§   2 Samuel 12: 1-14

 

“Then the LORD sent Nathan to David. And he came to him and said, "There were two men in one city, the one rich and the other poor.  2 The rich man had a great many flocks and herds.  3 But the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb Which he bought and nourished; And it grew up together with him and his children. It would eat of his bread and drink of his cup and lie in his bosom, And was like a daughter to him.  4 Now a traveler came to the rich man, And he was unwilling to take from his own flock or his own herd, To prepare for the wayfarer who had come to him; Rather he took the poor man's ewe lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.  5 Then David's anger burned greatly against the man, and he said to Nathan, "As the LORD lives, surely the man who has done this deserves to die.  6 He must make restitution for the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing and had no compassion.  7 Nathan then said to David, "You are the man! Thus says the LORD God of Israel, 'It is I who anointed you king over Israel and it is I who delivered you from the hand of Saul.  8 'I also gave you your master's house and your master's wives into your care, and I gave you the house of Israel and Judah; and if that had been too little, I would have added to you many more things like these!  9 'Why have you despised the word of the LORD by doing evil in His sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword, have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the sons of Ammon.  10 'Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.'  11 Thus says the LORD, 'Behold, I will raise up evil against you from your own household; I will even take your wives before your eyes and give them to your companion, and he will lie with your wives in broad daylight.  12 'Indeed you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, and under the sun.'"  13 Then David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the LORD." And Nathan said to David, "The LORD also has taken away your sin; you shall not die.  14 However, because by this deed you have given occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born to you shall surely die.”

 

 

Introduction:

 

 

        When King David thought his plan of hiding his sin succeeded when he had Uriah killed by the hands of the Ammonites, he then took Bathsheba to be his wife and in the due course of time, Bathsheba gave birth to their son.  He must have thought his sin was hidden and that there would be no consequences for his wicked acts of adultery and murder.  But even though David might have escaped the displeasure and revenge of men as he hid his sin from their eyes, however David did not escape the eyes of God. As Hebrews 4: 13 said, “And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” David was not able to hide his sin from God for no one is able to escape the knowledge of the All-knowing God.  And the last verse of 2 Samuel chapter 11 said, “And the thing that David did displeased the Lord.”  Because according to Habakkuk 1: 13, God’s eyes are too pure to approve evil, and therefore (He) can not look on wickedness with favor.”  King David was called “the man after God’s own heart”, but because of his sin, he incurred for himself the displeasure and discipline of God.  In our study this morning of 2 Samuel 12: 1-15, we shall see the Lord’s rebuke for King David through the prophet Nathan, David’s repentance and the Lord’s forgiveness for his sins.

 

I.        THE LORD SENDS THE PROPHET NATHAN TO REBUKE KING DAVID

 

 

“Then the LORD sent Nathan to David…”

 

 

  1. The Lord is patient with the sin of His people and He wants them to repent of it

 

a.       We are told in the last verse of chapter 11 that the adultery that David committed with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband Uriah was evil and displeasing in the sight of the Lord.

 

b.       We would then think that because of God’s displeasure for what David had done, what would follow is that God would send his enemies to attack and destroy David and his kingdom.

 

c.        But instead of sending David’s enemies, the Lord sent David’s friend, Nathan the prophet (see 2 Samuel 7: 1-17). 

 

d.       Instead of sending David destruction and devastation, the Lord sent David instruction and restoration. 

 

 

  1. Though the Lord may allow His people to fall into sin, He will never them to continue to be unrepentant of it  

 

a.       We see that at least nine months has passed since David committed adultery with Bathsheba and at least eight months since David orchestrated the murder of Uriah, because Nathan was only sent by God when Bathsheba already gave birth to David’s son (according to verse 15).

 

b.       During these months (from his adultery to Nathan’s visit), David kept silent about his sin as he said in Psalm 32: 3a I kept silent about my sin…”

 

c.        Though he was already very much troubled by his conscience that his guilt even had an effect on his body as he also said in Psalm 32: 3, 4 “When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long.  4 For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer. Selah” and yet, David was still unrepentant.

 

d.       The Lord may sometimes allow His children to fall into sin even for a period of time but He will surely make a way to bring them back to the paths of righteousness.

 

§   2 Peter 2: 9

 

“The Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation…”

 

§   1Corinthians 10: 13

 

“No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”

 

e.        But the Lord made a way to bring him back to Himself.  David did not send for Nathan; but the Lord send Nathan to David.  Left to himself, David would not have repented of his sin.  He would have continually been unrepentant.

 

f.        Matthew Henry says, “The Lord seeks after us before we seek after Him, otherwise, we would have been totally lost.”

