The depths of sin

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

2 Samuel 11:6-27

 

1. Things get worse

 

There are some things that get worse the longer you let them go. If you put off doing something and do nothing the worse things become. If you leave the garden and don’t regularly attend to it, the garden soon becomes overgrown and instead of pulling out a few weeds here and there your having to rip out everything and having to start again. If you put off going to the dentist too long instead of having to get a filling, you end up having to get root canal therapy and getting your tooth capped. It’s far more painful and the cost makes it hurt a whole lot more. You don’t leave a nasty cut or a burn untreated. You do something about it. You clean it up, you put some antiseptic on it, and you dress it if it needs it. You need to attend to it otherwise it gets much worse. Sadly people have lost limbs because of any untreated infection that was ignored long enough that nothing could be done about it except to amputate. You don’t wait until things get worse. Sometimes the longer you leave things the worse they get, and this is how it is with sin. The longer you ignore the sin in your life, the worse things get and the harder it is to do anything about it. If you end up ignoring your conscience the easier it becomes to ignore it and the deeper into sin you will go. This is what we see in chapter 11 today as we look at the story of David. David’s story is a warning for all of us.

 

Last week we saw how easy it was to fall into sin and how even the best of us can end up doing things that we ought to be ashamed of and that frankly we never dreamed that we would do. Even though King David was the best of Israel’s ancient kings he was easily led astray by his own sinful desires. You might remember that from the roof of the palace David had seen Bathsheba bathing and instead of fleeing his lustful desires he fed them. It didn’t stop there. He then ended up abusing his power and committing adultery taking another man’s wife because he wanted her. He ended up doing something that at one point he probably never thought that he would have done. But he got there by taking just one step at a time in the wrong direction. With Uriah away and having sent Bathsheba home he might have thought that he’d gotten away with it. But the truth is that you never get away with sin. It ultimately catches up with you. It caught up with David when he got that message from Bathsheba that she was pregnant.

 

Last week we saw how easy it was for David to fall into sin. This week we continue the story in chapter 11 and see the depths of sin and how deceitful sin can be and how things only get worse when you ignore it. The longer it goes on the more harm it does and the more damage it causes. It’s true of sin, the longer you leave it and do nothing about it the worse things become. Today I want to look at the rest of the chapter under two headings. Firstly, “the deceitfulness of sin” and secondly “the damage sin causes”.

2. The deceitfulness of sin

Sin never likes to be exposed and those who harbour sin become more and more deceitful as they try to hide what they’ve done. We see this when David heard the news that Bathsheba was pregnant. His first reaction was to cover up what he had done. He wanted to hide away his wrongdoing to shield himself for the consequences of his sin.

 

2.1 David sent for Uriah, the Hittite

When David heard the news that Bathsheba was pregnant, immediately he sent for Uriah the Hittite, the husband of Bathsheba.

 

2 Samuel 11:6

So David sent this word to Joab: “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” And Joab sent him to David.[1]

 

If you were reading this story for the first time and you had read everything up to this point you could be forgiven for thinking that David might have come to his senses and was going to come clean and tell Uriah what had happened no matter how severe the consequences might have been for him. David had often done the right thing in the past, trusting himself to the Lord for whatever the outcome might have been. As Christians we do the right thing not because we are in control of what’s going to happen, but because it is the right thing to do. We do the things that we do because we want to please the Lord whatever the outcome might be. But this wasn’t one of those times. David sent for Uriah to try and cover up what he had done and limit any consequences his sin might have had for himself. He might have convinced himself that this would be the best thing for Uriah or Bathsheba or even the kingdom, but as we will see all that David really was only concerned for himself.

2.2 David tried to hide his sin.

David’s first impulse was to hide his sin, to cover up what he had done and limit any possible consequences that his sinfulness had for himself.

2 Samuel 11:7-8

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.

 

David’s intention in sending for Uriah was to try and cover up what he had done. He wanted to keep everything he’d done hidden, so that he wouldn’t have to answer for what he’d done. He didn’t want to bear any of the consequences of his sin even though Bathsheba was bearing his child. David resorts to deceitfulness and subterfuge to hide his guilt. David pretends that Uriah is there to bring back a report on how things are going with Israelites who were besieging the city of Rabbah. He pretended to be concerned for the people that he was meant to be leading and protecting as King but, he was only really concerned for himself and getting himself out of any trouble.

 

David wasn’t interested in how things were going at Rabbah. We don’t even hear Uriah’s report. It isn’t important for it isn’t why David had brought Uriah back to Jerusalem. Uriah was there so that David could send him home so that Uriah would sleep his wife so that everyone would think that Uriah was the father of baby. This is why when Uriah left, David sent a gift after him so that Uriah might have been more inclined to take it home and share it and more than it with his wife.

