Sermon on 2 Samuel 11:26-12:10, 13-15
Text: When Uriah’s wife heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for him. 27 After the time of mourning was over, David had her brought to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing David had done displeased the LORD.
1 The LORD sent Nathan to David. When he came to him, he said, “There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. 2 The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, 3 but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him.
4 “Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him.”
5 David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, “As surely as the LORD lives, the man who did this must die! 6 He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.”
7 Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. 8 I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you all Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more. 9 Why did you despise the word of the LORD by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. 10 Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.’”
13 Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.”
Nathan replied, “The LORD has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. 14 But because by doing this you have shown utter contempt for the LORD, the son born to you will die.”
15 After Nathan had gone home, the LORD struck the child that Uriah’s wife had borne to David, and he became ill.
There are few things as annoying in summer than getting a cold. Not that colds are welcome during any time of the year, but there is just something about getting a cold in the summer. If you should come down with a cold, I have found a few cures that can help cure it. One is that you take some garlic and mince it, put it in some milk and drink it down. Another cure that I found said that to cure a cold, you slice up an onion and put the slices in your socks. We may think that these cures are odd, but scientific evidence was offered to boost the claim of these cures. The truth is that there is no surefire cure for a cold. As we study God’s Word this morning, we are going to examine a fatal disease for which there is but one cure. CHRIST IS THE CURE FOR SIN. 1. Our Cures For Sin Only Make It Worse. 2. God Is Serious About Sin And Its Punishment. 3. God’s Cure Is Permanent And Complete.
Our text for this morning follows a very sordid account in David’s life. He has committed adultery with Bathsheba. As a result of their affair, Bathsheba became pregnant. When David was told of the situation, he tried to cover it up by bringing her husband, Uriah, home from the battles that were going on. When that failed to have the desired result, David arranged for Uriah to be killed in battle. Though the sword may have belonged to the Ammonites, David was covered with Uriah’s blood.
It is at this point that our text begins. “When Uriah’s wife heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for him. After the time of mourning was over, David had her brought to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son.” (11:26&27) What a show that was put on for the benefit of the people around them. Bathsheba went through the customary time of mourning, usually about seven days. At the end of her mourning period, David took the widow of his faithful soldier, Uriah, into his palace and married her. She gave him a son. On the surface, everything looked fine. David must have thought that he had gotten away with it. He was free to live his life as if nothing had happened.
However, we read in verse 27, “But the thing David had done displeased the LORD.” God knew everything that had happened. Yes, on the surface, it may have looked good. However, things were far different on the inside. While there was a part of David that tried to convince him that everything was Ok and he had gotten away with it, his conscience was tearing him up inside. David wrote about this time in his life in Psalm 32:3&4, “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.” The Lord was reaching out to David by means of his conscience to call him to repentance. However, David was ignoring his conscience and, in turn, the Lord. His cure for the sin that he had committed was to try and cover it up and ignore the Lord’s call to repentance. Had he continued in this path, he would have been lost forever.
What cures have we come up with when we sin? Sometimes, we follow David’s example and try to cover it up, pretending that nothing happened. Everything’s fine here. I’m really a pretty good person. There are others who are far worse than I am. Another cure is to blame someone else when we sin. It’s the other person’s fault that I did this or that. If they wouldn’t have said what they said, I wouldn’t have responded as I did. They were the ones who pushed my buttons and I just had to hot back at them. It’s only natural that if you hurt me, I will hurt you back. These are some of the attempts that we might use to quiet that conscience. Another cure for a troubled conscience might be getting so busy with other things that I don’t have time to listen to my conscience. Substances are abused to try and dull the voice of the conscience. However, none of these methods can cure the root cause of sin. If we continue to use these methods, remaining in the sin, we could well be lost forever.
The Lord showed that he would not be ignored by David, so he sent the prophet Nathan to him. Rather than directly confronting David with his sin, Nathan began with the story of a cold-hearted man, who, rather than taking from the abundance that he had to prepare a meal for a visitor, took the beloved lamb from a poor man. How unjust! David was indignant when he heard the story and said, “As surely as the LORD lives, the man who did this must die! He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.” (12:5&6) David is ready to lash out with righteous wrath to make such a villain pay. Death would not be too severe a penalty for a person as cold-hearted as this!
