2 Samuel 12:1-14 (Psalm 51) – “You are the one!”


2 Samuel 12:1-14 (Psalm 51)



A brief  overview of last week’s sermon …….. [Last week’s OHP]


(Fatal Attraction)

2 Samuel 11:1-27


  1. 1.           The lead up to David’s sin.

² Acts of sin are seldom isolated but usually have a history.


  1. 2.           The act of David’s sin.

² We are more vulnerable to acts of sin when we are idle, successful, unaccountable.


  1. 3.           The cover up of David’s sin.

² Not acknowledging our wrongdoing usually panics us into compounding our sins by trying to conceal them and lie about them.


  1. 4.           The consequences of David’s sin.

² Our sins ALWAYS have consequences – for us and for those around us.


We saw how David was idling away his time in his Jerusalem Palace when he should have been on the battle front. He sees from his balcony a beautiful woman bathing in her courtyard – he sends for her, sleeps with her – a month or so later Bathsheba sends word to David that she is pregnant.

David attempts to cover up his sin. He brings the lady’s husband, Uriah, back from the battle front in the hope that he will sleep with his wife so that everyone will think he is the father. Uriah, even drunk, is infuriatingly honourable and won’t go to his warm marital bed while his comrades are in the open country! David then sends orders to Joab, his commander-in-chief, to put Uriah in a place where he knows he will be killed. The deed is done!

After a suitable period of mourning David marries Bathsheba – the child is born – there are probably a few raised eyebrows but no one would say anything – after all there are a few skeletons in most royal cupboards!


It was over and done with!!

BUT “Sin can’t be confined to the past so easily. Even if the courts don’t penalize it; even if public scandals don’t expose it; even if we manage to carry on the hypocrisy as David probably did, doing our job, going to church, saying our prayers, reading our Bibles, just as if it had never happened at all, still the skeleton is there rotting away in the cupboard.” [Roy Clements]


We can’t cover over our guilt – its stain is always there – suffocating our spiritual life. There is only one person in the Universe who has the means to remove those stains.

Until, like David, we come to God to deal with our sin and guilt it will remain!


Eventually David learned this lesson because God send a preacher called Nathan to him to confront him with his sin!

In the aftermath of his confession and repentance David wrote Psalm 51 ..READ


1. SIN AND GUILT – What we must accept.


Sin is very subtle – it has seeped into every fibre of our being – it creeps up on us – it makes us think that we are in control – it is seen in the fact that we want to play god – David’s sin with Bathsheba and the murder of Uriah occurred because he ceased to focus on God and tried to play god.


It is seen in the subtle use of the word ‘send’ in chapter 11.

He ‘sent’ Joab to the battle front – he ‘sent’ to inquire about Bathsheba – he ‘sent’ and got Bathsheba – then a cluster of ‘send’s 2 Samuel 11:6            6 So David sent this word to Joab: “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” And Joab sent him to David. (NIV)

Later David ‘sent’ for Bathsheba and married her –

However there are two other ‘sends’ that show that David is not quite in control as he thought – 2 Samuel 11:5 5 Bathsheba sent word to David, … “I am pregnant.” (NIV)

AND Joab ‘sent’ and told Daivd the news of the fighting – other soldiers beside Uriah were killed.

The final ‘send’ comes in 2 Samuel 12:1

1 The LORD sent Nathan to David. ……….. (NIV)

The foundation of sin is that we humans try to play god! This was the very temptation that Adam and Eve fell into …. Genesis 3:4-5         4 “….. the serpent said to the woman. 5 “.. God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (NIV)

It is pushing God into the background and elevating ourselves. At this point in his life David had pushed God into the background – he wasn’t paying any attention to God – David has taken centre stage.


The subtlety of sin is that it doesn’t always feel like sin when we are doing it – it can feel fulfilling and satisfying – even religious sometimes – it makes us feel godlike as if we are in control –

“David didn’t feel like a sinner when he was with Bathsheba, he felt like a lover – and what can be better than that? He didn’t feel like a sinner when he sent for Uriah – he felt like a king – and what can feel better than that?” [Peterson]


Before we can deal with our sin we have to face that fact that we are guilty of sin. David hadn’t done that until Nathan stood before him and said “David, did you hear the one about the rich man who took the poor man’s lamb?” And David burned with anger at such behaviour – and Nathan pointed his prophetic finger at David “You are the man!”


