Anatomy of a Sin

Alan Lewis
Elon, North Carolina
May 2009

I. The Crime (II Samuel 11:1-4)


Stages of sin.  1) You see something. 2) You think someting.  3)  You desire something  4) You plan something  5)  You do something 6) You become addicted to something (John 8:34).  Sin beconmes habitual 7)  It becoes a way of life.

This morning, I want to look at the fall of Israel’s greatest king – King David (I Kings 2:10; I Chronicles 29:26-28). David founded a dynasty of kings which ruled Judah for over four hundred years. He lived three thousand years ago. He ruled for forty years (1005-965 BC). Today, we will be looking at one of his weakest moments as king. What were his sins?

1. Laziness – “He belonged in the battle; instead, he was in the bedroom” The context is that the Israelite army is out fighting. Kings normally led their armies into battle. David decides to stay home instead.

2. Lust

3. Covetousness

4. Adultery

5. Murder – He committed what we could call today murder one (premeditated, planned murder). Other people besides Uriah were killed because of this plan (II Samuel 11:17, 24).  The man who wrote the Psalms wrote a murder note.

6. Abuse of power – David was the most powerful man in the nation and he abused his power as king. What he did makes the whole Watergate incident look like nothing. That abuse of power involved a break-in to a building (breaking and entering). This was much
more serious.

7. Treason – He ordered the deaths of one of his own soldiers who was fighting for him and caused the death of others in the process.

8. Selfishness

9. Caused others to sin – Uriah to get drunk, his wife to commit adultery, and his military commander to commit murder. He ordered his military leader to commit murder.

Notice the snow ball effect of sin. One thing causes another thing which causes another thing. David was not where he was supposed to be, so he saw something he was not supposed to see. Because of what he saw, he has an affair with Bathsheba. Because of his affair with Bathsheba, she gets pregnant. Because she gets pregnant, he sends Uriah home to his wife. Because he refuses to do this, David has him killed.

Because he has him killed, God chastens him for a whole year. One sin led to another (covetousness, adultery, murder). We saw that with Clinton Sex Scandal with a 22 year old intern. It started with adultery. When confronted about it, he lied to the American people. Lying led to other sins (perjury and obstruction of justice). Several things made this sin by King David even worse.

• David was a married man. Not only was he married but he had seven other wives . He already had a harem full of women. Since David was already a polygamist, one would think he would have had less reason to commit this sin. That is the problem with polygamy. If one wife does not satisfy you, then ten more will not either.

• David was a believer. Not only was he a believer, he was a mature believer. David was about 50 at the time when this took place. He had been on the throne for 20 years and had been a believer for 30 years or more. I guess the lesson here is on the depravity of man. No matter how many years we have been saved, we are all still capable of some of the worst sins.

We have a tendency when we read this account to point the finger at David and think we are superior because we may not have committed these sins but we need to remember what Paul said in I Corinthians 10:12: “if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” David was a man after God’s own heart (I Samuel 13:14). God made a special covenant with him. This was the man that loved God and a few chapters before he committed this sin wanted to build God a house (II Samuel 6). If King David, who was God’s anointed, could fall into a sin like this, we can fall into a sin like this.

• The man he killed was one of David’s best soldiers (cf. II Samuel 23:39). That is not just wrong, it is stupid. The wicked King Saul tries to kill David. Two times David had an opportunity to kill him and he refused to do so. Then he goes off and kills Uriah the Hittite. He doesn’t kill a bad man when he has the chance but does kill a good man, a man of integrity and a friend. He returned Saul’s evil with good and Uriah’s good with evil.

II. The Conception (II Samuel 11:5)

III. The Cover-Up (II Samuel 11:6-13)

Once Bathsheba became pregnant, David brought him back home and tried to get him to sleep with his wife. It sounds like a strange cover-up. “Go home and sleep with your wife to cover up my adultery”. With any other man, this would have worked but not with Uriah, so he killed him. The murder was done to cover up the adultery.

