Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Saturday, 8 October 2022:
2 Samuel 12:1 — And the LORD sent Nathan to David.
God uses His messengers to communicate judgement. Nathan did not remain silent in the face of sin and, in fact, risked his life to confront David, the most powerful man in the nation who had already demonstrated his willingness to go to extremes to cover up his sin. What would you have done? How do you confront sin where you are?
2 Samuel 12:2 — You are the man!
Perhaps no more powerful, more damning words were ever spoken to David. David often did the things expected of a godly, humble leader but from the wrong heart. However, Nathan has now exposed David’s hidden hubris which has led David to tremendous, unthinkable sin. David’s hubris was always there, and if you reexamine what we have read about David to date, you can trace the thread of this character flaw, this “fatal flaw,” through many stories. Perhaps even Eliab had a sense of his younger brother David’s pride when he rebuked him (seemingly unfairly) many years before – “Eliab’s anger was kindled against David, and he said, ‘Why have you come down? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your presumption and the evil of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle.’” (1 Samuel 17:28, David and Goliath) Despite his moments of great faith, we have seen glimpses of David’s pride, ambition, deceptiveness, sense of entitlement, and lack of self-control. David had a character flaw that grew over time, while simultaneously David grew more powerful, with fewer and fewer people holding him accountable — a dangerous combination. Proverbs 18 says, “Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.” (Proverbs 18:1) Perhaps, if David had remained in the company of people like Uriah and Nathan, he never would have sinned with Bathsheba. David had a weakness; so do you. Under what conditions are you most vulnerable to sin? Who is your Nathan? Who knows you well enough to see in you what you cannot or will not see in yourself, and who do you respect and trust enough to tell you the truth about yourself? Who have you placed in position to protect you against yourself? This person usually cannot be your spouse or a member of the opposite sex. This person should ideally be a senior mentor or trusted peer who shares your faith perspective, sees you perform your daily functions, and has the courage to speak candidly to you with the right mix of firmness and gentleness. Pray for a Nathan if you don’t have one, and make a conscious effort to place protective barriers around yourself where you know you are weak.
2 Samuel 12:3 — But the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb.
David took Uriah’s everything without blinking an eye. Bathsheba abandoned the one who loved her with his life. Shocking! Yet David and Bathsheba are in the genealogy of Jesus. In fact, Mathew 1:6 describes their roles in the genealogy this way – “And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah.” Bathsheba is not listed as the wife of David but rather Uriah! How are we to reconcile all this? As with all stories of the Bible, this story is a testimony to our total depravity and our total reliance on the grace of God. Take note that those who are often called “heroes” of the Bible fail greatly in their areas of strength. Abraham, known for his great faith, impregnated Hagar rather than waiting on God’s promise. Moses, the humblest man of his time, lost his temper and sought to share glory with God at the rock. We will soon read that Solomon, the wisest man on earth, foolishly and permanently divided the kingdom. Courageous Peter will deny Jesus three times when confronted by a group of strangers. God will humble us in our pride and tear down our idols so we will understand our total reliance on Him and Him alone. If our hope is in our abilities, we have no hope at all. We must build our house on the rock of Jesus. “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3:4-7)
2 Samuel 12:5, 6 — Then David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the LORD lives, the man who has done this deserves to die, and he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.”
In the Name of The Lord, David imposed judgment on others he was not willing to impose upon himself. David’s crimes deserved the death penalty, but he did not hold himself accountable to the same standard. The Lord’s Prayer (which is really the disciple’s prayer), says, “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.” Do we not impart a curse upon ourselves when we don’t show unmerited forgiveness and grace to others?
2 Samuel 12:10 — Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.
No matter what David told himself about his sin. The truth was that he committed adultery because, in his heart, he really despised God. In his shocking sin, David had rejected the Almighty as Lord. The ripple effect of David’s sin lasted for generations.
“What is required for God to forgive sin? Repentance. But even repentance does not ensure the removal of the consequences of sin. The consequences often remain as a reminder of the terrible, destructive nature of sin. David was forgiven for his grievous sins of lust, adultery, robbery, and murder. God forgave him absolutely and removed his sin from him completely (Ps. 103:12). God did not, however, remove the pain that David would endure as a result of his transgressions. The child born of David’s adultery died (2 Sam. 12:14). David’s son Amnon raped David’s daughter Tamar (2 Sam. 13:14). David’s son Absalom murdered Amnon (2 Sam. 13:28-29). Absalom brought the kingdom into rebellion (2 Sam. 15). For the rest of David’s reign, violence filled his home and his kingdom. Although David knew he was forgiven, he bore the painful consequences of his sin for the rest of his life. It is presumptuous to assume that God removes every consequence the moment you repent of your sin. Do not think that the instant you show remorse God will restore everything as it was. He may not. Some sins, such as adultery, come from a flawed character. God forgives sin immediately upon repentance, but it takes longer to build character. It is character, not forgiveness, that determines what God brings next to your life. Because we know the devastating consequences of our disobedience, let us diligently avoid every sin and “run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Heb. 12:1b). (Henry T. Blackaby)
2 Samuel 12:11 — Thus says the LORD, “Behold, I will raise up evil against you out of your own house. And I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun.”
