Broken-hearted victory (II Samuel 11-12)

Series: David, a man after God's heart

Introduction:

This afternoon, I want to study, what I call, David’s greatest victory! Now he’s been a man with continual victories, since his youth; but I think, this afternoon, we will get to his greatest success of all. And as we move through our lesson, today, we will proceed a little differently than usual. Normally, on Sunday afternoon, I go through the scriptures, telling you the stories, first, and then making application, second. But, today, I want to make the applications as I move along. And so, the first point, of this afternoon’s lesson, and of the first application, is this.

I. None of us like to have our sins exposed.

I guess that it’s because it’s a little embarrassing. When people find our trespasses, it’s embarrassing! Not only that, but perhaps, another reason is that, when our sins are exposed, unwanted consequences come into our life! And sometimes, then, consequences carry over to the lives of other people, even innocent people. So, no one really wants his sin to be public. And most of us will go to great lengths to hide our sins. And, this having been said, we begin, now, to look into the life of David. The Bible says, in 2 Samuel 11:5, that Bathsheba has conceived. She is now expecting a child. And her husband, Uriah, the Hittite, is away in battle. In fact, he’s been away for some time. After all, he is David’s mighty man. And he’ll probably be gone, in battle, for much more time. “And what is it going to look like,” David thinks, “if her husband comes back and finds her, with child? And what will happen when the friends and neighbors start asking questions, when the child starts showing?” David knows that Uriah will seek answers and he knows that when people start asking questions, they usually begin to find, quickly, the answers! And David doesn’t want to be exposed; so, he starts figuring out a way to hide his sins. At first, it seems very simple. All he has to do is bring Uriah back from the field, let him go to his home and rejoice with his wife. Like that, when the child comes, no one will know the truth! And so, the story unfolds. We read, in verses 6-9, “…” So David has brought Uriah in and has asked him to go refresh himself, in his home. And David thinks, “Surely this will take care of the problem!” But the next morning, he is startled by news – news that says Uriah did not go home! He has slept, in the entrance of David’s palace, with other servants. And David can hardly believe it! He brings Uriah in and asks, “Why didn’t you go home? You’ve traveled so far and you’ve been gone for so long.” But the answer Uriah gives is one of the most beautiful statements. Uriah looks directly into the eyes, of David, and says, in verse 11, “….” And 2 Samuel 23 says that Uriah, the Hittite, is one of the 30 mighty men, in the kingdom. And I think, all of you, this afternoon, can see why he is called a mighty man. People become mighty, in accordance with their dedication and devotion to the purpose to which they have been called. Mighty husbands, mighty elders, mighty preachers and deacons only become mighty if they are willing to be devoted and dedicated to the point they will sacrifice their own well being! And this man, Uriah, is a mighty man because he is willing to do that! In any other circumstance, the king would have made a hero of him; but, now, it is inconvenient. And, so, David begins to wonder, “How do I hide my sins?” And David thinks about alcohol.

Even way back then, people knew the power of strong drinks. They knew that alcohol could have the power to alter the thinking of the mind and that it changed the convictions of the heart. So David gets to work! We read, in verses 12-13, “….” So David goes to bed with great assurance. His plan will work! But you and I know that it didn’t work. The next morning, the king gets this news: “Uriah is still sleeping on a mat with the servants. And now, you can almost feel the pressure, on David, bouncing off the page of scripture. What is he to do? In a state of panic, he writes out a message. The message is for Joab. It says, in verse 17, “…” Then David seals the message and hands it to Uriah. And Uriah takes the message to Joab. But little does he know that he is carrying his own death warrant. And Joab reads the message and obeys his king. There is a hot battle and now Uriah is on the forefront, fighting, with all of his might. And the word is sent out, “Withdraw!” And everyone hears and withdraws, except Uriah, the Hittite.

