FORGIVEN but ….
2 Samuel 13 – 19. (selections)
We hear often in our society the claim that says “I can do as I please!” Some of the reasoning given to justify such a claim is “It is not hurting anyone!”
One of the claims of the sexual revolution is that two consenting adults can do what the like and it doesn’t affect anyone else and it is none of their business.
This individualistic attitude is very prevalent in our society and we would be foolish to think that we in the church are not influenced by such attitudes.
Individual actions do not only affect the persons involved.
The famous quote “No man is an island” is true.
ILLUS.: If a married man has an affair with another woman it affects his wife and children – as well as the husband and children of the woman, if she is married. It influences the extended families of both of them and of their spouses. It will also have an affect on their jobs – probably a detrimental affect – the ripples become ever wider ……..
How I live and what I do will to a greater or lesser degree impact other.
This was one of the hard lessons that King David was going to experience for the rest of his life.
Every family experience difficulty, hardship and trouble at some point. There are two kinds of hardships that families experience. That which is from without e.g. – things like the death of a loved one, theft of property, illness, injury through accident etc… – these, as hard and as painful as they are will often tend to pull families together rather than drive them apart.
Other forms of trouble come from within. e.g. unforgiveness, neglect, bitterness, and all the anger that come when parents live to satisfy their own fleshly passions and desires .… or when children are rebellious and reckless and disrespectful.
When there is friction between husband and wife or parent and child, that is a lot harder to
cope with than external struggles, especially when these internal difficulties are cause by someone’s sin in the family.
David sinned when he lusted after and then committed adultery with Bathsheba. Then he lied and schemed and eventually murdered Urriah, Bathsheba’s husband. He then tried to cover it up and live as if nothing had happened. David was to learn a principle of life that we are later warned about in the NT.
7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. (NIV)
BUT didn’t God forgive David. Didn’t we see in Psalm 51 how David repented and God restore him. YES!
- 1. God’s Grace is always available to Repentant Sinners.
It is quite true that God forgave David. However, it is a deception to believe that forgiveness removes consequences.
God warns us not to be deceived into thinking that we can sin with impunity.
A man reaps what he sows.
We can easily be conned into believing erroneous teaching about the grace of God – we can easily think that if we simply confess our sins and claim God’s forgiveness then all the consequences of our wrongdoing will simply be whisked away.
God is gracious and he does forgive sins. Grace means that God, in forgiving, doesn’t destroy us as we deserve. Grace means that God, in forgiving, gives us the strength to endure the consequences of our wrongdoing. Grace frees us so that we can obey our Lord and Saviour. It does not mean that sin’s consequences are automatically removed.
ILLUS.: If I steal a car and go joy riding and crash. I break my leg and cut my head and write-off the car. If I ask for forgiveness, God will forgive me but I will still have a broken leg and a cut head and probably face prosecution.
We accept without question that in the physical realm there are consequences of things like car crashes – a broken leg is a broken leg whether I am forgiven or not.
The same happens in the emotional and spiritual realms – e.g. when a parent wilfully and irresponsibly acts against God’s principles, not only does the parent suffer, but so too does the whole family.
This is what happened in David’s life.
Those who live to satisfy their own sinful desires will harvest the consequences… Galatians 6:8 (NLT)
If we use the imagery of planting and sowing, we see life as a daily planting of one kind of seed or another. Sowing seeds of carnality as David had done with Bathsheba reaps a harvest of trouble.
“The pain of the harvest eclipses the pleasure of the planting” – Swindoll.
Let us never be deceived into thinking that sin is not pleasurable – it is exciting and adventurous and stimulating to satisfy the pleasures of the flesh. Even the Bible tells us that sin has its pleasures even if they are short-lived.
Of course we don’t think about, or don’t want to think about, the pain of the harvest while we are set on enjoying the pleasure of the sowing.
We focus very well on how we can have our sins forgiven and on how gracious and merciful and forgiving God is. We tend to focus less on how to prevent falling into sin in the first place.
ILLUS.: Next year I have the dubious pleasure of a son who will want to learn to drive. I could take a corrective approach to his driving “Andrew, before you get in the car I want you to know that I have taken out an insurance policy on the car. When you have a accident here is the number of the insurance agent!”
