David and the Power of Cover up
HOW TO LIE AND GET AWAY WITH IT
1. No matter what lie youâ€™re telling, say it effortlessly. No pausing, no making stuff up on the spot, no twitching. You will be casual and calm or you will fail. Pretend youâ€™re an actor; no matter how hard the enemy grills you, youâ€™re not going to crack because itâ€™s just a movie.
2. Step 2
2. Maintain eye contact. Looking up and to the left is a subconscious action that is associated with story telling and lying. Down and to the right is remembering. Either is suspicious. Maintain eye contact.
3. Believe you can get away with anything. You are untouchable, and invincible. You are Master of the Truth. You donâ€™t need it to tell you anything, because you have your own version.
4. Make sure your stories are believable. Give up enough truth to get you into a small amount of trouble to draw attention away from the real issue
There’s really only one problem: You never really get away with it.When it comes to our sin, you and I have an amazing ability to lie to ourselves. As the famous Christian counselor and Church Administrator, Tony Sebastian, said: Sin makes you stupid!
O, and I must tell you that I highly represent that remark! I remember as a kid always being fascinated with smoking. No one had yet shown me the wrinkled faces, the cancer-ridden lungs, nor the patients gasping for air, yet so addicted that they kept on puffing. It just seemed so cool to blow out smoke. So, as an 8 or 9 year old boy, I thought I’d hit the jackpot when I found that almost brand new pack of Pall Mall’s laying on the side of the road. Now these were not the filtered kind, these were just the harsh straight paper and tobacco kind. I snuck those cigarettes into my pocket, went home, and showed them to my sister.
Now, while I think I’m of average intelligence, on that day we were just plain dumb. Since we couldn’t play with matches, we would just light them on the stove then run to the bathroom and smoke them, thinking that somehow my mom, who was in the house at the time, would not be able to smell them. I told you we weren’t too bright! Well, I guess you know how long that lasted. About two puffs! There was a knock on the bathroom door and when we unlocked it, our smoking days were over!
Now, go ahead, call me dumb. That’s ok, I’ll just return the favor! When it comes to sin, all of us are that dumb. We do our thing and commit our sin, thinking that somehow we can run to the bathroom, lock the door, and God will never smell our smoke. But He knows the end from the beginning, and He knows about our sin. And here’s what he says about cover-ups: “He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.”
Now when God tells us that if we cover our sins, we will not prosper, He means it, and just in case we doubt what He’s telling us, He gives us some living examples of people who learned that lesson the hard way. No where do you see that lesson taught more clearly than in the life of David, the King of Israel. Listen to His story:
It happened in the spring of the year, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the people of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem. Then it happened one evening that David arose from his bed and walked on the roof of the king’s house. And from the roof he saw a woman bathing, and the woman was very beautiful to behold. 3 So David sent and inquired about the woman. And someone said, “Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” 4 Then David sent messengers, and took her; and she came to him, and he lay with her, for she was cleansed from her impurity; and she returned to her house. 5 And the woman conceived; so she sent and told David, and said, “I am with child.” Then David sent to Joab, saying, “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” And Joab sent Uriah to David. 7 When Uriah had come to him, David asked how Joab was doing, and how the people were doing, and how the war prospered. 8 And David said to Uriah, “Go down to your house and wash your feet.” So Uriah departed from the king’s house, and a gift of food from the king followed him. 9 But Uriah slept at the door of the king’s house with all the servants of his lord, and did not go down to his house. 10 So when they told David, saying, “Uriah did not go down to his house,” David said to Uriah, “Did you not come from a journey? Why did you not go down to your house?” 11 And Uriah said to David, “The ark and Israel and Judah are dwelling in tents, and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are encamped in the open fields. Shall I then go to my house to eat and drink, and to lie with my wife? As you live, and as your soul lives, I will not do this thing.” 12 Then David said to Uriah, “Wait here today also, and tomorrow I will let you depart.” So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day and the next. 13 Now when David called him, he ate and drank before him; and he made him drunk. And at evening he went out to lie on his bed with the servants of his lord, but he did not go down to his house. 14 In the morning it happened that David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it by the hand of Uriah. 