He must have wondered why others were running. But he was a mighty man. He would not run! All others may go; but he won’t, without orders. He’ll take on all the Amorite army, if need be. And he does. But he is not strong enough! He falls, in battle. Here we stop our first point. This clearly shows no one likes to have his sins exposed because it is painful. And sometimes, because we don’t like our sins exposed, we’ll go to great lengths to hide our sins. And David goes all the way, to the point of murder, to hide his sins.

II. Sin makes you callous and hard-hearted.

Then there is a second point! It’s kind of a brief point; but here is what I notice, in the life of David. In his great efforts to hide sin, he became callous. And I think, many times, we, too, become callous and hard-hearted, in regard to our own sins. Remember 1 Timothy 4:2. Paul is writing, to Timothy, about some people who have abandoned their faith. They have given themselves over to seducing spirits and now they are led astray! And Paul says that those people have their conscience seared with a hot iron. They don’t realize what they are doing to others and themselves. And I’ve noticed that in our great efforts to hide our sins, we often become hard-hearted and seared over and blind. So much so, that we cannot see the sins in our own lives. And here, David is, hiding his sins and growing a big callous over his heart. Look at where the messenger comes with news that Uriah has died. And I can hardly believe, as I read, how David reacts. He is so cold and he is so hard. He says, in verse 25, “…” And now Bathsheba hears the news that her husband has died. And she begins to cry, according to scripture. But, I wonder. Was she mourning, in part, because of the fact she had violated her faithful husband! And did she know what David had done to her husband? And I’ve noticed that, not only do we grow cold and callous, in our sins but sometimes, we even hide it, so well, that we become heroes! And that’s exactly what happens with David, this afternoon. Not only does he do well at hiding his sins but he makes himself look like a hero before the story is over! Because, here, is this poor widow, the wife of his friend, the wife of one of his mighty men, mourning. And the king, in a benevolent way, goes over to Uriah’s house and he offers the poor widow a new home and a new family. He will take care of her; she does not need to worry! And in the eyes of Israel, he takes her for his wife! What a thing to be, the wife of a king and to be taken care of for the rest of your life!

So David, not only hides his sins in a cold, hard way, but he makes himself, in his sins, look like a hero to everyone, but God! And the last little phrase of Chapter 11, verse 27, says, “….”

III. The only effective tool to cut the heart is the word of God.

So, here is my next point, this afternoon. The only thing I know that’s really effective at piercing a callous heart is the word of God! The only thing I know that can really open blinded eyes is the word of God! A wife can plead with her husband; but she’ll likely never pierce, with her pleading, that scarred-over heart! A judge can stand, before a man, and admonish that man, even punish him; but by those things, if that man has a callous heart, he will never succeed! Hebrews 4:12 says, though, “…” And what that says is that the word of God pierces all the way into your heart and exposes!

Now, why do you think that I, often, stand in the pulpit and say, you ought to be reading your Bibles! You should be reading your Bibles daily! And why is it that I admonish you to come to church every time the church meets? Why do I ask you to listen intently and, perhaps, take notes? It is so you might let the word of God cut down into your heart and expose what needs to be exposed! That’s the only thing I know that can work! It’s the only thing that made a difference, in the life of David! For Nathan, the prophet, now comes, as a preacher. He gets David’s attention with that little story about a man’s sheep. And that’s very effective! I have read, somewhere, in fact, that the best way to get a man’s attention is through a story. That’s due to the way male’s brains are wired. And that method is the method the prophet uses! He says, in Chapter 12, verse 1-4, “…” And David, when he hears this story, does like many of us when we hear a story. He becomes emotional. His emotion is described with the word “anger”. And David says, “The man, that has done this thing, deserves to die!” But then, he holds back his emotions and he lets the law of God prevail. And the law of God says, “If a man takes from his neighbor, he must make restitution!” And David says, in verse 6, “…” And that’s when Nathan makes that famous statement. He keeps right on going while he has David’s attention and he says, in verse 7, “You are the man.” And he doesn’t stop there. He says, “This is what the Lord says, in verse 7, “…” That last statement is an important point! It will be important to us for the rest of our study, in the life of David! “The sword will never leave him!”

