What a privilege it is to meet around God’s living and inspired word which can reach our hearts. My prayer is that God will reach the hearts of this audience, those listening via the internet or in other ways.
There are different types of prayer. Prayer can simply be a formality, but there is a prayer that touches the heart of God, He hears and answers. Do we perhaps pray but receive no answer?
The text for today is 2 Samuel 12: 1 – 13
And the Lord sent Nathan to David. He came to him and said to him, “There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor. 2 The rich man had very many flocks and herds, 3 but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. And he brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children. It used to eat of his morsel and drink from his cup and lie in his arms,[a] and it was like a daughter to him. 4 Now there came a traveller to the rich man, and he was unwilling to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the guest who had come to him, but he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.” 5 Then David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the Lord lives, the man who has done this deserves to die, 6 and he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.”
7 Nathan said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you out of the hand of Saul. 8 And I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your arms and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah. And if this were too little, I would add to you as much more. 9 Why have you despised the word of the Lord, to do what is evil in his sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and have taken his wife to be your wife and have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. 10 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.’ 11 Thus says the Lord, ‘Behold, I will raise up evil against you out of your own house. And I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbour, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun. 12 For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel and before the sun.’” 13 David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die.
Here we read about David’s sin, his remorse and repentance as well as his punishment. This text makes a person tremble and see God in a different perspective. While on God’s way a person can never become arrogant. One can never say that because one has faithfully walked God’s way so far, it will automatically continue in like manner in the future. We require God daily in order to walk faithfully before Him.
This was a terrible time in the life of David. He was in trouble because he had forsaken God. Firstly David did not go to war with the children of Israel. He remained at home where he found opportunities to do what his heart desired. He strolled on the roof of his palace when his eyes saw something which he should not have seen. That which he saw consumed him to the extent that he sent someone to call the woman to him. That which we see with our eyes has an outcome which drives us to do things. Then David sinned his fellowship with God was abruptly cut off. Know this – when you commit sin, you separate yourself from Him. God cannot look on. God cannot have fellowship with sin.
Adam experienced the same thing. He lived in paradise and God visited him regularly in the cool of the day until sin entered. Adam’s purity and innocence was lost. His fellowship with God was cut off because of his disobedience and subsequent hiding from God in shame.
The moment David sinned against God was the moment his fellowship with God was cut off. After David sinned he wasted away and experienced suffering for about 9 months. To be separated from God for one day is a long time, can you imagine 9 months? How do you experience separation from God? David experienced about 9 months of it and with you – it has been years. How can you continue wallowing in the mud of your sin? Is your conscience so utterly dead that separation from God means nothing? The defilement of sin not only affects you but those around you as well. Your colleagues have got used to hearing filth emerging from your mouth. You fail to understand why everyone leaves when you arrive. It is because you are defiled and when others come into contact with you, they are defiled. If you are riddled with criticism, bitterness and anger, the people around you be also be negatively affected. If people run away from you they are doing a good thing.
David was known as the shepherd-poet who wrote poems and psalms. He made music with his harp. He was an artist and was inspired by his talent. Do you think David could write anything during this period when he was wasting away because of his sin? His harp was out of tune. He could not sing without a false note because of that which was in his life. It is not surprising that he said later that his bones wasted away as if in the heat of summer and his strength was sapped because of his sin. Do not take sin and the consequences of sin lightly. When sin enters your life you will be unable to pray and read God’s word. You will be separated from fellowship with God. Think of that – no fellowship with God in prayer! You no longer hear God speaking to you when you read His word because of the sin that separates you from God. Understand this – sin separates you from God! When you play your harp there is no melodious song. It is out of tune. There is a frog in the pipe that is stopping the water from flowing as it should. Child of God, when last did you experience that harmonious fellowship between you and God – where you sense that God is with you and His pleasure is on you? David no longer had that joy. He was alive but he felt dead. He remembered the victories God had given him in battle which he had not achieved in his own strength.
How it is going with your spiritual harp? Is it in tune? David never parted form his harp. He was inspired by God to write new songs but when he sinned that inspiration ended. This demonstrates the holiness of God. No matter how closely you walk with God, the moment sin enters, that sweetness and inspiration ends. How can you remain in your sin? How can you allow it to rule you? How can you simply accept the destruction sin brings into your life?
David’s anointing was unlike that of others. God chose him as a young shepherd boy and anointed him. He said that David was someone after His own heart, someone He loved. David also loved God. David had older and stronger brothers but when they came before the Lord He rejected all of them. The one who was watching over the flock was called and God said: “He is the one I choose who will do my bidding.” But even when the beloved of the Lord allowed sin into his life, God said, “I cannot have fellowship with him. That is filthy.” David realised that things were not as they should have been in his life. He did not have joy and peace.
God in His grace looked upon David. You may also get the answer to the thing which has been troubling and consuming you for many years and which you do not get victory over. There is true repentance and there is other repentance. The Lord sent Nathan the prophet to David. He did not send powerful, high-ranking officials or judges, He sent Nathan with His message. God knew and understood David. He knew what language David would understand as He knew his heart. He did not send David a complicated message. His message was very simple. Nathan related the story of a rich man, a poor man and the ewe lamb. When David heard the story, he was angered by the rich man’s wrong deed. He said, “…the man who has done this deserves to die, and he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.”
Whoever steals an ox or a sheep and slaughters is or sells it must pay back five head of cattle for the ox and four sheep for the sheep. Exodus 22:1.
David’s judgement concerning the rich man’s deed was correct. Nathan agreed with David’s judgement and that he deserved to die but “…realise this, oh king that you have pronounced this verdict over yourself. You took from that poor man and yet God was willing to give you more if it was not enough for you.” Beware, if after God has pronounced a verdict over you, you do not pay attention and repent. When David pronounced the judgement, he did not realise that he had pronounced it over himself and yet it was the correct judgement.
