Lucia's Blog: THE CALAMITY OF A FAILURE OF THE HEART
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Isaiah 55:8-9

Isaiah 55:8-9

Thursday, March 5, 2020

THE CALAMITY OF A FAILURE OF THE HEART


  "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... 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. 14 Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the LORD, the child who is born to you shall die.' 15 Then Nathan went to his house.'"
 2 Samuel 12:7-15


We all have sinned and some more than others. One of the hardest things for us to do is to confront just how bad our sins are before our Holy God and truly weep for our sins.  Even when our God has forgiven us of our sins, the consequences of such sins are far-reaching and can change the course of our lives.  Let us notice the history of SIN in a forgiven man named David.

2 Samuel 11-12 provides the background for Psalm 51 and the sin that David confesses.  This Psalm expresses David's great pain and godly sorrow after he had committed adultery with Bathsheba, for David could not get away with his many sins.  Psalm 51 is the prayer that David lifted to God after the prophet Nathan confronted him with his adultery.  This is one of the most moving and powerful Psalms ever written.  In this Psalm, we see a man who is broken because of his sins and thus is pleading to God for forgiveness.  It presents to us a great insight into David's spiritual recovery from a place of denial, arrogance, and callousness toward God's laws.  David recognized that God's revealed character is one of love and compassion.  God has revealed Himself as the compassionate and gracious God who forgives sin.  David called upon God based on His merciful character and unfailing love (lovingkindness) toward those who fear Him and do His will.  Anyone who has ever felt the weight and the guilt of sin and the need for God's forgiveness can identify well with this Psalm.  What other pleas can a sinner make before an almighty and righteous God?

In Psalm 51, we see the darkest picture of sin.  There can be no more tragic circumstances than the ones we see here.  Sins have piled up, one on top of another, creating an enormous mountain of wickedness.  It was so big and evil that it tested the strength of God's grace.  We also see a shameful picture of adultery, lying, murder, denial of guilt, and other sins to the point of consciously breaking half of the Ten Commandments It cannot get worse than that!!  

You see, David was not caught up in circumstances beyond his control, for he had a choice. He had complete control over them.  He concealed his sin by plotting to use the battle as a cover for murdering the husband of his lover.  One sin that is committed and not repented of usually leads to more sins, making us a slave to sin.  This was David's case, for his slavery of sin finally crushed him when he was confronted.  Until then, David failed to have the courage to confess his sin and be broken with godly sorrow.  Nathan looked David straight in the eye and said to him, “You are the man!”  Nathan had to confront him with his sin to make David aware that God knew what he had done, he had sinned against Him.


I.   DAVID'S DOWNFALL:

One of the hardest things for us to do is to confront just how bad our sins are before our Holy God and truly weep for them.  Indeed, the guilt of sin is a heavyweight.   A broken man weeps bitterly over his sins and repents before his God, for he recognizes his spiritual poverty before Him. Even when our God has forgiven us of our sins, the consequences of such sins are far-reaching and can change the course of our lives.  The Lord exalts the one who keeps his heart pure with all diligence in a meek and lowly manner (Psalm 24:3-4).  The effort of a man can be hindered by one moral failure of the heart.  David is an example of someone who lost the ability to rule with authority when he fell into sin. His strength and effectiveness, both as a father and as a king, were fundamentally compromised.  He lost the respect of his people and children.  David became a compromiser when his closest friends and family committed the most unspeakable crimes.  David never got beyond the shadow of his ill, committed sin with Bathsheba!

  • David's Sin with Bathsheba:  (2 Samuel 11-12)
A much older man now, David sends his army to go fight against the Ammonites while he decides to stay home in Jerusalem.  David's biggest mistake was to remain at home rather than going to battle like most kings did.  One afternoon after his nap, he decided to walk around on the roof of his house. While he was there, he saw a beautiful woman from his roof that was bathing on another nearby roof.  He was enticed by her beauty.  He immediately sent someone to inquire about this woman.  He learned that she was Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, a fine warrior in David's army.  But David had a problem!  He had gotten used to having whatever he wanted in regards to women, so without hesitation, he sent for her and committed adultery with her, and she became pregnant.  

