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Be Sure Your Sin Will Find You Out

August 7, 2008

 

You have surely heard the famous declaration of the great heavyweight Champion of the world Joe Louis when challenged by light-heavyweight champ, Billy Conn. Conn said that he would merely dance around the Champ and that his speed would prove to be the factor that would defeat Louis. Louis in response said, “You can run but you can’t hide.” God made a similar declaration to those who think that they can get away with their evil deeds. You can hide your deeds from men but the eyes of the Lord are in every place beholding the evil and the good.  All of your sins are committed against the Lord God or as stated in Numbers 32:23 (NASB) 23….behold, you have sinned against the LORD, and be sure your sin will find you out. David had committed several sins, lust, covetousness, adultery and murder. He seems to have thought that he had successfully covered his tracks.  In his mind he believed that no one knew what he had done, other than Joab who understood that he ordered Uriah’s murder. 

 

But the last words of chapter 11 tell a different story.  2 Samuel 11:26 – 2 Samuel 11:27 (NASB) 27When the time of mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house and she became his wife; then she bore him a son. But the thing that David had done was evil in the sight of the LORD….God saw the works of David, that they were vile and He was angry.  David was about to experience the wrath of Almighty God. With this truth in mind, our text begins in 2 Samuel 12:1 – 23 (NASB) Keep in mind the idea that David is under the mistaken impression he has gotten away with his sin.  But God is about to give him a rude awakening. He doesn’t come right out and tell David, “I know what you did!” Instead he sends his prophet Nathan to tell David a parable, to awaken his conscience which has been nearly drowned in sin.  

 

Understand that this is an illustration of the mercy of God, that He will not let His people go, that none can take us out of his hand, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, (39) nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Also I want you to see is that there are times when even a believer finds himself in the depths of sin, so deep that he looses all sense of reality and that it is only the mercy of God Himself that can break through the sin hardened shell of a man who is in such a state. He saves some, snatching them out of the burning fire of their sinful lusts.  Consider the words of John Trapp on this passage when he says, Nathan the prophet was a man so highly esteemed by David, that he named one of his sons after him. He made him tutor to his son Solomon, and had him in his Cabinet Council.  This man is here purposely sent to let good David feel the bruise of his fall; to be unto him as Paul’s sister’s son was to the chief captain; as the sound of the rooster and, as Christ’s look, was to Peter.All this was done to arouse him out of that dead lethargy wherein he had lain for three quarters of a year and to convert him from the error of his way.

 

Nathan begins his story in verse 1Then the LORD sent Nathan to David. And he came to him and said, “There were two men in one city, the one rich and the other poor. 2 “The rich man had a great many flocks and herds. 3 “But the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb which he bought and nourished;   and it grew up together with him and his children.  It would eat of his bread and drink of his cup and lie in his bosom,   and was like a daughter to him.  Yea, much dearer. The greater was her disloyalty against so loving a husband, and so gallant a man: the more heinous also was David’s offence in wronging and robbing him of such an only jewel. The picture that Nathan, under direction of God, is painting is that Uriah dearly loved his wife, that she was his little ewe lamb.  The rich man is David, who has many wives and concubines.  He has overabundance while Uriah, has one, dearly beloved. How heinous was David’s sin against Uriah, robbing him of his one precious jewel and then, his own life. Consider too, Bathsheba.  Hers was a great sin against so loving a husband as is painted here. See how God paints the situation with a broad brush.  The illustration continues.  4 “Now a traveler which some understand to be Satan, who is spoken of as walking to and fro upon the earth as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour… came to the rich man, that is to David and stirred up his lust by the temptations that he offered;

 

And he was unwilling to take from his own flock or his own herd, to prepare for the wayfarer who had come to him; Matthew Henry here is superb when he says that David had many wives and concubines, but he kept them at a distance like rich men keep their flocks in their fields. Had he had but one that he considered dear to him, as the ewe-lamb was to its owner, had she been dear to him as the loving hind and the pleasant roe, then her breasts would have satisfied him at all times,  and he would have looked no further. But David forgot his many wives and concubines and would not consider the love they bestowed upon him, or the God who had granted him their love. How quickly do we forget the mercies of the Lord, the many gifts that He has showered upon us? But though we at times deny Him, He cannot deny Himself.  Instead of sending messengers of death, He sent Nathan to call him to repentance.