OR “Andrew, these are the rules of the road – if you learn them and obey them you could go a long time without even an dent. I can’t guarantee you won’t have a dent or two, and you do need insurance BUT it is better to prevent an accident than to try and sort it out afterwards.”
Most of us learn 1Jn.1:9 [Anyone quote?] before we learn Romans 6 …..1 John 1:9 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (NIV)
This is wonderful to know that our sins can be forgiven! Does that mean we can sin willy-nilly knowing that God is gracious?
Romans 6v1. [Anyone quote?] Should we go on sinning so that God can show us more and more kindness and forgiveness? Of course not!” (NLT)
BUT it is better if we don’t sin in the first place. Thus Paul continues in Romans 6v12-13. [Anyone quote?] “Do not let sin control the way you live, do not give in to its lustful desires. Do not let any part of your body become a tool for wickedness, to be used for sinning. Instead, give yourselves completely to God since you have been given new life. And use your whole body as a tool to do what is right for the glory of God.” (NLT)
God is gracious but God’s grace doesn’t usually take away the consequences of sin.
- 2. Grace doesn’t always remove the consequences of our sins.
We need to be clear at this point. David was forgiven …1 Sm.12v13 Nathan.. “The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die ……”
David acknowledged his sin “I have sinned” – if he had done that the night after he slept with Bathsheba I am fairly sure the consequences would not have been so disastrous.
God declared through the prophet Nathan, “The sword will never depart from your house”
But I thought David was forgiven? He was “The lord has taken away your sin” – that’s forgiveness BUT the consequences are still there.
Not everyone who sins will have the same consequences! God in his sovereignty fits the consequences to each person. In David’s case the consequences were serious.
Twice in Ch.12 Nathan warns David that trouble will come from within his own household – His own family will rebel against him.
David wilfully and deliberately went against God’s instructions – not only did he suffer as a result – so too did many people who were close to him.
It is a lesson we need to learn and learn well – Few actions are private – what I do or neglect to do – whether good or bad will have a ripple effect and touch the lives of others – sometimes with devastating consequences as in the case of David.
- 3. Sin always brings trouble.
(Not all trouble is a direct result of sin) – the consequences of sin are a tangled mass and those not directly responsible also suffer!
The next 4-5 Chapters of 2 Samuel catalogue the trouble that came to David.
(1) Bathsheba’s child died.
Despite the fact that the child was the product of an adulterous relationship both David and Bathsheba no doubt loved it. The child’s death brought grief to David and Bathsheba – and the child suffered.
This was the first of many consequences that would result from David’s sin.
(2) One of David’s sons raped his half-sister.
In Chapter 13 we have the account of Amnon being attracted to his half-sister Tamar – who is the blood sister of Absalom.
2 Sm.13:1-2 “…Amnon son of David fell in love with Tamar, the beautiful sister of Absalom, son of David. Amnon became frustrated to the point of illness on account of his sister Tamar, for she was s virgin and it seemed imossible for him to do anything to her.”
As the story unfolds it becomes clear that this is not love at all but blind selfish lust. With the help of a scheming friend Amnon tricks Tamar by pretending to be ill. When she comes to bring food to her ill half-brother, he rapes her.
She is disgraced and humiliated and goes to live in virtual widowhood in the house of her brother Absalom.
Modern rape and sex-abuse victim can surely identify with her misery and pain. She was innocent and need to feel no reproach for her own actions. However such is the nature of injustice that it is the innocent that feel defiled and who go crying for the sins of another.
(3) A brother hates a brother.
For two years Absalom was eaten up with bitterness and hatred towards Amnon for what he did to Tamar.
Where was David during all this time? You can’t tell me that David didn’t know what was happening. BUT he did nothing! A classic case of passivity – you see it is difficult to give moral guidance to your children when you have been a bad example.
David allowed himself to be manipulated by Absalom into permitting all the king’s son to go to the place where Absalom’s sheep were being sheared.
(4) A brother murders a brother.
Lust. Rape. Hatred. What next? Absalom murders his brother Amnon for what he had done to Tamar.
“The sword will never depart from your household, David.” David’s heart must have ached as he saw what was going on around him.
(5) Absalom rebels against David.