15 And he wrote in the letter, saying, “Set Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retreat from him, that he may be struck down and die.” 16 So it was, while Joab besieged the city, that he assigned Uriah to a place where he knew there were valiant men. 17 Then the men of the city came out and fought with Joab. And some of the people of the servants of David fell; and Uriah the Hittite died also. 18 Then Joab sent and told David all the things concerning the war, 19 and charged the messenger, saying, “When you have finished telling the matters of the war to the king, 20 if it happens that the king’s wrath rises, and he says to you: ‘Why did you approach so near to the city when you fought? Did you not know that they would shoot from the wall? 21 Who struck Abimelech the son of Jerubbesheth? Was it not a woman who cast a piece of a millstone on him from the wall, so that he died in Thebez? Why did you go near the wall?’—then you shall say, ‘Your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.’ ” 22 So the messenger went, and came and told David all that Joab had sent by him. 23 And the messenger said to David, “Surely the men prevailed against us and came out to us in the field; then we drove them back as far as the entrance of the gate. 24 The archers shot from the wall at your servants; and some of the king’s servants are dead, and your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.” 25 Then David said to the messenger, “Thus you shall say to Joab: ‘Do not let this thing displease you, for the sword devours one as well as another. Strengthen your attack against the city, and overthrow it.’ So encourage him.” 26 When the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she mourned for her husband. 27 And when her mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord.
Now I want you to look at this sordid chapter again. God’s got something to teach you and me about the high cost of coverup. What does covering your sin cost you? Well, in the first place, Covering your sin costs you
DIV 1: YOUR GOD-GIVEN MISSION
Here’s a truth that you must never forget: Cover-ups sacrifice our greatest opportunities. It certainly did for David. This woman he lusted after and committed adultery with was the wife of one of his most valiant warriors. Uriah was one of the men mentioned in the records of Israel as one of David’s “30". The “30" were the equivalent of our Navy Seals. They were the premier fighters who had the value of several average fighters.
Here David was, engaged in a military campaign. Even though he didn’t go to war himself, surely he wanted his side to win. Even though he was not in the middle of the action, he had a stake in how things turned out. It went even further than being involved in some military campaign. It was the will of God that Israel prosper and that David become king of a great nation. Whether David was directly engaged in bringing about God’s will for his country at this point or not, Uriah surely was.
Yet here he is, engaged in a God-given mission, with soldiers’ lives on the line, and David is betraying the very one who is fighting in the battle, then taking him away from the battle in order to try to cover his tracks. Cover up will cost you your God-given mission.
Now put yourself in Uriah’s shoes. He’s got his “war-face” on. He’s intense and focused on killing the enemy when a message arrives that he must leave at once. He thinks to himself, “Wow, something really significant must be going on. The king himself has called for me and wants to talk to me personally. This must be really important for him to pull one of his most dedicated warriors from the battle. I wonder what he wants.”
All the way back to Jerusalem this question races through his mind. “Why have I been called home? Is Bathsheba ok? Have my parents died? What could the king want with me? Have I done something wrong? Does he want to promote me? What is this about?”
With a wondering anxious heart he enters the kings chambers. He bows in deference and looks at David waiting for the important announcement. David looks at him with a broad smile and asks “How’s it going, Uriah?”
Uriah mumbles, “Well, ok, I guess. We’re winning, or at least we were when I had to leave.”
“Well, fine, I suppose, but you would have already known that from the regular battle reports that are sent. Why did you call for me?”
“O, I just wanted a battle report, that’s all”
I’m sure Uriah bit his tongue. Here he was, a valiant warrior, one of David’s “30" called from the battle to give a report. What had gotten into David? He surely wasn’t himself. And that’s just the point: He wasn’t himself. Sin had entered his life and made him stupid. And now his coverup was endangering his God-given mission. And only God Himself knew just how much danger the mission was in. Without David on the throne, you see, the Messiah’s birth would have been jeopardized. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that God’s plan would have been thwarted, for surely God’s sovereign plan was never endangered, but I must say that David’s part in that plan was surely jeopardized by his sin, because, you see, that’s what sin always does. It costs you your God-given mission.
