part four

"The nominations are now open for the spiritual activity that people who seek to follow God least understand and do poorly." There are several nominations.

"Well, David, what would you offer in nomination?" My nomination for the spiritual activity we least understand and do poorly is repent. "Why would you nominate repentance?" There are three reasons.

  1. In all ages, God's people have misunderstood repentance.
  2. God's people commonly substitute "being sorry" for repentance.
    (We can "be sorry" for reasons that have little to do with repenting.)
  3. It is difficult to repent--repenting involves the heart and understanding.

We have been studying why David's heart had special significance to God. Why was David a man after God's own heart? We noted David trusted God, and we understood what that meant to David. We noted David praised God, and we understood what that meant to David.

Tonight we want to focus on another "unimpressive" truth: David repented when he did evil. Our immediate reaction is, "Of course he did!" But, just as in his trust and his praise, we may not understand what that meant to David.

I want to thank Roy Dunavin for pointing me in the direction of the ideal illustration. David's repentance is best seen and understood by contrast. An excellent contrast exists when we look at King Saul and King David.

  1. I want to begin by looking closely at King Saul's heart and actions in 1 Samuel 15.
    1. The background of 1 Samuel 15 actually began with Israel in the wilderness as they traveled from the slavery of Egypt to Mount Sinai.
      1. Exodus 17:8-16 states the Amalekites made an unprovoked attack on Israel at Rephidim as Israel began its journey.
        1. In this battle, as long as Moses held his staff above his head, Israel prevailed.
        2. But Moses' arms tired.
        3. This was the occasion when Aaron and Hur had Moses sit on a stone so that they could help hold his arms up.
      2. When this battle was over, God gave Moses a special instruction.
        1. "Write this down and make certain that Joshua knows it well."
        2. "I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven."
    2. Generations later God through Samuel commissioned King Saul to keep God's promise.
      1. The instruction God gave Saul through Samuel:
        1. "I will punish the Amalekites for their attack on Israel in the wilderness."
        2. "Attack and destroy them."
          1. "Utterly destroy them."
          2. "Kill all the men, women, and children and all their livestock."
      2. Saul took 300,000 soldiers and destroyed the Amalekites.
        1. The only person he kept alive was King Agag.
        2. The troops kept the best of the clean livestock and killed the rest.
    3. God spoke to Samuel immediately after Saul's victory before Saul returned home.
      1. "I regret I made Saul king; he refuses to do what I ask."
      2. God's message deeply grieved Samuel.
      3. Remember, Samuel anointed Saul to be king and presented Saul to Israel.
    4. The next day Samuel traveled to meet Saul as he returned.
      1. In Saul's greeting to Samuel he said, "I have carried out the commandment of the Lord!"
      2. Samuel asked, "Then why do I hear the oxen?"
      3. Saul replied, "The troops kept the best animals to give in sacrifice to God, and we utterly destroyed the rest."
      4. This was the explanation: the people want to honor God with a special sacrifice. These animals will be used in tribute to God.
      5. Samuel said, "Let me tell you what God told me last night." And Saul said, "Tell me."
        1. "You know God made you what you are--God took you from nothing and made you king."
        2. "God gave you a mission: exterminate the Amalekites."
        3. "Instead of obeying God, you did evil by keeping spoil of your battles."
      6. Saul replied, "I did obey God; I accomplished God's mission."
        1. "The only person who survived was King Agag."
        2. "The troops kept the best animals for a sacrifice."
      7. Samuel said, "Worship can not be substituted for obedience."
        1. "Rebellion against God is worse than idolatry."
        2. "Because you rejected God's instructions, God has rejected you as king."
      8. Consider several things:
        1. Saul thought he was obedient. His concept of obedience was not correct.
        2. Saul did not want God to remove His presence (as is evident in the last of the chapter).
        3. Saul did not intend to rebel against God.
        4. In a single conversation, Saul went from the triumphant king who had already erected a monument to his victory to a man whom God rejected.
    5. After his conversation with Samuel, after declaring he obeyed God, after declaring that he had fulfilled God's mission, after disagreeing with Samuel, only then did he confess, "I have sinned."