After he has killed Amnon Absalom flees across the Jordan River. In time he returns to Jerusalem but David won’t even look at him for two years. Eventually they are reconciled but it doesn’t last long and Absalom leads a revolt against David. David, the king, has to flee Jerusalem for his life.
(6) Absalom humiliates David in public.
Remember God’s words through Nathan, the prophet to David. 2 Sm.12:11-12. “Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity upon you; Before your very eyes I am going to take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will lie with your wives in broad daylight. You did it in secret but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.”
In chapter 16 we read how Absalom pitches a tent on the roof of the palace for the whole city to see and there sleeps with his own father’s women. Where did David’s sin begin – on the roof of his palace – and here his own son’s srdid display rubs his nose in it.
(7) Absalom is murdered.
Later the final step in this devastating chain of consequences comes when Joab, David’s commander-in-chief, pursues and murders Absalom against the direct wishes of King David. And we have at the end ch.18 one of the most heart rending passage of scripture when David is told of the death of Absalom.
“The king was shaken. He went up to the room over the gateway and wept. As he went, he said: ‘O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you – O Absalom my son, my son!”
Is David only mourning the death of his son? Surely David regrets the day he even looked at Bathsheba and carried on a year of deception. The harvesting of his sins is almost more than he can bear.
Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.
We must not be deceived into thinking that bad consequences only result from the wrong actions. There are also bad consequences when we neglect to do the right things.
As Christians we are instructed NOT to sow seeds of corruption BUT to positively sow seeds of righteousness.
Neglecting to engage with God in prayer, in Bible study, in worship also has serious consequences. Failing to have fellowship with other Christians, to show care for others, to be a witness for Christ, ……. These omissions also have consequences. They stunt our spiritual growth and hinder our effectiveness in God’s kingdom. And in the long term we are not happy and fulfilled.
If your spiritual life is dull and boring and ineffective maybe some self-examination on these areas is necessary. What kinds of seeds am I sowing or neglecting to sow in life?
Back to David – Forgiven? Yes!
Hard Consequences? Yes!
Was all lost? Did God abandon David? Was David no longer of use to God? No!
Despite his sin David had a heart for God – he continued to trust God – God restored his kingdom and blessed him.
Solomon was born to David and Bathsheba – God named Solomon, Jedidhiah meaning “loved by the Lord”. How gracious is God to allow the next king to be born of the woman David had committed adultery with.
We do sin and there will be consequences but that does not mean all is lost.
ILLUS.: In the 1970’s Charles Colson was adviser to US President Richard Nixon – he was implicated in the Watergate scandal at the White House. About that time he became a Christian. BUT the consequence of his actions meant he had to go to prison -–becoming a Christian didn’t remove the prison sentence.
BUT through those consequences for his sin God lead him into a key ministry to prisoner in the USA after his release.
ILLUS.: Gordon MacDonald was a pastor and Bible teacher and fell into sin – he was publicly disgraced and humiliated – but through repentance and forgiveness God restored him – he suffered the consequences BUT allowed God to work through those. He has subsequently written a number of books relating to what he has learned – esp. “Rebuilding your broken World”
Sometimes through acts of foolishness our world can be broken OR sometimes through neglect we can allow our world to simply become run down and ineffective.
Forgiveness is always available.
Consequences are not always removed – we can become paralysed and defeated …. “If only … If only …”
OR Like David we can come humbly and repentant to God with the cry of Ps.51:12 … “Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me”.
In spite of what David did and what he suffered he knew something of God’s heart – he knew that God’s Grace is greater than all our sins.
2 Samuel 12-18.
Don’t be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Galatians 6:7-8
God’s grace is always available to repentant sinners.
If we confess our sins he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness 1 John 1:9
God’s grace doesn’t usually remove the consequences of our sins.
“The pain of the harvest eclipses the pleasure of the planting” Swindoll
Sin always brings trouble.
(not all trouble is a direct result of sins)
The Consequences David faced:-
– Bathsheba’s child died.
– One son raped his half-sister.
– A brother hates a brother.
– A brother murders a brother.
– Absalom rebels against David.
– Absalom humiliates David in public.
– Absalom is murdered.
Damaging consequences result
but remember ….
Neglecting right-doing is wrongdoing.
Consequences for sin? – Yes!
Forgiveness for sin? – Yes!
And God will restore to the repentant sinner the joy of His salvation. (Psalm 51:12)