We’ll never forget the wagging finger. Say what you will about his presidency, the thing none of us will forget was the affair with Monica Lewinsky. I’ll never forget when the news broke about what was, then, just a rumor, President Clinton went on national T.V. and with righteous indignation looked the camera and the nation in the eye and said this. “I want you to listen to me. I did not . . .” and then he goes on to lie about what we later came to find out had actually happened. Hey, it was King David all over again. The cover-up was on. The lid was put on the scandal and he thought he had defeated the vast right wing conspiracy, but truth has a way of blowing off the lid, and the whole thing ended in disgrace.
And it cost him. Bill Clinton was presiding over one of the best economies in history. He was one of the most talented men to ever hold the office. Whether you agree with his politics, you can’t deny his brilliance. I’m sure he had many things he wanted to accomplish while in office, but he sacrificed it in a cover-up that cost him his integrity and the respect of the American people. Cover up will cost you!
And it will cost you your mission. Listen! There is nothing that so ruins your ability to impact your family than the hidden sins that they know about that you refuse to forsake. Dad’s if you are involved in pornography, your kids may not know it now, but I guarantee you they can tell there’s something spiritually wrong with you and you are losing your influence with them and sacrificing your mission to them. Moms, if you are entertaining another man’s advances at work, your flirtation is not lost on your daughter. She may not know what you are doing now, but it is only a matter of time and when it all comes out, your influence will be compromised. You’re losing your positive influence with her and you are sacrificing your mission to her. Cover-up costs you your mission to your family.
And it also costs you your mission to your friends. The tragedy is it may not even be your own cover-up. There have been so many public failures of Christian ministers and leaders who talked one way and lived another that your mission to win your lost friend to Christ has already been impacted. If you add to that a cover-up of your own, many of those friends you’re trying to reach will be consigned to an eternity apart from God. Cover-up costs you your mission to your friends.
And it also costs your church family its mission. Have you ever stopped to think that you’re the stopper in the bottle? You ever stopped to think that just like Achan cost the children of Israel the battle of Ai, your rebellion may be costing Peace Church the blessing of God? Could it be that dishonesty you’re nursing, or that shady business deal you’re closing, or the tithe you’re stealing that is holding back the evangelistic explosion God wants to send here? Cover-up will cost you! It will cost you your God-given mission and it will also cost you:
DIV 2: YOUR MORAL INTEGRITY.
There had been a time that David could write in Psalm 26:
Vindicate me, O Lord, for I have led a blameless life; I have trusted in the Lord without wavering. Test me, O Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind; for your love is ever before me, and I walk continually in your truth
But now in the middle of his sin, the cover up has begun and it is costing him. His cover up leads him first to dishonesty. He sends for Uriah with one purpose in mind. He wants Uriah to go to Bathsheba and perform his husbandly duty to her so that David can deny that the child she is bearing belongs to him. In v8 David tells Uriah to “go down to his house and wash his feet.” This is probably a euphemism for the act of marriage that would have covered David’s track. On the face of it, David seems like a benevolent king concerned for the happiness of one of his soldiers. The truth is, he just wants to cover up his adultery.
And it could have even been more sinister than that. In that day, warriors going to battle often took vows of sexual abstinence. It is possible that if Uriah had obeyed his kings suggestion, he could have been accused of breaking war regulations, brought up on charges and killed. David’s coverup led him to dishonesty.
And it also leads him to disloyalty. Even if David was not trying to eliminate Uriah with his suggestion that he go into his wife, he, by that suggestion, was soliciting Uriah to join him in his how disloyalty to his fellow soldiers. In the attempt to get Uriah to hang his comrades out to dry, he even makes him drink until he’s drunk. He thinks that, in this condition, surely Uriah’s inhibitions will be lowered and he will make love to his wife. But Uriah drunk is more noble than David is sober. He refuses.
