Tuesday, March 13, 2012

At the Heart Level - Comments on II Samuel 12

This post is part of a series where I am reading and studying all the chapter 12's in the Bible in 2012.

II Samuel 12 is the famous confrontation, where Nathan rebukes David for his sin and David repents. There are an incredible amount of points and many cross referenced passages (ex: Psalm 51/32- CHRONICLES/KINGS) to study. But I am going to start in a rather unconventional way.


1 Samuel 13:14 But now your (Saul's) kingdom will not endure; the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the LORD’s command. 
 1 Samuel 16:7- 7 But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
Acts 13:22 After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’
2 Chronicles 28:1 Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem sixteen years. Unlike David his father, he did not do what was right in the eyes of the LORD.
So, it is clear that David is thought of by God to be a man after his own heart.


But we also have some clear evidence of David committing sin. In Psalm 51 David says, " Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me."

Just in this passage (II Samuel 12) look at the charges:

  • "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 this had been too little, I would have given you more. Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in His eyes?" (12:8, 9)

  • "You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own." (12:9)

  • "... because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah to be your own." (12:10)

Sin is personally against God.

The question is.. Do I see it that way? When I sin, I am more afraid of what someone else may think. But what does God think? I am in the same place as David, God has given me so much. How or why would I despise Him by doing what I know He does not want me to do? Even worse, when I don't do what I know He wants me to. It makes me question whether I really love God.

There is a famous story, before his discovery moment of Romans 1:17, that Martin Luther was struggling with the Eucharist. He was spilling wine and handling the elements in a sloppy and improper way. The bishop over him exclaimed in disgust, "Why man, don't you love God?!" Luther replied honestly, "Love God? Sometimes I hate Him!"

Lord, help me to grow in my personal recognition of Your presence and authority in my life. I need to see that when I disobey, I am personally letting You down and I ask for a heart that breaks in that failure.

The Consequences of Sin are Contained in the Acts Themselves.

We see this also clearly in Romans chapter 1. The judgement is contained in the activity. David is no exception. His sin of adultery/murder led to a wide web of deceit and destruction that impacted his household and his reign. The story of the house of David is a tragedy.

Forgiveness Does Not Necessarily Prevent Consequences of Sin

Notice what Nathan said: " The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die."
And we do have Scripture that David's heartbroken confession bore fruit. Read Psalm 32:

jBlessed is the one whose ktransgression is forgiven,
whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man against whom the Lord lcounts no iniquity,
and in whose spirit mthere is no deceit.
For when I kept silent, my nbones wasted away
through my ogroaning all day long.
For day and night your phand was heavy upon me;
my strength was dried up2 as by the heat of summer
qacknowledged my sin to you,
and I did not cover my iniquity;
I said, “I rwill confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.
Therefore let everyone who is sgodly
offer prayer to you at a time when you tmay be found;
surely in the rush of ugreat waters,
they shall not reach him.
You are a vhiding place for me;
you preserve me from wtrouble;
you surround me with xshouts of deliverance.
I will yinstruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will zcounsel you with my eye upon you.
aBe not like a horse or a mule, without understanding,
which must be curbed with bbit and bridle,
or it will not stay near you.
10 cMany are the sorrows of the wicked,
but steadfast love surrounds the one who dtrusts in the Lord.
11 eBe glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous,
and fshout for joy, all you gupright in heart!

BUT- We also know the terrible consequences that were the result of this sin:

David's son by Bathsheba dies.
Incest and rape within the family.
Premeditated murder within the family.
David's son flees.
Arson within the kings household.
Disloyalty and insurrection of David's throne by his own son.
David needs to flee his own home.
David himself is cursed and attacked.
Immorality in public by David's son.
Battle of King David's forces against his son Absalom's forces.
David's son is killed.

Sin will take you further than you want to go. It will keep you longer than you want to stay, and it will cost you more than you want to pay.

Strange/Shocking Parts of the Passage:

  • God, through Nathan, said He gave David his master's house and wives. 

This has always interested me. God allowed his servants 'provisions' that stand contrary to His primary law or will. I liken it similar to Jesus saying that God permitted the certificates of divorce under Moses because of the hardness of man's heart but His desire if for one man and one woman to be together in marriage and inseparable. These are things God allowed, there are consequences for being outside His primary desire, but these are exceptions the Bible records without shame.

  • Is it strange that, in the rebuke from Nathan, it does not condemn the deception that David tried to cover up the sin?

David tried to manipulate a cover-up. David got Uriah drunk. One commentator said that Uriah showed more honor in his drunken state than David showed when he was sober. We could say that all the evil is inferred, but it is an interesting omission. Doesn't justify it by any means, but seems strange to me.

  • The Lord says, "I will bring calamity on you". The Lord says 'Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will sleep with your wives in broad daylight. You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel."

And this comes true in II Samuel 16:20-22 when Absalom sleeps with David's concubines in a tent on the roof of the palace. Again, this is crazier than any episode of so called 'reality TV' and right in the household of God's chosen King. Nothing is sanitized here and helps me to see that just as God was in control then..... 'As the World Turns/ All My Children/ Jersey Shore' ..... He is in control now.

  • Then David comforted his wife Bathsheba, and he went to her and made love to her. She gave birth, and they named him Solomon. The Lord loved him; and because the Lord loved him, he sent word through Nathan the prophet to name him Jedidiah (loved by the Lord).

Think about this! Here is Bathsheba, stolen from Uriah- After terrible sin - After the death of the child. David continues with her and their marriage results in the son who represents the covenant seed of faith!

But, we also need to consider that this child was a humble reminder of David's sin and the successor to build the temple, which David really wanted to do. Consider what David says to Solomon in I Chronicles:

7 David said to Solomon: “My son, I had it in my heart to build a house for the Name of the LORD my God. 8 But this word of the LORD came to me: ‘You have shed much blood and have fought many wars. You are not to build a house for my Name, because you have shed much blood on the earth in my sight. 9 But you will have a son who will be a man of peace and rest, and I will give him rest from all his enemies on every side. His name will be Solomon,[a] and I will grant Israel peace and quiet during his reign.

Finally, the truth of David's heart on display.

"I have sinned against the Lord."

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

"David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and spent the nights lying in sackcloth."

"Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me and let the child live?"

Just as the Lord said to Samuel- People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.

We judge David by his actions. I judge David by his failure. But God sees it differently....

But all you have to do is read the Psalms and you see it. David had a passion for God. He feasted on God's Word. He knew God relationally. If you mocked David's God, you might have your head removed! David never played it safe. It was all out for the Lord.




Bottom line: Where am I at the heart level?

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