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When You Make A Selfish Choice - Part 1 of 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
September 26, 2023 1:00 am

When You Make A Selfish Choice - Part 1 of 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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September 26, 2023 1:00 am

Because our sinful desires are so unrelenting, we often believe irrational lies. King David secretly sinned against another man’s wife, a sin which became very public. In this message, Pastor Lutzer warns against the four downward steps David took towards sexual immortality. What causes us to give into temptation so selfishly?

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The flames of sexual desire can be fanned in an instant. If we're not on our guard, any of us can make the mistake of a lifetime. Israel's King David made a big mistake with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite, a story he wished could stay private got public real fast, and this king was in serious trouble. 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, aren't we all wired to look out for number one?

Is it realistic to avoid making selfish choices? Well, Dave, before I answer the question the way you've asked it, I do need to say that I've often thought of David, whom you referenced. The fact is he tried to cover his sin and now thousands of years later we're still talking about it. His cover-up didn't go very well, did it?

And the fact is that very seldom do cover-ups go very well. But in answer to your question specifically, yes, we are wired in a very selfish way, but that's the purpose of the gospel, to deliver us from ourselves that we might be sold out to Jesus Christ. To all who are listening today, I want to ask you a question. Are you blessed as a result of the ministry of Running to Win? Do messages like this speak to your heart? If so, the answer is because there are those who have invested in this ministry. Would you consider becoming an endurance partner? That's someone who stands with us regularly with their prayers and their gifts. Here is the info.

Go to, click on the endurance partner button, or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Now let's listen and learn from David's experience. David is the last man you expect to find in such a mess, commits adultery with a woman, obviously, that is not his, and then murders her husband to cover it up.

This is a series of messages titled, Making the Best of a Bad Decision. You and I are sexual creatures. It's impossible to estimate the amount of energy and effort that goes into our sexuality, and the media today tells us that the relationship of a man and a woman within marriage is too narrow a definition of where sexual intimacy should occur. So people are believing lies, and they're believing lies because our desires are so powerful, so unrelenting, and we want to believe what they tell us.

I say to all that are here, the young people that are here, and all of us, that sexual purity isn't easy, but it's right and it's best. The story happens in 2 Samuel chapter 11, 2 Samuel chapter 11, where you can turn, when David was approximately 47 years old. It would have been better, actually, if he had died at the age of 46. You know the story. David is on the rooftop, and he's having a nap, and across the way there's a woman who is bathing. What I'd like us to do is to look at the steps that led downward. What happened in David's life to cause him to throw it all away for this moment of opportunity, of sexual euphoria?

What happened in his life? So let's look at those steps rather quickly. First of all, the steps that led down, he saw a woman. I'm in verse 2 of 2 Samuel chapter 11. It happened late one afternoon when David arose from his couch, and he was walking on the roof of the king's house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing, and the woman was very beautiful. Step number one, David saw. At that moment, he was awakened.

His sexual desires were strong, awakened as he gazed upon this beautiful woman, and there he was absorbing the situation into his own soul and fomenting, if I can use that word, or creating in his own mind a scenario that he later would act upon. David saw. What I find interesting is what David didn't see. He didn't see the death of his four sons. He didn't see himself becoming a murderer. He didn't see the disintegration of his kingdom. How different it would have been if David had seen that. For now, all that really mattered was the present moment, and so David was not thinking about God right then. Let me ask you, as David was looking at Bathsheba, was he thinking, you know, I hate God. God, I don't like your rules. I don't like the commandments.

No. At moments like that, Satan does not fill us with hatred for God, just forgetfulness of God. Like one man told me, I'm going to enjoy myself today and then deal with the devil and God tomorrow. Forgetfulness of God. You can't help but think how different it would have been if David, looking at Bathsheba, would have said two things to God in prayer. First of all, God, I want to thank you for creating such a beautiful woman, and I know that she belongs to another man. That should have been the first part of his prayer. And the second part should have been this, God, thank you for all the wives that you've given me for the blessings that you've given me. You've made me king. You've given me rest from my enemies. You are such a good God.