 

 

  1. The Lord often uses His servants to rebuke His own people of their sin so they would repent

 

a.       When all the other means of bringing David to repentance (such as a troubled conscience, shame among those who knew his sin, etc) failed to bring David to repentance, the Lord in His mercy sent His servant Nathan confront him of his sin.

 

b.       The Lord often uses people to bring His sinning children to be convicted of their sins and be repentant of it.   In fact it is our Christian obligation to each other as God’s children to be one another’s keeper.  

 

§   Matthew 18: 15

 

“If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother…”

 

§   Galatians 6: 1, 2

 

“Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. 2 Bear one another's burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.”

 

§   Jude 1: 23save others, snatching them out of the fire...”

 

c.        Even an enemy can say nice sounding words to flatter us when we do something good; but only a true friend can speak to us words     

 

§   Proverbs 27: 5, 6

 

“Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.”

 

d.       Thanks be to God for people who care for us so much to lovingly rebuke us so we would repent of our sins.     

 

II.      THE PROPHET NATHAN SPOKE A PARABLE TO CONVICT DAVID OF HIS SIN

 

 

  1. The prophet Nathan told King David a story about a heartless, rich man who took advantage of his poor neighbor

 

"There were two men in one city, the one rich and the other poor.  2 The rich man had a great many flocks and herds.  3 But the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb Which he bought and nourished; And it grew up together with him and his children. It would eat of his bread and drink of his cup and lie in his bosom, And was like a daughter to him.  4 Now a traveler came to the rich man, And he was unwilling to take from his own flock or his own herd, To prepare for the wayfarer who had come to him; Rather he took the poor man's ewe lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.”

 

a.        The use of parables is a favorite style of speaking among Oriental people, especially in the delivery of an unwelcomed truth.

 

b.       Nathan came to David as if to ask his judicial decision on the case he submitted.  It was not obvious to David that Nathan was talking in parable about him and his sin.  He wisely made the circumstances of the story to provoke David to sympathize with the poor victim and to become indignant and pass sentence against the heartless rich man.  

 

c.        In doing so Nathan sets up King David to make judgment on himself.

                                                                                                                                                                       

 

  1. King David reacted in great anger against the heartless, rich man in Nathan’s story

 

“Then David's anger burned greatly against the man, and he said to Nathan, "As the LORD lives, surely the man who has done this deserves to die.  6 He must make restitution for the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing and had no compassion.”

 

a.       As David thought Nathan was reporting an actual complaint against a heartless rich man who took advantage of a poor man, he then became very angry against the rich man.

 

b.       He even invokes the name of the Lord and passes judgment to the man saying, “Surely the man who has done this deserves to die.”  And that he must give the poor man four lambs in replacement of the one that he took.  He even said that this man “had no compassion.” 

 

c.        And in judging the offender in this parable, David judged himself because of God’s principle for judgment against our neighbor.

 

1.       God judges men who pass judgment to others while doing the same offenses themselves

 

§   Romans 2: 1-3

 

“Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.  2 And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things.  3 But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God?”

 

2.       God judges men according to the measure of judgment they pass to others

 

§   Matthew 7: 1-5

 

“Do not judge so that you will not be judged.  2 For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.  3 Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?  4 Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' and behold, the log is in your own eye?  5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.”

 

d.       By comparison, the offender’s sin is nothing compared to David’s.  The rich man only took the poor man’s beloved and only ewe lamb while David took Uriah’s beloved and only wife.  The rich man killed the poor man’s ewe lamb while David killed the poor Uriah himself.

 

e.        If the heartless rich man, according to David’s own judgment, surely deserves to die and repay four times the ewe lamb he took from the poor man, what would David’s judgment be according to God?  Surely David so much more deserves to die for taking Bathsheba in adultery and for murdering Uriah.  

 

  1. Nathan told David that he was the heartless, rich man in the real the story then he spoke God’s judgments against him

 

“Nathan then said to David, "You are the man! Thus says the LORD God of Israel, 'It is I who anointed you king over Israel and it is I who delivered you from the hand of Saul.  8 'I also gave you your master's house and your master's wives into your care, and I gave you the house of Israel and Judah; and if that had been too little, I would have added to you many more things like these!  9 'Why have you despised the word of the LORD by doing evil in His sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword, have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the sons of Ammon.  10 'Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.'  11 Thus says the LORD, 'Behold, I will raise up evil against you from your own household; I will even take your wives before your eyes and give them to your companion, and he will lie with your wives in broad daylight.  12 'Indeed you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, and under the sun… 14 However, because by this deed you have given occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born to you shall surely die.”'" 

 

a.       Nathan then applies the parable to David and the adultery that he did with Bathsheba and the murder that he committed to Uriah.  Nathan frankly pointed out to King David saying “You are the man!” as the story was not an actual report of a real incident but only allegorical and parabolic picture of the offence that David had committed against Uriah.