  2. Now I call your attention to David's horrible sin (2 Samuel 11,12).
    1. King David committed adultery with Bathsheba.
      1. Bathsheba in no way seduced David; David created the opportunity and instigated the adultery.
      2. As a result of the adultery, Bathsheba was pregnant.
    2. David earnestly attempted to conceal his sin.
      1. He ordered Uriah, Bathsheba's husband, to be sent from the military campaign to Jerusalem.
        1. David hoped Uriah would spend the night with Bathsheba and everyone including Uriah would think the baby was Uriah's.
        2. But Uriah thought it was inappropriate for him to spend the night with his wife when the army was engaged in warfare, and he refused to go home.
        3. Every attempt that David made to get Uriah to go home to his wife failed.
    3. Frustrated, David sent Uriah back to the troops with a message for Joab, the commander.
      1. The instructions read, "Put Uriah in the fiercest part of the battle, and then withdraw from him so that he will fight the enemy alone."
      2. That guaranteed Uriah's death.
      3. David's orders were followed, and Uriah was killed.
    4. After Bathsheba appropriately mourned her husband, David married her.
      1. David thought the sin was concealed, but God knew the evil he did.
      2. Months later, Bathsheba had a son.
    5. Months later, after the child was born, God sent Nathan to David with a problem.
      1. A rich man with many sheep killed the only lamb of a poor man to fed the rich man's guest.
        1. David was deeply angered by the rich man's actions.
        2. David said, "He deserves to die!"
        3. "He will give 400% restitution."
      2. Nathan replied, "You are the rich man."
        1. "God anointed you king and delivered you from Saul."
        2. "He gave you Saul's house and his wives, made you king of the entire nation, and blessed you."
        3. "By doing evil you despised God's word."
          1. "You had Uriah killed."
          2. "You took his wife."
      3. In consequence:
        1. "Violence always will be present in your family."
        2. "Your own family will do evil to you."
        3. "Your wives will be sexually humiliated in daylight in public."
    6. Listen to David's response: "I have sinned against the Lord." David knew his sin was more than against Bathsheba or Uriah; it was against God.
      1. Not, "That is awfully harsh for a man who had done so much for God in wicked times."
      2. No self-justification: "Look at all I have done for God in Israel."
      3. No, "Doesn't all my past faith count for something?"
      4. No, "Okay, I really messed up, but:
        1. "Consider Goliath."
        2. "Consider my behavior toward King Saul."
        3. "Consider my desire to build God a temple."
        4. "Consider the honor I gave God in the psalms I wrote."

  3. According to God's law, David and Bathsheba should have been executed for their act of adultery.
    1. Exodus 20:14 prohibited adultery in the seventh commandment: "You shall not commit adultery."
    2. Leviticus 20:10 stated both the adulterer and the adulteress should be executed.
    3. David understood the legal consequences of adultery; he knew the significance of his confession.
    4. I understand that to be the reason that Nathan said, "God removed your sin, you shall not die."
    5. However, David's consequences were continuing and severe because he gave God's enemies occasion to blaspheme God.

  4. I want you to note the power of being a person after God's own heart; I want you to understand the importance of your heart belonging to God.
    1. David was not killed for his sin as the law instructed.
    2. Instead of being killed, Bathsheba remained David's wife.
    3. God permitted their next son, Solomon, to become king of Israel.
    4. Does this suggest it was acceptable for David to commit adultery?
      1. Absolutely not! The consequences were severe and long lasting.
      2. David in repentance did not condone or excuse his evil.
      3. David in repentance accepted complete responsibility for his evil.
      4. When David realized what he did to God, He was deeply grieved.
      5. David had known for months his relationship with God suffered.
      6. Listen to Psalm 51:1-13:
        Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness;
        According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions.
        Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity
        And cleanse me from my sin.
        For I know my transgressions,
        And my sin is ever before me.
        Against You, You only, I have sinned
        And done what is evil in Your sight,
        So that You are justified when You speak
        And blameless when You judge.
        Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
        And in sin my mother conceived me.
        Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being,
        And in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom.
        Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
        Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
        Make me to hear joy and gladness,
        Let the bones which You have broken rejoice.
        Hide Your face from my sins
        And blot out all my iniquities.
        Create in me a clean heart, O God,
        And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
        Do not cast me away from Your presence
        And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
        Restore to me the joy of Your salvation
        And sustain me with a willing spirit.
        Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
        And sinners will be converted to You.

David was a man after God's own heart because David understood repentance, and David repented when he did evil.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Evening Sermon, 17 December 2000
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