Throughout the Bible, God punishes by giving sinners a taste of their own medicine. What David did to Uriah secretly would now be done to David publicly. In fact, David’s sin has been exposed and recorded for all eternity, which is why we are now reading about it.
2 Samuel 12:13 — The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die.
This is an example of “Amazing Grace” — The Lord did not condemn David. However, grace did not free David from life-long punishment. Jesus was not done with David and would use discipline to sanctify Him. No one wants to be disciplined, but God’s goal for us is not to comfort us but to draw us closer to Him. “My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.” (Proverbs 3:11, 12)
2 Samuel 12:23 — Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.
There is no sense in lamenting the past. What is done is done. Be faithful with today, and trust God with the future. David knew he would see his son in the afterlife.
2 Samuel 12:24 — Then David comforted his wife, Bathsheba, and went in to her and lay with her, and she bore a son, and he called his name Solomon. And the LORD loved him.
David’s sin did not detract from God’s love for Solomon. Solomon was the child of adulterous parents, but that did not affect his relationship with God. It is not from where you came that matters; what matters is who you are with. With Jesus, you are a new creation. When He is with you, who can be against you? In Him, there is no condemnation.
2 Samuel 12:28 — Now then gather the rest of the people together and encamp against the city and take it, lest I take the city and it be called by my name.
While David was wrapped up in personal issues, Joab was doing the work of the king. Slowly David was losing respect and credibility. A leadership void will be filled by someone, perhaps the wrong one. Leaders must lead. We are called to be leaders in love, to be the primary influencers in our environments for God’s glory. If we don’t lead people to Christ, someone else will lead them away from Christ.
2 Samuel 12:28 – Now then gather the rest of the people together and encamp against the city and take it, lest I take the city and it be called by my name.
David has allowed himself to become too dependent on Joab for his successes; this hindered David’s willingness to hold Joab accountable later, which would eventually lead to the death of David’s son. When you rely on someone else’s strength, you promote your own weakness.
Psalm 115:1 – Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory.
God does not share glory. If you are drawing attention to yourself, you are drawing attention away from Jesus. Avoid the personal pronouns of “I” and “me.”
Psalm 115:6 – You who fear the Lord, trust in the Lord!
If you believe in Jesus, then trust in Jesus. If you trust Him, you will obey Him daily.
Psalm 115:17, 18 – The dead do not praise the Lord, nor do any who go down into silence. But we will bless the Lord from this time forth and forevermore. Praise the Lord!
Salvation gives you the spiritual life to praise God for eternity.
Proverbs 8:1 – Does not wisdom call? Does not understanding raise her voice?
Wisdom is obvious to those willing to open their eyes.
Proverbs 8:12, 13 — I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence; I possess knowledge and discretion. To fear the Lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.
If you love flowers, you must hate weeds. By definition, to fear the Lord is to hate evil, and with wisdom (the first of God’s creations) comes God honoring decisions and actions (prudence and discretion). Do you hate evil, pride, arrogance and perverted speech? You don’t really love God if you don’t hate evil. Growing wisdom and obedience is the natural product of growing spiritual maturity. Jesus points out that knowing him and having a fruitful life involves more than just hearing his words; it involves action:
-“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.” (James 3:13)
– “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)
Proverbs 8:17 – I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me.
Who does God love? See Psalm 11:5, and Psalm 45:7 to see who God hates. Did you think the Lord loves everyone equally like pop culture proclaims?
Obtaining wisdom is not a casual endeavor, something that falls into place over time or happens naturally. The pursuit of wisdom requires diligence. This is the way of the disciple.
Proverbs 8:22 — The Lord possessed me at the beginning of his work, the first of his acts of old.
God is the source of all wisdom, and all of His Creation functions are based upon His wisdom, the closer you draw to God, the more in synch you become with universal truth and the more effective you whole life becomes. You cannot get true wisdom apart from Jesus who is the “Word,” or “Logos,” or “Eternal Logic.” (see John 1)
Proverbs 8:33, 34 — Hear instruction and be wise, and do not neglect it. Blessed is the one who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting beside my doors.
The wise dig deeply into God’s word daily, hear God’s word, and diligently obey it.
Proverbs 8:35, 36 – For whoever finds me finds life and obtains favor from the Lord, but he who fails to find me injures himself; all who hate me love death.
Jesus said, “I am The Way, The Truth, and The Life; no one comes to the Father but through me. You must decide for yourself whether He was a liar, lunatic or The Lord.
When you obey God’s commands, you harmonize with God’s perfect order and produce conditions that enable God’s blessings upon your life. God does not bless sin. All of God’s creation functions in accordance with God’s wisdom. To live in wisdom is to live in harmony with God’s will, order, and creation. This brings natural blessings. To operate against wisdom is like trying to defy the law of gravity and jumping off of a cliff. Natural consequences are inevitable.
“…but he who fails to find me injures himself.” There are natural and very predictable consequences of disobeying God’s word, whether it is out of ignorance for defiance. God has given us His word, so ignorance is usually negligence. Why injure yourself? Diligent study God’s word and obey it.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 8 October 2022: Diligently avoid all sin today and every day.