To make matters worse, when David found out about her pregnancy, he tried to cover it up.  He sent for Uriah to return so that it might appear that Bathsheba was pregnant by him.  But David underestimated Uriah. Uriah was extremely loyal to David and to his fellow soldiers and refused to go to his house and enjoy the company of his wife.  He argued that since his men could not go to their wives since they were in battle, neither would he. This was David’s own usual standards,
"David answered the priest and said to him, 'Surely women have been kept from us as previously when I set out and the vessels of the young men were holy, though it was an ordinary journey; how much more then today will their vessels be holy?"'  (I Samuel 21:5) 

When David's men were in battle, they were supposed to abstain from their wives.

A frustrated David decided to sustain his cover-up one step further in a horrible way:  he sent a message to Joab by the hand of Uriah demanding that he place Uriah in the front line of the fiercest battle knowing that by doing this he would die.  His evil strategy worked.  Uriah died, leaving behind his widow, Bathsheba. When Bathsheba heard the news, she mourned him.  After the mourning was over, David did not waste time. He married her immediately.  By the way, she becomes his favorite wife.  She bore him a son.
"But the thing that David had done was evil in the sight of the Lord"  (2 Samuel 11:27).

When this sad and sorry story is over, David had to be rebuked by God when He sent His prophet Nathan (2 Sam. 12:1-15).  The prophet Nathan confronted David with his sin, and his tortured guilty conscience. David, a man after God's own heart, thought himself above the Law of God, setting aside his principles of righteousness, scruples, and ethics to feed his selfish desire.  His biggest mistake was to look at a woman with lust in his heart, Bathsheba, while she was bathing.  Not only did he lust after her, but he brought her into his palace and began an adulterous affair with her.  When she got pregnant, he tried to cover up his sin by bringing Uriah home from battle, but Uriah, a godly man, refused to come home to his wife, so David ordered him to the front lines of the siege and the other soldiers secretly to withdraw so that he was struck down in the battle.

According to God's faithfulness, God gave David enough time to acknowledge his sin and examine what he had done and to come to Him in full repentance.  Sadly, David, like so many, had closed his eyes to the evil he had committed and hardened his heart toward God.  You see, nine months had gone by, and it was time for David to face the Truth.  God sent Nathan to pierce David's heart with conviction and godly sorrow.  Nathan told the story that led David to conclude that his sin demanded punishment.  Nathan's story is one of the most impressive sermons!  Nathan's presentation portrays a rational understanding of rebellion and disobedience.  He speaks with smoothness and precision, and David cannot help but follow it to its conclusion.  But he found himself surrounded by a pronounced verdict.  The outcome was unavoidable.  So when David declared what must be done in this scenario of lawlessness, he looked up to see Nathan's finger pointing at his heart with the prophet announcing, “You are the man!”  God's heavy hand of Truth had fallen on David, so he had no place to hide or turn to but to repentance.  He had two choices to make:  harden his heart or humbly repent.  So David said, "I have sinned against the Lord" (2 Sam. 12:13a).  For a long time, he had tried to hide his sin. He had lied, had committed murder, but he could not escape this powerful sermon preached by Nathan.  Full repentance requires hearing, understanding, judgment, personal application, and turning.

Notice that David had all the wives he needed or wanted, but Uriah had only one.  This portrays a David not content or satisfied with all of God's blessings toward him.  He had God's protection and a great abundance of possessions.  Instead of being grateful for what he had, he behaved as an ungodly man taking from Uriah, a godly man, the one thing he had, his wife, Bathsheba.  How sad that David had fallen so low just to please the desires of his flesh!  

The guilt of sin weighs heavily on the heart, soul, and mind of man.  Some sins bring a heavier weight to the soul than others.  It is a deep pain that almost everyone has felt in his life as he tries to serve God faithfully.  After David had heard the sentence for his sins, he repented admitting his sins before His God.  Here, we see a broken David who had truly repented.  David confronted his own sin giving no excuses and no lies. He realized that according to the Law, there was no sacrifice that he could offer for his sins; only the penalty of death, Leviticus 20:1024:17, Deut. 22:22.  In Psalm 51, David expresses his deep sorrow and his tortured conscience because of his actions. He teaches us how we ought to deal with our sins.  David acknowledged his sins and his deep need for forgiveness.  His plea is based on God's mercy, unfailing love, and compassion.  He does not rely on self and his past service to God, or how good he was as a king but instead with devastation and brokenness of heart and soul.  And though David had failed God through sin, God did not fail but continues with mercy, love, and compassion upon him and those who rely on Him.  David recognized his spiritual condition before an all righteous God.  So he cries out to God for His mercy, for he has lived in the dark prison of guilt. He needed restoration and reconciliation from God to be whole again.  Without God, we are lost, lonely, hopeless, guilty, and have no purpose in life.

