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The Cover Up and the Crime

Faith & Failure  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Messed Up Culture

Our culture is way off course. We are so messed up and have problems that are so convoluted we have a near impossible time diagnosing them and resolving them.
I have friends who are navigators in the Air Force and the talk about the importance of being exactly on course.
B/C, even a half degree off course becomes a whole big problem.
At first, it seems like you’re right one course, no one would notice that you’re not.
But when you fly for a while just a degree off course you end up miles from where you’re supposed to be.
How did our culture get so far away from where we should be?
The Oscars, for example.
The lowest rated viewership in history.
Why?
One reason, politics.
It used to be fun to watch and see who won.
Now, with the winners, we get their political views.
And, they are one-sided.
If I want politics, I watch cable news.
If I want entertainment, I watch my 2-year old play.
Not Oscars.
Another reason why we don’t watch is the hypocrisy.
A woman is never responsible when a man abuses, harasses, or assaults her; especially when it’s a man in authority over her.
I appreciate the “Me Too” movement raising awareness, getting help for victims, and fighting back against predatory men.
My problem with the Oscars;
Women should freed from ever being treated like, talked about like a sex object.
And, yet, the women presenters at the Oscars dress like sex objects and the movies receiving the awards overwhelming present women in scenes as sex objects.
The men, not so much.
In years past these horrific abuses of women were covered up and the women were left to suffer in silence.
Now, out in the open, men no longer able to easily cover up their abuses on their own, women long victimized are getting help, but the behavior is celebrated and rewarded by victims and perpetrators alike.
And, by rewarding the movies and the actors they contribute to the cover-up by de-sensitizing us to the abusive behavior.
How messed up is that?!
How do we unravel such a complicated mess that permeates our entire society?
Return to a biblical moral ethic.
Commit to abstinence until marriage. Only be intimate w/ your spouse.
Not once you’re sure your going to married.
Not once you’re in love.
Not on a first date.
And, never just “hook up.”
And don’t stick you head in the sand thinking this is just a young adult’s issue.
Our culture dismisses morals like this as antiquated, old-fashioned, doesn’t apply. Why try?
Perfection? No. But when we fail to keep this standard God has provided us the way to make things right by owning the mistake, admitting it, apologizing for it and stopping it.
The hardest thing we may ever do is stand up to temptation and sin.
Don’t put yourself in a position where you know you’ll be tempted. If you do, stop before you go too far. If you do, don’t try to cover it up. If you do, own it, accept it and the consequences, then, thank God for grace.
This problem is not unique to us nor is it only recent history.
.
This is the story about David and Bathsheba. There is so much wrong about this situation. And it leaves a number of innocent bodies in the wake.
People never intend to end up in so much trouble.
They let their guard down, begin w/ something that may not even be a sin, just foolishness.
But, if the course isn’t corrected soon enough, a little foolishness become a lot of sinfulness.
To avoid getting so deep in trouble and dealing with life-altering consequences we have to come clean early in the behavior and never complicate the situation by pursuing worse sins and then trying to cover everything up.
The cover up is almost always worse than the crime itself.
And, the second crime worse than the first.

Bad Enough

2 Samuel 11:1–5 NIV
In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem. One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, “She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (Now she was purifying herself from her monthly uncleanness.) Then she went back home. The woman conceived and sent word to David, saying, “I am pregnant.”
2 Samuel

David uncovered

David can’t sleep. So, he gets out from underneath is covers and goes for a walk on his roof in the cool night.
Nothing wrong here, except.
He never should have been here in the first place.
A king was supposed to lead his army into battle.
David didn’t go. He sent them and stayed behind.
This whole sorry episode should have been avoided if David was where he was supposed to be in the first place. But, he wasn’t.
Not a huge deal, but off course just a little.Not necessarily sinful, but foolish.
Being a little bit off course is still off course. And the longer you fly off course the farther you are away from where you’re supposed to be.
The second minute is worse than the first. The second hour is worse, yet.
David ended up a long way away from where he was supposed to be even though he was in his own bed.
With Bathsheba.
How? He saw something he shouldn’t have seen and schemed about something he shouldn’t have done.

