The Deadening Effects of Intentional Sin
March 5, 2012
By John Barnett
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All that really matters in life may be reduced to one simple reality--what does God think of what I am doing or have done .
As we open in our Bibles to the last sentence of II Samuel 11:27, and read those words—that is exactly the perspective God has of David’s life at that moment.
Only Two Choices: Please God or Self
Our lives can be focused by one simple truth: am I pleasing or displeasing God? All that mattered at that moment and for eternity—Is what God thought of what David had done. And David did not please the Lord!
2 Samuel 11:27b “…But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord.” NKJV
Right by that verse note Psalm 32 in your margin. David began to feel the consequences of his sin as soon as he displeased the Lord.
What did God do to him? Open with me at the first 4 verses of Psalm 32 and see the deadening effects of intentional sin. This is the God who says, I am not mocked, whatever you sow, that is what you’ll reap. Please listen to the reaping:
Psalm 32:1-4 (NKJV) A Psalm of David. A Contemplation. Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered. 2 Blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit. 3 When I kept silent, my bones grew old Through my groaning all the day long. 4 For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was turned into the drought of summer. Selah
The sin of pleasing self instead of God can be very costly as Psalm 32:3-4 expresses.
Think about the moments, hours, days, and weeks that followed this statement. The ornate halls of Jerusalem’s royal palace became strangely silent those days. It seemed as if David had lost his voice. Un-confessed and un-forsaken sin gradually leads to personality changes in the life of a believer, that those close and spiritually perceptive, begin to notice. That is why community in Christ's church is so vital for our spiritual health.
David, the most written about person in God's Word, has changed.
He has slowly withdrawn from what had most characterized him for all the years since his boyhood on the hills of Judah. David’s song had stopped.
In days past, sweet songs of God's power were often heard coming from the throne room of this victorious warrior.
The shepherd boy become king had carried his stringed instrument, a harp or lyre, into the daily life of leading God's people. This man, who was a living and talking expression of God's heart, was always refreshing those he touched with his praises to the Lord.
It was a daily treat, for the myriads of aides and clerks and military attaches to hear their king rapturously sing great hymns of worship.
Down the halls had flowed rivers of praise to the Lord--passing the conquered treasures taken from fallen kingdoms, over the storehouses of consecrated gold and silver heaped for the future temple to God. These songs poured out of David’s mouth from a heart filled with the goodness of God. Each song (or Psalm) sent from God to David was such a treasure from heaven. David sang:
Songs of a Soul Set Free
Did you know that God carved the life of David into the bedrock of His Word? Most amazingly, the Lord recorded many of the Psalms directly from the daily life of David. There are Psalms that flow from the most wonderful and the most wrenching hours of David’s life. Our lives can find great encouragement in these Psalms out of the hard times in the life of David.
These Psalms have been preserved for three thousand years. Pillaging armies have swept across the Middle East like hordes of locust, fires have burned for weeks behind them, blood has flowed like rivers, earthquakes have leveled cities and towns, floods and storms without number have raced down the hillsides.
But God has preserved His songs. Not one has been lost. We have them today in God's Word; and David’s life makes up nearly half the Book of Psalms that most of us hold a copy of in the middle of our Bibles.
Let’s look at a few of the songs that would have been formerly heard if we had walked up and down the halls of Jerusalem’s royal palace before Bathsheba–but now are extinct from David’s life.
David had for years been singing songs like Psalm 8, written after he had slain Goliath:
Psalm 8: “O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! Who has set thy glory above the heavens?”
Those words of humility and victory once rolled down from the throne room of David. Look at Psalm 9.
Psalm 9: “I will praise thee, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will show forth all thy marvelous works.”
David used to praise God with all his heart--but he wasn’t now.
As we turn to Psalm 18, we find the Psalm about when David returned at the head of his armies. In the superscription, it says:
“For the choir director, a Psalm of David, a servant of the Lord who spoke to the Lord the words of this Psalm in the day that the Lord delivered him from the hands of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul, and he said: “I will love thee, O LORD, my strength. The Lord is my Rock, my fortress, my Deliverer, my God, my Rock in Whom I take refuge”
Only he didn’t just say that, as the leader of God’s people he sang that.
David Sang of God’s Presence
And with a heart of abandon, a heart welling up and overflowing with praise, a heart unashamed of coming into God’s presence--David led all who were around him into God’s presence. David’s life just overflowed with God and people were so blessed just to see him, just to hear him, just to feel the warmth and the glow. Look at Psalm 21.
Psalm 21: “The king shall joy in thy strength, O LORD; and in thy salvation how greatly shall he rejoice!”
And so he did and for year after year after year the invincible armies of Israel extended the borders of Israel to the very limits.
But things changed. No more was Psalm 21 heard in the palace; neither was that old favorite from David’s youth, as we turn to Psalm 23...
Psalm 23: “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want”
Yes something was missing, something was greatly wanting in David’s life! No more was David heard to sing of following his Shepherd. Turn to Psalm 25.
Psalm 25: “Unto Thee oh Lord do I lift up my soul; O my God I trust in Thee.”
No, David’s soul was cast down, trampled, empty, defiled and infected with guilt and sin. Turn to Psalm 27.