That is pretty stupid to try to cover up one sin with an even greater sin. Of course today, with our modern technology the sin of adultery would be covered-up with an abortion. That is very common response to unwanted pregnancy. David also covered up the sin by marrying Bathsheba. After Uriah died, it was no longer adultery, although not too many people were fooled. Less than nine months later a baby was born.

IV. The Chastisement (Psalm 32:3-4; 51:8, 12).

Hebrews 12:7-11 says that when we sin God chastens us or disciplines us. It is actually a sign that we are saved, a sign we are one of God’s children. It shows you are part of the family. Only children get spanked by their parents. When David sinned, he was chastened by God.

We are not told that God chastened David in II Samuel. We are told that by David in the Psalms. There is about a year gap between II Samuel 11 and II Samuel 12. David has an affair with Bathsheba. Nine months later the baby is born. Some time after that, a child is born. Nathan does not come to rebuke David until some time after the child was born. For about a year God chastened David for his sins of adultery and murder. David says that this chastening was day and night and was heavy (Psalm 32:4). What did that chastening involve? Based on hints from the Psalms, it at least involved three things. These are some of the same things we face when we have un-confessed sin that we do not deal with.

• Intense Guilt for what he had done (Psalm 51:3). Guilt led to depression and probably some sleepless nights.

• Lack of Joy (Psalm 51:12)

• Physical problems (Psalm 32:3-4; 51:8). David became physically ill on the outside and depressed and guilty on the inside.

V. The Confrontation (II Samuel 12:1-12)

Just as the prophet Samuel had to confront King Saul, the prophet Nathan now has to confront King David. David and Nathan were friends. In fact, David and Bathsheba eventually had a son named Nathan (II Samuel 5:14), probably named after this prophet. When we think of Nathan, we think of someone known for rebuking David but Nathan did not just have a ministry of denunciation. He did not just go around and castigate people. He was God’s prophet. He told people what God told him to tell them.

In chapter 12, he gave David a message of rebuke (II Samuel 12:7-10) but he also gave him a message of forgiveness (II Samuel 12:13). On another occasion, he gave David a message of encouragement (II Samuel 7:4-17). This condemnation had several characteristics.

• It was patient. Nathan probably knew about this for a long time but he waited a whole year until God told him to confront David about it. Timing was important.

• It was bold and direct. “Thou art the man”. It must have taken a lot of courage to say that. Nathan could have been killed.

• It was also tactful. Nathan’s method of rebuking David was ingenious. He didn’t just walk in the door and call him a heartless killer, a Peeping Tom, a rapist and a wife-stealer. There’s a right and a wrong way to say things. Nathan used tact in speaking to David. We are to speak the truth in love. Paul says in Colossians 4:6, “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone”.

He says in Galatians 6:1, “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.” Nathan tells David a story about someone else. It was a story David could relate to. It had a pet lamb in it. David was a shepherd and loved sheep. Nathan did not confront David about his own sin until David criticized some in the story for doing the same thing he did. Nathan then used David’s own words to convict him of his own sin.

VI. The Confession (II Samuel 12:13a; Psalm 51:1-7, 9-17)

What does it mean to really confess your sin? We can learn from David what is involved in a genuine confession of sin.

1. He was completely honest and transparent about what he had done. He does not deny it. He does not say, “I didn’t do it”. That is what Bill Clinton did on January 26, 1998, when he pointed his finger to the American people and said, “I did not have sex with that woman… These allegations are false”. He also didn’t try to blame others for what he did. “I did it but it was not my fault. I was just tempted by Bathsheba. She lured me to sin.”

2. He saw the seriousness of his sin.

• He saw who he primarily sinned against. said, “I have sinned AGAINST THE LORD” (II Samuel 12:13b). He didn’t say, “I sinned against Bathsheba and Uriah”. He acknowledged who he really sinned against (cf. Psalm 51:4). He sinned against God because he broke God’s law and because he despised God’s Word (II Samuel 12:8, 10).

• He didn’t say, “Yes, I did it but it is not really that bad. It was done in my private life and what I do in my private life is nobody else’s business.”

• The punishment for adultery and murder in the OT was death. David deserved to die for what he did and he knew it. That is why he pleads for God’s mercy (Psalm 51:1), because if he got justice, he would be dead.