David’s coverup has made him dishonest and disloyal and in that mixture, his heart has now become desensitized to his sin. After his second attempt to get stubborn Uriah to do his bidding, he realizes that his time is running out and that Uriah isn’t going to budge, so he decides that Uriah must die. Think of it! The sweet Psalmist of Israel that claims to have led a blameless life, now hatches a scheme to kill someone who has done nothing but serve him faithfully. And to make it worse, notice what v 14 says. It says tha tin the morning David writes a letter to Joab and telling him to have Uriah killed and notice how it says that Joab gets the letter. It says that he “sent it by the hand of Uriah.” In David’s cover-up, he has become so calloused that he makes Uriah deliver the very letter that will end his life. And, indeed, David, in the final analysis, has him murdered.
Isn’t that the way cover-up works? It’s just a delusion. We really can’t cover up anything. Sin always comes out. And just like David, when we cover up our sin, we have to resort to increasingly desperate measures to hide what we’ve done. I assure you that when David first conceived the thought of adultery, he had no plans that all of it would end in the murder of Uriah, but that’s where his coverup took him.
Listen! Sin will take you further than you want to go, keep you longer than you wanted to stay and charge you more than you’re willling to pay. You may think that thing you’ve covered up is something you can manage - THAT’S WHAT DAVID THOUGHT. He said “I’ll just stay home this time, all the other kings do it, besides I paid my dues.”
He said “I’m just looking, I’m not doing anything wrong by looking am I? Besides, she’s the one bathing on her rooftop.”
And after he looked a while, he said “I’ll just invite her over. It’ll just be a one time thing. No one will know.”
And when he heard what his sin was bearing, he said “I can take care of this pregnancy, I’ll just invite Uriah home, No one will know.”
And finally, when Uriah would not cooperate, he said “I hate to lose Uriah, but it’s better that a soldier die than that Israel lose their king and endure this scandal, no one will ever find out.”
Cover up will cost you your integrity.
Stefania Fraccalvieri now knows that tongue piercing costs a lot more than expected. Just after she had a metal stud put through her tongue—a popular fashion trend among teenagers—Stefania began to experience sharp, stabbing pains in her face that lasted up to half a minute, 20-30 times a day. Doctors soon diagnosed her with trigeminal neuralgia, a condition more commonly known as "suicide disease" because of the intense pain it causes. The metal stud she had implanted was apparently rubbing up against a nerve that runs along the jaw and is connected to the trigeminal nerve (a large nerve in the human head).
Stefania's condition is just one of many complications due to tongue piercing. Those who opt for the extra hardware in their mouth can get a tetanus infection, heart complications, brain abscesses, chipped teeth, and receding gums.
So how did doctors cure Ms. Fraccalvieri of her condition? They first prescribed the usual array of painkillers. Then they moved on to stronger medications. Finally, they tried the solution that was seemingly most obvious: they removed the metal stud from the girl's tongue, and in a matter of a few days, all was well again.
Some of us have been in spiritual pain for months, maybe even years. You’ve been coddling this sin or that one, and you’ve been moving from one stage of cover up to the next one. You can’t even understand the pain you’re in and you wonder why God doesn’t relieve you. You may even try this spiritual fad, or go to Christian counseling, but the pain remains. Why? It’s simple: You’re in pain because you won’t remove the sin of your lust, or the sin of your anger, or the sin of your unforgiveness. The way to relief is the way of repentance, not cover up. Cover up will cost you your God-given mission, your moral integrity, but it will also cost you:
DIV 3: YOUR POSITIVE RELATIONSHIPS
One of the highest prices David pays in his effort to cover his sin is the friendship he loses. Uriah had been around for a while, evidently. He is listed among David’s “mighty men.” Uriah was the kind of guy you could count on. He had integrity. He’d stick with the job and he could not be tempted to let you down just because a better offer came along. Yet, David has him killed. And he has to use Joab to get the job done.
