Falling into sin

Chatswood Baptist Church https://www.chatswoodbaptist.com.au

2 Samuel 11:1-5

1. Falling into sin

How do we end up doing things that we know that we ought not do? How does someone who is a believer end up in adulterous affair? How does a pastor end up leaving his wife and kids to take up with someone else? How does a believer get hooked on pornography spending their nights secretly looking at images that no one should be looking at? How do Christian couple find themselves sleeping together though they aren’t married? Why do we fall into sin so easily and how then can we think that t these things won’t affect us and won’t affect our relationship with God or with others? How is that we can deceive ourselves so completely at times convincing ourselves that there won’t be consequences?

  • In the story of David in 2 Samuel 11 we see how easy it is to fall into sin

Today I want to look at 2 Samuel chapter 11 and the story of David for in this story we see not only see the weakness and sinfulness of our own hearts but just how deceitful and foolish our hearts can be. In this chapter, we will see just how easy it is to fall into sin and how even the best of us need to be careful. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you track record has been like up until now any of us can fall into sin at any time. In the story today we see that even King David, who was a man after God’s own heart ended up doing things that at one time, he would have never imagined himself ever doing.

  • The events of chapter 11 are shocking because David had been such a good and faithful king

The events of chapter 11 are something of a shock for us. David up to this point has been a good and faithful king. His behaviour had been exemplary. He had refused to take the life of Saul, even though King Saul had tried kill him on numerous occasions. He didn’t return evil for evil. And when he became king, we are told in chapter 8 of 2 Samuel that he was a good king.

2 Samuel 8:15

15 David reigned over all Israel, doing what was just and right for all his people.

David was perhaps the best king that ancient Israel ever had. He was a kind and generous king who wanted to display the sort of steadfast love that God had shown him. Two weeks ago, we saw that in contrast to many ancient kings who would have acted swiftly to get rid of any rival claims to the throne David had done the opposite. He restored the land of King Saul to Mephibosheth, Saul’s grandson and Jonathan’s son. He even honoured him by having eat at his table. Therefore, what we see happening in chapter 11 is quite shocking and it highlights the danger that sin poses to all of us and how easily we can deceive ourselves when it comes to our own selfish desires and doing what we want to do.

  • David defeated most of his enemies except for one

In chapter 11 and verse 1 we are told that spring had come around again. It had probably been twelve months since the kings in chapter 8 had first marched out against David. In that twelve months David and Israel had soundly defeated the Ammonite King and the ten thousand Aramean foot-soldiers that this king had hired and along with other kings who were allied with him. The Ammonite King had been left all alone and had taken refuge in his capital Rabbah. But with coming of winter often the fighting would stop. But now spring had come around again[1].

2 Samuel 11:1

1 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. [2]

What you need to notice is that David is at point where he feels quite confident. He is on the throne in Jerusalem and internally he now has no rivals and his enemies around him have been largely defeated. There is still the Ammonite King to deal with, but David doesn’t even feel the need to be there himself and so he sends Joab and everyone else and he remains at home safe and secure enjoying the comforts of the palace. But David wasn’t safe at home. Although he had defeated most of his enemies, there was still one that could bring him down and this enemy wasn’t in Rabbah but in Jerusalem with him. The real threat to David (as it always had been for Israel) wasn’t their enemies around them, it was their own sinful hearts. It was up on the roof of the palace that David was betrayed by his own sinful heart.

2. Up on the roof

Up on the roof of the palace David would have had a good view of the city. The royal palace would have been most likely the tallest building in Jerusalem and from it, David would have been able to see the surrounding houses and courtyard of his neighbors. Up on the roof you would have thought that there was little chance of David getting in trouble, but temptation can come to us anywhere and at any time and for David it came after taking afternoon nap or a siesta. We are told that one evening David got up from his bed and went for a walk on the roof of his palace.

  • David saw a beautiful woman bathing

It was from this vantage point that David happened to see a woman bathing and we are told that the woman was very beautiful. Joyce Baldwin says that the Hebrew idiom adds the words ‘to look at’. She was good to look at and this is what David did. The chance sighting of this beautiful naked woman turned into a lustful gaze.

We all know what David should have done. He should have stopped looking and gone downstairs and done something else, somewhere else. He should not have lingered up there on the roof and fed those lustful desires. For the sake of the woman he should have removed himself from that vantage point. He was treating her like an object rather than as a person. He should have known that her nakedness was something that only her husband should have seen, and he should have turned away from looking at her. But he obviously didn’t and in not doing so he was only feeding his lustful desires.

