Story, Wk. 12 12/04/16—Highland—Meute
The Story: “Go Directly to Confession”
The Story, Ch. 12
Pearl: Moving quickly to confession.
Function: To move worshippers to realize that we become careless, not even always realizing our sin and we sin thereby going to confession and seeking restoration with God.
David, the conquering hero King of Israel, was in a time of ease. Things were going well for him and his nation. They were winning their battles. It was a high time and it was spring. It was in this time of relative ease that David fell, and how very great was his fall.
1. A very telling verse is found in II Samuel 11:1: “In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab with his officers and all Israel with him; they ravaged the Ammonites, and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem.”
a. David was a proven soldier. From his youth he demonstrated this. Why did he stay back in Jerusalem and not go out with his troops? Especially if this was what kings did in the springtime.
b. David should have strapped on his boots, and armor, and picked up his sword, and spear, and jumped on his horse. David should have gone to battle with his army and people. Leading his army and people and fighting was square in the middle of his area of giftedness.
c. The scriptures read, “But David remained at Jerusalem.”
d. He remained to wander the halls and corridors of his palace. He should have been out with his troops. Maybe he became restless. And then he wandered up to his roof.
2. As David was strolling on the roof of his palace he noticed a woman in another home nearby, bathing. He dispatched someone to find out who she was and then summoned her. She was Bathsheba, the wife of a soldier named Uriah: a Hittite soldier in David’s army. David seduced Bathsheba and then sent her back to her home. She soon found herself to be pregnant. King David was the father.
3. She reported this to King David. So he began to take charge of the situation—in all of the wrong ways. He arranged for Uriah to be brought back from battle and hoped that Uriah would sleep with his wife Bathsheba so it would appear that Uriah was the father.
a. It turned out that Uriah was a very upright man. He was a loyal and devout soldier who would not go to his own wife because his fellow soldiers were not also able to do so. He alone was given a leave so he insisted on refraining from the pleasure of a reunion with his own wife! Here was a man of restraint and self-control. Here was a man of commitment!
b. David even tried one more time to arrange a reunion between Uriah and Bathsheba by getting him drunk and suggesting he visit with her. Uriah, even in his compromised state, slept at the gate of his house so as to identify with his comrades who were sleeping outside on the fields of battle.
c. So David moved to Plan B and arranged for Uriah to be placed at the front lines, the most dangerous point, so that he would be killed. After Bathsheba finished mourning for her husband, David took her in as his wife.
It was at this point that the prophet Nathan went to King David and confronted him using a hypothetical story. He told the King a story of a rich man who took a poor man’s precious lamb to slaughter for a feast because he didn’t want to destroy one of his own animals. Nathan dramatically told this story to the King and as expected David was incensed at the injustice. King David’s anger was so kindled that he actually said to Nathan: “As the Lord lives, the man who has done this deserves to die; he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity” (II Sam. 12.5). Nathan then said to the King: “You are the man!”
1. Nathan further went on to say: “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: I anointed you king over Israel, and I rescued you from the hand of Saul; I gave you your master’s house, and your master’s wives into your bosom, and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would have added as much more. Why have you despised the word of the Lord, to do what is evil in his sight?” (II Sam. 12.7-9).
2. Further he went on: “…the sword shall never depart from your house, for you have despised me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife…” (II Sam. 12:10).
3. David was found out! He was caught!
a. David immediately responded to Nathan: “I have sinned against the Lord.”
b. There were no rationalizations. David played no blame games. He pointed no fingers.
c. No “damage control task force” was mobilized. David immediately confessed. He confessed to God. He admitted his sin.
i. Psalm 51 is a detailed account of David’s confession to the Lord: “Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are justified in your sentence and blameless when you pass judgment” (51.4).
ii. Technically, there were other victims of David’s sin—Bathsheba—the child she was carrying–Uriah—the army commander, Joab, who had to carry out the King’s orders to put Uriah at the front lines so that he would be killed—David’s future children would be victims of this sin.
4. There were significant consequences of his sin but ultimately David’s sin was against God.
a. The consequences in David’s personal life included the death of the baby which resulted from their affair; the rape of David’s daughter by a brother; another son, Absalom, rebelling from David and trying to take the kingdom himself.
b. The consequences in David’s kingdom included David fleeing to exile when Absalom rebelled; and Absalom dying and another son of David provoking another major rebellion.
c. Sin, however, is also fundamentally and ultimately against the Lord. Sin involves operating in opposition to the life-giving and life-sustaining impulses of life as created by the Source of Life, the Lord God.
d. Sin offends the Lord God, who is holy.
5. The only appropriate thing to do is to do exactly what David did: Go to confession! Admit; confess. In humility go immediately and directly to confession.
Like King David, people become careless. Most do not commit adultery and then murder to cover it up. But we put down our guard and we sin. In a gradual way over time there is a natural relaxing of the standard of holiness that we are called to observe.
1. Oftentimes you have to admit: “I am the man!” You are the man; you are the woman; you are the boy; you are the girl.
2. Vigilance is called for. It is easy to slip and your witness becomes compromised.
a. A pastor friend, Ben, told me it is what he calls the “Yo-Yo Effect.” He reminded me of how we used to play with yo-yos and would work very hard to get it all wound up just right so that it would function properly. Then sometimes it would unravel and everything we had worked for was undone. That is how it is with our witness. We work very hard to get it to be good. We are seen as a decent people. Then we slip somehow and it is all undone. It is easy for our witness to come undone but much harder to get it back to where we want it.
Here is what must be done. Like King David, go directly to confession. It all begins with restoring your standing with God. It begins with restoring your relationship with the Lord.
1. When stuff is pointed out to you that needs to be changed or corrected, go directly to confession. As it goes in the game of Monopoly: “Do not pass ‘Go’”; “do not collect $200”; go directly to…not jail but to…confession!
2. It is this kind of response which shows the Lord that you have a heart for him. King David had a big heart for God. Even though he fell very far, his relationship with God was restored because he fell before the Lord and humbly admitted his failure.
3. After going directly to confession then it means bearing the consequences with dignity.
Communion gives us the opportunity to do this very thing. Communion is the place to be restored again. It is the Table of Truth; and it is the Table of Grace. Come to it humbly aware of your great need and total dependence on God for life. Come to the Table of the Lord today and be restored. Indeed all have sinned. The Table is the place to reconnect to the Lord in humility and transparency. It is the place of reunion with God. It is also the place of reunion with other people.
Go to the Table; go directly to the Table!