That’s significant because Joab was a bit of a scoundrel. He did what it took to win up to and including murder. And now, since David had included Joab in his intrigue, he was, in a sense, indebted to him, and Joab was the kind of a friend who knew how to collect debts! While, by his cover up, David may have purchased some temporary cover, you can be sure that Joab would never let him forget what he had done for him. David’s cover up had cost him his real friend and put him in league with a friend who would cut his throat if the need arose.
And that’s what coverup always does. It will cost you your positive relationships and ally you with those whom you really cannot trust.
And whether you realize it or not, it’s very obvious to others around you. See, when you’re involved in cover up, you begin to avoid the people who are good for you. You may never have them killed, but your relationship with them may die because you’re covering up sin and you really don’t want the Uriah’s of your life sticking their noses in your business. You make excuses for your avoidance and say things like, “They don’t really understand what I’m feeling” or “They just want to tell me what the Bible says and I already know that. I need practical answers.” All the time what you’re really saying is, “I’m in the middle of a cover up and I can’t keep covering up if you keep exposing my sin with the Word of God.” Cover up separates you from people who tell you the truth!
And it separates you from people who are living out the truth. When you’re covering up, you feel guilty and you begin to look at others who are living right and think that they are judging you. You no longer feel comfortable around other Christians. It’s amazing that people can be so transparently foolish while trying to avoid real transparency so much. I was talking with someone one time who had been responsible for busting up their own marriage. They said, “I don’t feel comfortable in the church anymore. People have withdrawn from me.” I wanted to say, “O no they haven’t, you’ve withdrawn from them! When you’re covering up you separate yourself because of your own guilt. Cover up separates you from people who live out the truth.
And it also allies you with people who will enable you to keep your cover up alive. You see it all the time. People walk away from God and get involved in sin and the very first thing that changes is their friends. It’s especially true with teenagers. When a teen is living for God, often his friends will be living for God too. And when a teen is living wrong, she will choose friends who live wrong too! Cover ups cost you your positive relationships. They cost you your moral integrity. They cost you your God-given mission, but, most of all they cost you:
DIV 4 - GOD’S DIVINE FAVOR.
Truth understated often communicates powerfully. The Bible makes one elegantly terrible statement that should strike fear in your heart this morning if you are covering up your sin. Read it with me. It’s the last sentence of v 26: But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord.
Here, the man who the Bible said was after God’s own heart had stepped out of the favor of God. He had committed adultery; he lied to cover his sin; and now he murdered to cover up his lie and God was angry. God would go on to judge David.
The consequences of David’s rebellion were unbearably painful. The son Bathsheba was bearing would die as an infant. As David allowed his lust to rob Uriah of his wife, so David’s own son would rob David’s own daughter of her virginity in a moment of rape-filled lust. As David killed Uriah, so another of his sons, Absalom, would go on to murder his rapist son, Amnon. Then as David asked Joab to look the other way when Uriah was killed, Joab would make David look the other way as he killed his own son, Absalom. From the moment that David viewed the bathing wife of Uriah, he set in motion the seeds of God’s judgment that would not be stopped, even though he finally repented. His cover up cost him the favor of God.
See, we think that covering our sin makes us safer. We think that if we hide our adultery, or act as if our anger hasn’t hurt anyone and no one calls us on it, that we have gotten away. We think our cover-up makes us safer, but it really only guarantees the fearful judgment of God.
In 2000, an Illinois scientist named William Walsh made an unusual discovery. He chemically examined some strands of hair from the head of the body of the famous classical composer Ludwig Van Beethoven. He discovered in his analysis that Beethoven’s body had 100 times the normal of lead that a human being should have. He concluded that Beethoven’s death at age 57 was the result of lead poisoning.
Now it wasn’t that someone murdered him or did him harm. No, Beethoven’s lead poisoning can be traced back to the mineral spa that he went to in order to relax. Think about that: the very thing that he thought was bringing him health and comfort was slowly killing him. He slowly poisoned himself to death.
That’s what happens in a cover up. You think you’re making yourself safer, but you’re really putting yourself in mortal danger!
