Honest Self-Confrontation

Steve Viars August 1, 2009 2 Samuel 11:

 - Imagine that you’re a king or someone in authority and part of your responsibility is serving as judge over cases where a possible injustice has occurred…

- a person comes to you and tells you a story of two men who live in his city, one who is rich and the other poor…

- the rich man had many flocks and herds…but the poor man only had one little ewe lamb…

- and this lamb grew up with the poor man’s children…

- it would eat of his bread and drink from his cup…it would even lie in his bosom…

- it was like a daughter to him, the person says…

- and then the rich man had a visitor and as was the custom, needed a lamb to provide food for his guest…

- and instead of taking from his extensive flocks, the rich man took the poor man’s little lamb (the only one he had), and killed it and prepared it for his guest to eat…

- and this person wants to know what you, as the judge, believe ought to be done…

- and you’re outraged at such injustice…and you say that the man ought to die for his selfishness…but he will certainly have to repay the lamb he stole fourfold…”because he did this thing and had no compassion…”

- and then, in the silence just after your judgment has been pronounced and your outrage was beginning to wane…the person looks right at you and says…”thou art the man…”, in other words, I wasn’t talking about someone else, I was talking about…you.

- with that in mind, please open your Bible to 2 Samuel chapter 11…page 234 of the front section of the Bible under the chair in front of you…

 

- this morning, we are completing our series on Finding Hope by Growing from Your Past

- I realize that people have been in and out all summer long--that just comes with this time of year…

- I also understand that some of what we’ve been talking about is challenging to digest the first time around…so let’s try to quickly summarize where we’ve been thus far…

- we’re trying to craft a biblical theology of the past…

in this series we are trying to construct a biblical theology of the past…drawing together all that the Word of God would say about this subject…

- one of the primary points we’ve tried to make is – your past is not one big lump…

- biblical theology allows us to sort or categorize things that truly differ…

- so we’ve posed 2 clarifying questions:

1) Was this particular event initiated by your own sin, or by the sin of a particular person/or simply the pain of living in a sin cursed world?...

-so are we talking about something from your innocent past…a time where you were sinned against, or your guilty past---a time when you sinned and that’s what initiated the event?

2) How did you respond to what occurred?

- that’s how you get from 2 to 4 buckets…

- the innocent past where you responded well

- the innocent past where you responded poorly

- the guilty past where you responded well

- the guilty past where you responded poorly

- perhaps this chart will help us organize this…

Understanding the Buckets

 

 

 

In what occurred, you were…

 

 

Innocent

Guilty

You responded…

Well

Bucket #1
The innocent past when you responded well

Bucket #3
The guilty past when you responded well

Poorly

Bucket #2

The innocent past when you responded poorly

Bucket #4
The guilty past when you responded poorly

 

- the point is – unfinished business with events that fall into any of categories will make it difficult if not impossible for a person to live victoriously today…

- so it’s wise to look into each one of the buckets to determine whether there are events from the past that remain unaddressed…

- and the good news is – God’s Word has principles to help us deal with events from each bucket (if we haven’t already---this doesn’t have to be repeated over and over)…so God’s Word has given us principles to address each category---but if you don’t sort the events, you couldn’t possibly apply the right principles…

- it’s like this – let’s say you have several batteries that need to be recharged…

- you have your cell phone battery...and your car battery…and a battery from a child’s toy…and just for fun let’s throw in the battery set from your 747 airplane sitting outside in the driveway…

- and you also have your cell phone charger, and a set of jumper cables, and the little device that recharges household batteries, and then that big cart they drive around at airports for the batteries in the planes…

- so you have solutions to all four of your problems…but what’s the key now?...

