Walking the Wrong Path 2 Samuel 11_1-26
Following the Wrong Path: 2 Samuel 11:1-26
Ill: Hiking down the wrong path and trying to stay in control
I had lost my way and that was a really uneasy feeling, it is often much easier to stay in control. The danger is that control when in the context of sin can destroy our relationships with people and God.
-Life is a journey, a journey designed to take us down a path towards a close relationship with God.
-We are often drawn away from God’s path to the path that leads to sin.
-Sin began that one day in the Garden and has been a destructive force ever since, it has been our greatest enemy, twisting truth and breaking hearts wherever it lives.
-We are not fooled that we all sin, to tell you that you and I sin would be stating the obvious but often we need a reminder of the paths we take towards rebellion against God.
-I do not come as one having arrived, in fact I often resonate with Paul when he says that he is the greatest sinner of them all. I come as one in the midst of the struggle, being faced with my own infallibility but wanting more…wanting to know Christ in such a way that is not hindered by my own sin.
-Today we are going to look at a familiar episode in the life of David. He has become king and has great power, influence and wealth, but for all his strength he is as weak as a new born child, he is a sinful man, who’s story is contained in the Word to teach us a lesson about the path to destruction.
-Today we will look at three sections on the path in David’s spiral into sin. 1. The path of Temptation, 2. The Path of Sin and 3. the path of Rebellion.
-please open your bibles to 2 Samuel 11:1-26, PRAY
The Path of Temptation (vs. 1-3)
11:1 In the spring of the year, at the time when kings normally conduct wars, David sent out Joab with his officers and the entire Israelite army. They defeated the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David stayed behind in Jerusalem. 11:2 One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of his palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. Now this woman was very attractive. 11:3 So David sent someone to inquire about the woman. The messenger said, “Isn’t this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?”
a. Step One: Being in a position of compromise. (v.1)
-Because of the limited window for war, spring was the time of campaigns. David was supposed to be at war, it is not explained why he does not go to war but he stays back in Jerusalem. It seems that he was idle in his time, did not attend to his responsibilities which can lead to openness to distraction.
-There are places and situations for all of us where we are susceptible to compromise: out of sight of authorities (Employer or Parent), In a bar, with the wrong friends, Traveling alone on a business trip, home alone with the internet, in the midst of a depression, when we are given open authority, when we here the latest rumor, when we are stressed, when we are having trouble in our marriages, when we anticipate that we can avoid consequences.
- our goal should be to recognize our weak points and avoid those circumstances. Stay away from those places, confide in another person for accountability, be open and honest to God, trust your temptations with your spouse, place safeguards for responsible use.
b. Step Two: Opening up to be enticed. (v. 2)
-There is nothing wrong with David being on his roof-a roof was often a place where people went in the evening to enjoy the coolness of the day. It housed gardens, almost like our modern patio. He did not go on his roof thinking he was going to seek out a woman bathing-he was not the first peeping tom. It was even okay to acknowledge what he saw and admit the woman’s beauty. It is what happens between verse 2 and verse 3; he is open to explore the possibilities.
-It is closely tied to verse 1, what factors taking place in our lives or areas of weakness cause us to be open to enticement? Maybe it is as simple as boredom, which may have been David’s case.
-It is that moment where you may rationalize why this act may be alright. This can almost be to the point where you are willing to change your life to have it.
-It is that moment when the battle between doing right and wrong may be the strongest but the stage has already been set because you already placed yourself into a position where compromise was possible.
c. Step Three: Engaging in exploration of the temptation. (v. 3)
-David has begun to slide towards sin, he has begun to explore the outside conditions for his intended act. It is as if he is saying, “If I do this what do I need to be aware of, what are the factors that I do not know about?” Where is Uriah? Oh, he is off at war, that eliminates one problem.
-He is exploring the gravity of what he may do. He wants to know who she is connected and her marital status. How can I get what I want without feeling guilty and rationalize my behavior?
If you are interested in losing weight, I present to you the incredible new “Loser’s Diet.” Just follow this diet and you are sure to lose. Diet Tips:
· If no one sees you eat it, it has no calories.
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· When eating with someone else, calories don’t count if you both eat.
· Food used for medical purposes never counts, such as: hot chocolate, toast, and Sara Lee cheesecake.
· If you fatten up everyone else around you, then you look thinner.
· Movie-related foods don’t count because they are simply part of the entire entertainment experience and not a part of one’s personal fuel.
· Cookie pieces contain no calories. The process of breakage causes calorie leakage.
-Do you ever do this? Do you place yourself in a position you know your weak? Do you ever open that door to enticement allowing yourself to rationalize? Do you ever explore the details of an action, determining how to get what you want without guilt or consequences?
-Cars: step 1-keeping up with models and visiting a dealership, not being satisfied with what I have. Step 2-looking close at the car, seeing new options that would be good to have, sitting inside and test driving. Step 3-sitting down with the sales person, getting options working out a payment plan, exploring a means to pay for it.
