Summary: We live with the knowledge that we sin; we often assume we're getting away with it. In reality, we've just never been caught - or have we?
“Treasuring God’s Grace”
2 Sam. 11:26-12:14
The question on the job application read, “Have you ever been arrested?” The applicant printed the word “No” in the space. The next question was a follow-up to the first; it asked, “Why?” So this honest applicant wrote, “I guess it’s because I never got caught.” Probably an accurate diagnosis for many of us! We live with the knowledge that we sin; and we often assume we’re getting away with it. In reality, we’ve just never been caught - or have we?
Dick Van Dyke starred in a TV series entitled “Diagnosis Murder.” He played a doctor who always wound up in the middle of some scheme where someone believed they’d gotten away with murder. But, of course, Dick’s character always solved the crime and delivered the guilty party for arrest and trial. They thought they had gotten away with it - but they had not.
King David committed adultery and murder; he thought he had gotten away with it – he believed he had not been caught. And then came Nathan with God’s diagnosis - and David’s world changed forever. David repented and life was forever changed. God, you see, has some pretty strong reactions to sin. And that’s the message to us today: WE NEED TO REPENT BECAUSE OF GOD’S REACTIONS TO SIN. Let’s follow the experience of David as it’s recorded in II Samuel by looking at God’s various reactions to sin.
God’s first reaction is HEAVY ANGUISH of heart. The key to understanding this passage comes in 11:26-27: “When Uriah’s wife heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for him. After the time of mourning was over, David had brought her to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing David had done displeased the Lord.” Imagine parents who have invested years of love, money, support, and time on their child. They’ve done a wonderful job. But the day comes when the child rebels and becomes wayward - all but disowns his parents. For the parents, it’s a rough time; their hearts are heavy with anguish. They love their son but hate what he’s doing. All they can think and ask is, “Why, after all we’ve done for him, did he do this?”
Sounds like God, doesn’t it? Look at the second part of verse 7: “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more. Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes?’” God loved David - but hated David’s sin. God was committed to keep on loving David, but He had to do something about David’s grave sin. God had given so much to and done so much for David - but David had rejected and despised it. God’s heart was heavy with anguish.
WE CAN UNDERSTAND SIN ONLY WHEN WE UNDERSTAND THE AWESOME HOLINESS OF GOD. David learned that sin is more than simply “doing something wrong.” As David’s confession in Psalm 51 is paraphrased in The Message, “You’re the One I’ve violated, and you’ve seen it all, seen the full extent of my evil.” Sin IS more than just doing wrong. A New Yorker magazine cartoon once showed two clean-shaven middle-aged men sitting in a jail cell. One says to the other, “All along, I thought our level of corruption fell well within community standards.” We can only understand sin in the light, and from the eyes, of God. IT IS A PERSONAL OFFENSE AGAINST A HOLY GOD. Clayton Bell has exemplified this principle in the following terms. “If you were to take a can of spray paint to a long-abandoned shack in the middle of nowhere and spray graffiti on its walls, probably no one would take notice. There would be little or no punishment. But if you were to take that same can of spray paint and go to the marble walls of the local city hall, you would get quite a different reaction. Public officials and public sentiment would be greatly offended. If you were caught at it, you would have to pay a fine for marring public property, and probably would have to pay the expense for getting the offending paint removed. If you were to take that same can of paint to the local art museum and spray a painting by one of the great masters, you would not only get your name in the paper but you would probably be thrown in jail and assessed a hefty fine. Why? It’s the same can of spray paint. Why the different reactions? The difference is in the object that is marred and the one (or ones) offended by the act. ... If we understand sin to be only a violation of human community standards, we have a totally different idea ... than when we understand that sin is committed against a holy, righteous, and perfect God. The reason why sin is so serious is because it is a violation of the holiness and righteousness and purity of God himself. ... We have violated the holiness of an absolutely holy God! We have offended the righteous standards of an absolutely righteous God! We have soiled the purity of God’s absolute goodness with the impurity of our sin!” (1)