 

Now the heart of the raving, grasping, covetous old sinner is seen in his actions.  The rich man would not consider his bounty nor glorify the Lord who had bestowed it…Rather he took the poor man’s ewe lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.  The evils of sin are hideous to behold are they not.  Our sins don’t just affect us but like a stone thrown into a still pond, the rippling effect spreads far and wide. Lust gives way to adultery, which in turn gives way to murder, which does its best to cover its tracks. David is in this last throe, believing that he has hidden the matter well.  But also we see that part of him which is still the shepherd boy king who loves his Lord and hates evil. 

 

At so outrageous a story we read 5Then David’s anger burned greatly against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the LORD lives, surely the man who has done this deserves to die. 6“He must make restitution for the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing and had no compassion.”  Strong words from such a wretch of whom this biographical parable speaks. Now the boom is lowered for we read… 7Nathan then said to David, “You are the man!  Suddenly the righteous indignation is forgotten as the man of God declares that the thing done in secret is known. The scriptures say that what is done in secret will be shouted from the housetops. You David are the rich man you have so hastily condemned.

 

The sudden realization that David hasn’t gotten away with his scheme must have roared in his ears. All of his scheming and conniving was for naught. Can you conceive of the humiliation, the conviction, the terror that must have gripped David’s heart at that moment?   He had sinned against the Lord and his sin had found him out. It is a wonder to me that his heart did not turn to stone as Nabal’s had.  It is a wonder that he did not go mad as his predecessor Saul before him: such was the shock that hit him. 

 

What a lesson for us get through out thick skulls.  Whether we will admit it or not, we too sneak and connive and slink around performing our evil deeds. And then we have the gall to strut about pat ourselves on the back for being so sneaky, for having come up with such a foolproof plan.  But for us too, the thing is known. Our sin has found us out. While we are saying, “Peace and safety”, suddenly destruction bursts upon us like water from a broken dam. Then we too are swept away with sudden terrors.  We thought we were secure and then at the proper time, our foot slips and we fall and great is our fall. 

 

Peter went away and wept bitterly for having denied his Lord and isn’t that what sin is, the denial of the Lordship of Jesus Christ, the ascension of ourselves to the throne of our lives and the denunciation of His glorious name?  David had forgotten the Lord his God in a moment of blindness.  He had denied the Lord his God who had bought him and loved him and had protected him from all of his enemies.  But while he may have forgotten the Lord who had thus preserved him, the Lord hadn’t forgotten David. This is both, merciful and fearful. It is fearful in that we cannot hide from God. And it is merciful because we cannot hide from God.  The message continues and in it we see how God spells out all that David had done.  But first He reminds David of the many blessings he had received from heaven…Thus says the LORD God of Israel, ‘It is I who anointed you king over Israel and it is I who delivered you from the hand of Saul.  How that one must have stung.  This reminder of the mad king was humiliating.  Saul had started out with God and had turned away in favor of himself.  God rejected him, tore his kingdom away from him and tormented him with an evil spirit.  Like Belshazzar, he had been weighed in the balances and had been found wanting.

 

David too had received many privileges, gifts from the Lord. 8‘I also gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your care, God had given to David everything that he had given to Saul: To the victor went the spoils.  and I gave you the house of Israel and Judah; and if that had been too little, I would have added to you many more things like these!  God had promised to build David an enduring house and a kingdom that would last forever.  The Messiah would come from his family line and would reign as King of kings.

 

All these great and wonderful promises were for a time, despised in David’s eyes, all for the momentary pleasures of the flesh which are fleeting at best. What these, many more things might have been will never be known for judgment had come to David’s house this day. The Lord having spoken of the manifold blessings enjoyed by David now says,  9‘Why after all these blessings, after enjoying the light of My countenance, have you despised the word of the LORD by doing evil in His sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword, have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the sons of Ammon.  You have returned evil for good.

