Do you realize that God has many, many gifts that he wants to give us!
2 Samuel 11:1-5
In the spring, when kings go off to war, David sent Joab, along with his servants and all the Israelites, and they destroyed the Ammonites, attacking the city of Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem. One evening, David got up from his couch and was pacing back and forth on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing; the woman was very beautiful. David sent someone and inquired about the woman. The report came back: “Isn’t this Eliam’s daughter Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” So David sent messengers to get her. When she came to him, he had sex with her. (Now she had been purifying herself after her monthly period.) Then she returned home. The woman conceived and sent word to David. “I’m pregnant,” she said.
Psalm 32:1-7 will be our scripture today, let’s begin with verses 1-2 but first let’s understand when this Psalm was written as well as our responsive reading today, Psalm 51. Scholars feel it was written after David’s sin was exposed in his act of adultery as well as his subsequent murder of Uriah. David begins with these words in verses 1-2: The one whose wrongdoing is forgiven, whose sin is covered over, is truly happy! The one the Lord doesn’t consider guilty—in whose spirit there is no dishonesty—that one is truly happy!” David’s words express his thankfulness to God. It is good to note that in any discussion we have with God, we should always begin with praise and worship for what he has done in our life. So let’s read on:
1. The Effects of Sin
“When I kept quiet, my bones wore out; I was groaning all day long—every day, every night!—
because your hand was heavy upon me. My energy was sapped as if in a summer drought.”
Notice that David kept silent about his sin. He lied, he deceived, he committed adultery and he murdered, but he didn’t want to think about it nor admit it originally. Can we relate? Often when we allow ourselves to get caught up in sin, we don’t want to admit it nor think about it. But when we consciously think about our sins we are obligated to do something. Often we would rather shove our sins to the back of our minds and not dwell on them thinking we can live with ourselves a little easier then.
The reality is that many Christians have secret sins, sins that we commit that we don’t want anybody to know about. Rather than list them, I will let you take a moment and consider if you have any. I also propose that you consider the “little” ones like: cheating, bitterness, judgment, gossip – you know those sins that hurt your Christian witness to the world.
Like David, we often “keep silent” about our sins. We don’t want to admit them to God, to others, or maybe even to ourselves. Remember how David’s silence had affected him: his bones wore out, he groaned all day, his energy was sapped. That is a vivid description of how his sins and silence affected him. Sin, no confession, gnawed at him, spiritually and literally physically. Can you relate? David kept his sin silent for almost a year. He lived in misery, agonizing over what he had done but still refusing to acknowledge it. Have you ever felt like David? Have you been there or are you at a place where you can’t think straight, you lose sleep, your stomach gets upset, you even cry because you have this sense of sin but you still really can’t admit it to God or yourself? Have you ever or do you now feel a lack of energy, knowing that the cause is not physical?
I’m thankful that David doesn’t stop here then because he shows us what we need to do verse 5a: So I admitted my sin to you; I didn’t conceal my guilt. “I’ll confess my sins to the Lord, ” is what I said. The back story here is God sent Nathan the prophet to David to force David’s hand. If you don’t wish to confess your sins, I firmly believe God will use someone or something to make confession happen.
David had gone on living in misery for a year rather than confess. Do you remember a time when you got caught up in sin and you kept silent for awhile, but then you finally confessed it? How did you feel? I been there, have you? Now remember what happened when you confessed, when you asked for forgiveness and I hope that while there still was issues and consequences to be resolved……think about how good it felt to have the burden lifted. It was tough, but didn’t it feel good? What a gift!
I am not blind to what happens sometimes when you confess to your fellow man, let alone a fellow disciple of Jesus. Sometimes things get worse. Sometimes our fellow man doesn’t grant forgiveness. Sometimes our fellow man does not extend grace and mercy. It may seem as if an additional burden has been placed onto you causing more troubles. But, but I want you to remember one thing today…….confession and repentance of sin puts you right with God. What a gift! Listen to the words of David, holy words of scripture, verse 5b-7:Then you removed the guilt of my sin. That’s why all the faithful should pray to you during troubled times, so that a great flood of water won’t reach them. You are my secret hideout! You protect me from trouble. You surround me with songs of rescue!
David confessed his sin to God and the Father joyfully forgave him. Aren’t you glad that we have such a forgiving father? Think about it, no matter who we are, there exists in us some things that simply hurt God, things which don’t reflect well on our discipleship, our witness….but when we pray each day for the Holy Spirit to search our hearts and they jump out at us and we ask God for forgiveness…..we come and say “God, I’m sorry! I need your help!” He says “forgiven and forgotten!” I don’t know about you, but that humbles me. That makes me realize how undeserving and unworthy I am to be called a child of God! I confess to you that I have hurt my Father and have disappointed Him time and time again, but He continues to “surround me with songs of rescue” as David says. He delivers me from my own sin and destruction! What a gift!
But if God so freely forgives, what is the implication? Does God delight in sin? Never! Does God smile as a result of sin? No way! Is God amused by our wickedness and rebellion? Impossible! So what does God delight in? Being able to “extend mercy” pleases God- Micah 7:18. Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity, overlooking the sin of the few remaining for his inheritance? He doesn’t hold on to his anger forever; he delights in faithful love. What a gift!
Ain’t that something! God delights in forgiving and releasing his anger over our sin! When you pray and confess at least you don’t have to protect your head just in case he wants to firmly backhand you. A broken Spirit, a broken and contrite heart gives God inexpressible joy. I am serious about this, God is serious about this, so don’t forget it. There are some who think that this is crazy and antilogical. When we talk about God’s forgiveness there are some who are afraid that such talk will encourage people to be casual about sin.
Keep Paul’s warning from Romans 2:4-5 in mind: Or do you have contempt for the riches of God’s generosity, tolerance, and patience? Don’t you realize that God’s kindness is supposed to lead you to change your heart and life? You are storing up wrath for yourself because of your stubbornness and your heart that refuses to change. God’s just judgment will be revealed on the day of wrath. So does forgiveness make light of sin? If it does, the Lord God is responsible because He offers it abundantly. God bought the right to be delighted as He forgives us our sins. It cost Him His Son on the cross!
I don’t know about you, but when I wrong someone and I know I deserve some punishment, whether it’s a reprimand or to be fired from a job, but the person who forgives me and gives me another chance, I don’t think I would say, “Boy, I fooled that guy! I can do anything wrong and get away with it!” Some people might take advantage of the situation. I, and I believe you will think, I didn’t deserve his forgiveness. I am going to do better and try harder not to hurt that guy again!” I pray that is how you think, that is how God wants you to think.
How does it make you feel when you know that you did something wrong, but instead of punishment you receive mercy? Stop and think now about a time when this has happened in your life, I pray that it has. I know that I will never forget Bonnie’s words when I came home from being let go from a nice high paying job…I figured she would go bananas but she said: “Don’t worry, God will get us through it.” At that moment, she could have asked for the moon and she would have got it. I never want to let her down again.
Isn’t that the way it should be toward God? We sin against our Father and then come to Him and say, “I’m sorry!” And God holds out his arms and says, “Come here, don’t worry, I will get you through it.” If that doesn’t humble you and causes you to serve God better in your life, then there is nothing that is going to soften and change your heart! Take this time right now, look for that sin which you know is in your heart, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal it to you, confess it, repent then stand on David’s words and give thanks to God and praise Him saying: You protect me from trouble. You surround me with songs of rescue!