Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. Choices made in a moment can have repercussions that last for generations. King David made an impulsive choice regarding Bathsheba, and a pregnancy resulted. This set in motion the inevitable cover-up, in which her husband was killed to hide the sin. For David, and for us, cover-ups don't work.
From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win, with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer, if coming clean about our sin would cause great heartache for our loved ones, is it ever better to just keep quiet? You know, Dave, you've asked a very complex question.
There are situations, yes, in which one should keep quiet, but there are also those situations, and certainly David is one of those instances, in which it would have been better to simply come clean and face the music, so to speak. But these are the kinds of questions that oftentimes need a tremendous amount of wisdom. But I want to thank the many of you who support the ministry of Running to Win, and because we desire to help you in your Christian life, I've written a book entitled Making the Best of a Bad Decision.
For a gift of any amount, it can be yours. You can go to rtwoffer.com, or call us at 1-888-218-9337. But now let us listen, and let us learn from God's Word.
All right, so the cover-up hasn't worked too well. Nathan the prophet comes to him in verse 12. Now, sometimes I teach preaching to young preachers, and I always tell them, whenever you can, give a good introduction to the sermon. Try to hook people. Nathan is a great example of a great preacher.
He's got a really good story and a good hook. He says, David, here was a rich man who had all of these lambs and goats, all of these sheep, and over here there was a poor man who had one small sheep. And you know what the rich man did? He stole that one lamb from the poor man.
What do you think should be done? The Bible says that David's anger was kindled, and he said the man ought to die, but at least he should pay fourfold for his sin. Nathan says to him in Hebrew, ata ha'ish, you, the man. David, that's you.
You're mad because somebody stole a little lamb and you're not mad at the fact that somebody has stolen another man's wife and has covered it with a crime of murder. That doesn't seem to trouble you, does it, David? As you know, if you listen to my preaching, I'm always interested in the causes of human behavior and the way in which we humans deceive ourselves.
The human heart has been a subject of my study for many years, both because I have one and I can see myself and I can see others, too. Isn't that interesting? Isn't that the way some people are? They become very critical of others, chipping away, cynical, angry. Look at what so-and-so is doing, look at what so-and-so is doing, and then you've got this huge sin of attitude that they have and they can't see it at all. What other people does troubles them very, very deeply. They ought to do such and such, and they don't see their own sin.
They are as blind as the proverbial bat. David, in fact, says that the man is going to should pay fourfold. You know what happens? God says, David, you know, you thought that the man who stole that little lamb should pay fourfold?
Guess what? That's the standard I'm going to use for you. See, that's why Jesus said, judge not lest you be judged because the standard with which you judge others is the standard with which you will be judged. Come on now, you critical people, who all that you can do is to see the flaws of others. How are you going to stand in the day when God takes your standard and applies it to your life?
How are you going to do? Nathan goes on to say, David, he said, look, God blessed you. He gave you wives, plural. He made you king. He gave you rest from your enemies.
You're the biggest thing in the land. Why did you despise the word of the Lord and take Bathsheba and kill Uriah? So Nathan says, this is God's word to you, Mr. King David. Couple of things God's saying. First of all, the sword will never depart from your house. Turns out that four of David's sons all die because of warfare within their own family.
Let's think about it for a moment. Amnon rapes Tamar, so he is murdered by Absalom. So that's Amnon. Then you have Absalom and his rebellion against his dad and he dies in the civil war against his own father, if you please.
Then you have Adonijah. He wants to be king. So Solomon, who ends up being king, has to kill him, another of David's sons. And then the son that Bathsheba was bearing would die.
Four sons. David, you did this secretly. It's going to be done throughout all Israel and Absalom takes David's own wives and violates them on a rooftop in the presence of all of Israel. David, you were concerned about that little lamb, weren't you? Can you see your own sin, David? Well, you'll notice that David saw his own sin.
David saw his own sin. You say, well, Pastor Lutzer, you know, this is a series on making the best of a bad decision. Help me here. I don't see where any good is coming from this. All that you're doing is talking about the discipline of God and we need a little bit of hope here, particularly those of you who are involved in sexual sin. You need some hope. Well, there is hope and it's going to be served in just a moment. It's already in the kitchen. It's on the platter and in a moment it will be brought to your table.
But first of all, I want to make some other observations of great importance. First of all, anyone can commit sexual sin. Anyone. Committed Christians have done it. Uncommitted Christians have done it.
Missionaries, pastors, Christian leaders, Sunday school teachers, elders, deacons, name it. Anyone can commit sexual sin. Here's David who's a man after God's own heart and in a moment of passion he throws it all away because nothing matters except this moment of euphoria. Nothing matters except finally connecting with my soulmate like one man involved in adultery told me I've lived in a desert all of these years. Now I found an oasis and you are telling me I should renounce that oasis and he says I can't. Pastor many years ago in the city of Chicago committed adultery.