God's restoration is forgiveness, a clean heart, fellowship with Him, joy, the recovery of godly influence, and, most of all, a life that God approves.  After David had admitted his sins, Nathan gave him the final sentence of God's judgment because of his transgressions saying,
"The Lord also has taken away your sin; you shall not die. However, because by this deed you have given occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also that is born to you shall surely die."   

Because of this transgression, David's family was going to be shaken to the core.  The son of Bathsheba would die, and David’s other sons would pay bitterly for his transgression.  Even his own wives were going to be harmed.  David felt so broken by his transgression that he said,

"For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; You are not pleased with burnt offering.  The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise"  (Psalm 51-16-17).

This is the very essence of what God wants.  God wants our hearts and not our sacrifices. That is, He wants our heart to be right more than He wants our sacrifices.  He wants contrite and sincere hearts that will listen to Him.  An honest heart seeks His approval, for he wants to do His will.   Such a heart is willing to surrender to God's will in full obedience. Such a heart will stay with God no matter what because he is willing to endure with faithfulness and determination.  Our worship to God is useless if our hearts are not broken over our short-comings, desiring to do right and be devoted to Him.  Our good works and our service to God are meaningless if we do not have a broken and contrite heart toward God.  All that we do in word and deed must come from the love of our hearts. Otherwise, it will be despised.  God will only delight in our worship when our heart is humble and devoted to Him.  Even under the Law of MosesGod demanded sacrifices that rise from hearts that were righteous and obedient to Him.  

God wants a broken and contrite spirit.  He will welcome it and rejoice over it.  A man whose heart is broken surrenders and accepts responsibility for his sins. Such a heart destroys his strong will and allows God to rule in his heart.  It does not allow his heart to become calloused by sin.  A broken heart admits the errors and sins and is sorrowful, desiring to make changes and move forward in a true relationship with God.  A broken heart does not allow guilt to eat him away but longs to do God's will. The broken heart accepts accountability for the guilt of his sins, for it has godly sorrow.  A broken heart submits to God and His rule, walking the straight path of righteousness.  Therefore, our hearts must break with sorrow for our sins to receive forgiveness.  God will respond to our brokenness with grace when we humbly confess our sins and surrender to Him and His will.  A contrite heart accepts that change must happen, sincere repentance, to dwell with God.  He wants to obey God's lawsGod will only give salvation and grace to the brokenhearted and poor in spirit.

Sadly, even though God had forgiven David, he still had to pay the terrible consequences for his sin. His son died seven days later, despite his fervent prayers.  A broken David did not get angry with God when his son died but rather worshiped Him.  What a different David!  His brokenness had molded him into a much greater man!

David and Bathsheba had a second son who, in fact, received two names:  Solomon, meaning "His Peace" and Jedidiah meaning "loved by God."   Something that caught my attention is that the dead son was unnamed, while the second son was blessed receiving two names.  Interesting!

After this tragic episode, David returned to doing what a king must do.  He led Israel against the Ammonites. Unfortunately, some of his sons were now old enough to start causing serious trouble for him.


CONCLUSION:

In reading and studying about King David, I learned that men must lead with integrity and keep their hearts pure before the Lord.  The reigns of David and his son Solomon were two of the greatest in all of Israel's history. We can learn from their lives the difference that it can make to be a man after God's own heart. Such a heart makes a big difference in our own lives. The measure of a man's greatness is the measure of his heart.  God does not value a man's heart according to his riches, status, stunning deeds of valor and glory, but according to the attitude of a man's heart toward Him. From the historical record of these two kings, we can fully understand the difference that it makes.