Bathsheba uncovered

Under the cover of darkness, in place no one could see her; except one man.
Did she know he was watching?
It was dark, she couldn’t see him.
All the men were supposed to be out of town, at war. And they were, except one.
Culturally, likely the typical place and time a woman bathes.
Should she have been covered up? A curtain?
She was not doing anything wrong, inappropriate, that any other woman wasn’t doing, too.
If no one is around is it that big of a deal?
No, I don’t think Bathsheba did anything wrong here.
Again, not a huge deal. just a little off course.
There is nothing to indicate that she did.
David’s palace was on higher ground and built taller than all the houses around. In the darkness she didn’t see him.
Once he saw her, he didn’t look away, he started scheming. Sometimes we see things or hear things we shouldn’t,
David, on his roof, with a view of all the other roofs, wasn’t supposed to be there, saw something he wasn’t supposed to see, then schemed about something he wasn’t supposed to do.
Sometimes we see things or hear things we shouldn’t,
A door is left open.
We see someone or hear a conversation.
Money is left out.
And no one would know if a little goes missing.
Something pops up on the computer screen.
We see a picture or an email we’re not supposed see.
An open bottle of booze or pills.
My best friend, a neighbor, when I was in elementary and jr. high had an older sister. She had a boyfriend.
One day their mother came home from work early and found a letter to his sister from a doctor. My friend’s sister’s pregnancy test came back positive according to the letter, and she wasn’t ready for her mother to know.
A chocolate dessert that would feed more than just a sweet tooth.
Accidentally, inadvertently they can happen
These are things that we don’t want people to see or hear.
But, accidentally, inadvertently they can get out.
What do you do?
I’ve heard pastors say this and generally I agree, though I believe there are exceptions to this.
The first look is free.
It’s the second look that gets you in trouble.
The first look was an accident, inadvertent. But, the second look was premeditated, thought out, fantasized about.
David should have looked away, gone back inside. Seeing Bathsheba was not a horrible thing, but the image was burned in his mind. As he thought more about her, he schemed more, and he sinned.
In the Sermon on the Mount in Jesus said that looking at a woman who is not your wife and think about her in a sexual way is a sin.
The Pharisees had simplified the rules to say as long as a man didn’t act on his fantasies and thoughts he didn’t sin. The bar had been lowered to the physical act.
Stop now!
That was never where God set the bar and Jesus was returning the bar to it’s original and rightful place. Sin begins with the thought, the idea, the fantasy.
David saw her, thought about her, and then sent one of his servants to fetch her.
Now, he’s well down that slippery slope. Temptation is giving brith to sin.
He was flying farther and farther off course and each subsequent actions worse than the previous.
He was about to be in big trouble.

Covered up together

No one says ‘no’ to the king.
He sent for her. She had to go.
He seduced her. What was going thru her mind? It doesn’t matter.
A man in authority like this is abusing his power.
Saying “no” was a capital offense. Not that David would have, but she didn’t know that.
Was she consenting? Doesn’t matter.
When he saw her and concocted his scheme to get her he objectified her. They didn’t have a relationship.
And then, those 3 little words: I am pregnant.
There’s no covering up a pregnancy, easily that is.
If she wasn’t, it would have been much easier. The few servants who knew wouldn’t have talked.
After that it’s just the three of them. Just David, Bathsheba, and God.
The abusive adultery was bad enough. But, it kept getting worse.
She’s pregnant. And David tried to cover it up.
And, the cover-up was worse than the original crime.