- you better be sure to attach the right cables to the right device…

- if you take your cell phone charger and plug it into your airplane, it’s probably not going to do much…

- on the other hand, if your take the cables on your airplane charger and attach them to your cell phone…you might want to locate your fire extinguisher…

- you have to attach the right cables to the right device…

- think about biblical principles as being like battery chargers…and dead batteries like being events from the past that have never been handled…

- you can get it all behind you…every last bit of it…as long as you apply to right principles to the right problems…

- that’s why the last three weeks we have been reaching into the buckets…we said that, bucket #1 requires…Authentic Suffering  [click through the steps on the power-point slide]…

- 2 weeks ago we dealt with bucket #2…and we said events that fit in that category require Humble Analysis…[click through the steps on the power-point slide]…

- last week we studied bucket #3…and we said that while we don’t purposely bring things back up after we’ve confessed them to God and the appropriate people…there are times when they come up again…we drove by a particular landmark, we heard a familiar song, we saw the individual again, or maybe just someone who reminded us of them…but when that occurs, the next step should be Joyful Remembrance…celebrating a God who chooses to forgive…

- this morning we want to reach into the final bucket…those times in the past where you blew it…and you responded with additional sin…striking out twice…or more than twice…

- there’s no question about the fact that if there are unaddressed issue in that in-box, your past will be your enemy until you deal with it head on…and the longer you wait, the worse things are going to become…be sure your sin will find you out…

- We’re talking this morning about Honest Self-Confrontation – Reaching into Bucket #4…with the time we have remaining, let’s study one of the saddest points in King David’s life, and find 4 principles to help us deal with sin quickly and completely.

 - let’s start in 2 Samuel 11:1…[read 11:1-5]…

- for our purposes this morning, let’s summarize this with…

I. Everyone Has Sin in Their Past

- that’s not to suggest that everyone has sinned as wickedly as david did…but if the man whose life is summarized in the NT as a “man after God’s own heart” would have this in his past…no one could take the position that they have reached sinless perfection.

- what observations can we make from what we’ve just read, not to be critical of David, but to learn all the lessons we can to not follow in his steps…

- that’s part of the beauty of the Bible….Paul explained that when speaking of the sins of the children of Israel in the wilderness, 1 Corinthians 10:6, 11-12 - Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved….Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.

- one observation we can make is…

A. Sometimes “down time” is dangerous.

- Scripture tells us that this was the spring of the year, when kings normally went to war…and that had certainly been true of David in the past…

- but for some reason that is not explained in this text, this year David stays home…

- now, is that automatically wrong?...no, but had David been in the thick of the battle, where he believed God wanted his troops to be, this temptation would have never occurred…

- you may remember the parable Jesus told about the rich fool…he became so wealthy that he decided to tear down his barns and build bigger ones and then what?... Luke 12:19 - And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.”

- and that doesn’t mean that retirement is wrong…or vacation, or taking a break…that’s not the point…

- but sometimes people dream about how wonderful it will be when you don’t have to work, or you don’t have as many family responsibilities, or when you can hand off some serving opportunity at church to someone else…

- and it’s at that very time that the enemy attacks…

- and the upshot of that isn’t – let’s practice sanctification by busyness…but it is – let’s not confuse a life with fewer responsibilities with a life with fewer temptations…

- now the text goes on to say that one night David arose from his bed – that’s another benefit of being busy for God – you generally sleep pretty well…Ecclesiastes 5:12 - The sleep of the working man is sweet…

- so David wakes up and looks down on the rooftops of the other houses and sees a woman bathing…

- now if you’ve been to third world countries where homes are arranged in this way, you can see how this could have easily occurred…the palace probably would have been higher on the hill, and from that vantage you can see the rooftops of people below…

- we don’t know exactly what the circumstances were in which Bathsheba was bathing, but the text does not give any indication that what she was doing was wrong or immodest…we can’t judge all of that by the conveniences and the privacy we enjoy today…

- so it very well may have started with an innocent look at something that was accidental in nature…we just don’t know…but if that’s what it was, David should have taken the advice of Psalm 119:37 - Turn away my eyes from looking at vanity, And revive me in Your ways.

- or he should have make the same agreement as Job -- Job 31:1 - I have made a covenant with my eyes; How then could I gaze at a maid?

- but David didn’t do that…and we can say with confidence [because we have the details in Scripture] that David’s subsequent steps were wicked and vile…and the lesson is…

B. Sin begins by not controlling your desires.

- James 1:14-15 - But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.