What we must accept is that fact that we are guilty! No excuses, no cover up, no blaming others   Ps. 51:3  For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.


David teaches us that the first thing we must do is look inside our hearts and face up to the truth of what we find. Self-examination is never easy – it is tough.


ILLUS.: Like the story of the old mountaineer who had never seen much of civilization – one day wandering on the mountain he found a mirror. He had never seen a mirror before. On seeing his reflection he said, “My word, if it isn’t a picture of m’ ol’ Pappy!” He took the mirror home, thoroughly pleased with himself and hid it in his private possessions. A while later his wife searching through his private possession found the mirror. Looking at it she exclaimed, “Huh, so that is the ugly old witch he has been going around with behind my back all these years!”


It is a great shock to us when we see ourselves for what we really are. And discover that we are really ugly old witches inside!


David uses the 4 known Hebrew words to describe his violation against God.


EVIL – What is it?  Only understand it in contrast to good – and only God is Good!>

ILLUS.: A scientist was waiting for a train when the Express went through. He saw a man walking along the corridor of the train. He starting thinking. How fast was the man travelling? He was walking at about 5mph but the train was travelling at 70 mph. But you can’t walk at 70mph. So was he travelling at 5mph? or 75mph? or 66.333mph?  That is how insight into the theory of relativity was born. Relative to a person sitting on the train the man was walking at 5mph BUT relative to the man standing on the platform he was travelling a 5 mph relative to the speed of the train. SO what he was doing depended on what he was related to ……. all very confusing!!


BUT we have pushed that kind of thinking into every area of our thinking including moral issues. “It might be wrong for you BUT it is right for me!”


BUT the Bible removes such relativity and relates us to God –

Psalm 51:4      4 ….. I have sinned and done what is evil in your sight,


David could have responded to Nathan – “Well All the kings in the area behave like this!”  BUT David recognised that what he had done was wrong before God – therefore evil!


TRANSGRESSION – lit. ‘rebellion’ or ‘revolt’. once I know what God says there is always the possibility that I will rebel. “I know what you said God, but I will do it my way!” – purposefully stepping across the line!


INIQUITY – Lit. ‘to twist it’ – I know what God says but I am going to alter the meaning and shape it to what I want it to be. I am going to twist and pervert God’s will to fit with what I have decided.


SIN – lit. ‘to miss the target’ – same idea Paul had in .. Romans 3:23 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (NIV)


For months and months David had suppressed, excused and covered over his sin – now he says … Psalm 51:2-4

2 Wash away all my iniquity          and cleanse me from my sin.

3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.

4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight,

It is not easy to face up to the reality of our sin and guilt – For many of us this first step is the most difficult.



This is the next step!

Psalm 51:4      4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight,

so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge. (NIV)

Against you, you only, have I sinned – What about Bathsheba? What about Uriah? Of course they were wronged BUT David is expressing what every person has to accept. In the final analysis our sin is against God and God only! We can never come to terms with our sin until we have personal dealings with God about it.

Sin and guilt is not just some psychological hang up as many psychiatrists would like us to believe. It is an objective reality that stands between me and my maker.

It is not enough that a psychotherapist can help me come to terms with my guilt. It is not even enough for a person I have wronged to forgive me – I have to stand before God and give account to Him as the Holy and Just Judge.


Confession and repentance is not simply admitting that I was wrong – that I let myself down – that I should have done better. We must not confuse confession and repentance with remorse – Remorse is sorry for myself and the consequences I suffer OR for being caught out. Repentance is an acknowledgement that my sin is against God and dealing with him about it personally.


3. FORGIVENESS AND RENEWAL – What we must desire.

It is all very well acknowledging our guilt. It is possible that we can wallow in our feelings of guilt and enjoy feeling sorry for ourselves. If we are going to get out of our guilt we must want things to be different – we must desire change!

David declares that he wants to be cleansed and renewed! … Psalm 51:7-10

7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.

9 Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. (NIV)


David knows that there is no sharp dividing line between the health of his body and the health of his soul. Guilt damages our wholeness. Guilt can produce physical symptoms. .. Psalm 32:1-4 1 [Of David. A maskil.]

Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.

2 Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD does not count against him

and in whose spirit is no deceit.

