The Game of Thrones- Israel’s Experience with Human Kings”
“The Case of the Open Window Shade”
Today we turn to II Samuel 11. God allows us to watch the private life of a royal family. And despite their best efforts to put on a good front, we discover pride, lust, adultery, conspiracy, murder, and more! The picture goes from bad to worse. The royal family is falling apart.
God allows us to look into the home of King David who is called “a man after God’s own heart.” He lapses into sin. His sin is no greater than yours or mine. We simply are grateful that ours have not been recorded.
I’m not defending nor justifying it. If you shake your head in shame at David or cluck your tongue at this man of God then you have missed the truth of I Corinthians 10:12.
So, if you think you are standing firm, take heed, that you don’t fall! 13 No temptation[a] has overtaken you except what is common to mankind.
The key word… “take heed”. On a regular basis. If this kind of temptation comes your way… and it will…take heed and run away as fast as you can. Or you will fall, like David.
II Samuel 11 allows us to see him at a time of weakness and brokenness. God allows us to see "the interior hurt, anguish, and ambiguity that operate" in the palace. He lets us see that the royalty are "utterly human in their hurt, their hate, and their hope." He says to us, as it were, “Here! Look at this picture of David's family. Look behind the palace walls. But don’t just look because you are nosey. Look there if you wish but then look at what’s going on within the walls of your own home and your own life.”
This message is for both men and women. Two people are
Involved in this devastating event. David is about 50 years old. He has been on the throne of Israel for 17 to 20 years. He has distinguished himself as a man of God. A composer of musical psalms. A valiant warrior. One who deserves the respect of the nation. He gave the people love for the Psalms. A man of charisma. A man who wins your heart.
He is a man who has demonstrated compassion for he has taken into his inner circle Mephibosheth, the only surviving son of Jonathan, his best friend. He has shown grace to tis crippled son and given him land, and whatever he needs. David has kept his promise to Jonathan.
All we know is that David does not go along. In fact, verse 1 ends with these very strange and uncharacteristic words: “David remained in Jerusalem .”
The significance of those words may not immediately strike us but they are important. In 1 Samuel 8:20 the people asked for a king to “go out before us and fight our battles.” And up to this point David has been valiantly fighting in the name of the Lord but now he is at home, relaxing. David remains in Jerusalem when he should have been leading his troops in battle. And that sets the stage for two battles. While Joab and the army face the Ammonites, David remains in the palace and is about to fight the battle of his life.
Remember this passage? When God spoke to Cain? GE 4:7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it."
Even as a man of God he does sin. His sin has a devastating effect on his family and on his nation. This kind of sin always does. Some sins are without the body and do not have the impact of those that come from within. Sexual sins seem to have within them a greater weight.
The warning fits those in their 50’s and 60’s as much s those in their 20’s,30’ & 40’s. No one ever gets too old to fall. There is no such thing as sudden adultery. It happens over a long haul. David’s life is like a neglected sea wall. Finely in a weakened moment it crumbles against the onslaught of wind and waves, and pays a terrible price.
Chapter 5:13 is the back drop. (read)
There are chinks in David’s armor which begin to show. Even though the “hand of God” was upon him… but he took more concubines…..Oh yeah… just a note.
This was in direct opposition to God’s king. (read Deut. 17:14 ff)
1) The King shall not multiply horses for himself
2) The King shall not multiply wives for himself
3) The King shall not acquire large amounts of silver or gold for himself.
God knew they would one day ask for a King….This passage is written centuries before Samuel and Saul come on the scene. God knew and warned them.
David was faithful in the 1st and 3rd but failed in the 2nd. The man who had a harem full of women at his disposal took another man’s wife. David has broken this command but who in the kingdom will blow the whistle on him? 20 years of victory on the battle field. Choice men in the right place. The kingdom expanded, other nations submissive.
Something happened to break down his integrity.
Between chapters 5 and 11 nothing but success. He is at the peak of public admiration. Plenty of money. A new palace. Lifestyle flying high. Our most difficult times are not when things are going hard… you don’t get proud when times are hard. Pride happens when everything is swinging your way. That promotion, a spotless record. When you are growing in prestige, that’s th time to watch out. David is vulnerable.
He is indulging himself and that is the other chink in his armor. We will soon see that one of David’s other character faults is that he failed to discipline his children. He was away from home and he indulged his children. It ultimately created a murderous “game of thrones” within his own household.