Then, Nathan said to him, “You are the man” (12:7) These words of Nathan cut through any excuses, any rationalization, or clever words that David might use. The spotlight of God’s law is shining brightly on David and his actions. They strike like a sword into David’s soul. There was no hiding whom Nathan was talking to or what he was talking about. ‘David, I’m talking about you.’ Nathan continued, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I 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 all Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more.’” (12:7&8) God reminded David that God had not withheld anything from David. He protected him. He made him king. Then, he adds, “Why did you despise the word of the LORD by doing what is evil in his eyes? “ (12:9) It was an impossible question for David to answer. Why, in spite of all of God’s goodness, God’s grace, and God’s abundant blessings did you do this? As a result of David’s actions, he was told, “Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.” (12:10) God showed David that he was serious about sin and the subsequent punishment from it.
May we hear these words and apply them to ourselves! As we said earlier, it is human nature to try and excuse our sins. We like to minimize our sins and say that they are just a character flaw. We say that everyone else is doing it. We compare ourselves and say that we are far better than many that we could mention. Our God will not tolerate being ignored, so he sends people to point out our sins. They do not do so because they want to feel superior to us. They want us to see our sins for what they are. They are an open rebellion against God. Having the bright spotlight of the law shining in our hearts points out how far short of God’s standard of perfection we have fallen. It, also, leads me to question why I did it? Has God been stingy with his blessings that I should be discontent with what I have? Has God ever failed to provide for me that I should worry that he won’t this time? We see the foolishness of our sins. God is also clear about the punishment for our sins. He says in Romans 6:23, “The wages of sin is death.” The law shows us that God is quite serious about sin and its punishment.
After Nathan accused David of sin, he didn’t try to deny it or blame someone or something else. He, simply, said, “I have sinned against the LORD.” (12:13) David knew that he was guilty and deserved the same death penalty that he had pronounced about the cold-hearted rich man in Nathan’s story. David was sincerely sad and sorry for his sins. May we learn from David’s example. When we are confronted with our sins, may we accept responsibility for our actions. ‘It was my fault and I deserve the punishment.’ May God work contrite hearts in us when we hear the pronouncement of the law.
How beautiful, then, the next words that came out of Nathan’s mouth must have sounded to David’s ears and heart: “The LORD has taken away your sin. You are not going to die.” (12:13) Nathan announced the precious, refreshing news of unconditional love and complete forgiveness to David’s parched soul. One day, the LORD would fulfill his promise to sacrifice the Lamb of God to take away the sin of the whole world. This forgiveness did not depend on anything that David would do. It was a free gift that came from a heart filled with love.
By God’s grace, you and I have also heard this message of the Lamb of God, who came to the world to be our Savior. Since you and I sin every day, our Savior came to the earth to live a perfect life for us. He kept every single one of his Father’s commands to the letter. Then, because our God has said that the wages of sin is death, Jesus stepped into our place. He suffered death, the physical death and the torments of hell, for us. Our debt to God has been paid in full by our Savior. We rejoice in the good news of Jesus’ resurrection for it assures of that all has been done for our salvation. This is the confidence that we have because Jesus came to the earth to be our Savior. His promise of forgiveness, salvation, and eternal life is unconditional. They are not ours if we do this or that. We do not earn them. Indeed, we cannot earn them. How thankful we are for this message. We never have to wonder if we did enough in order to gain God’s forgiveness and salvation. We don’t have to wonder how much we have to pay for the eternal cure for our sin. It is ours, by God’s grace, as a gift to us. We can count on it. God’s cure for sin is permanent and complete.
In summary, we have been talking about repentance in our sermon this morning. Repentance is something that we, as Christians, want to do daily. The first part of repentance is confessing our sins. As we hear the proclamation of God’s law, we acknowledge that we are sinful and rightly deserve God’s wrath and punishment both now and for all eternity. The next part of repentance is trusting that God, for Jesus’ sake, has forgiven all of our sins. The slate has been wiped clean. The third part of repentance is found as we, out of thankfulness for all that God has done for us, resolve to do it better. We ask God to keep us from repeating those same sins over and over again. Will we ever accomplish this perfectly? Unfortunately, no, not on this side of heaven. However, we continue to strive to live godly lives as we thank God for all that he has done for us. May God help us to live in repentance and forgiveness.
Earlier, we talked about all the various cure for the common cold that are out there. The truth is, I cannot guarantee that any one of them is effective. It may be that one will work for one person and not work for another. I can, however, tell you about the cure for the most deadly disease of all: sin. There is only one cure and that cure is Christ. May God fill our hearts with longing to daily return to this cure, for we sin every day. May we go forward in knowing that our disease of our sins has been cured once and for all in Christ. Amen.
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