Making the U-Turn

Romans 2:1-7 Common English Bible

2 Samuel 12:1-20 Common English Bible

[First preached Feb. 28th, 2016]

January 27th, 2019

 

My car gps tells me to make a legal u-turn if I make a wrong turn and head the wrong direction. If I continue to go the wrong way, the navigation lady says again ďmake a legal u-turnI continue on the same path at my own risk. I risk moving further and further away from my destination.

Itís possible that I like the new surroundings so much that I no longer care that I have gone miles off course. The gps voice stops trying to persuade me to turn around. Even though the visual navigation continues to display directions for upcoming u-turns.

††††††††† David was restless one night and paced along the roof of his penthouse suite overlooking Jerusalem. As he scanned the surroundings he saw a woman bathing in the open.

††††††††† Why was she bathing in the open? Probably not because she was an exhibitionist. More likely because she could not afford a home that allowed the privacy of indoor bath. The image of poor people in India lined up along the shores of the Ganges river, washing. Bathsheba was the wife of a soldier, of modest means.

††††††††† He looked down on her lusting for her. The first u-turn message came as David gazed upon the beautiful woman.

††††††††† Men of our time donít have this problem, theirs is the one coming through the computer screen in the form of pornography. With only a few clicks of the mouse we see more nudity than David would ever imagine.

Pornography Statistics

American addiction centers

o    40 million adults Americans visit internet pornography sites on a regular basis.

o    1 in 5 a mobile device searches are for pornography.

o    20% of working men admit they view pornography at work.

There are all kinds of studies that examine the impact of porn on its users. Letís just say, it is not a healthy behavior. Davidís behavior was not healthy either. He was not satisfied with what God had given him.

He was visually stimulated and that stimulation in his brain, made him incapable of hearing Godís Gps warning.

When he learned she was married woman his gps went off again. But it was too late, he was headed full speed in the wrong direction and slept with her.

When she sent word that she was pregnant, the gps again called him to make a u-turn. He did not. Sinking deeper and deeper into sin, David tries to get Uriah to sleep with his wife. It doesnít work. Will David then confess his sin and get back on the right track? No.

So David brings Joab to execute Uriah, indirectly. Joab returns from battle, the deed done and David tells him. Itís OK. Donít let it upset you. Who knows who will die in battle?

Bathsheba had no idea and David wanted the whole thing to be a secret, but it got out. He was doing the honorable thing by bringing Uriahís wife into his harem.

We read in Luke

2 ďNothing is hidden that will not be revealed, and nothing is secret that will not be made known. 3 So then whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms will be proclaimed from the housetopsĒ (Luke 12:2-3;

 

At the heart of this story is the abuse of power.

When we study the Old Testament (or even the New), we must overcome the mindset that these biblical events were the ďlong ago and the far awayĒ Ė events far removed from us, not only in space and time, but also in relevance. That is not the case with our text, however. In the light of recent events in American politics, our problem is almost the opposite. A manís abuse of his political power, followed by his futile attempts to cover up his sin, are common knowledge today. Reports of such things have dominated the news for several years. We are so accustomed to this kind of sin that we can become desensitized to it.

We ought to be shocked and horrified. Our text should help us to put these things back into their proper perspective and to view sin as God does.

†††††††† In the chapter we focus on today, it begins with ďso the Lord sent Nathaniel to David.Ē Doesnít say when, how long after. Just that he sent him.

††††††††† Nathan tells him a story about a shepherd and his beloved lamb. It was part of the family, like a daughter to him. A local wealthy man had a visitor come and wanted to prepare a feast. He didnít want to take anything from his own flock, so he stole the poor manís beloved ewe lamb and slaughtered it for the feast.

††††††††† David immediately became angry, seeing the injustice being done. As a shepherd himself he could relate to the manís loss. He was incensed by the wealthy manís arrogance and pride, and abuse of power.

David insisted that the man must be repaid seven-fold for his loss. Where is this evil man?

††††††††† ďitís you.Ē Nathan said. And in that moment David heard the GPS come on ďMake a legal U-turn.ĒConfess, repent, turn around.

††††††††† Nathan tells David of all he has done that is evil in the Lordís sight. Bringing David to his knees. Itís all out in the open. And his heart must have been bursting with pain of what he has done. ďI have sinned before the Lord.Ē

††††††††† It was a beautiful moment. David is making a u-turn. His heart is listening to God again. He is turning his heart around and getting right with God.

††††††††† Three things to remind ourselves of. First, He was ready for this confrontation. He was in an emotional state of receptivity. He didnít turn Nathan away, or have him executed. He listened because he knew God was in these words, convicting him. And he accepted the message.

††††††††† In our lives we can go for a long time without listening, because we may not be ready for the truth. We might carry around a sin for years. And the one day we suddenly hear the GPS loud and clear. Something in the heart awakens. It softens and opens up. Itís a beautiful thing.

††††††††† Second, David called out for God to guide him back. He repented. We too, must call out to god to guide us back into his care. As a result of this confession and forgiveness, we can free ourselves from guilt and shame. We are free. Please forgive me God, I want to make it right.

††††††††† Third, David would bear the consequences of his sin. The baby would die and his family would be plagued with conflict, violence and murder. He returned to the path of righteousness, but the fruit of his sin would plague him the rest of his life.

††††††††† As we conclude our look at David and Bathsheba, letís look deeper, into the feelings involved. When David hear the story his initial feeling is Ė anger. How dare that man take this shepherdís precious ewe lamb! He can readily see the wrong and feel anger, because it is not his sin he is dealing with. We too can easily point fingers as the wrongdoing of others Ė politicians, government, neighbors, family members. Many of us keep ongoing inventories of the faults of others, so we can bring them up at a momentís notice. Sure beats looking at our own failings and sins. The formal term for this is ďscapegoating.Ē

††††††††† But then in an instant Davidís feelings went from anger to shame and guilt as Nathan did what any real friend would do, tell him the truth. It is a dramatic shift from a heart that is closed in judgment to one open in confession. And it was a beautiful thing because as a result of his opening his heart to God, David would receive forgiveness. He had negotiated a legal u-turn and was back on the path of faithfulness.

††††††††† Romans 2:1-7 Common English Bible

So every single one of you who judge others is without any excuse. You condemn yourself when you judge another person because the one who is judging is doing the same things. We know that Godís judgment agrees with the truth, and his judgment is against those who do these kinds of things. If you judge those who do these kinds of things while you do the same things yourself, think about this: Do you believe that you will escape Godís judgment? Or do you have contempt for the riches of Godís generosity, tolerance, and patience?

Donít you realize that Godís kindness is supposed to lead you to change your heart and life?You are storing up wrath for yourself because of your stubbornness and your heart that refuses to change. Godís just judgment will be revealed on the day of wrath. God will repay everyone based on their works. 

On the one hand, he will give eternal life to those who look for glory, honor, and immortality based on their patient, good work.

††††††††† Prayer: When the Nathan in your life, confronts you with your sin, my prayer is that you will be receptive, willing to confess and make a legal u-turn.

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