3. He showed genuine remorse for what he had done.

4. He asked to be forgiven (Psalm 51:2).

5. He also asked to be cleansed and washed (Psalm 51:7).

6. His life was changed. David never did again commit adultery.

He didn’t just try to bring religious offerings in to compensate for his disobedience (Psalm 51:16-19). David didn’t say, “I broke God’s law but that is okay. I will just throw a few more animals on the altar and God will be pleased”.

VII. The Consequences (II Samuel 12:13-20)

• David was forgiven of his sin (II Samuel 12:13b; Psalm 32:1-2, 5) and would not die, even though he deserved to (II Samuel 12:13). That is major. You can commit adultery and murder and still be forgiven. No sin is too great to forgive. Did David deserve to be forgiven? No (grace). But even though David was forgiven of his sin, he still suffered the consequences of his sin. If you have premarital sex or commit adultery, you can be forgiven but you still might suffer some consequences (pregnancy, divorce, STDs). If I put a nail in a piece of wood, I can take it out but it will still leave a hole.

• He loses a son (II Samuel 12:15-20). The Bible says, “The LORD struck the child” (II Samuel 12:15). He did not just get sick and die or natural causes. That raises a very interesting question. Why did this baby die? It sounds like he died, not because of what he did but because of what his parents did? Is that fair and doesn’t it contradict passages like Deuteronomy 24:16?

The simple answer is that Deuteronomy is giving instructions for human judges. Human judges are not supposed to put a child to death for the father’s sins. It does not mean that God can’t do that. Of course, that only raises another question. Does God have to keep his own commandments? Greg Koukl, who has an apologetics ministry (Stand to Reason), and I would like to share with you his answer to this question. He says, if you own a great mountain bike, do you have the right to take it all apart and spread the pieces everywhere? Of course, you do. It’s yours. You can do what you want with your own things.

What if someone else did that to your bike? That would be wrong. God tells us not to murder other human beings but God has the right to destroy his own property. He created this world. The universe is God’s. He can do what he wants with it. He gave us all life and He can take it back whenever he wants. As Koukl says, “It’s not immoral for God to take the life of His own property.” Koukl asks the question, Does God have to keep the Ten Commandments?

He points out that many of them do not apply to Him. “He doesn’t have to honor His parents. He doesn’t have parents. What about coveting? Thou shall not covet. What is coveting? Isn’t it desiring something that is not your own? Is it possible for God to covet? What is there that is not properly His? Nothing, therefore God can’t covet”. God can’t steal anything if He owns everything.

Koukl says, “(The Ten Commandments are) in many ways an expression of (God’s) character, but they are expressions of His character that have a certain application to human beings who are His subjects and the rules do not apply to Him in the same way.” So God had every right to take the life of this child. Why he did, we don’t know. One scholar suggested He did so because “the woman did not belong to him but to Uriah. The child cannot belong to David. He cannot enrich himself through his sin, and in a sense, justice is done to Uriah.”

• He lost his testimony with unbelievers (II Samuel 12:14). The unsaved love to see Christians fall into sin. It is on the front page of every paper.

• He would be doomed to family problems the rest of his life (II Samuel 12:10-12). It starts in the very next chapter (II Samuel 13). David was also snared by outward beauty, committed a sexual sin and defied and disregarded the law of God. Two of his sons followed that example and did the same: Amnon in II Samuel 13 and his son Absalom in II Samuel 16. David took someone else’s wife, so his wives would be also taken and given to someone else. David had Uriah die by the sword, so three of his sons died by the sword: Amnon (II Samuel 13:29), Absalom (II Samuel 18:15) and Adonijah (I Kings 2:25).

• God brought good out of a bad situation (II Samuel 12:24-25). David went on to marry Bathsheba (II Samuel 11:26-27). She ends up being his favorite wife and the mother of four of his children. The inheritance went to Solomon. Solomon was heir to David’s throne. He became the next king and he was one of Bathsheba’s sons, not one of his other wife’s sons. God took one of the dumbest things David ever did, one of his biggest mistakes and brought some good out of it in the end.

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