“Be sure your sins will find you out” (Num 33:23)…
“You have not got to the bottom of the blackness of sin until you see that it is a flat rebellion against God himself.” — Alexander MacLaren
Different Labels, Same Poison
J.Wilbur Chapman, noted Methodist evangelist of the nineteenth century, told of a distinguished minister in Australia who preached regularly on sin.
One of the church officers came to him after one sermon to talk with him.
He said to the pastor,
“We do not want you to talk so plainly as you do about sin.
If our boys and girls hear you talking so much about sin, they will more easily become sinners.
Call it whatever you will, but do not speak so plainly about sin.”
The minister arose from his desk, walked to a utility closet, and brought back a small bottle of strychnine that was marked “Rat Poison.”
He said, “I see what you want me to do. You want me to change the label.
Suppose I take off this ‘Poison’ label and replace it with some milder label, such as ‘Essence of Peppermint.’
The milder you make the label, the more dangerous you make the poison.”
Psalm 32, without changing the labels and minimizing the effect of sin, this psalm speaks directly to the devastating power of unconfessed sin in the life of a believer.
As seen in the life of David, sin committed against God led to sorrow and loss of vitality in his life.
But as also witnessed in David’s life, when he confessed his sin, there was a resurgence of great joy as well as a passion for living to the glory of God.
From this magnificent piece of inspired literature, we conclude that confessing our sin is a vital part of vibrant, victorious Christian living.
This psalm reflects the time when David was king over Israel.
He sent his troops into battle against the Ammonites while he remained behind.
During this time he fell into an adulterous affair with Bathsheba (2 Sam. 11:1-5).
To make matters worse, he tried to cover up his sin by having her husband, Uriah the Hittite, killed (2 Sam. 11:6-17).
For the next year David lived with his guilty conscience in deep agony of spirit.
He became emotionally distraught, physically ill, and mentally disturbed.
Nathan the prophet visited the king (2 Sam. 12:1-15) and told him a story of two men, one rich and one poor.
One had many flocks, the other just one little lamb.
Without warning, the rich man with many flocks took the poor man’s one little lamb.
When David heard this, he erupted, “As surely as the LORD lives, the man who did this deserves to die!”
To this Nathan said, “You are the man!”
Exposed, David confessed, “I have sinned against the LORD.”
When Nathan heard this, he said, “The LORD has taken away your sin.
You are not going to die.”
Although this psalm records the joy that David found through the confession of his sin to God.
There where further consequences of David’s sin:
After hearing the story, from Nathan, of the man who stole another man’s lone lamb, David’s response was as follows:
“As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this deserves to die! Because he committed this cold-hearted crime, he must pay for the lamb four times over!” (2 Samuel 12:5-6 NET).
So said King David when Nathan told the story to convict David of his sin with Bathsheba.
I don’t think it is a coincidence that this is exactly the price David paid: he lost four of his children.
The first child to die was the one who had been conceived the night he spent with Bathsheba. God struck him with an illness and a week later the child died (2 Samuel 12:15-18).
The second child was his son Amnon. Amnon was the eldest of David’s sons, and as such should have been the next in line to the throne.
Amnon desired his half-sister Tamar and ended up raping her. David did nothing about this, possibly because he was the first-born.
David’s son Absalom was Tamar’s full-brother. He told her not to worry, that he would deal with it.
He waited for two years and then killed his half-brother, Amnon (you can read about this in 2 Samuel 13).
Two sons of David had now died.
The third son that died was Absalom himself.
David banished Absalom for killing Amnon, but he was a favorite of the people.
After David allowed him to return to Jerusalem he began to win the hearts of the people.
Eventually, he staged a coup and David had to flee for his life, leading to hostilities between the two men and their armies.
David’s men would not allow him to personally lead the army.
“So the king stayed beside the city gate, while all the army marched out by hundreds and by thousands.
The king gave this order to Joab, Abishai, and Ittai:
‘For my sake deal gently with the young man Absalom.’
Now the entire army was listening when the king gave all the leaders this order concerning Absalom” (2 Samuel 18:4-5).
During the battle that ensued, David’s men defeated the army of Israel which had backed Absalom – 20,000 died.
“Then Absalom happened to come across David’s men.
Now as Absalom was riding on his mule, it went under the branches of a large oak tree. His head got caught in the oak and he was suspended in midair, while the mule he had been riding kept going” (2 Samuel 18:9).
We often hear of Absalom’s long hair getting caught in the tree, although the Hebrew word is specific that it was his head.
He was hanging by his head in the tree.
David’s men reported it and Joab, the commander of David’s men, wanted him executed on the spot, despite David’s instructions.
When the men refused, Joab did it himself.
“He took three spears in his hand and thrust them into the middle of Absalom while he was still alive in the middle of the oak tree.
Then ten soldiers who were Joab’s armor bearers struck Absalom and finished him off” (2 Samuel 18:14-15).
Sin has consequences. The consequences of David’s sin with Bathsheba were immense.
Their first child died. Amnon was killed. And now Absalom was killed.
There will be one more son killed later.
The question must be asked, were those few moments of pleasure with Bathsheba worth all the pain and suffering that he suffered in his house afterwards?
I think not.
This psalm “of David” was written after his confrontation with Nathan the prophet.
It is a maskil, meaning that it was intended to instruct and teach.
Specifically, this psalm was written by David to teach the people of God to confess their sins to the Lord.
And also this whole story teaches us the consequences of sin, and that even though we can be forgiven, by God, once we confess our sins, nevertheless there are consequences to our sins that will still affect ourselves and those around us; and as happened with David, the ripple effect of his sin with Bathsheba all but destroyed his family.
Selah (let us pause and calmly think about these things)
Transparency and honesty is what God is looking for in all of His Covenant children.
I remember when I first got saved, the Lord told me to be honest with myself, and to be honest with Him.
The reason for these instructions, I believe, is because we can easily fool ourselves and thereby justify our sins.
Our Abba Father in Heaven desires to bless His children and even to grant us the desires of our heart; but we each need to learn the lesson of putting Him first in our life and walking by faith (meaning giving God our best effort) to walk according to His statutes and instructions, as found in the Holy Bible
David eventually wrote in Psalm 119:11 that, “I have hidden Your Word in my heart O Lord that I might not sin against You!
And so must we hide God’s Word in our heart.
Thursday April 21
From Faith to Faith
GOD OF YOUR TROUBLE,
GOD OF YOUR HEART
by Gloria Copeland
“Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance.”
— Psalm 32:7
In this day and time, trouble seems to surround us on every side. If it’s not a failing economy, it’s a failing business, a failing marriage or failing health.
Yet, in the midst of seemingly overwhelming problems, God has promised to deliver us.
Let me give you a word of advice though. If you want God to be God of your trouble, then you must let Him be God of your heart.
God honors those who honor Him. So, if you’re facing some problems today, don’t just start kicking and screaming and begging Him to save you from them.
Honor Him by going to His Word and doing what He says you should do.
Psalm 34 is a good place to start.
It says, for example, that you should seek God (verse 4).
As you seek Him, He will deliver you from the things that threaten you.
Secondly, it instructs you to cry out to the Lord.
He will save you out of all your troubles (verse 6).
Next it tells you to fear the Lord.
If you don’t know how to do that, verses 11-14 will tell you exactly what you need to know:
You must keep from speaking evil and deceit; depart from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.
Remember, if you want God to be God of your trouble, let Him be God of your heart.
When you do that, all of heaven will get involved in your deliverance—and your triumph will be guaranteed.
Scripture Reading: Psalm 34
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