I called him to try to talk him out of his ways, but I'll never forget this. He said, well, you know, David had a price to pay, but he did get his Bathsheba. Yeah, he did get his Bathsheba. Destruction of his family and the disintegration of his kingdom.
He paid for his Bathsheba. Second observation is that God is always the loser. You know, verse 14 here should be, I think, translated differently. It is in all other translations. It says that Nathan says, nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the Lord. Notice that the marginal rendering is the enemies of the Lord. Most translations translate it. You've caused the enemies of the Lord to scorn God.
I think that's the idea. God says, David, don't you realize that your sin makes me really look bad? Because now word has gone throughout all the surrounding communities and even the other nations have heard. You know, David, you know, the guy who wrote all the Psalms and loves God, who keeps trusting God, you know what he did? He committed adultery with another man's wife and then killed the guy. And David is the great man, the great lover of Jehovah. Give me a break. God says, David, you know, my reputation is at stake here.
And you know, people in the world don't make up their minds about God until they see us or what they think of God often depends on how we live. You say, well, Pastor Lutzer, give us some grace here. Give us some grace. The grace is coming.
It's coming. Notice David says to Nathan in verse 13, I have sinned against the Lord. Praise God. Praise God. He got the message. And I wish we had time to turn to Psalm 51 and Psalm 32.
We don't, but you can do that on your own. The great prayer of confession in Psalm 51 and the great affirmation of God's forgiveness in Psalm 32. How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven and whose sin is covered. How blessed is the man to whom the Lord imputes not iniquity and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
David says, when I kept quiet, my bones were crying all the day long. When I was going through this and I was stifling my conscience and telling myself that it's no big deal. When anybody came into my office, I wondered, does he know?
I walked down the streets and I said to myself, I wonder if they know. He says in Psalm 51, my sin was ever before me, even though I was trying to cover it up. But how blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven and his sin is covered. God says, David, I've covered your sin. In fact, in Psalm 51, he says, restore to me the joy of my salvation. You say, well, Pastor Luther, that's not possible because how can he be joyful? All the tears in the world will never bring back the purity of Bathsheba. All of the weeping and the regret on planet earth is never going to bring Uriah back from the dead. How does he rejoice?
Follow carefully. Guilt is not a part of God's discipline to those who come clean. Oh, the other consequences can't be reversed, but guilt is not part of God's discipline. For those who hurry to Jesus, there is pardon for guilt and God says, I've taken away your sin.
You can sing again. You can experience the joy of your salvation. That's the first blessing. There's a second blessing, and that is that it says in verse 24, then David, this is after the child that she was bearing dies. Then David comforted his wife Bathsheba, went into her, lay with her and she bore a son and David called his name Solomon. Shalomu, Shalomu in Hebrew.
What does that sound like? Shalom, right? Peace. David says, this little boy that Bathsheba is bearing, I'm going to call peaceful. I need some peace after all that I've been through and my family's totally disintegrated.
I need some peace. God says, you know, that's wonderful, David, that you're naming him peaceful, but I've got another name for him. And the prophet Nathan, who brought the message of judgment now is sent by God with a message of grace and says, God himself is naming this boy and he's going to call him Jedediah. Notice it there in the text and Jedediah means beloved by the Lord.
Wow. Strictly speaking, Solomon should not have been born. And here he is. And later on, God says to Solomon, when he's old enough to hear the voice of the Lord, he says, Solomon, guess what? You're going to build a big temple for me.
It's going to be the most magnificent thing that has ever been built. And you know what? I'm going to bless you and I'm going to love you for your dad's sake because of David, your servant, because God and David had something going.
There was just no doubt about it. And God says, I'm going to bless you, Solomon. And then we open the first chapter of Matthew and there we discover that Solomon is in the genealogy of Jesus. He carries on the line from which Jesus is born.
And so God says, in the midst of all of what you deserve, I give you mercy. Not too long ago, I was asked to fly to Canada to do the funeral of a marvelous Christian leader who died in his early nineties. In order to get back to Chicago for reasons that are unclear to me, I was routed through Toronto. Now, if you know where Regina is, it's way out West and Toronto's in the East. And then from Toronto, I caught a flight to Chicago.
Now there are other ways to do it that are a little simpler, but sometimes the airlines don't do it as simple as you wish they would. So I think to myself, oh, okay, three hours on a plane from Regina to Toronto. So I've got a couple of books that I should read. I've got this to do.
I've got a message that I've got to work on. Who does God put me next to? But a wonderful, well-dressed, educated, successful Hindu. And he and I talk for two of the three hours on that flight. I asked him about Hinduism, learned a lot about Hinduism, helped him to understand the difference between that and Christianity. We got to the subject of karma and he says, karma, you know, if you're suffering today, it's because in a previous life you did something wrong and therefore, and then he said this, he says, karma means that everyone gets exactly what he deserves.