- part of the horror of all of this was that Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah, was one of David’s mighty men…one of his faithful warriors, one of his close friends…

- the desire David should have chosen at that moment [and keep in mind – desires are a choice of your will]…what David should have chosen at that moment would have been “wanting to be faithful to his friend”…wanting to value the sacredness of their marriage vow and do everything in his power to strengthen and perpetuate their relationship…

- see, sometimes we believe that sin only begins with the actual act…and with certain temptations…letting your mind run wild and then trying to control yourself at the point of behavioral temptation is practically impossible…that’s the point of James 1:14-15, understand where sin starts and then stop it right there…in your mind/heart, before it can go any further…

- that’s why it’s so important to “order your private world”…to discipline your mind…to 2 Corinthians 10:5 - We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,

- this entire story could have been over at the end of verse 2…I just saw something I shouldn’t have seen…and I sensed a desire in my heart that did not honor God…and I’m going to crucify it right now before this goes any further…

- in theology, there’s been a long-running debate about where sin actually begins…

- if a wrong thought pops into your head, are you even responsible for that…

- and no one can answer that question with exact precision, but Martin Luther liked to say it this way – you can’t stop a bird from flying over your head, but you can stop him from making a nest in your hair…

C. Don’t complicate matters by acting on wrong thoughts and desires in your heart.

- 2 Samuel 11:3 - So David sent and inquired about the woman…

- 2 Samuel 11:4 - David sent messengers and took her…

- you can think about your mind/heart as a buffer between you and the people around you…it’s the final battle zone before the sin in your heart gives birth to sin with your hands or with your body…

- it-s a buffer – and a great blessing – if you do battle with it there, no one has to see all the ugliness you may have wrestled with…

- that’s why I believe it is unwise for people to automatically tell their spouses or other people everything that they’ve ever thought, or for others to demand that people tell them everything they thought that day…

- respect the value and blessing of the buffer…and , be committed to do battle in your heart and mind before this thought or desire takes on a life of its own…

- Proverbs 4:23 - Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.

- the fourth observation we can make about these early verses is…

D. The pleasure is sin is brief compared to its effects.

- 2 Samuel 11:5 - The woman conceived; and she sent and told David, and said, “I am pregnant.”

- whatever pleasure or gratification David felt from his actions was miniscule compared to the effects…this verse from the book of Hebrews explains that Moses understood this principle…which is why he…

- Hebrews 11:25 - choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin,

- making a deal with the devil is like taking your retirement fund to Las Vegas…the deck will always be stacked against you and what you eventually pay will always be greater than the benefits you received…

- now you might say – this is terrible…we haven’t gotten to terrible yet…

II. The Key Question is – How Did You Respond After You Sinned?

- we have to summarize these next verses for sake of time…

- of course we should have read that David woke up from this spiritual funk he was in and asked Bathsheba’s forgiveness, and then sent to the front lines for her husband so he could ask his forgiveness…

- but David goes into full blown “cover yourself mode”…

- that’s what differentiates bucket #3 from bucket #4…it’s how you respond after you sin…

- if you’re not familiar with the story, here’s what happens…

- David sends to the front lines all right, and has Uriah sent home…with the hope that Uriah will have physical relations with his wife so he’ll think the baby was his not the kings…

- but Uriah was such an honorable man, he sleeps on his porch, and when David asks him about it, he says…2 Samuel 11:11 - Uriah said to David, “The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in temporary shelters, and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are camping in the open field. Shall I then go to my house to eat and to drink and to lie with my wife? By your life and the life of your soul, I will not do this thing.”

- in other words, he didn’t think this was the time for the satisfaction of even his legitimate desires…what a model of faithfulness to God and loyalty to his friends…

- then in verse 13, David calls him back the next day and tries to get him drunk and then send him home…

- and you have to wonder what’s going on in David’s head…take another drink, and another drink….here, fill his cup again…the duplicity is sickening..and verse 13 summarizes that charade with…

- 2 Samuel 11:13 - …in the evening he went out to lie on his bed with his lord’s servants, but he did not go down to his house.