May I be satisfied with you. And then he should have turned around and gone into the house. How different the story would have been. But when David was looking at Bathsheba, he was taking his little boat and he was cutting the anchor, he was cutting the rope, and he was about to descend upon a river whose stream and whose size was going to continually increase. And there were rapids up ahead, but at the moment David didn't care.

Only one thing mattered. And so David begins and hits a series of dominoes that have terrible, terrible consequences. First of all, David saw.

Secondly, now it says in verse three that he sent and inquired about the woman. I just, wouldn't it be wonderful to imagine. I wonder what he said. Maybe he said to the servants, you know, I've been living in this neighborhood for an awful long time. You know, it just dawned on me. I don't know our neighbors very well.

I wonder if you'd find out who lives in that house because someday we may want to block party and we knew we have to know who we're going to invite. I wonder what lies he told because remember a person who commits adultery entailed within that is the decision to lie. It's part of it. And if you can do the big sin to do the littler sin, if I can put it that way, of lying, I mean that just comes naturally.

Once you're committed to hide your sin, you're committed to lie about your sin. So David sent. Then third, the third step is in verse four, he took her. He took her, it says.

Twice it says he took her. We want to know, you know, did Bathsheba give in because of the prestige of being with the king? Did she say to herself, at last I found my soulmate because Uriah is not a very good husband?

But we don't know. All that we know is that she became pregnant. Now let us suppose that she wouldn't have become pregnant because they weren't thinking about that at that moment.

They were captured, of course, by the euphoria of the moment. Would David have been able to get by? Well, I don't think so because first of all, Bathsheba would have had to live with the guilt. David would have had to live with the guilt. God knew the whole situation.

Maybe she would end up bribing the king. Who knows? Nobody knows. But once you cross that boundary, the consequences are out of your control because sin has a way of popping up in unexpected places. It's like trying to keep a basketball in a swimming pool.

Somehow you push it under and then it pops up where you least expect it. So David now has a problem on his hands because this casual relationship isn't quite as casual as he thought it would be. Casual relationship between two consenting adults. There's another third person involved now. Bathsheba's going to have a baby and so she sends a note to the king that says, to the king, I'm pregnant, signed B. So now David has a problem on his hands. And now the cover-up begins. David has lost a game, but he's absolutely determined that he will not lose the tournament. So he begins to cover up. Well, let's walk through the cover-up and analyze how well David did covering it. Plan A is in verse 8.

Plan A. He says to some of his messengers, bring Uriah home from the battle. I want to have a little talk with him. You know, Uriah is such a good soldier. He happens, of course, to be the husband of Bathsheba.

Bring him home and give him a little bit of R&R. As a matter of fact, the Bible says that when he came home, when Uriah did, David gave him some presents and said, these presents are to spark the romance. Go home to your wife. He wanted Uriah to become intimate with his own wife Bathsheba and therefore cover what David did so that Uriah would think that this child would actually be his. So he says, Uriah, come on home and enjoy your beautiful wife. But Uriah is such a good soldier. Uriah says, in effect, David, I can't do this because, you know, my buddies are dying.

How can I go home and see my wife and have some R&R? I won't. Plan A didn't work. What about Plan B? Plan B is, verse 13, David gets Uriah drunk. It says in verse 13, and David invited him and he ate in his presence and drank so that he made him drunk.

And in the evening he went out to lie on his couch with the servants of the Lord. But Uriah did not go down to his house. David, Uriah is a better man drunk than you are sober. So Uriah is to go home, but he doesn't. You say, what should David have done in the middle of that predicament? You know what he should have done?

He should have called Uriah home and he should have said, Uriah, guess what? Your wife is pregnant and I'm the father of the child. And then work it out. You say, well, that is really sticky. Yeah, it's really sticky. I'd been in ministry for many years and one of the most difficult, excruciating, agonizing counseling situations many years ago was when a mother came to me and said, would you be present when I tell my husband that one of our children is not his?

Sticky stuff. Difficult stuff. But that would have been better than what David is going to do now. Plan A didn't work.