I looked at him with a smile because we're sitting right next to each other. And I said, I'm so glad that karma is wrong. I'm so glad that karma is wrong. I said, because of Jesus, I'm not going to get what I deserve. I said, when Jesus died on the cross, he got what he didn't deserve, namely our sin. When I trust him, I now get what I don't deserve, namely his forgiveness and righteousness.
I'm so glad karma is wrong. In the midst of failure, in the midst of terrible decisions, there's God for David. You say, well, Pastor Lutzer, I'm listening to this message and I'm in a predicament, something like David's.
I mean, with hundreds of people and hundreds listening on the internet and on radio. What do I do? Two things. First, run, don't walk, run to God and admit your sin. Secondly, go quickly to somebody who can help you because you need some help and you need some counsel, particularly if you're involved in adulterous relationship. There needs to be counseling and the re, what shall I say, the revitalization of trust that needs to be built up. And you need some wisdom as to who to tell and what to tell and if to tell, because it's a mess.
It's a mess. But in the midst of the mess, God says there is grace, there's forgiveness, and there's help. God can make the best of a tragic, tragic decision.
Let us pray. Father, thank you that we don't get what we deserve. Thank you that because of Jesus, we can be forgiven and restored and cleansed. Thank you, Father, that David's story does not end until his life ends. When he's back in fellowship, when he's back writing psalms, when he's back blessing people because of his own relationship, even as he watches his family unravel. Thank you for Solomon, who was not at all a perfect king.
In fact, his heart was turned from the Lord. But nevertheless, you loved him and you kept on loving him and you did it because of grace. Grant to us, Father, that grace. And in the midst of the mess, show your love and your mercy to hurting, regretful people. What do you got to say to God now as I close the moment of quietness? What is God saying to you today that you must do? Father, would you grant grace to those who have decisions to make?
It's easy to make them in this setting. We pray that you'll give them the strength to follow through. Make us obedient and keep us, God, we pray, from sexual sin.
Protect us because we're all vulnerable and help us as a community to know that you're there, caring, forgiving, restoring. In Jesus' name we ask. Amen. Amen. Amen. Well, my friend, this is Pastor Lutzer and I can't help but think that there are many who are listening today who are holding in their hearts a secret.
Perhaps it's a secret from their mates or a secret from their parents. Secret sin that has been hidden, sin that has been covered. And somehow they need to deal with it and they need wisdom to know how to deal with it. Receiving forgiveness from God is one thing, but receiving forgiveness and building back relationships, that's something else. I'm going to close today's program with a word of prayer, specifically remembering in prayer all those whose consciences are heavy today because of the sin of immorality. Our Father, we ask in Jesus' name that all who have heard this message, those who have been exposed and convicted, give them wisdom as to what the next steps should be. We thank you for your forgiveness. We thank you that David received forgiveness. We thank you that God bless Solomon, who strictly speaking should not have been born. Thank you, Lord. But at the same time, your people are crying out for help. Today I pray that you shall help them to know exactly what to do, that they might be back in full fellowship with you and others. In Jesus' name, amen. It's time again for you to ask Pastor Lutzer a question about the Bible or the Christian life. When marriages break up, the damage is extensive.
Patrick listens to Running to Win and has this question. My wife had an affair last year and now we are divorced. Am I permitted to remarry?
Well, this is a question I wish I could sit down and discuss with you because I've got all kinds of questions that I'd like to ask you. You seem to imply that you would like to remarry and perhaps you even have someone in mind and I need to confess that that is a bit troubling. For one thing, as long as your ex-wife is still unmarried, there's also the possibility of reconciliation and I think that you should keep that door open as long as possible. Now, if she has remarried, that of course closes off the marriage. But sometimes I've even known situations in which a wife or a husband kind of wishes that their partner were to have an affair so that they would have, quote, permission to divorce and marry someone else.
So I need to understand something about your motives. And finally, let me say this, that second marriages in your context often end very badly. I could tell you many stories of people who've been divorced and they've remarried and their second marriage wasn't happy either. All that to say, you need to discuss this with your pastor. Somehow I'm troubled by the question that you are asking me.
Yes, I do believe that there are times when someone who's been divorced can remarry. But the motives, the circumstances, the situation, all of that has to enter into the equation. Sorry I couldn't help you more than that except I hope that it causes you to do some deep thinking about the decision that you are about to make. Patrick, thank you for bringing that question to us. Thank you, Pastor Lutzer, for your counsel. If you'd like to hear your question answered, go to our website at rtwoffer.com and click on Ask Pastor Lutzer. Or, call us at 1-888-218-9337.
That's 1-888-218-9337. You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60614. Running to Win is all about helping you find God's roadmap for your race of life. Ever wish you could play hooky from life?
Simply walk away from obligations? That's what Jonah wished when God said, go preach in Nineveh. Next time, we'll find out what happens when we run from responsibility. Don't miss our next program. For Pastor Erwin Lutzer, this is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
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