Summary: This sermon looks at another type of wilderness experience, one of our own making.
King David’s Story of Sin and Redemption
In this series, we’re looking at five OT characters who experienced the wilderness in their lives, both physically and spiritually. The Judean wilderness was rugged and barren and it was a place of hopelessness and despair. It came to represent the adverse and difficult times we often experience in our lives. Every one of us is going to experience the wilderness, times of despair, hopelessness, pain, suffering and difficulty. As painful as it can be, it can often be a rich time of personal and spiritual growth. From the stories of these Biblical characters and their wilderness experiences we see what we can learn from them which will serve us as we go through our own wilderness experience.
Last week, we looked at the story of Ruth and Naomi and today we are going to look at the wilderness experience of Naomi’s great grandson, David. David had an incredible upbringing. As a boy he fought the great giant Goliath and killed him in battle. His musical ability soothed King Saul in his struggles with his sanity. He rose to become a great military leader. But as his victories on the battlefield grew, so did his popularity amongst the people. And King Saul became jealous and eventually tried to kill David to preserve his own throne. This was just one of David’s wilderness experience. He had many more in his life. Thus far in this series we have looked at wilderness experiences that have been thrust on us by others or tragedies in our lives. Today, we’re going to look at another type of wilderness experience of his own making. David’s sinful choice and his subsequent wilderness experience teaches us is that sometimes we make choices which lead to our own wilderness experience. These are the consequences of our choices we make and they can be very painful. These are times when we feel separated from God and from others and we feel great shame and guilt. Today, we will learn what God does when we sin and experience great shame and guilt and what happens when we return to Him.
David lived 1000 years before Christ and is one of the towering figures of faith in the OT and the faith of the Israelites. Sixty-four chapters are devoted to telling the story of David. More than even Jesus himself and half of the Psalms were either written by David or about David or in honor of David. The Scriptures tell us that David was a man after God’s own heart. He followed th Law, built the Temple for God, gave all of himself to God and did what was right in God’s sight. David becomes the example for all other Kings to follow and the measure by which all other Kings are judged. He even becomes the example of what what the Messiah would be as Jesus is called the son of David. So David was revered in Biblical times and even today, the flag of Israel today has the star of David on it. Every Israelits was told the stories of David as they were growing up and so everyone knew them and loved Him. David’s stories were used to teach the Israelites about faith and life and morality.
The story of David and Bathsheba was probably not told to children but to adults with lessons about how we are to lives and what happens when we make selfish and sinful decisions. David’s sin teaches that success can lead us to a skewed perspective of ourselves and our perception of what is right and wrong. Sometimes when we reach the peak of success, we forget that the rules still apply to us. This is the affect of power which can bring a sense of entitlement. David rose from a servant boy to a successful warrior to a great General and finally to become the King of Israel and led that nation to become the largest it would ever be and the wealthiest it would ever be. But something along the way changed inside David. He used to lead his soldiers into battle and but our Scripture today says that now he sends them off to battle and remains in the comfort of his palace One afternoon as David is walking on the balcony of his palace, he sees a woman bathing. Now this man who was a man after God’s own heart, what should have been his honorable response? He should have turned away and gone in to read his copy of Sports Illustrated and come back to balcony later on. But that is not what David does. David inquires about the woman and finds out that she is married to one of his soldiers who has gone off to battle. He should have stopped right there but he didn’t. He has that desire rise within him and rather than let it go, he pursues it. This is the struggle with temptation. So what does David do? He has her brought to him and then they sleep together. Not only is this a pursuit of lust, it is also an abuse of power. Bathsheba, a woman with no rights and no voice in Israelite society, has no choice but to sleep with David because he is the King, the most powerful man in the nation who can put someone to death at the blink of an eye. And so she is forced to sleep with the King maybe not physically forced but certainly politically and socially. There is a word for this: rape. So David gives in to temptation and this leads him into a wilderness experience of his own creation. Have you ever been there, where you made a decision which you knew was wrong but you did it anyway? And then you find yourself immersed in guilt, shame and embarrassment. That’s where David is headed. He just doesn’t know it yet.