- that already gives us some questions to ask about any event that might still be in bucket #4…

A. Did you try to cover it up?

- see, the only reason that sin in your past ended up in bucket #4 is because you did not turn it around quickly…you didn’t confess it to God and the appropriate people…well, what did you do?...

- were you like David?...did you go into the “cover yourself mode”

- and what’s especially sad is, David had been blessed by God with tremendous creativity…that was a gift from God to him – we see that characteristic all over the Psalms…but how’s he using that creativity right now?...to do everything he can to solve this problem on his own…

B. Did you ignore what God was doing to get your attention?

- do you see God at work in all of this?...

- He allows Bathsheba to become pregnant…that certainly should have gotten the kings attention…now there’s another life involved in all of this…

- and then the example of Uriah…someone who is the polar opposite of david at this point in terms of loyalty and faithfulness and ordering his desires in a way that honors God…even the most callous and cold hearted person spiritually should have seen the markers back to repentance and renewal…but it’s hard to see God’s hand when you’re busy covering your tracks…

- now David shows the lengths he’s willing to go to in order to handle this situation his way…

- 2 Samuel 11:14-15 - Now in the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it by the hand of Uriah.He had written in the letter, saying, “Place Uriah in the front line of the fiercest battle and withdraw from him, so that he may be struck down and die.”

- and that’s exactly what happens…and when news is brought to the king, he sends another message back…

- 2 Samuel 11:25 - Then David said to the messenger, “Thus you shall say to Joab, ‘Do not let this thing displease you, for the sword devours one as well as another; make your battle against the city stronger and overthrow it’; and so encourage him.”

- that’s what happens when you leave an event in bucket #4…and the question is…

C. Did you plan steps you would have never considered before?

- David tried to cover his sin of adultery by committing the sin of murder…

- [as an aside, do you realize that people in our culture do that all the time?...and it doesn’t matter what the social engineers say, abortion takes an innocent life, and there is no way around that fact]…

- and what was especially bad at this point with David, he didn’t even care…he had one of his mighty men killed, and the most grief he can conjure up is….”the sword devours one as well as the other…”

D. Did you let your sin make you callous to its effects on others?

- the chapter ends with these words…2 Samuel 11:26-Now when the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she mourned for her husband.

- it’s interesting that the text says nothing about David mourning…or caring how all of this impacted Bathsheba…then we read…

- 2 Samuel 11:27a - When the time of mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house and she became his wife; then she bore him a son.

- and you read that and think, he’s going to get away with this…maybe I should just leave my sin in bucket number 4---why deal with it quickly?....here’s why…

- 2 Samuel 11:27b - But the thing that David had done was evil in the sight of the Lord.

 - so now we see what David should have known all along…God is omnipresent…

- he wrote it – Psalm 139:1-3 - O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down, and are intimately acquainted with all my ways.

- what’s the downside of leaving an event in bucket #4?...

III. There are Significant Consequences for Not Dealing with Sin Quickly.

Proverbs 13:15 - Good understanding gives favor: but the way of transgressorsis hard.

Proverbs 28:13 - He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.

Galatians 6:7 - Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.

Numbers 32:23 - …be sure your sin will find you out.

- the next chapter tells us that God sent one of his prophets, a man named Nathan, to tell the king about a rich man with many lambs who took a poor man’s only lamb by force…

- and David was outraged, and declared that this rich man deserved to be put to death, but that he would at least have to restore the lamb fourfold…

- and Nathan looked right in David’s eyes and said…

- 2 Samuel 12:7-9 - Nathan then said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the Lord God of Israel, ‘It is I who anointed you king over Israel and it is I who delivered you from the hand of Saul.‘I also gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your care, and I gave you the house of Israel and Judah; and if that had been too little, I would have added to you many more things like these!‘Why have you despised the word of the Lord by doing evil in His sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword, have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the sons of Ammon.