2.3 Uriah didn’t go home

 

But Uriah didn’t go home. Instead of going home, Uriah slept at the entrance of the palace with the other servants of the king. David’s cunning plan didn’t work out the way that he hoped it would. Uriah didn’t go home and when David called Uriah in to find out why it became obvious to David that his plan was unlikely to ever work because of the kind of man that Uriah was. Listen to what Uriah told David in verse 11.

 

2 Samuel 11:11

11 Uriah said to David, “The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in tents, and my commander Joab and my lord’s men are camped in the open country. How could I go to my house to eat and drink and make love to my wife? As surely as you live, I will not do such a thing!”

 

Uriah might not have been an Israelite, but his response highlights the fact that he was a godly man who feared the Lord and was more concerned for the people of God than David was. He was concerned for the ark of the covenant and the Israelites who were out at Rabbah camped in the fields around that city. He vowed that as long as they were out there in those conditions, he would not enjoy the creature comforts of home. He wasn’t going to enjoy rest until all Israel could rest with him.

 

Whether Uriah intended it or not these words would have been a rebuke to David who had stayed home while all Israel were out fighting against her enemies. But more than this David had not only stayed home eating and drinking making love to his own many wives, but he was making love to the wife of Uriah one of his own men who had been fighting for him.

2.4 David gets Uriah drunk

Uriah’s words should have convicted David of his sin. They should have pierced his heart if his conscience had been working as it should. But instead of bringing repentance David even became more determined to ensure that no one found out how sinful he had been. David next move was to try and get Uriah drunk.

 

2 Samuel 11:13

13 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.

 

David’s plan wasn’t working out how he wanted it to. Even drunken Uriah shows more restraint and self-control that David did when he was sober. David thought he could manage things so that there wouldn’t be any trouble. This is the way that people deceive themselves. We think that we might get away with doing what we desire, and no one needs to know or that we might be able to manage the consequences of our sin, so that no one gets hurt. But we deceive ourselves. Uriah shattered that allusion and David becomes even more desperate and resorts to desperate measures that highlight that David’s biggest concern in the end was for himself.

 

2.5 David arranged for Uriah’s death

Finally, we read how David arrange for Uriah’s death.

 

2 Samuel 11:14-17

14 In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah. 15 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.”

16 So while Joab had the city under siege, he put Uriah at a place where he knew the strongest defenders were. 17 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.

 

David killed a righteous man to cover up his own sinfulness. He even sent him with the message that arranged his own death. And when he found out that not only had Uriah the Hittite died but some other soldiers had also died in carrying out this plan, David downplayed the cost that had been paid to cover up his guilt.

2 Samuel 11:25

25 David told the messenger, “Say this to Joab: ‘Don’t let this upset you; the sword devours one as well as another. Press the attack against the city and destroy it.’ Say this to encourage Joab.”

 

David told Joab not to let these losses upset him (literally ‘to displease him’) for they were the inevitable losses that came as a result of battle. However, we know that these losses were not the result of the battle, but the cost that David was willing to pay to cover up his own sinfulness. He never really was concerned for anyone but himself. Having gone done the road of selfishness he continues even further on. The same selfishness that drove him to adultery, left unchecked and undealt with led to even greater depths of deceit and sinfulness.

The more we ignore the sin in our lives, the more it affects us. We end up crossing even more boundaries to keep our secret hidden and we end doing more and more things that we don’t want others to know about. Things that we would be ashamed of if they ever got out. The more you leave sin untreated the worse it becomes because slowly your conscience is hardened and it gets accustomed to doing things that you shouldn’t do and you end up doing those things that at one time you were appalled by. This is what happens to David. When deceit and manipulation didn’t work, he turned to even more ruthless and shameful means to keep his sin hidden from everyone.

 

3. The damage that sin causes

 

The more we leave things the worse they get. We see this in the story of David. He thought he could hide his sin and limited the consequences for himself. However, the more he ignored it, the worse things became, and the more damage was done. We end up hurting the ones that we should be protecting and caring for.

3.1 Our sin harms others

We fool ourselves if we think that our sin doesn’t affect others. Our sin harms others. We think that we can limit the fall out of our sin, but we can’t and usually it is those who are closest to us who get hurt. Like David we deceive ourselves initially thinking that the consequences might be completely avoided if we just lie and deceive those around us. We tell ourselves that we are doing them a favor and that its better for them if they don’t know. But, like David this concern is often not really for them but for us. We deceive ourselves. In reality, we just want to avoid the unpleasant consequences of being found out. We don’t want others to know what we are really like.

 

I don’t think that David set out to harm anyone. He didn’t plan to kill Uriah when he sent for him. He thought that Uriah would go home and sleep with Bathsheba. But we are never in control of what goes on. The first person that sin deceive is us. It deceives us into thinking that there won’t be any consequences if we are careful about what we do. But look at the damage that his sin caused for others. He took Bathsheba and got her pregnant and we don’t know the anguish this might have caused or how this might have tormented her. David didn’t care for her. If he had he wouldn’t have done what he had done. At this point in his life David was only caring for himself. He killed Bathsheba husband to keep his secret and she mourned for him. There is no reason to think that this mourning wasn’t genuine grief. Uriah was a good man and he was sacrificed by David on the altar of his selfishness to just keep his secret from coming out. He killed him to avoid the consequences of his own sin. But the fall out was even greater than this, there were other soldiers who died as well. But David didn’t care what happened to the others, or perhaps didn’t care enough, he cared most of all for what happened to him.

