an animal from his own flock or herd, he took the poor man’s lamb and killed it and prepared it for his guest.”
5 David was furious. “As surely as the Lord lives,” he vowed, “any man who would do such a thing deserves to die! 6 He must repay four lambs to the poor man for the one he stole and for having no pity.”
So David hears this story and he is furious at this rich man in the story. But his anger and indignation were even more over-the-top than it should have been. “As surely as the lord lives” – that’s quite an oath to declare — “this man deserves to die.” Killing a lamb was not a capital offense.
Scholars think David was wrestling with his own guilt and was somewhat reacting out of anger with himself when he said this.
David’s guilt were tormenting him. He was not at ease with what he had done at all.
7 Then Nathan said to David, “You are that man!
You are the rich man in the story. You are the man with tons of sheep who stole the one little lamb from the poor guy. It’s you, David.
When we’ve really screwed up, it’s often really hard to confess it and bring it up. Especially when it’s so easy to hide it and keep it quiet.
But because God loved David so much, he sent Nathan to start the conversation. God will often use other people to lovingly but firmly point out the blind spots in our own lives, to come to us and say, “Yo, what the heck? I’m worried about you.”
The Lord, the God of Israel, says: I anointed you king of Israel and saved you from the power of Saul. 8 I gave you your master’s house and his wives and the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. And if that had not been enough, I would have given you much, much more.
9 Why, then, have you despised the word of the Lord and done this horrible deed? For you have murdered Uriah the Hittite with the sword of the Ammonites and stolen his wife.
The root sin, God is telling David, is prideful ingratitude. You were not grateful for what you had. You were not grateful for what I gave you. And it lead to all kinds of evils.
10 From this time on, your family will live by the sword because you have despised me by taking Uriah’s wife to be your own. 11 “This is what the Lord says: Because of what you have done, I will cause your own household to rebel against you. I will give your wives to another man before your very eyes, and he will go to bed with them in public view. 12 You did it secretly, but I will make this happen to you openly in the sight of all Israel.”
You have despised me, God says. By taking another man’s wife, by sinning in this way, David despised God. God feels Despised when we say, “You haven’t given me enough. I want more and I’m gonna’ get it my own way.” God feels despised.
And then God, through Nathan, tells DAvid that a consequence of David’s sin will be that David’s home will be a wreck. His kids, his family, is going to have turmoil in it. There will be relational strife in your life for the rest of your life. That’s what happens with sin – there are always consequences, trust issues follow, resentments, loss of respect… especially for people in public positions.
And now what does David do? Nathan pointed out his sin, Nathan laid out the consequences of his actions…and what does David do?
When Saul was a young king, 30-40 years earlier, and the prophet Samuel confronted him, Saul blamed other people. He tried to downplay his sin. He did the whole, “well here’s the things…..here’s what happened…”
So What does David do?
How we respond to our own sin — not just others’ sins but even our own sins — often reveals who sits on the throne of our hearts.
13 Then David confessed to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.”
He is finally convicted of his sin, and instead of blaming others, instead of diminishing it, instead of making excuses, he admits it: “I have sinned against God.”
Yes, he sinned against Uriah, against Bathsheba, against Israel…but mostly and ultimately he sinned against God and he owned it.
A person after God’s heart, when they are shown their sin, owns it. There is no blaming, no diminishing, no downplaying, no excusing. We own it. Even if someone else – a co-worker, a spouse, a parent — did wrong in the situation, we own our part in it.
Nathan replied, “Yes, but the Lord has forgiven you, and you won’t die for this sin.
Now we’re going to stop here. There’s more to the story – we’ll pickit up next week.
We’re going to end by focusing right here.
The Lord has forgiven you, and you won’t die for this sin.
This is nuts.
We have to feel the weight of this. This part is really what should bother us. it should bother our sense of justice.
Anybody like to watch Law & Order type shows? Or movies like Taken?? Where you just can’t wait for the bad guys to die? And you’re thinking of ways that you would kill them if you had the chance to?
God has given all of us a sense of justice, and God forgiving David should bother that sense of justice. We live in a culture that takes God’s forgiveness for granted — it’s sort of assumed by us that God would forgive us, maybe even deserve God’s forgiveness, which is a strange thing, but it’s true. Things like lying, addictions, having a bad temper – those things are put in the category, for most of us, as “God should definitely forgive this.”
But there a certain things — and it’s usually things that other people do — that we just can’t imagine God forgiving. DAvid Berkowitz, the Son of Sam serial killer in the summer of 1977, claims he later became a Christian in prison. I actually wrote to him about ten years ago to write a script about his life and he wrote me back, that was pretty cool. But people have a hard time believing that God could forgive him, as he claims. How could God forgive a serial murderer like that.
But how could God forgive David? Taking the wife of one of his closest men — stealing, adultery, lying about it. Then murder — but not just the murder of Uriah, other men, too. In order for Uriah to be sent close enough to enemy lines, other people had to be sent, too. Uriah wasn’t sent all by himself (“hey Uriah, get close and try to take them all on”) No, many men were ordered on a suicide mission so that Uriah could be killed. This was mass murder, as well as treason against Israel.
Adultery, murder, and treason – all capital offenses. And God said, You will not die for this.
How could a just and holy God say that?
1,000 years after Nathan said to David, “You are the man.” Pontius Pilate said to a crowd of people about Jesus, “Behold the man.”
1,000 years after David sat in the guilty seat before Nathan….Jesus sat in the guilty seat before Pilate.
1,000 years after David was released from the death sentence that he deserved….Jesus was given the death sentence that he did not deserve.
David could be pardoned….because Jesus took David’s place.
25 For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, 26 for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time.
David could be forgiven because his sins were paid for by Jesus 1,000 years later, as part of God’s plan. David received it by faith, even though he wasn’t sure what it would look like.
And we can, too. On a daily basis.
We’re going to end by doing a few things — a few things to help us focus on the mercy and grace that God offers us through JESUS.
We’re going to sing, we’re going to receive communion, and we’re going to read something together.
But begin reflecting on your life right now. YOu may believe Jesus paid for your sins in a general sense – but is there a specific sin in your life that you are feeling guilt and shame about? If you haven’t confessed it to God, do it…but then confess his grace over that sin.
If you are NOT wrestling with guilt over a specific sin, because you’ve been medicating that guilt through drugs or alcohol or staying busy or tv or working longer hours….well, own it. Confess it. But then confess God’s grace over that sin.
After Nathan confronted David, and David owned his sin – sometime over the next couple days David wrote Psalm 51. We’re going to read parts of it together, before we receive the elements of communion.
New to faith?
Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin!
3 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…..
Purify me from my sins,[c] and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8 Oh, give me back my joy again;
you have broken me—
now let me rejoice.
9 Don’t keep looking at my sins.
Remove the stain of my guilt.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God.
Renew a loyal spirit within me.
This communion represents the broken body and spilled blood of Jesus — who paid it all, so that this prayer of ours could be answered. Jesus paid it all – all to him we owe our worship and thanksgiving and praise.