Psalm 27: “The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear”
David was no longer walking in the light; no longer was he enjoying the joy of his salvation. No longer did he know the fearlessness that the righteous have. The righteous are as bold as a lion (Proverbs 28:1) but wicked people run even when nobody is chasing them.
What David had done displeased the Lord—and all that really matters in life is what God thinks of you.
David fell silent, because:
David Lost His Song
No more did the daily business of the Kingdom of Israel flow to the songs of heaven.
No more did the good shepherd’s peace and joy touch each worker, aide and courier. The palace was slowly becoming a wasteland.
David was quiet, pensive and moody. His face was dark, no longer aglow with the joy of the Lord.
His words that used to seem like honey were now more like his sword at his belt – sharp, cutting and bringing death to those around him.
Gone was God from his daily work.
Extinct were the life giving expressions of joyful delight that nourished the government of God's people. What a blessing those songs had been.
But David was hiding his sin. Look with me at Proverbs 28:13. God said that if we hide our sin instead of confessing and forsaking it (which is repentance) God will resist us.
Proverbs 28:13" He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy." NKJV
David needed to repent. That was the only solution for his dreadful condition.
Would you just pause with me for a moment and turn your attention from David and look at your own heart? To help focus on what God wants from each of us, please quietly look within and answer these questions silently in your heart.
• Does it seem like you have begun to lose your song like David?
• Does it seem like sometime in the past you used to be closer to the Lord?
• Could it be that you are you holding onto some sin that displeases the Lord?
• Can you feel your heart growing restless and cold?
If so, the only remedy is to confess and forsake the sin that has caused God’s displeasure right now. Don’t wait like David did and suffer the deadening spiritual consequences that inevitably came.
We are in the midst of a journey through the Scriptures, mining the treasures God has recorded from the life of David. The lessons David learned are by God’s Spirit also intended for us!
We have come to the saddest era of David’s life—the months and years of consequences that followed his sin with Bathsheba.
Beware of allowing any unguarded moments in your life, thinking that you are safe from sin’s reach; it is at that moment the ravenous devourer himself is crouching and preparing to spring. That is what David discovered, only it was too late!
SIN HAS CONSEQUENCES
If David had only considered the consequences of his immorality! But He forgot to think about God, who also is a part of all we do and say and think. Thus, God has another perspective for us to consider: David took the wife (completer) of Uriah to be his own completer. And that is a dangerous thing to do.
By the way, who is completing you? Physically and emotionally it MUST be your spouse if you are married—not another person, your work, your hobbies, or things like a habit, videos, pictures, and chats.
To complete your life with anything but what God has designed and planned for you is to make an idol out of something God has made—and that always brings God’s displeasure.
Look at II Samuel 12:9-10 to see how clearly David reaped God’s displeasure in this passage:
“ ‘Why have you despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in His sight? You have killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword; you have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the people of Ammon. 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’ ” (2 Samuel 12:9-10).
If Only David Had Known
God was so displeased with David’s sin that the sword would never depart his house! The pain—the cutting that would tear his family—would relentlessly be the consequence of his sin!
If David had only known what his sin would do to Bathsheba as she watched their child die; as she was reminded every day about the horrible death her husband suffered as he fell under a rain of arrows and lay there in agony dying; as she looked into the faces of her friends and saw behind their smiles the disbelief that she would ever do such a thing.
If David had only known what his sin would do as Uriah’s lifeless body was brought back by a military detachment that carried him the forty-four miles from Amman to Jerusalem. Bathsheba watched as his body was washed, anointed, and wrapped for burial in the family tomb—seeing the arrow’s deadly marks that spoke of the anguish of his final hours—helpless as his life slowly ebbed from his body. She probably thought about him thinking of her as he died … thinking he had died nobly. But instead he was murdered in the deceit of adultery’s sinful grip!
If David had only known what his sin would do to Ahithophel, Bathsheba’s grandfather, as he advised those who sought to kill David and overthrow his kingdom.
If David had only known what his sin would do to Absalom, Amnon, and Tamar as the lives of his own children were ravaged by lust, murder, and death. He paid a dear price for his sin because he gave up his credibility with his sons and daughters. ("Why listen to a man who betrayed Mom and us?")
And on and on we could go. Sin has consequences and they are painful! If only we would rehearse in advance the ugly and overwhelming consequences of immorality, we would be far more prone to avoid it.
God's Word calls us to not forget—to look for God, to use His Word, and to run from lust! God is close. We can cry out to Him. He will rescue you every time!
What David experienced after his confession to Nathan was the marvelous grace of God. That is the lesson of today: God is too gracious to allow us to persist in our sin. He ran David dry until he was willing to confess and forsake.
Our God of Marvelous Grace
That same grace is ours today, and it is captured by a hymn in our hymnbooks. Turn with me to #201 in your hymnbook.
Think about these words as we read them together.
Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!
Yonder on Calvary's mount outpoured,
There where the blood of the Lamb was spilt.
Sin and despair, like the sea waves cold,
Threaten the soul with infinite loss;
Grace that is greater, yes, grace untold,
Points to the refuge, the mighty cross.
Dark is the stain that we cannot hide.
What can avail to wash it away?
Look! There is flowing a crimson tide,
Brighter than snow you may be today.
Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,
Freely bestowed on all who believe!
You that are longing to see his face,
Will you this moment his grace receive?
Grace, grace, God's grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God's grace,
Grace that is greater than all our (MY) sin!