 

Our sin inevitably rebounds on those around and sadly it most often deeply affects those who are closest to us, the ones that we are meant to be protecting and caring for. We pretend that we are doing, isn’t hurting anyone and that doesn’t matter if it goes on. However, the longer sin goes on unchecked, the more the potential for harming others it has. The more we hide it away and ignore it the more harm it does when it comes out.

 

3.2 Our sin displeases the Lord

We might think that we are getting away with it, but we don’t. Sin doesn’t remain hidden forever. David must have thought that he got away with it when he got the news that Uriah was dead. We read in verse 27 that after the time of mourning was over, that he brought Bathsheba into his house and she became his wife and she bore him a son. He must of thought that no one would be the wiser and that he managed to effectively to put smoke screen (hide) what he had done from everyone. But chapter 11 ends with these words,

 

2 Samuel 11:27

“But the thing David had done displeased the Lord”

 

We don’t get away with sin. We might effectively hide it from others for a time, but the Lord sees everything that we do. He knows our hearts. We don’t get away with it. The writer of Hebrews wrote….

 

Hebrews 4:13

13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

 

What we do in secret, isn’t ever hidden from God and won’t remain secret forever. One day will have to give an account for all those hidden things that we might have thought that we had gotten away with.  David told Joab to not let this displease him. But the chapters ends using that same word (to please) to tell us that God was not pleased with what David had done.  We might convince ourselves that we can cover up what we’ve done, but we really deceive ourselves when we think this way. David did everything so that no one would know what he had done and the irony of it is generation after generation have all known what David did and we are still reading about it today, so that it might warning to all of us. The Lord doesn’t allow you to get away with it.

3.3  Our sin harms us

I think the other thing that we see is just how much damaged unconfessed sin does to the one who tries to hide it. The longer we do nothing about the sin in our lives the more damaged we become as people. Holding on to sin in our lives harms us because all the lies and deceit inevitably end up changing us.

  • Unconfessed sin changes you

David didn’t start out a deceitful and untrustworthy man, but that is what he became the more he tried to hide his sin from others. He became manipulative using people rather than caring for them. He became insincere only pretending to care about people when really, all he cared about was himself and making sure that no one found out what he was really like. He became a man who couldn’t be trusted, who couldn’t be relied on to be true, whose word meant nothing. Friends, if you hold on to sin long enough you will become someone that you won’t like for sin will eat away at the person that you are.

 

I don’t know whether there is secret sin in your life that you’ve been trying to keep hidden from those around you. Have you been ignoring your conscience? Maybe, you’ve been working hard to keep your secret, a secret for some time now. But give it up. Admit it. Confess it no matter what the consequences might be for you. Do it because it is what right rather than calculating what might be best for you. Don’t shield yourself from the consequences, trust God and be prepared to bare whatever it is that you might have to bear. But, deal with it, own it and give it up, repent and turn from it before you end up becoming someone that you don’t recognize and before you do more harm to yourself and the people around you.

  • It deadens your conscience

What holding on to sin does is it deadens our conscience. The more we ignore our conscience, the easier it becomes to do so. You become so used to doing those things that you know that you shouldn’t be doing that you become more and more desensitized to evil. The more you ignore sin the harder you become as person for you deaden your conscience as you repeatedly do those things that you know that you shouldn’t do. For what you effectively do is you train your conscience to ignore things that at one time would have set off loud alarm bells in your heart. These things no longer even registers. Things only get worse the longer you leave them and the harder it becomes for you to change and admit your guilt.

 

3.4 Don’t let things get worse.

Brothers and sister don’t let things get worse. When you become aware of sin, don’t ignore it or pretend it isn’t there. Don’t hide it away but shine the light on it and expose it. Don’t live with those secrets any longer but confess what you have done to those who need to know about it. Be honest with those around you and especially with the Lord Jesus. He sees everything anyway and nothing will ultimately remain hidden. He has the authority to forgive all your sins for he paid the penalty for your sins and for mine.  So, turn from whatever has hold of your heart and come to the one who can cleanse your guilty conscience and wash you clean (Hebrews 10:22). Give up the pretending that everything is OK. Give up the deceit and the lies and stop ignoring what the Lord is saying to you today. Come to the one who is faithful and just and can forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Trust the Lord Jesus and let him deal with your sin.

 

1 John 1:8-9

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

 

 

[1] Unless otherwise indicated all Scripture references are taken from The New International Version. (2011). (. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.