What is the judgement in heaven concerning the sin you have committed and which is causing you to waste away. It is consuming you, yet you still have not repented from it. If you do not repent from your sin, understand this – your soul will die. God is holy and He expects us to be holy. If we say that we have fellowship with God and yet we walk in a lie, the outcome of sin will be death. He who is the judge of the living and the dead will not overlook us. If you do not repent and turn away from your sin, the judgement of God will surely be executed against you.
“…God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in inapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honour and might forever.” 1 Timothy 6:15, 16
We do not truly know God. He is immortal. He dwells in unapproachable light which is so powerful and brilliant that nobody has ever seen Him. He is God for all eternity. The word He speaks will never remain unfulfilled. His judgement is true for He judges in righteousness. No person can approach that light. God is far beyond us. God looks down on the circle of men on earth and He sees what you and I are doing. He sees what we keep ourselves busy with. He knows your life and what has bound you in chains. He is holy, thrice holy. He did not remain silent when He saw David in that filth and sin, but He also saw in David a man seeking the kingdom of God with all his heart.
Lets look at repentance. Some people repent and return to their sin. Some confess that they are troubled by pornography and cannot sleep without having looked at it. They ask whether they can be forgiven. The children of God pray for them and do everything to help them but the following day they return to the exact same thing. Soon they are wallowing in the filth of porn again. They return to the things that destroy and poison their lives. What then is true repentance? If a person is prayed for and the following day is still in bondage to the same thing, what is the matter with that person? Yesterday the person cried to God because he was a dirt rag, a womaniser, but the following day he returns to that sinful state. If a person cries out to God in desperation for mercy and receives forgiveness, how can he return to that sin? If your cell phone in your pocket is causing you to stumble and go to hell, why not throw it into a pit toilet and bury it forever? Yesterday you confessed that you watched defiling videos, you received mercy and forgiveness and then today you return to it. What do you want in life?
David never returned to that sin again. When he repented he never went back to it. This is true repentance. That sin ends in his life. He never returns to it.
13 David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die. See the response of somebody who experiences true remorse for his sin. When you experienced that terrible separation from God and cried to Him, how can you return to that thing?
What touched my heart was God’s response to David. When David said that he had sinned and God saw David’s remorse and repentant heart, His response was immediate. And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die. Can you imagine David’s emotions at that moment? Can you imagine how he must have cried before God in thankfulness? Can you imagine the relief and joy to have received forgiveness? God said, “You will not die.” How are you going to repent? How will you escape from God with the sin that you are hiding? David was probably unable to sleep that night because of the joy of restored fellowship with God.
Through His love and forgiveness God restores all that which a person has lost. Why do you run away from God? God wants to do good to you but how can He if you remain in that sin? He needs to wash you so that you can be whiter than snow. God’s mercy is unfathomable. David was spared from death but the consequences of his sin were unavoidable.
God’s judgement was that the child that was born would die. That did not change. You may have questions regarding that but God said the child would die. “You have committed a wicked thing,” God said, “but when you repent and ask for mercy I will forgive you but the child that was born will die. The sword will not depart from your house.” From that time the sword became part of David’s house. He had to flee from his own son, his own house. Amnon, his son, did a disgraceful, shameful deed. This was the consequence of David’s sin. It is terrible when that sin has an effect on your family and offspring. Is your child uncontrollable, undisciplined and wild because of the sinful things that you – father and mother – have committed? God warns parents to live circumspectly. Do you speak rashly at the dinner table? Is that not where your children have learned to gossip? You cannot eat without gossiping. Your child could be wild and uncontrollable as a result of those dinner table conversations. Your child is disrespectful because you have injected the child at that dinner table through your gossip. You influenced your child and now the child is opposed to many people because of you.
What stirred my heart was David’s repentance. It touched the heart of God. His repentance altered God’s decision concerning him. God can revoke terrible decisions and judgements concerning you because of the way in which you have repented from your heart. God will not want to withhold the blessings you ask for because of the manner in which you repent. God sees the heart. The heart condition will cause God to say, “I do not want that person to go to bed tonight without the knowledge that he is forgiven.”
You say, “I have apologised. Why am I not forgiven?” Some apologies made by people are worthless, cheap and shallow. That is why they return to their sin the very next day. People who go deep and cry to God ask, “How can I ever return to this again?” Have you apologised and not received forgiveness? You find fault with others but look at your own heart. You need to change. The fault lies with you. Even if you have received forgiveness from others, ensure you receive that forgiveness from God. Has God restored that joy and peace that accompanies that forgiveness?
When Nathan heard David’s response he realised that God had worked in that man’s heart and that his repentance had reached the heart of God. That is why he could say, “God has forgiven you your sin.” Have you been forgiven? Can you say with assurance that God has heard my prayer for forgiveness? Can you say you have received this forgiveness and that your fellowship with God has been restored or are you uncertain? You do not know whether you have been forgiven. You do not know whether God has said that you have been forgiven and that you will not die. Examine the way you repented. Blessed is the one who has heard the words: “You will no longer die. Your sins have been forgiven.”
Conclusion Dietmar Joosten
These are wonderful, wonderful words of life. What are you going to do? Repent with all your heart, as David did, from the sin that is controlling you. Throw away that cell phone. It could be something else other than a cell phone that must be thrown into the deepest sea.
You may notice how big David’s sin was but there are small things that nag at your soul every day. Deal with them. They are worse than the big things because they get you and you do not take note of them.
David was faithful to the end. He was given a crown because he overcame. Are you going to receive a crown of life? It is there for you.