Do you remember the first time you discovered that someone you looked up to had a glaring flaw or made a terrible mistake? Maybe it was a parent, a friend, a peer, a coworker, or someone you idolized in professional sports or popular culture. Sometimes people in our lives do things that shock us.
We’ve all watched the news after a terrible tragedy happens like a murder, kidnapping, or child abuse. We’ve seen interviews with family members and neighbors of the criminal and they say things like, “I never thought he was capable of such a thing.”
In the Bible we discover something shocking about someone that was looked up to by the nation of Israel. It was their heroic king. A king anointed by God himself. This man was known to be someone after the very heart of God. He was known for having an astounding faith in God. He trusted in the Lord to fight his battles and to slay his enemies. In fact, he slayed the giant warrior Goliath. I’m sure many Israelite children played “David and the Goliath” in the backyard.
I’m talking about the great King David. But in 2 Samuel 11, David is found out for what he really is…a sinner. In this single chapter, David breaks at least three of the Ten Commandments:
1. Do not covet another man’s wife.
2. Do not commit adultery.
3. Do not murder.
Amidst the breaking of these commandments was deceit and lying as well.
When leaders fail morally it reflects badly on a nation. Do you remember the Watergate scandal of President Richard Nixon? I don’t. It was before my time, but I do know it well. Why? Because a moral failure of a leader is heard loud and clear. It brought shame and hurt to the country.
Do you remember Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky? Now that one I was around for. We recall the infamous press conference of President Clinton promising that he never had “relations with that woman.” These presidents’ erroneous moral actions reflected badly on the presidency and our country. We like our leaders to have strong morals and values. Although, long-gone are the days of quoting presidents for their honesty such as, “Yes father I chopped down the cherry tree.” We’ve seen too much.
David brought shame to himself, his family, his nation, and God by what he did. Here’s a few things we learn about sin in 2 Samuel 11-12:
1. Sin always leads to more sin.
2. We are quicker to judge others for their sin, than to see our own sin for what it is.
3. Sin always has consequences.
4. Attempting to cover up our sin only darkens our soul and fills us with guilt.
How are we to deal with our sin? We should follow the example given to us by David. He first confesses his sin. We find this honest prayer of shame, guilt, and confession in Psalm 51. Here is a part of it:
1 Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
and justified when you judge.
5 Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
you taught me wisdom in that secret place.
7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.
10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
We need to deal with our sin by being honest with God. We also need to recognize that only God that can rid you of guilt and shame. Forgiveness comes when we approach God honestly, broken, and with a repentant spirit. God then brings forgiveness, restoration, and purity of heart. David takes his sin, although hideous, to God and God gives him forgiveness, purity, and peace. He writes about his experience of forgiveness in Psalm 32:
1 Blessed is the one
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
2 Blessed is the one
whose sin the Lord does not count against them
and in whose spirit is no deceit.
3 When I kept silent,
my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night
your hand was heavy on me;
my strength was sapped
as in the heat of summer.
5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you
and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, “I will confess
my transgressions to the Lord.”
And you forgave
the guilt of my sin.
God calls us to take our sin to him and he forgives, restores, and transforms. Refuse to be silent in your relationship with God but acknowledge sin and God will make you as white as snow. God will not be shocked by our sin but we will be in awe of the love and forgiveness that he will give when we are open and honest with him.