 

 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.’ This would be fulfilled in the person of Amnon David’s son who would rape his sister.  Absalom would then murder Amnon and be exiled by David. 11“Thus says the LORD, ‘Behold, I will raise up evil against you from your own household; I will even take your wives before your eyes and give them to your companion, Absalom would raise a rebellion against  his father David and following the council of Ahithophel, who some historians say was the father of Uriah, would, after putting his father on the run set up a tent on the roof of the palace and he will lie with your wives in broad daylight…the same roof from which David first lusted after Bathsheba. 

 

12‘Indeed you did it secretly, covertly lying with Bathsheba, and having her husband murdered, and marrying her quickly so that no one would know that they had had an adulterous affair.  but I will do this thing before all Israel, and under the sun.’”  Your judgment will be plainly seen by all. 13Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” Now this statement seems so short. But for the first time in 9 months, David speaks the name of the Lord.  He is a broken man, the two edged sword of the word of God have cut him to the heart.  It was at this time that David wrote the 51st Psalm, the most heartfelt prayer of repentance that has ever been penned. 

 

Consider the words of this prayer again if you will.  Psalms 51:1 – 19 (NASB)

1    Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your loving-kindness;

    According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions.

2    Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity

    and cleanse me from my sin.

3    For I know my transgressions,

    and my sin is ever before me.

4    Against You, You only, I have sinned

    and done what is evil in Your sight,

    so that You are justified when You speak

    and blameless when You judge.

5    Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,

    and in sin my mother conceived me.

6    Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being,

    and in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom.

7    Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;

    Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

8    Make me to hear joy and gladness,

    Let the bones which You have broken rejoice.

9    Hide Your face from my sins

    and blot out all my iniquities.

10    Create in me a clean heart, O God,

    And renew a steadfast spirit within me.

11    Do not cast me away from Your presence

    And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

12    Restore to me the joy of Your salvation

    And sustain me with a willing spirit.

13    Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,

    and sinners will be converted to You.

14    Deliver me from blood-guiltiness, O God, the God of my salvation;

    Then my tongue will joyfully sing of Your righteousness.

15    O Lord, open my lips,

    That my mouth may declare Your praise.

16    For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it;

    You are not pleased with burnt offering.

17    The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;

    A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.

18    By Your favor do good to Zion;

    Build the walls of Jerusalem.

19    Then You will delight in righteous sacrifices,

    In burnt offering and whole burnt offering;

    Then young bulls will be offered on Your altar.

 

This is the prayer of a man whose eyes are opened to see the blackness of his heart, the destructiveness of sin and the misery that follows those who engage in it. And God heard the prayer of David for we read…And Nathan said to David, “The LORD also has taken away your sin; you shall not die. Paul tells us in (Romans 4:8) “BLESSED IS THE MAN WHOSE SIN THE LORD WILL NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT.” And from Psalms 32:1 (NASB) 1   How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered! Consider also Micah 7:18-19 (NASB) 18 Who is a God like You, who pardons iniquity and passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in unchanging love. 19 He will again have compassion on us; He will tread our iniquities under foot. Yes, You will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.

 

Psalm 103:12 says, “As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.” See the the scriptural foundation upon which the hymn-writer penned these words; “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness, I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean on Jesus name.  On Christ the Solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand.”

In 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 (NASB) Paul declares to all who have fallen before the Lord in brokenness and repentance from sin; “17Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 18Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, 19namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.  20Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

 

Our position in Christ is wonderful to consider.  But do you understand what that position is?  Do you know that your sins have been covered by His blood? Do you realize that Christ’s righteousness has been imputed to you? Do you believe the scriptures that teach us that the one who comes to Jesus has been sent by the Father and that Christ will never cast them out? David had committed a grievous sin.  He had sinned against the Lord and against his own conscience. He had done evil in the sight of the Lord.  But when confronted with his sin, he repented and turned again to God who had compassion and healed him. 

