September 07, 2012
Session 4 speaker: Winfred Neely --"March Madness"
With power and poise, Neely narrates the story of David and Bathshba: He began with 2 Samuel 11:5 ("I am pregnant"-Bathseba). These are three simple words, two words in Hebrew. 2 Samuel 12:7 ("You are the man"-David). 2 Samuel 12:13 ("I have sinned"). Four wordds in english, two in Hebrew. Our story todday is rooted in these two word utterances of devastating consequences.
Here we see the story of David and Bathsheba. We all know this scene (Neely narrates). David is on the roof, walking in the evening breeze as he notices a woman bathing. David relishes the visual delight and corruption breaches the walls of his heart as he decides in a moment to capitulate to the lust of his eyes. At this moment the woman is not a person, but simply a seductive image. David sins. Who she is does not matter, David takes her like she is spoil from a battle, despite her union to Uriah. David has a one night stand, bim, bam, thank you mam, and it's over. Lo and behold, Bathsheba conceived! The one night stand with the King will go on longer than any of them anticipated. Her words, "I am pregnant," are few, but saturated with scandal.
Uriah returns and David attempts to persuade him to bed his wife as a cover up. But he doesn't. As if one sin wasn't enough, he places Uriah in the front line so that he is struck down. Wedding bells then fill the air in Jerusalem, David and Bathsheba wed. He takes his abusive power, this adultery, this murder, and crowns it with marriage. Bathsheba bears the child. David pulled it off! He did it, he got away with it, he pulled it off. Hold on, time out. The narrator makes a theological statement about what has occured, "but the thiing that David had done was evil in the eyes of the Lord." Secret sin on earth is open scandal in heaven. Heaven is scandalized at David's actions.
Nathan comes to David. Nathan says to him in 12:7, "You are the man." The Lord then emphasizes it was Him who delievered him, he has levereged unspeakable blessing upon him. God begins to talk to David about consequences. They will follow him for the rest of his life, three of his sons will die violent deaths. David says in 12:13, "I have sinned." Nathan tells him the most gracious words, "the Lord has taken away your sin, you shall not die." But the consequencs of his actions spill in all directions, in ways that he has no control. God does not tolerate sin, especially in a public representative of God. Even still, David pleads with God for his childs life. He understands that God is gracious in spite of sin. Yet even still the baby died. In the wake of death, David is in the house of the Lord worshiping the God who said "no" to his prayer, he is worshiping the Lord in light of this! A little while later God grants the son Solomon, David's blessing after such a devastating moral failure.
What is the big takeaway? What is the moral of this story? Every story has a moral. It seems to Neely that it is this: Forgiveness does not eliminate devastating consequences of sin and the devastating consequences of sin do not eleiminate our need to trust and lean on the Lord. Some of us here have already traveled down this road of disobedience and we have confessed and been forgiven, even restored to him, but there are still consequences in our life, and they aint going anywhere! Be encouraged to continue to trust the Lord, continue to walk with God, continue to worship, this is the barometer of our restoration to God! Your character is a vital part of your ministry, the foundation of your public ministry. Sooner or later you will be tempted to throw everything away that God has given to you in a moment of sinful madness. In a moment your entire life can implode like the twin, like a decision made in a moment of madness! Neely has come to believe that there is a deeper person in us, not unlike an assassin, who is the source of behavior which we are against, but it seeks to destroy us and tempt us. Do not think that we are exempt! If David, a man after God's own heart was not exempt, neither will you be.
JT Holderman is pursuing a Th.M. in Homiletics here at Gordon-Conwell. He earned his M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary in 2012. JT is currently in the ordination process of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church with hopes of taking a call as a pastor in the coming year. His journey to Gordon-Conwell began when he sensed a deeper need for clear Biblical teaching in preaching to prepare him for ministry. He hails from Seattle, WA by way of Idaho and New Jersey. JT blogs at Praise and is an avid Mountain Biker and Bodyboarder.
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