But let us read what Nathan says next, in verses 11-12, “....” And then he keeps on and says, “Because you have done this, the son you have conceived, will die! Now from this point forth, David will have exceeding sorrow because of what he has done in his sin. It’s in the midst of all of this, Chapter 12, verse 1, that David makes this statement. “I have sinned against the Lord!” And here is our victory. Here you need to see the victory. For even Nathan sees it right away! He says, “The Lord has taken away your sins and you will not die!” Now, under the old law, one who had done what David did, would be stoned. But God said, “You are not going to die.” And, so, David’s statement brought forth victory. But I would like to call this victory “Broken-Hearted Victory”! And this is why I call it that way. If you go to Psalms 51, you read in the preview, “This is what David wrote when Nathan confronted him!” In Psalms 51, David begins with a confession. In verse 3, he says, “….” In verse 4, he says, “…” In verse 5, he says, “…”So when he is talking to God, he says, “All I’ve ever been is a sinner, Lord!” But the second thing, he does, is beg for mercy. In verse 2, he says, “….” In verse 7, he says, “..” In verse 10, he says, “…” In verse 17, he says, “….” David is begging God for forgiveness. But pay attention to verse 17. Here is the key verse in which David says, “…” Another version renders it better. David says, “My sacrifice to you, oh God! In view of my sin, all I have to offer is my broken heart!” And maybe, this afternoon, the appropriate response to sin is a broken-hearted confession! Do you remember the people of Nineveh? They were filled with sins, to the point, God said, “I am going to destroy them from the face of the earth. But, before he brought about destruction, God sent a preacher! Yes, that preacher was a reluctant preacher! But finally, this reluctant preacher made his way to the city and he began to preach! He walked around saying, “You people have sinned and, in a few days, God is going to destroy all of you, in this city!” See, those people had been blinded to their own sins. They had this callous heart. Their conscience had been seared over. But here comes the word of God, with much power. It pierces the hearts and they realize what they’ve done. In the next picture, you see they are in sackcloth and ashes and they beg God for mercy, just like David did. And God said, “Because of that kind of response, I won’t destroy Nineveh!” What a victory, from sheer destruction to life. And I tell you, this afternoon, it was a broken-hearted victory! And what I am afraid of this afternoon is this. We don’t see many broken-hearted victories, today! I don’t know what it is! But people are all involved in sin and sometimes they make a statement of confession. But they almost seem to do it with dragging feet! It seems that it is not that big of a thing!

But, when you understand who God is, I tell you, repentance becomes a big thing! And sin becomes a tearing thing! See, God said to David, “I made you what you are! You are king because I made you king. You’ve got a house because I gave you the house. You’ve got wives because I gave you wives. Whatever you needed, I gave it to you and I would have given more had you asked for it!” Then God said, “David, why did you do this? Not only did you do this to Bathsheba and Uriah, but why did you do this to me?” See, that’s when we begin to realize how good God has been to us and how he has called us to be where we are and that we can repent with a broken heart! And folks, let me say that our hearts ought to break when we consider how God has been toward us and how badly we have acted toward Him! Only with that kind of heart, can we enter his courts and fall before his throne to beg for mercy. Only with that kind of heart, can we obtain forgiveness of sin and the greatest of all victories!

Conclusion:

So I want you to understand, this afternoon, that no one likes his sins to be exposed. It’s not comfortable! And many of us go to great lengths, even today, to hide our own sins. And as we go through these lengths to hide our sins, our hearts become more and more callous. And our eyes are blinded to our own sins. And, yes, I can see the sins of others; but I can’t see the beam in my own eye. But it’s the word of God that strikes deep into a person’s heart and exposes the sin and opens the blinded eye. And then, hopefully, the one, whose eyes have been opened, will experience what I call a broken-hearted victory. This afternoon, let me ask you, have you experienced or are you experiencing a broken heart? We call you to your greatest victory of all as we end this sermon. You have a chance to come down and humble yourself before his throne. If need be, why don’t you respond as we stand and sing.