Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Sin pervades our lives as a feature of being human. The good news of the gospel is grace in the perfect divine providence, so that sin is not an highway to death.

From Murder to Mercy!

Psalm 51:1-3, 12 9Have 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. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation …NASB

Almost a year has passed. All was so quite that it would appear he had literally gotten away with murder. In all of that time, the record is silent whether God said anything to the “man after God’s own heart ”. Certainly, life had gone on as usual. Well, we can’t call it usual. It is more accurately described as bizarre and decadent. David had sinned but maybe God was not paying attention or was fast asleep. Have you ever sinned and thought it was so minor that God would let you slide? Or maybe the sin was major, but since everybody else is doing it, it’s the many and the one…and that makes it morally right. Minor or major is our worldview of the sliding scale against which we measure infractions as egregious and the consequences accordingly adjustable. If we are honest we realize that the long litany of sin is not only about David but is about us too. Sin pervades our lives. Sin is a perennial feature and facet of being human. We test God’s limits, especially in our youthful prodigal moments of recklessness that God allows time to come to our senses before getting tough on sin. Maybe God also needs a wake-up call with all of those ancient laws, to get an update to today’s new times and lax trends. Or because so many believe in a prosperity ideology; the idea that God wants us to be rich, to have fun, success, status and a grand self-esteem so we become a bit self-absorbed, but it doesn’t make it true. You know, seemingly forever the world believed second century astronomer Ptolemy’s theory that all planets revolved around the earth. That belief was wrong for over 1400 years before being trumped by Copernicus’s proof that the sun, not the earth, is the center of the universe, thus the earth revolves around the sun – the Copernicus Revolution. We all sometimes need a Copernican Revolution to reshape our thinking that the world and everything revolves around us. It is really about God and the glory of the Lord. So David learned that God will not give him everything, with disregard to a moral compass.

David was set. God had set him up, living in his fine palace, even with contributions from Palestinian King Hiram who sent timbers and laborers. He unified the government. He was sitting atop of the world with a horde of wives and women.

But how David won his wife Bathsheba was sheer premeditated evil. One day, God’s prophet Nathan brings David’s sin to his consciousness in the creative telling of a parable about a rich man who takes a poor man’s one and only pet lamb, slays it and with savory seasonings cooks it and serves it to his guests at an elaborate dinner. It leaves the poor man now with nothing, not even his beloved lamb. David in his kingly role was also “Supreme Court judge” so he enters an accurate verdict of the case Nathan described to him: “The man should be put to death.” Nathan immediately tells David what most feared to tell him, “Thou art the man!” That little parable powerfully brings home the full significance of that sin. It enables Nathan to safely speak truth to the powerful king. It paves the way for David’s objectivity. David recognizes that he has sinned, even if he has repressed it under a truck load of justification and explainable necessity. Often sin distorts our good judgment of ourselves causing us to become immune to the sting of morality. Our impartiality to decipher right from wrong is lost. Because it is us doing it and the means justify the ends. Self-preservation evokes our exclusionary nature and nullifies the ability to self-judge with detachment, with independence, and with neutrality as God would see it.

"In the spring of that year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab ..." (11:1). David stayed in the comfort of his home to execute his strategy, when good kings normally go out to battle (1 Samuel 8:11-17). He neglects his day job, in a calculated lustful quest for a gorgeous married woman. David relaxes on his veranda and checks out Uriah’s wife Bathsheba, bathing, and commands his servants to bring her. She comes to him– because of David’s kingly power or reluctantly desiring to resist his imperial command. The young king’s hormones raging, sinned – “he lay with her" (11:4). By the way, what’s love got to do with it? The king enjoyed the royal prerogative of a little tryst, a rendezvous, a one night stand. After returning home Bathsheba sends a word to David: "I’m pregnant." These words launch a tumultuous domino sequence of deception and violence. First, it was an attempt to shift the presumption of fatherhood onto Uriah; then his murder.

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