Listen to me, my unsaved friend, you are under the judgment of God! You may not know it, and you may not feel it, but you are. You may not even feel like a “sinner” this morning, but if you’ve never come to Christ in faith, that’s exactly what you are, and your unwillingness to admit that one fact is the very thing that will send you to Hell. You are covering up who you really are and your cover up is what will doom you.
Christian, if you are in rebellion against God and you are covering sin in your life, I can tell you two things about yourself: First, you’re rationalizing your sin. You’re saying things like:
“Yes living together before marriage is wrong, but I have some good reasons for doing it.”
“Yes, refusing to give God the tithe is not the best course of action for me to take, but we’re not under the law, but under grace, so it really doesn’t matter.
“Yes, I know that disobeying my parents is not right, but they’re really out of touch, and besides, what they don’t know won’t hurt them.” If you’re involved in sin you’re rationalizing it but I want you to know something else about your sin.
If you are in rebellion against God, you are about to be judged for that sin. The bible tells us: “Be not deceived, God is not mocked. Whatever a man sows, he’ll reap!” If you are covering your sin this morning, God’s judgment is about to fall on your life!
O listen, but it doesn’t have to be that way! You don’t have to live under that judgment of God! You say, “Well what can I do, Rusty. How can I trade the darkness for the light? How can I stop the cover up?”
Well, you can do what Jacob did:
He was the riverboat gambler of the patriarchs. A master of sleight of hand and fancy footwork. He had gained a seamy reputation of getting what he wanted by hook or crook—or both.
Twice he dealt hidden cards to his dull-witted brother Esau in order to climb the family tree. He once pulled the wool over the eyes of his own father, a trick especially dirty since his father’s eyes were rather dim, and the wool he pulled insured him a gift he would never have received otherwise.
He later conned his father-in-law out of his best livestock and, when no one was looking, he took the kids and the cattle and skedaddled.
Yes, Jacob had a salty reputation, deservedly so. For him the ends always justified the means. His cleverness was outranked only by his audacity. His conscience was calloused just enough to let him sleep and his feet were just fast enough to keep him one step ahead of the consequences.
That is, until he reached a river called Jabbok. At Jabbok his own cunning caught up with him.
Jacob was camped near the river Jabbok when word reached him that big, hairy Esau was coming to see him. It had been twenty years since Jacob had tricked his brother. More than enough time, Jacob realized, for Esau to stir up a boiling pot of revenge. Jacob was in trouble. This time he had no more tricks up his sleeve. He was finally forced to face up to himself and to God.
To Jacob’s credit, he didn’t run away from the problem. One has to wonder why. Maybe he was sick of running. Or maybe he was tired of looking at the shady character he saw every morning in the mirror. Or maybe he simply knew that he’d dealt from the bottom of the deck one too many times. Whatever the motivation, it was enough to cause him to come out of the shadows, cross Jabbok Creek alone, and face the facts.
And I imagine that most of us have spent some time on the river banks as well. Our scandalous deeds have a way of finding us. Want some examples? Consider these scenes.
The unfaithful husband standing at the table with a note from his wife in his hands, “I couldn’t take it anymore. I’ve taken the kids with me.”
The twenty-year-old single in the doctor’s office. The words are still fresh on her mind, “The test was positive. You are pregnant.”
The businessman squirming in the IRS office. “Your audit shows that you took some loopholes that weren’t yours to take.”
The red-faced student who got caught red-handed copying the test answers of someone else. “We’ll have to notify your parents.”
All of us at one time or another come face to face with our past. And it’s always an awkward encounter. When our sins catch up with us we can do one of two things: run or wrestle.
Many choose to run. They brush it off with a shrug of rationalization. “I was a victim of circumstances.” Or, “It was his fault.” Or, “There are many who do worse things.” The problem with this escape is that it’s no escape at all. It’s only a shallow camouflage. No matter how many layers of make-up you put over a black eye, underneath it is still black. And down deep it still hurts.
Jacob finally figured that out. As a result, his example is one worthy of imitation. The best way to deal with our past is to hitch up our pants, roll up our sleeves, and face it head on. No more buck-passing or scapegoating. No more glossing over or covering up. No more games. We need a confrontation with our Master.