 

b.       David is now made to see that the offender he was very angry at who he says deserves to die and who should repay the ewe lamb he took four times, was actually himself. “You are the man!” “You are the heartless rich man of the story!”

 

c.        The Lord through the prophet Nathan reminded King David how richly blessed and favored of God he was.  The Lord said:

 

1.       “It is I who anointed you king over Israel”

2.       “It is I who delivered you from the hand of Saul.”

3.       “I also gave you your master's house and your master's wives into your care,”

4.       “I gave you the house of Israel and Judah”

5.       “If that had been too little, I would have added to you many more things like these!”

 

d.       The Lord through the prophet Nathan pointed out to David the gravity and magnitude of his sin that he had done.  That it was not just a sin that he did to Uriah, but it was primarily a sin against His Law and His Person.   The Lord said to David, “'Why have you despised the word of the LORD by doing evil in His sight?” Then enumerated the sins that he did:

 

1.       “You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword”

2.       “(You) have taken his wife to be your wife”

3.       “(You) have killed him with the sword of the sons of Ammon.”

 

e.        Every time we commit sins, even those sins that we think we do only against people, are sins first and foremost against God’s Law or Word.  “'Why have you despised the word of the LORD by doing evil in His sight?”

 

§   1 John 3: 4

 

“Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.”

 

f.        David violated the 6th and 7th Commandments of the Law of God. “Thou shall not kill” and “Thou shall not commit adultery.” And according to God’s Law, death is the penalty for the violation of each of it. 

 

§   Leviticus 20: 10

 

“'If there is a man who commits adultery with another man's wife, one who commits adultery with his friend's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.”

 

§   Genesis 9: 6

 

Whoever sheds man's blood, by man his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God He made man.”

 

g.        Not only did David despise the Word of God in committing sin, but he has despised the God of the Word Himself. God says to David in verse 10, “you have despised Me”.  

 

h.       Therefore, when we do sin, we must realize that we have despised not just the Word, the Law, or the Commandments of God, but above all, we have sinned and despised God Himself.  (see James 2: 10, 11 emphasize “For HE who said…”) 

 

i.         In verse 14, the Lord also added saying, “by this deed you have given occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme”.  When God’s own people sin, they not only violate harm the people they sin against, they not only despise God’s word and God Himself, they also give God’s enemies occasion to blaspheme or speak evil against God.

 

§   Romans 2: 23, 24

 

“You who boast in the Law, through your breaking the Law, do you dishonor God?  24 For "THE NAME OF GOD IS BLASPHEMED AMONG THE GENTILES BECAUSE OF YOU," just as it is written.”

 

j.         May we who are God’s people see the gravity of our sins against God now that we are no longer His enemies and are now His friends.  When God’s enemies sin against God, it surely pains the heart of God since He deserves to be treated with utmost reverence by His own creatures.  But how much more pain do we who are beloved children of God inflict in the heart of our Father, when we commit sin.  In sinning against people, we despise the word of God; in despising the word of God, we also despise the God of the word; and in despising God, we give God’s enemies occasion to blaspheme His name.   (e.g. They could blaspheme God by comparing His treatment of King Saul who did not commit wickedness of this kind to His treatment to David who He calls “A man after His own heart”).

 

k.       Therefore, the Lord then also enumerated the series of tragedies that He would cause to happen to David’s life and family as a consequence for despising God’s Word and thus despising God Himself.  These are:

 

1.       “Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house,”  (Absalom’s revenge and murder of Amnon)

2.       “Behold, I will raise up evil against you from your own household”  (Absalom and Adonijah’s  rebellion against David and their desire to make themselves king)

3.       “I will even take your wives before your eyes and give them to your companion, and he will lie with your wives in broad daylight.” (Amnon’s incestuous rape of his sister Tamar)  

4.       “Indeed you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, and under the sun.” (David’s sin became a public knowledge during his days and even beyond his days to the present as the Word of God recorded this tragic incident in David’s life).

5.       “The child also that is born to you shall surely die.” (The Lord struck the child so it became very sick and died).

 

III.   KING DAVID CONFESSED HIS SIN AGAINST GOD

 

 

  1. David did not make excuses for his sin nor did he became hostile to Nathan for pointing it out to him

 

“Then David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the LORD.”

 

a.       After hearing God’s rebuke and judgments for the sins that he has done, David could have denied or made excuses about his sins like Adam and Eve did (Gen. 3: 12,13 “The woman whom You gave to be with me”; “The serpent deceived me”)

 

b.       He could have also became hostile to Nathan (putting him to prison or have him beheaded) for rebuking him and pointing out to him his sins like what Herod did to John the Baptist (see Matthew 14: 1-12).  But David did not.