3 When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.

4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;

my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Selah (NIV)

David was in a mess spiritually, physically and psychologically because of his repressed, rationalized and hidden sins – these needed to be taken away and only God can do that.

{Not all physical and psychological illness is a direct result of sin – BUT it can be and much or it is!}


David recognises that what he needs is not a tablet to suppress the symptoms or a Band Aid to cover them BUT he needs radical therapy – in fact he needs a heart transplant Psalm 51:10

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. (NIV)

He acknowledges that sin is in the very essence of his character.. Psalm 51:5

5 Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. (NIV)

We are corrupt and sinful in our very nature – Our wills are corrupt – our minds are corrupt – our emotions are corrupt. The very core of our human personality is twisted by sin. It is in the nature of humanity to sin – it comes naturally to us –


ILLUS.: No parent ever sets out to teach their children to lie and cheat YET every child does it


We need to pray not just for forgiveness for the individual sins that we commit BUT for a new and pure heart!

God is not in the business of wallpapering over the cracks – he is in the business of re-creation …… 2 Corinthians 5:17 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! (NIV)


This is why we so often shrink from this kind of thinking – Often we would rather stay as we are – we are like pigs rolling in the mud we don’t want to be clean, we don’t want to be pure – we like the way we are!! So may be that is why David prays …. Psalm 51:12 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. (NIV)


4. GRACE AND MERCY – What we must believe.

– All the above steps will mean little to us in practice unless we believe that God is gracious and merciful and that He wants to forgive and restore us.

In spite of his sin David understands something of the character of God – he has an extraordinary confidence in God’s willingness to forgive.

This psalm is an affirmation of faith as much as it is a plea for mercy …………. Psalm 51:16-17 16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.

17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart,

O God, you will not despise. (NIV)


David had in the past enjoyed a personal and intimate relationship with God – more than anything in the world David longs for the restoration of that relationship…. Psalm 51:11-12 11 Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation……..

God whatever you do, don’t abandon me ….

David had witnessed how God had withdrawl from King Saul and David is terrified that such a thing could happen to him …. God would be perfectly just in treating him that way BUT David is confident that it will not be that way because he understands something of God’s heart  .. He knows that the basis of his plea is God’s mercy and love alone! …. Psalm 51:1  Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love;…….

Love and compassion – these are the feelings of a father for a child. David knows that this is what lies in the heart of God. He knows that God is just and has every right to forsake him and send him to hell BUT in the depths of his being David knows that God will accept a  … . broken and contrite heart,……


This is what we have to come to if we are to experience the forgiveness that David knew.

Maybe you are saying to yourself ….“Yes I do feel guilty – I know I have to deal personally with God about this. I want to change but how can I be sure that God will accept me? How can I know that if I come to God and confess all the awful things that I know are inside me that he will not reject me and tell me to get lost?”


David didn’t have the whole Bible – he just have a few books and he lived before Jesus died on the cross – we have the full picture of God’s unfailing love and compassion for sinners. The cross of Christ is the sure sign that God can and will forgive those who come to him in repentance — Do you believe that!!!


Forgiveness is something that God gives us as a free gift. Like David we have to seek it on our knees before God – We can’t claim it as a right – it is not automatic – we have to ask for it. YET we can have confidence that we will receive it NOT because we deserve it BUT because God is a God of unfailing love and compassion.


David’s sin was enormous – we cannot – we must not minimize it – but it is minute in comparison to the grace and mercy of God.


When Nathan confronted David with his sin he could have become angry and told David to get lost.

We can do the same – We can continue in our guilt – we can try to bury it – we can try to excuse it – we can pretend that nothing is wrong – — if that is the case we will be the losers!

David shows us a better way – accept your sin and guilt; repent and confess your sin before God; desire forgiveness and renewal; and believe with all your heart that God will accept you because of the kind of God that he is.





2 Samuel 12:1-14 (Psalm 51)



                           What we must accept.

      EVIL – opposite to good (Only God is good)

      TRANSGRESSION – rebellion / revolt

      INIQUITY – to twist it

      SIN – to miss the target



                           What we must do.

      not REMORSE – feeling sorry for myself and the consequences of my sin

      but REPENTANCE – acknowledging that my sin is against God



                           What we must desire – 

not Band Aids over sores BUT a new heart



                           What we must believe –

as great and terrible as our sin may be it in minute compared to the greatness of God’s grace



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