-Sometimes the very steps that lead to sin are the same steps that lead to making good, biblical endorsed and proper decisions. This is sometimes why it is so easy to do and so easy to rationalize.
2. The Path of Sin (vs. 4-25)
11:4 David sent some messengers to get her. She came to him and he had sexual relations with her. (Now at that time she was in the process of purifying herself from her menstrual uncleanness.) Then she returned to her home. 11:5 The woman conceived and then sent word to David saying, “I’m pregnant.” 11:6 So David sent a message to Joab that said, “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” So Joab sent Uriah to David. 11:7 When Uriah came to him, David asked about how Joab and the army were doing and how the campaign was going. 11:8 Then David said to Uriah, “Go down to your home and relax.” When Uriah left the palace, the king sent a gift to him. 11:9 But Uriah stayed at the door of the palace with all the servants of his lord. He did not go down to his house. 11:10 So they informed David, “Uriah has not gone down to his house.” So David said to Uriah, “Haven’t you just arrived from a journey? Why haven’t you gone down to your house?” 11:11 Uriah replied to David, “The ark and Israel and Judah reside in temporary shelters, and my lord Joab and my lord’s soldiers are camping in the open field. Should I go to my house to eat and drink and have marital relations with my wife? As surely as you are alive, I will not do this thing!” 11:12 So David said to Uriah, “Stay here another day. Tomorrow I will send you back.” So Uriah stayed in Jerusalem both that day and the following one. 11:13 Then David summoned him. He ate and drank with him, and got him drunk. But in the evening he went out to sleep on his bed with the servants of his lord; he did not go down to his own house. 11:14 In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah. 11:15 In the letter he wrote: “Station Uriah in the thick of the battle and then withdraw from him so he will be cut down and killed.”
11:16 So as Joab kept watch on the city, he stationed Uriah at the place where he knew the best enemy soldiers were. 11:17 When the men of the city came out and fought with Joab, some of David’s soldiers fell in battle. Uriah the Hittite also died. 11:18 Then Joab sent a full battle report to David. 11:19 He instructed the messenger as follows: “When you finish giving the battle report to the king, 11:20 if the king becomes angry and asks you, ‘Why did you go so close to the city to fight? Didn’t you realize they would shoot from the wall? 11:21 Who struck down Abimelech the son of Jerub-Besheth? Didn’t a woman throw an upper millstone down on him from the wall so that he died in Thebez? Why did you go so close to the wall?’ just say to him, ‘Your servant Uriah the Hittite is also dead.’” 11:22 So the messenger departed. When he arrived, he informed David of all the news that Joab had sent with him. 11:23 The messenger said to David, “The men overpowered us and attacked us in the field. But we forced them to retreat all the way to the door of the city gate. 11:24 Then the archers shot at your servants from the wall and some of the king’s soldiers died. Your servant Uriah the Hittite is also dead.” 11:25 David said to the messenger, “Tell Joab, ‘Don’t let this thing upset you. There is no way to anticipate whom the sword will cut down. Press the battle against the city and conquer it.’ Encourage him with these words.”
a. Step Four: Temptation develops into sinful action. (v. 4)
-David took that next step, rationalized the behavior and gave into sin. He understood the gravity of his sin and chooses to ignore it for immediate gratification. This verse is very matter of fact-sin when intended happens. Sin is not about long term living, it is all about instant pleasure-don’t put off what you can have today, you deserve it, it won’t hurt anyone.
-The passage gives us information about her that sets up the story for the next step in the path of sin. Sinful action does not normally second guess, it is singularly focused, it is not easily disrupted. Being in a sinful situation is almost like in a haze where everything is surreal and in slow motion. We can look back on past sin and who we were in the midst of it and wonder who we were, almost as if we were not in control.
b. Step Five: Sin produces negative consequences. (v. 5)
-David was struck with the results of his sin. Like many consequences it could be hidden for a little while but in the end it is revealed. The consequences could not be avoided, they could not be controlled, they could hardly be anticipated.
-Consequences seen are often superficial, but behind them there is a wake of damage, destroying relationships, and sending chaos in multiple directions.
-David had a big problem and he felt that he had to control it. When we sin we feel in control, but the reality is that we are not in control, we are controlled by the consequences.
Gary Richmond, a former zoo keeper, explains that raccoons go through a glandular change at about twenty-four months old. After that, they often attack their owners. Richmond had a friend named Julie who owned a pet raccoon. Since a thirty-pound raccoon can equal a one-hundred-pound dog in a fight, he felt compelled to warn her of the coming change. “It’ll be different for me,” she replied with a smile. “Bandit wouldn’t hurt me. He just wouldn’t.” Three months later Julie underwent plastic surgery for facial lacerations sustained when her adult raccoon attacked her for no apparent reason. Bandit was released into the wild.
c. Step Six: Trying to cover guilt and sinful effects. (v. 6-13)
-We are not told how much time has passed, but enough time has taken place for David to launch a plan for damage control. He intended to have Uriah come home and sleep with Bathsheba and have him think that he impregnated his wife.