It Gets Worse

The first try

2 Samuel 11:5–9 NIV
The woman conceived and sent word to David, saying, “I am pregnant.” So David sent this word to Joab: “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” And Joab sent him to David. When Uriah came to him, David asked him how Joab was, how the soldiers were and how the war was going. Then David said to Uriah, “Go down to your house and wash your feet.” So Uriah left the palace, and a gift from the king was sent after him. But Uriah slept at the entrance to the palace with all his master’s servants and did not go down to his house.
2 Samuel 11:6–9 NIV
So David sent this word to Joab: “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” And Joab sent him to David. When Uriah came to him, David asked him how Joab was, how the soldiers were and how the war was going. Then David said to Uriah, “Go down to your house and wash your feet.” So Uriah left the palace, and a gift from the king was sent after him. But Uriah slept at the entrance to the palace with all his master’s servants and did not go down to his house.
2 Samuel 11:
“innocently” calls Uriah, her husband, home from the battle.
Just happened to choose Uriah to bring back a report about how the battle was going.
Great. Now clean up so you smell good and go home and sleep w/ your wife.
A little relationship advice on hygiene.
One night at home after being away for so long should do the trick.
Everyone will assume the baby is his and everyone would understand.
But, it didn’t work.
One man in this story has a healthy conscience.
He could not, in good conscience, sleep w/ his wife while his fellow soldiers were sleeping in tents on the front line away from their wives.
So, David had to try again. And, it got worse.

The second try

2 Samuel 11:13 NIV
At David’s invitation, he ate and drank with him, and David made him drunk. But in the evening Uriah went out to sleep on his mat among his master’s servants; he did not go home.
2 Samuel 11:
Since his conscience was so strong, David needed to weaken it.
We all know what too much alcohol will do to the average person.
Things you would never do sober aren’t given a second thought.
“Hey Bubba, hold my beer! Watch this!”
If David could just get him to go home and sleep w/ his wife everything could be managed from there. No one would now what really had happened. Except the few that did.
But, again, it didn’t work.
Even w/ his blood/alcohol level up and his inhibitions down. He would not treat himself when his brothers could not.
Could it get any more depraved than this? Could it get any worse?
It could. And, it did.

The third try

2 Samuel 11:14–17 NIV
In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah. In it he wrote, “Put Uriah out in front where the fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so he will be struck down and die.” So while Joab had the city under siege, he put Uriah at a place where he knew the strongest defenders were. When the men of the city came out and fought against Joab, some of the men in David’s army fell; moreover, Uriah the Hittite died.
2 Samuel 11:
Conspiracy to commit murder is as bad as pulling the trigger yourself. The punishment is the same.
So, now David has committed adultery and murder.
When a person has this much authority and is driven to cover up his sin this is how bad it can get.
Joab reads the note, sends Uriah to where the fighting is the fiercest, and moves the men closer to the enemy’s wall.
This is terrible battle strategy. Too close to the wall and you’re vulnerable to what they can send over the wall at you; like arrows, big rocks, boiling oil.
A better strategy is to stay far enough away these weapons cannot reach you and they have to come out and fight w/ their swords.
They were no match for Israel’s swordsmen.
A terrible strategy for a battle, but an effective strategy for murder. It worked.
There was collateral damage in that several other men lost their lives, too.
Joab knew that David would be furious with this report that so many men died with this strategy. David was a brilliant military man and would have immediately seen the foolishness of the move. But, Joab told the messenger to include in his report that Uriah had been killed, too.
With that David’s anger would subside. He understood what had to be done.
3 tries and the cover up is almost complete. There’s just one more thing he needs to do.

The “Right” thing

2 Samuel 11:26–27 NIV
When Uriah’s wife heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for him. After the time of mourning was over, David had her brought to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing David had done displeased the Lord.
2 Samuel 11:
What is the right thing to do here?
It’s complicated. A woman could get a job, own property, earn a living to support herself and her child.
Either she becomes a beggar, a prostitute, or moves in with a male member of her family.
The child was David’s. And, with her as his wife it would not be unexpected for her to have his child.
In this complicated, convoluted, complex series of unfortunate and abusive events the cover up is now complete.
For now, David thinks he has gotten away w/ it. After all, only the servants, David and Bathsheba, and only one other knew what he did.
It’s that last one that knows, He’s the problem.
God knows and He’s not going to let David get away w/ it like he thinks he did.