  

  1. David humbly acknowledged and confessed his sin before Nathan

 

“Then David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the LORD.”

 

a.       David humbly acknowledged he has indeed committed the sins that the prophet pointed out earlier.

 

b.       He admitted that he was responsible and was indeed guilty of committing every single one of them without exception.

 

c.        It may be that this 6-word-sentence, “I have sinned against the Lord” are only the summary of David’s repentant confession and that Psalm 51 was the entire confession that he said before Nathan.

 

d.       But even if these were the only words that David uttered in his confession, what matters to God is the statement spoken by the heart. 

e.        We could speak a thousand eloquent words before God in our prayers, but when they do not come from a “broken spirit and a contrite heart” they will be a noisy gong before the Lord and it will mean nothing to Him.

 

f.        But even if we speak only very few words with our lips but it comes from a sincere and genuinely repentant heart, surely they will be sweet words to ears of the Lord and He will surely not despise it (Psalm 51: 17).

 

§   Luke 18: 13

 

“God, be merciful to me, the sinner.”  

 

 

  1. David recognizes that his sin was primarily against the Lord

 

“Then David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the LORD.”

 

a.       In Psalm 51: 4 David said, Against You, You only, I have sinned and done what is evil in Your sight.

 

b.       David affirms what the Lord has earlier spoken through Nathan that he has sinned against Him and did what was evil in God’s sight.

 

 

IV.    THE LORD FORGAVE KING DAVID OF HIS SINS

 

 

“…And Nathan said to David, "The LORD also has taken away your sin; you shall not die.”

 

 

A.      The Lord requires that sinners humbly repent of their sins or else they would die in their sin

 

a.       David surely deserves to die for his sins as we have seen earlier. He judged the offender in Nathan’s parable with death penalty; so in doing it, he pronounced judgment on himself who did even more evil deeds compared to the offender.  But most of all, David violated God’s word and despised God Himself.

 

b.       But the Lord is a compassionate, gracious and forgiving God.

 

§   Exodus 34: 6, 7

 

“Then the LORD passed by in front of him and proclaimed, "The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; 7 who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations."”

 

c.        In God’s holy justice, “He will by no means let the guilty go unpunished”. But before He does so, He exercises patience and grace to allow the sinner to repent and be forgiven.

 

d.       But in order for sinners to be forgiven, and not receive what their sins deserve (namely death), the sinner must first repent.

§   Psalm 7: 11, 12

 

“God is a righteous judge, And a God who has indignation every day. 12 If a man does not repent, He will sharpen His sword; He has bent His bow and made it ready.

 

§   Luke 13: 3

 

“I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

 

e.        A sinner who would not repent of his sin has no hope of escaping the righteous judgment of God against his sin.

 

f.        But since king David repented of his sins, he was forgiven and his life was spared. “You shall not die.”

 

B.      The Lord is ready and willing to forgive all repentant sinners

 

§   Isaiah 55: 7

 

“Let the wicked forsake his way And the unrighteous man his thoughts; And let him return to the LORD, And He will have compassion on him, And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.”

 

§   Isaiah 1: 16-18

 

“Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Remove the evil of your deeds from My sight. Cease to do evil,  17 Learn to do good; Seek justice, Reprove the ruthless, Defend the orphan, Plead for the widow. 18 Come now, and let us reason together, Says the LORD, "Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool.”

 

§   2 Peter 3: 9

 

“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”

 

 

C.      The Lord forgives and takes away the sin of the sinner

 

§   Isaiah 43: 25

 

“I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, And I will not remember your sins.”

 

§   Isaiah 44: 22

 

I have wiped out your transgressions like a thick cloud And your sins like a heavy mist. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you.”

 

§   Psalm 103: 11, 12

 

“For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him. 12 As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.”

 

a.       The Lord still allowed David to suffer the consequences of his sins to chastise him, 

 

1.       “Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house,”  (Absalom’s revenge and murder of Amnon)

2.       “Behold, I will raise up evil against you from your own household”  (Absalom and Adonijah’s  rebellion against David and their desire to make themselves king)

3.       “I will even take your wives before your eyes and give them to your companion, and he will lie with your wives in broad daylight.” (Amnon’s incestuous rape of his sister Tamar) 

4.       “Indeed you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, and under the sun.” (David’s sin became a public knowledge during his days and even beyond his days to the present as the Word of God recorded this tragic incident in David’s life).

5.       “The child also that is born to you shall surely die.” (The Lord struck the child so it became very sick and died).

b.       Although David was through these consequences chastised by the Lord, nevertheless, his life was spared and he was never condemned as his sins truly deserve.

 

§   Revelation 21: 8

 

“But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

 

§   Psalm 32: 1, 2

 

“Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. 2 Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity,  and in whose spirit there is no deceit.