-David relied on human nature to control the situation, he rationalized that a husband would want to be with his wife after a long absence.
-He remained out of control when he could not determine and control the loyalty of Uriah. It must have been frustrating to see a good quality turned against him and nothing he did gave him his desired outcome.
-How often have we tried to hide our sin? Fought and clawed a way to get out of the effects of sin? Have we done like David, schemed, planed, executed, lied only to have our sin still stare us in the face?
d. Step Seven: Covering up sinful action leads to escalated sin. (14-25)
-David could not count on Uriah to cooperate by his human nature, he could not control his loyalty and good behavior. So David tries to take control by eliminating the variables by escalating the situation by causing an accident to happen. In fact Uriah carries his own death warrant to the commander (Joab)-how ironic.
-It has gone from him manipulating a situation to cover sin to including an entire army in his plot to cover his consequences. His desire to cover his sin has taken the lives of innocent people. David must have lost credibility in the eyes of his Joab
-He has gone from one sin of adultery to adding murder to his list of offences. In fact he didn’t even consider what he had done to be wrong (v. 25): Sin blurs the truth.
The drunk husband snuck up the stairs quietly. He looked in the bathroom mirror and bandaged the bumps and bruises he’d received in a fight earlier that night. He then proceeded to climb into bed, smiling at the thought that he’d pulled one over on his wife. When morning came, he opened his eyes and there stood his wife. “You were drunk last night weren’t you!” “No, honey.” “Well, if you weren’t, then who put all the band-aids on the bathroom mirror?”
-What sins have you committed that you buried, hidden and covered with further action all in the attempt to hide guilt, shame, to maintain your credibility, to remain in control? The message of this passage is that it cannot be done, your sin will always be there haunting and hampering your life.
-So how do you hide your sin? Do you cover a lie with another lie, do you erase that data from your computer, do you show more attention to your spouse after being unfaithful, do you become defensive and use your authority, do you take side jobs to cover your spending, do you keep everyone quiet and justify your actions, what do you do to hide your sin? Sin is about control, thinking we have it, thinking we lost it through consequences and working towards regaining.
3. The Path of Rebellion (vs. 26-27)
11:26 When Uriah’s wife heard that her husband Uriah was dead, she mourned for him. 11:27 When the time of mourning passed, David had her brought to his palace. She became his wife and she bore him a son. But what David had done upset the Lord.
a. Step Eight: Choosing to ignore sinful behavior. (v. 27)
-David seems oblivious, showing no remorse from his dreadful actions. He seems to be still in the midst of his sinful state, not close to acknowledging his wrong; he simply bides his time, waiting for the right time. He still is focused on getting what he wants not on what has really happened.
-Sin can so consume us that we are unable to distinguish between right and wrong or understand our own behaviors. Again it controls and overpowers us even though we believe we are in control.
b. Step Nine: Sin leads to a broken relationship with God. (v. 27)
-David went on with life with hardly a difference made to his life. The thought of this last portion of the verse is that David had won, he had covered his sin, he had stayed in control.
-David had forgotten about the single most important factor-God. He could not hide his actions, thoughts, feelings and motives from God and although he had managed to control his sin and the consequences he could not control the biggest sin of all: sinning against God.
-We often forget because of our limited minds the true consequence of our action. We think in terms of human outcomes, but the truth is that the biggest offence we make with every sin is against God. David receives the most powerful consequence: He had done evil in the eyes of the Lord!
-How often have each of us sinned and ignored the importance of God. We give him recognition when we are ill, in need or want our desires fulfilled but when we choose to sin we give him hardly a second thought. We are more than willing to snub our thumbs at God when we want to control our own lives. We have sinned and more importantly we have SINNED AGAINST GOD!
My Desire for the Ford Explorer:
-I wanted what others had
-I gave myself reason for justifying it in my life
-I investigated the possibility by finding the car, test drove it, worked out the finances
-I rationalized it: took my wife along on part of the process, it would have warranty; it was great for winter etc.
-I bought the car- I sinned
-I rebelled: I new it was wrong and I chose to ignore the truth
-The consequences: damaged relationship with my wife, had to work a side job to pay for it, what struck with guilt, it was perceived as extravagant by people who mattered to me, had to sell it and lost money on it.
Today we have seen the terrible path that temptation, sin and rebellion take in destroying our lives. We can walk down that path that leads from temptation to sin, we can try to cover up our sin and the consequences, we can even ignore that what we have done is wrong, but in the end God will not be ignored, he is the one who we ultimately sin against, we cannot cover up the consequences of a broken relationship with him and our rebellion is truly against him.
The story of David and his sin is all about control, and so is our story of sin. We try to control our lives at every turn and dismiss the presence of God. In the end there is one inexplicable person who we cannot control and that is God.
But there is good news, there is hope and that will be the topic of next week.