  • David feed his lustful desires

We are not told what went on in David’s head. Maybe like most of us he made excuses for himself. Maybe he told himself that he wasn’t harming anyone. How easily we deceive ourselves. We tell ourselves that what we are doing isn’t that bad or that it doesn’t really matter. It isn’t going to harm anyone. I used to have a friend when I was growing up who used to say that he could look so long as he didn’t touch. It was all good. But this is to ignore how corrupt our hearts really are and how easily we are led astray by our own sinful desires. This is why we need to listen to the word of God, because our hearts are deceitful and sick. They are too easily influenced by our sinful desires.

Jeremiah 17:9

9 The heart is deceitful above all thing and beyond cure. Who can understand it?

David was a man after God’s own heart, he perhaps was the greatest of Israel’s king, but he ignored how deceitful and corrupt his heart was and he ended up doing things that no one would have imagined this good king capable of. For David is started with a glimpse of a woman bathing which obviously turned into a lustful gaze.  I think Job understood the danger. He said. “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman.” (Job 31:1).

  • We need to be careful

There is a real danger posed today by images that are so readily available to us on our TVs, phones and computer.  Ever since the fall of Adam and Eve men and women have needed to cover up their nakedness because our sinful hearts have corrupted our natural desires so that they are always dragging us into sin and selfishness. Instead of sex being the means by which a man and a woman selflessly give themselves to the other in marriage we have turned sex into a means of self-gratification. In our own society, the only limits on sexual activity are that it needs to be consensual and so long as it doesn’t directly or indirectly harm anyone. Other than these things, you can look at what you want to look at, and do whatever you want to do, with whoever you want to do it, so long as you and whoever it is do it in the privacy of your own home. But this is distorted view sex that has been shaped by our sinful hearts and desires and it is harmful. The images that are readily available are harmful. Living is such a culture we especially need to be careful with what we allow ourselves to see.

We need to be careful what we look at. The idea that there is no harm in looking is a false one. David was treating the woman that he saw as an object of desire, not a person. He was acting like his own selfish desires were the only thing that really mattered and that having them met was all that was important. The idea that there is no harm in looking is a flawed one for it only arouses our sinful desires and make it easier to take another step in the wrong direction.

3. David took things further

This is what we see David doing verse 4. David took things further.

  • David made enquiries

He sent someone to find out more about the woman. This wasn’t necessarily wrong except for the motivation behind it. The man comes back and tells David three things about the woman that he needed to know. Firstly, her name was Bathsheba and secondly, she was the daughter of Eliam, but more importantly she was the wife of Uriah the Hittite. Uriah the Hittite was one of David’s mighty warriors (he is numbered among the Thirty mighty warriors in 2 Sam. 23:39). David would have known Uriah and would have been aware that he was out fighting with Joab. He knew that he was away from home.

  • David took Bathsheba

At this point David should have given up all interest in this woman. It’s clear that he was coveting another man wife and by going any further he would not only be coveting another man’s wife but also committing adultery with her and forcing himself on her. But as James writes in chapter 1 of his letter, ‘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”. (James 1:15). David had allowed his own lustful desires to take hold of his heart and those desires ended up dragging him away into greater and greater sin (as we will see in the rest of the chapter). But noticed he got there by the usual way that any of us get there and that is by taking one small step at a time. He looked, he then sent and made enquiries about the woman and finally he made that decision to take her and he slept with her. In verse 4 we read…

2 Samuel 11:4

4 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.

  • David slept with Bathsheba

The word that the NIV has translated to get is literally to “to take”. David sent men to take her. Bathsheba would have had no choice in the matter. David was the King that God had appointed to rule over his people and here he used his power and authority to not serve the people that he was meant to be protecting but to serve himself and gratify his own sinful desires. Sadly, that same scenario has been played out down through history by people in leadership both in secular leadership and even more tragically in church leadership.

David horribly abused and used Bathsheba to serve his own lustful desires and afterwards we read that she returned home. David got what he wanted, and it looked like it was over. David must have thought that he had got away with it and no one needed to know and that there would be no consequences to worry about. Then he got the news that changed everything for David, Bathsheba was pregnant. The child of course was his and we know this for a fact for in v4 we were told that she had been purifying herself from her monthly uncleanness. This is reference to her menstrual cycle. She had just had her period and her husband was away fighting and this child could only have been David’s.

4. Sin always has consequences

We sometime think sin won’t have consequences. But there are always consequences to sin. We fool ourselves to think that somehow there won’t be. We try to convince ourselves that it will all work out. But it never does. What we are doing won’t remain hidden for long and the longer it does the more disastrous the consequences usually are. For God has made a world in which sin always has consequences for us and for others.

  • Unconfessed sin changes people

Sin that goes unconfessed changes a person. If you fill your mind with pornographic images, believe me it will have consequences. It will distort the way that you think about sex and people. It will feed desires that should not be encouraged, and it inevitably leads to worse things as you become more and more desensitizes to those images.