The guilt of sin weighs heavily on the heart, soul, and mind of man.  Some sins bring a heavier weight to the soul than others.  Sin in our life is the transgression of God's will, rebellion against Him, and iniquity. Sin reduces man to a puppet in the hands of Satan and unrighteousness.  It crushes those who indulge in it.  Brokenness of sin accepts personal responsibility for what we have done.  Sinners must come to the point of having a broken heart over their sins with a heart that grieves for hurting God. Every time we sin, we need to make things right with those we have sinned against, but especially before our Father in heaven!  Isn't that the breach that must be healed at all costs?  Isn't that what our God wants from us, a deep cleansing, purging, and discipline of our inner heart?

Since God is righteous and holy, any sin is against Him.  My sins not only hurt God, but they also hurt others and, of course, myself.  My sins separate me from God and corrupt my relationship with those around me.  My sins cannot be excused, rationalized, or blamed on others or circumstances.  Since no one can forgive himself of sin's stain and guilt, God has to do it.  So we must approach Him on His own terms to find forgiveness or pardon.  Sin must be dealt with God's ways for true peace and reconciliation to happen.  It is then that we can sing again because of God's way of salvation.  We must face our sinfulness with brokenness and lay our sins at God's feet.  Remember, sin stands between God and us, between our joy, and our righteousness.  Nothing can remove our sins except God's grace, the precious blood of His Son.  Only when we bring our brokenness and transgression to God, do we find the forgiveness that our hearts are craving for.

Though the heart can be mended and forgiven, God will not allow anyone to mock Him, and there will be drastic consequences for those who keep practicing unrighteousness, lawlessness (Gal. 6:7).  He is a God of justice who demands righteousness and sanctification in our lives!  There is no other way with God!  Even though He is a merciful God who forgives us, there are many scars and consequences caused by our sins.  When a man turns his heart away from God, the cost he has to pay is enormous!  When David found himself judged by God because of his sin and while God heard his crying voice of repentance, God nonetheless judged him for his sin, requiring the life of his son.  The end result of David's sin was God's condemnation and a season of strife among his royal family.  

The Lord exalts the one who keeps his heart pure with all diligence in a meek and lowly manner.  David wrote, 
"Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? And who may stand in His holy place?  He who has cleaned hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood and has not sworn deceitfully"  Psalm 24:3-4.

The effort of a man can be hindered by one moral failure of the heart.  David is an example of someone who lost the ability to rule with authority when he fell into sin. His strength and effectiveness both as a father and as a king were fundamentally compromised.  He lost the respect of his people and children.  It is sad to see David once as a man full of discernment between right and wrong, and willing to confront evil, turn into a man who had no judgment or insight about right and wrong! David became a compromiser when his closest friends and family committed the most unspeakable crimes.  David never got beyond the shadow of his ill committed sin with Bathsheba.

One sin that is committed and not repented of usually leads to more sins, making us a slave to sin.  This was David's case, for his slavery of sin finally crushed him when he was confronted.  Until then, David failed to have the courage to confess his sin and be broken with godly sorrow.  Nathan looked David straight in the eye and said to him, “You are the man!”  Nathan had to confront him with his sin to make David aware that God knew what he had done; he had sinned against Him.  Though the heart can be mended and forgiven, there will be drastic consequences for life.  Thus we must guard and keep our hearts pure against sin.  

A man whose heart is hypocritical will destroy the honor and respect of his children and those around him. David's biggest heartache was felt in the lives of his sons and daughter. The relationship between Absalom and Amnon became malignant when Amnon practiced treachery similar to that which his father committed against Uriah the Hittite.  On the other hand, we see Solomon, who offered pearls of wisdom on the importance of guarding the heart, yet he himself lived a life of lies and lost the hearts of those whom he sought to win for the Lord. When a man calls for purity in the lives of his children and those around him, he must model it in his own life!

Guarding the heart is a life-long commitment. We must never stop purifying our hearts.  God demands that we walk in righteousness and sanctification.  Let us not end up like David and Solomon. Although they were known as men with faithful hearts, each failed during critical moments during their reign, changing the course of history forever because of their duplicity. Therefore, we must heed the charge that both men put into words.
 "Keep thy heart with all diligence; For out of it are the issues of life"  (Proverbs 4:23).  

Let us always remember David's cry as part of our walk with God.
"Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! 24 And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!" (Psalm 139:23-24)

May our Lord help us to guard and keep our hearts pure with all diligence for out of it are the issues of life.

Luci

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