 

Behold the mercy of the Lord.  It is not a thing to be trifled with.  It is a thing to wonder at.  Though we deny him at times by our actions, He cannot deny Himself.  And He will never let us go.  He will always jerk us up short and break us of our stubborn pride. There are consequences to our sins that affect not just ourselves. God had forgiven David but there would be a price to pay for dragging the name of God through the mire.  Just as Moses, the man of God would pay for his transgression so too would David.

 

14“However, because by this deed you have given occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born to you shall surely die.” 15So Nathan went to his house.  God would not allow His name which is Holy, to be besmirched by the actions of David.  He would not allow the godless nations around Israel to point the finger or wag the head and blaspheme God as a God who allows permits or even condones sin in his people.  God said, “By all who approach Me I will be regarded as holy. This baby was the visible evidence of the sin that David had committed and so we read…Then the LORD struck the child that Uriah’s widow bore to David, so that he was very sick. 16David therefore inquired of God for the child; that is David pleaded with God for mercy on behalf of the child…and David fasted and went and lay all night on the ground. Perhaps he thought, as the king of Assyria after the preaching of Jonah, “Who knows, God may turn and relent and withdraw His burning anger so that we will not perish.” “Jonah 3:9. 

 

17The elders of his household stood beside him in order to raise him up from the ground, but he was unwilling and would not eat food with them.  This man whose heart had been asleep for so long was now awakened to his Lord.  Once again he was a man after God’s own heart and fell to the ground and wrestled with God as Jacob had, seeking if he too might prevail with God for the life of the child.  Consider these words from one of the old divines:

 

“In humbling himself in fasting and prayer we see that David was willing to bear the shame of his sin. He was willing to have it ever before him, and to be continually upbraided with it. For this child, if he lived, would be a continual reminder of David’s sinful acts both to himself and others.  Therefore he was so far from desiring its death that he prayed earnestly for its life.”

 

18Then it happened on the seventh day that the child died. Just as God had said… And the servants of David were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they said, “Behold, while the child was still alive, we spoke to him and he did not listen to our voice. He has afflicted himself these seven days, lying on the ground, weeping, fasting and groaning in his supplications before God. How then can we tell him that the child is dead, since he might do himself harm!” Literally “he will do mischief” to himself, to his body; he will tear his flesh to pieces, and cut and kill himself; 19But when David saw that his servants were whispering together, David perceived that the child was dead; so David said to his servants, “Is the child dead?” And they said, “He is dead.” 20So David arose from the ground, washed, anointed himself, and changed his clothes; and he came into the house of the LORD and worshiped. like Job when he heard of the death of his children. He went to acknowledge the hand of God in the affliction, and to humble himself under it, and to submit to his holy will in it, and to thank God that he himself was spared and his sin pardoned…Is any afflicted? Let him pray. Then he came to his own house, and when he requested, they set food before him and he ate. (3) Then he went to his own house and refreshed himself, as one who found benefit by his religion in the day of his affliction; For, having worshipped, he ate and his countenance was no more sad.

 

21Then his servants said to him, “What is this thing that you have done? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept; but when the child died, you arose and ate food.” 22He said, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, ‘Who knows, the LORD may be gracious to me, that the child may live.’ 23“But now he has died; why should I fast?  What good will it do now?  Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.”

 

All of this should be a wake up call to those who think that they stand.  Sin lies crouching at the door and its desire is for you.  But you must master it.  You must fight against it with all of your might while calling upon the Lord for the strength to resist.  God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. David was a man after God’s own heart, groomed by God to shepherd his people Israel.  Yet for all of his privileges he turned aside to taste the forbidden fruit.  The word of God tells us this…Romans 6:1:23 (NASB) 1What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?

 

 3Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; 7for he who has died is freed from sin. 8Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. 10For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, 13and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace. 15What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! 16Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? 17But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, 18and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.  19I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification. 20For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death. 22But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. 23For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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