But it doesn’t matter what it is that captures your heart. If you feed your own selfish desires giving them what they want, rather than confronting them, you only find that increasingly they aren’t satisfied with what you have given them and they demand more and you end up crossing lines that you never thought you would.

  • You end up doing things you never imagined yourself doing

As we will see later David will do things that we might never have believed him capable of doing, but how he got there was just a step at a time. The man who leaves his wife didn’t start out intending on leaving her for another. It often starts out as an innocent friendship at work with a colleague, it was just lunch together, it was just drinks after work and slowly but surely someone start transferring their affections and desires towards another. It often is just a series of small steps taken one after the other until your heart is turned about and you’re going the wrong way. Sin always has consequences and the more it goes unchecked the worse things become. David will get to a point where he is almost unrecognizable. How do people find themselves in a place that they might at one time never imagined possible? It’s usually not one big step that they take but many little ones which have gone unchecked.  Don’t play around with sin. Don’t feed your sinful desires. You have deal with sin.

5. Dealing with sin

The Scripture encourage us to flee those evil desires. Paul writes to Timothy…

2 Timothy 2:22

22 Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

  • We need to nip it in the bud

We are not to foster evil desires; we are to flee from them and instead pursue godliness – the life that those who call upon the Lord are called to live. There is an urgency about dealing with our own sinful desires. They need to be nipped in the bud and not given any room to grow and take over our hearts. What David needed to do up on that roof was to not linger over what he saw but to quickly get out of there.

  • We need to guard our own hearts

For us living in the culture where sex is almost worshipped as the thing which brings us fulfilment in life, we need to be very careful that we aren’t seduced by what we see. We need to be careful what we look at and watch because it will influence us and desensitize us to the ungodliness of this world. We perhaps like Job need to make a covenant with our own eyes to not look at things that might cause us to stumble.

But of course, things come where you least expect them to come and at those times we just need to switch off what we are watching or close down what we have on our screen because we know the folly of dwelling on things that feed our sinful desires.

The story of David is warning to all of us. We need to be careful and guard our hearts. The apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians that that the things that happened to the Israelites happened to them as examples and were written down for warnings for us. Admittedly he was talking about the testing of the Israelites in the wilderness to the Corinthians, but I think the principle applies also to David’s story. It’s a warning for all of us. Paul goes on to say that if you think you are standing firm be careful that you do not fall! (1 Corinthians 10:12).

  • We need Jesus, our king and high priest

Of course, the story of David could give you cause for despair. If even David, who was a man after God’s own heart, could do what he did what hope is there for the rest of us? But fortunately, for us we have the greatest of kings on our side who is always with us and always does what is just and right and he has gone out and already defeated our greatest enemy, sin. He paid the price for all our sin. He was tempted like David, but he did not sin and because he didn’t, he could pay the price of our sin. This doesn’t mean we will never sin, but when we do, we know that “if we confess it, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:8).

  • Jesus helps us in our weakness

The book of Hebrews says that the Lord Jesus is not just that once and for all payment for sin, but he is also our great high priest who is also there to help us in our weakness. We can approach the throne of God and expect grace and mercy and help from God because Jesus can empathize with our weaknesses for, he was tempted in every way that we are tempted but without sin. He is there to help us in our times of trouble (see Hebrews 4:14-16). We have the Spirit of God living in us.

  • Turn from sin and turn to Jesus

If you know Jesus then you know the one who deals with our sin and brings forgiveness. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t ignore sin. Don’t keep making steps in the wrong direction. Don’t pretend that the little things don’t matter. Don’t think there won’t be any consequences. There are always consequences. There are eternal consequences to sin that we cannot deal with ourselves. One day we will all stand before the judgement throne of God and if you are going to stand on that day then you will need Jesus on your side. You need him to have paid for your sin.

If your conscience is bringing something to mind that you have been doing that you know that you shouldn’t. Let me encourage you today to confess your sin, turn from it and turn to back to Jesus. Don’t ignore things. Confront what you need to confront and flee from evil desires. If Jesus isn’t already your king, then put your trust in the one paid the penalty for our sin and let him your king and your great high priest. If your willing to do that today let me encourage you to pray with me now.

[1] Twelve months on the situation that David faced was a very different situation to the one that had confronted him last spring. All the other kings who had been fighting on the side of the Ammonite king had made peace with Israel and had become subject to them and it was only Ammonite King who David had to deal with. So, when it became time to march out again to finish what had begun the previous year David didn’t even bother to go himself but remained in Jerusalem.

[2] Except where otherwise indicated all Scripture citations are taken from The New International Version. (2011). (2 Sa 11:1). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.