- it’s time to take out the scales…and carefully weigh whatever joy and fulfillment David received from his sin…and compare it to the consequences on himself and others…

A. Unaddressed guilt.

- it’s likely that months transpired between when David learned that Bathsheba was pregnant and God sent Nathan to confront him about his sin…

- many students of Scripture believe that Psalm 38 and Psalm 51 were written during this time…

- I would encourage you to carefully read those Psalms sometime this week…

- here’s just a flavor…Psalm 38:2-8 - For Your arrows have sunk deep into me, and Your hand has pressed down on me.There is no soundness in my flesh because of Your indignation; there is no health in my bones because of my sin.For my iniquities are gone over my head; as a heavy burden they weigh too much for me.My wounds grow foul and fester because of my folly.I am bent over and greatly bowed down; I go mourning all day long.For my loins are filled with burning, and there is no soundness in my flesh.I am benumbed and badly crushed; I groan because of the agitation of my heart.

- that’s the price of sin in the past that’s never been confessed…

- Psalm 51:3-4 - For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.Against You, You only, I have sinned and done what is evil in Your sight, so that You are justified when You speak And blameless when You judge.

- what happened to David doesn’t always to everyone, but this principle is often the case…

B. Implications to your family.

- 2 Samuel 12:10 - Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.

- the Bible goes on to detail the deaths of four of David’s sons, three of whom are killed in battle, just like Uriah…

- the text goes on to say…2 Samuel 12:11-12 - “Thus says the Lord, ‘Behold, I will raise up evil against you from your own household; I will even take your wives before your eyes and give them to your companion, and he will lie with your wives in broad daylight.‘Indeed you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, and under the sun.’

- and while time doesn’t allow us to see how this prophecy was fulfilled, please jot down 2 Samuel 16:1-2, where David’s rebellious son Absalom tries to steal the kingdom from his father, and on the very rooftop where all of this started, erected a tent in plain sight of all the people and had physical relations with his father’s concubines…

- and I realize this is tender ground for many in our church family…but there was one more consequence…their baby died…

- and I realize you might say – but I don’t like a God who judges people who won’t deal with their sin quickly…please listen carefully next Sunday as Pastor Aucoin unpacks Isaiah chapter 6 – God’s central attribute is His holiness…

- and God had blessed David abundantly…and david in return despised God, and despised God’s Word…

- the price of leaving events like that in the bucket for very long are severe…

- the wheel of God’s justice moves slowly, but it grinds oh so fine…

 - thankfully, that’s not the end of the story…

IV. There is Hope for Getting Out of Bucket Number Four.

- 2 Samuel 12:13-15 - Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has taken away your sin; you shall not die.“However, because by this deed you have given occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also that is born to you shall surely die.”So Nathan went to his house.

- after David finally repented, his relationship with God began to be restored…

- even though his baby died, he was able to utter words that have been a tremendous source of encouragement to bereaved parents for centuries… 2 Samuel 12:23 - …Iwill go to him, but he will not return to me.

- that also set him on a path of renewal…climbing out of bucket #4 is a marvelous thing…

- Psalm 32:1-7 - How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered!How blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit!When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long.For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer. Selah.I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord”; and You forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah.Therefore, let everyone who is godly pray to You in a time when You may be found; Surely in a flood of great waters they will not reach him.You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble; You surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah.

 - what we’re talking about this morning is one of the biggest reasons men and women are stuck in their past…where they’ve sinned in some way, and then responded by sinning some more…

- first let me speak to those who do not yet have a relationship with Jesus Christ…

- the first step out of bucket #4 is letting someone else pay for your sin, and give you His righteousness…you have to have that kind of relationship and that kind of power to handle sin in the past well…

- 2 Cor 5:21 – God made Him, who knew no sin, to be sin for us…

 - Christian friend, the steps for you are clear if there is something left in bucket number four…

- confess your sin right away

- make restitution if necessary

- bask in the joy of God’s forgiveness

Steve Viars

B.S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College
M.Div. - Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min. - Westminster Theological Seminary

Pastor Steve Viars has served at Faith Church since 1987. He and his wife Kris were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and two grandchildren. Pastor Viars’ gifted teaching ministry, enthusiasm for the Word of God, and organizational skills are instrumental in equipping Faith Church. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith ministries and serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video