II Samuel 11:1 (read)
It’s spring. You can feel the warm breeze blowing in the Jerusalem evening. Clouds are gone. The army is off to war. David’s not. He is neglecting his job. He belongs with the troops. If he had been there, Bathsheba would never have happened. David can’t sleep. He’s restless… Time on his hands.
Our greatest temptations come not when we are working hard but when we have a lot of free time. Time on our hands. That is when we make fateful decisions that haunt us.
David took a walk. Nothing on TV. He pushes aside the curtain. Opened onto the patio roof. A place to sit in the cool of the evening. Above and away from the streets.
(read v 1) “walked around the roof,” enjoying the view, the sights and sounds of Jerusalem. Perhaps he hears a female voice humming. Living just opposite and beyond the palace walls.
The woman was very beautiful. The Bible never pads the record. When it says the woman was beautiful. She was fabulous. Beyond description. “The word “very” is not and exaggeration.
(pause) Two things at this point.
1) The male’s major source of stimulation is visual. The females major source of stimulation is touch. Men… that’s why your wife wants you to hold her hand. And says. ”Just hold me.”
2) The female is far more discerning. She is far more discriminating than the male. The male sees the body without character. She sees character. So says Dr. James Dobson.
Women you know that to be true. Your physical appearance is the downfall of the male species. So I ask the question: “Why didn’t Bathsheba draw her shade?”
Why did she bath on her patio, knowing her roof was below
and near the palace? Raymond Brown in his commentary on this passage writes: “Bathsheba was careless and foolish. Hebrew modesty meant that she should bathed in a more private place. From her home she could easily see the Royal Palace. She must have known David was not off to war.
In our society when anything goes you must hold on to righteousness as a Christian. I’m not about to tell you women how to dress… but you probably ought to have this conversation with you daughter and grand daughters.
As I remember every teenager and every adult woman knows what attracts men. Four weeks before Sadie Hawkins dance comes around the girls already know on whom they will set their sights before the boys know what is happening.
Men when you find yourself near happening upon a beautiful object, don’t linger.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer who was hanged at the age of 39 on April 9, 1945 by the Nazi SS wrote a small book entitled “Temptation” which strikes at the heart of the problem David, You and I wrestle with: He writes: “In our members there is a slumbering inclination toward desire. With irresistible power desire seizes mastery of our lives. All at once a secret smoldering fire is kindled. The flesh burns. It makes no difference if it is ambition, vanity, sexual desire, power, fame or greed for money. At this moment God is quite unreal to us. The Devil does not fill us with hatred for God, only forgetfulness of God.”
Let me repeat that phrase: “The Devil does not fill us with hatred for God, only forgetfulness of God.”
If I read the religious lay-of-the-land, the culture wars are about making a nation forget the “rules God has stated for humanity.” Just remove the “Ten Commandments” then people will forget. “Keep your religion private.” We can create our own man made cultural rules. Yes, there is a heaven… and so people know just enough about Christianity to say: “don’t all religious paths lead there?” I realize that I have generalized the way many people feel about Christianity and getting into heaven. People most certainly want to enter through those pearly gates, but they want the Lord to accept them with their bags and baggage. In other words, they want the Lord to accept them with their sins and their lives having been left unchanged.
That's not the way it works. In our next message David will also discover that is not how God works. I invite you to return for part 2 in the saga of David and Bathsheba.
I know many of you have conscientiously worked at keeping your sins in check. You and I have wrestled with the sinful nature within us and we have counted many great victories. But you and I also know that those victories were short-lived. The person who speaks at our funeral ought begin, "Lord, do not remember the sins of his/her youth."
Think back upon promises broken, vows discarded, and good intentions which have gone by the wayside. The Lord, Who at creation, had had such high hopes for us, would be quite justified in punishing us completely, thoroughly, and eternally.
Jesus, in His life, His suffering, His death and resurrection is God's righteousness come to earth. In Jesus' sacrifice we see this eternal love of God which saves that which was lost, which loves us who are unlovable. In Jesus our transgressions and sins are countered and conquered by God's great goodness. With faith in Jesus as our heaven-sent Savior, our sins are paid for, pardoned, and put away. Because of Jesus, when the Lord looks at us on Judgment Day, we will be seen as the perfect souls God had intended us to be at creation.
Either you repent and turn your sins over to Jesus, or you keep your sins and stay right where you are. Well, actually, if you choose to keep your sins, you get a one-way ticket to a place you don't want to go.