Summary: Psalm 51 is, in a sense, the redemption of 2 Samuel 11 and 12. So too, confession is one of the significant steps in our redemption.
SEX & LIES
What do Bill Clinton, Shane Warne and I/you have in common? It’s not our cricketing prowess - after all, Bill has probably never played the game.
We all smoke - that certainly qualifies as an addiction and so fits in with the theme of this weekend, but it’s not what I have in mind, either. Bill prefers cigars.
The thing we have in common - and I reckon each of us here today fits into the category - is that we’ve all lied to cover our stupidity and our sin. With Bill, it was about Monica Lewinsky - "I did not have sex with that woman." Technically he was telling the truth. Realistically and morally everyone knows it was far from the truth. Shane Warne lied over recent events in London - about how he met Donna Wright and who said and did what to whom first. I am still amazed by his statement that he wouldn’t have done it if he knew it would get into the papers. What a role model!
The connection between these two incidents is that both guys initially lied, and when that didn’t satisfy people’s curiosity, they stretched the truth. And finally the stories came out - yet neither guy was repentant - only remorseful because they got caught!
My story is, thankfully for all concerned, a little tamer - which I take some comfort in, but it was still lying and so it is tepid comfort. Many years ago, I was caught speeding in South Australia. I was exceeding the limit substantially on a dual carriageway out of Adelaide. The offence was such that it needed to go to court. Being a good boy, I wanted to spare my parents from any concern they may have and so I didn’t tell them what had happened. The reality was that I didn’t want to tell them what an imbecile they had for a son. Anyway, when I returned to Sydney I contacted the NRMA legal department and sought their advice. That advice arrived a few days later in an envelope. Dad enquired what was in the envelope and I replied that I had rung them up to get some information about different types of cars.
So far so good. But it all came undone when I was at work one day and members of the NSW Police Force arrived on our doorstep. Mum was in the shower at the time and so, dressed in a towel, she was presented with a summons for me to appear in court in Adelaide a few weeks later. Being wise, and because I had nowhere to run, the story came out and it was a fairly expensive lesson in several ways.
If none of these stories strike a cord with you, feel free to leave now since you don’t need to hear the rest of this talk. If you can identify with some of these situations then I’d like to explore them a little more deeply.
But what’s that got to do with the theme for this weekend which has been "What the Bible has to say about Addiction". Let me say/reiterate that the one addiction we all suffer from is the one called "sin". We all do it. We do it naturally. We do it wilfully. But God has a remedy for our sin - it’s called death. But until we get there, how do we handle sin, and how do we mitigate or minimise its effects on others and us. I’m not asking how we get away with it.
Bill Clinton’s sin captivated a nation or two. Shane Warne’s was headlines for a few days as the story unfolded. Yet a few things are obvious from these accounts and as you reflect on your own lives:
- Sin has consequences - whether we can see them or not.
- Trying to hide our sin usually has more consequences.
DAVID, BATHSHEBA, URIAH & NATHAN
I want us to briefly look at a few passages from the Bible about sin, its consequences, and attempts to hide it. Then we’ll take a look at confession and its effects.
We’re probably familiar with this story to a greater or lesser extent. It’s about a guy called David who happened to be a king. It involves a woman call Bathsheba who happened to have a husband called Uriah. And there’s a bloke called Nathan who was a prophet. It’s a sordid and tragic episode!
Turn with me to 2 Samuel 11 verse 1: "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." Here’s a problem. David was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He should have been with his army, but instead he was at home and had sent Joab out to do David’s job.