Busted

In Paul says we have a different relationship with sin than we did when we were not believers.
B/C of the HS who indwells us and the relationship we have w/ God, He will not let us compartmentalize our sinful behavior like we used to and our unbelieving friends still do.
This is the OT version of that.

Called out

2 Samuel 12:5–7 NIV
David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, “As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this must die! He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.” Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul.
2 Samuel 12:
God sent Nathan, the prophet, to confront David. He told him a story about how a rich man w/ many sheep had a visitor. And, rather than slaughtering one of his many, he took a poor man’s only sheep to prepare a feast for the visitor.
This was David’s response. He took the bait, hook, line, and sinker.
Busted!
As in so many cased he apparently thought he had gotten away w/ his abusive behavior. He didn’t confess until he was outed.
this wasn’t voluntary. Nathan forced his hand.
At least, once it was out, he owned it.

Confession and Consequence

2 Samuel 12:
2 Samuel 12:13–14 NIV
Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” Nathan replied, “The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. But because by doing this you have shown utter contempt for the Lord, the son born to you will die.”
David got it. He was a broken man. Read and you’ll see he how humbled and repentant he was.
The consequences could have been much worse had he not responded like this.
As it was, it cost him his son.
The body count is going up. The men who were killed w/ Uriah and now the baby. Bodies in the wake.
Even good men can make bad mistakes.
James 1:13–15 NIV
When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
NT, OT, sin has always killed things. But, it could be so much worse.
God is merciful and gracious. He does good things and prevents bad things all of which we deserve.
He was good to Bathsheba and David even after all this

Grace

2 Samuel 12:24 NIV
Then David comforted his wife Bathsheba, and he went to her and made love to her. She gave birth to a son, and they named him Solomon. The Lord loved him;
They had another son together, Solomon.
He became the heir to David’s throne, the wisest and wealthiest man in history.
You’d think Solomon would be born to Abigail, a wise woman who saved David so much trouble.
Or, one of his other wives, which was a problem in and of itself.
But, God, in His infinite grace, blessed Bathsheba after having been mistreated by David. And, blessed David after his foolish, sinful, abusive behavior.
The lesson in here for all of us is:
Don’t put yourself in a position where you know you’ll be tempted. If you do, stop before you go too far. If you do, don’t try to cover it up. If you do, own it, accept it and the consequences, then, thank God for grace.

Application

Know where

Know where you will be tempted and don’t go there.
Web sites, thoughts, FB pages, memories, bars, old drug suppliers, friend’s medicine cabinets, you know where your mind begins to scheme and you need to avoid these places.
Just don’t go there.
Think, list the places you know you cannot go so you can strategize how to avoid them.

Turn away

The first look might be free. The second look will definitely get you in trouble.
If you find yourself in one of those places where temptation is sucking you in then turn the other way.
Know what to do, call your sponsor, be prepared.
Accidents happen and things are seen inadvertently. Know that you have the strength inside to walk the other way.
What do you need to walk away from?

Own it

Don’t try to cover it up. The cover up is often worse than the original crime. It certainly makes the consequences greater.
If you’re busted, either by the HS, your own conscience, or someone else, immediately own it.
Don’t just be sorry you got caught. Be sorry you did what you did to hurt God, yourself, and the people around you.
Own it, apologize for it, stop it.

Grace

Thank God for grace and mercy.
The first time you sin, every time you sin, God would be justified is stomping you out like an old cigar butt.
Be grateful.
Just as David and Bathsheba were blessed w/ Solomon, God will bless you again once he leads you out of the valley you stumbled into on your own.
Don’t put yourself in a position where you know you’ll be tempted. If you do, stop before you go too far. If you do, don’t try to cover it up. If you do, own it, accept it and the consequences, then, thank God for grace.
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