Plan B didn't work. And David says, this is one tournament I can't lose. And you know, there are times when a man just has to do what a man has to do. So he writes a note and the note says, Dear Joab, Joab is the commander of David's army, and he says, take Uriah in the heat of the battle, put Uriah in the middle of it, withdraw from him so that he will be killed. Signed, David. He takes the note and he folds it. If he had some glue in those days, I'm sure he added a little bit of glue because he gives the note to Uriah and says, Uriah, give this to Joab. And he trusts Uriah so much that he knows Uriah will not open that note. Joab gets the note and you know, when you're in battle, you're supposed to do as the commander in chief asks you to. So they come very close to a wall and there's a heated battle and they withdraw from Uriah and Uriah dies. And in accordance with the agreement, the messenger comes running to David and says, David, guess what? We were in the midst of a battle. We were close to the wall.

The enemy was getting to us. And by the way, Uriah is dead. Look at how David handles this. This is in verse 25. Now David is speaking to the messenger and he says to the messenger, thus you shall say to Joab, do not let this matter trouble you, for the sword devours now one and now another.

Strengthen your tag against the city and overthrow it and encourage him. You know, life is tough. You win some, you lose some. Don't let it trouble you because it's not going to trouble me. I had to do what I had to do. I'm the king. I need Bathsheba as my wife. I need to cover my sin.

Well, isn't it time for us to just pause here for a moment and ask, uh, how's the cover up doing anyway? Well, David knows the truth. Bathsheba knows the truth. Joab knows the truth. The people are going to know the truth.

They can count to nine. Nathan knows the truth. It's not going too well.

And then most ominously, God knows the truth. Ouch. Look at the way the chapter ends. Your eyes focused on the last line. But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord. Ouch. God knows.

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, when you ever you can, give a good, 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? Oh, my friend today, if there's any lesson that we have to learn, it is simply this, that sin is much more serious than you and I think it is.

If we could only see sin in God's sight the way he sees it, we would look at sin very differently. I trust that you are blessed as a result of the ministry of Running to Win because of people like you. We're so thankful that this ministry continues to expand. Would you consider becoming what I like to call a part of the Running to Win family? Would you consider becoming an endurance partner?

That's someone who stands with us regularly with their prayers and their gifts. Of course, you need more info. I hope that you have a pen or pencil handy.

So, here's what you can do. Go to That's and of course, when you're there, click on the endurance partner button or if you prefer, you can call right now 1-888-218-9337. Thank you in advance for joining us. Thank you for helping us. Your investment enables us to get the gospel of Jesus Christ around the world.

Go to, click on the endurance partner button or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Time now for another chance for you to ask Pastor Lutzer a question about the Bible or the Christian life. Finding your way out of moral sin can be a struggle. Shelly listens to Running to Win and wrote asking advice.

Here's her story. I have a question for you regarding fornication. I'm a single lady with no children who has been living in a fornicating relationship. Of course, I do not feel close to God and have no peace. I'm ready to turn my life around, but I'm having a hard time releasing that spirit of lust. I need help on how to defeat this, so God will be pleased with me and dwell within me.

I don't want to disappoint him anymore. Thank you so much for writing to me and for asking that very, very important question. First of all, a couple of thoughts. I am glad that your conscience can no longer continue in sin. You said that you are willing to turn your life around. That is wonderful, but it's going to be difficult, as you wrote, because the spirit of lust may be very, very deep, and it may be very difficult for you to let go of a relationship, no matter how sinful it is. So I have a couple of thoughts.

First of all, it is so important that you realize you cannot do this alone. You know, I was born on the farm way out in Canada, and I remember one of our horses walked into a slough. You're acquainted with that word.

It's a small pond, but it's dirty water, and it has high weeds. He walked in alone, but he couldn't get out alone, and that's the way the pit of sin is. We can fall into sin alone. We don't need any help, but getting out, we need help, because you are going to be too weak to be able to get out of this yourself. You need to go to two or three friends in whom you have confidence. You need to pray with them. You need to tell them that they are going to hold you accountable, and no matter how strong the temptation is, you are going to resist it with their help and with their sense of accountability toward you. Secondly, it's so important that you begin some healthy relationships, going to church, reading the word. You need to understand the meaning of deep repentance, where you really realize that this was very serious and that you were deceived during that time where you had this fornicating relationship. All that becomes a part of it, and don't ever think that you will get to the point where you'll never be tempted in this area again.

You will be, but what you need to do is to cut off all possibility of going back—not only back to that relationship, but cut off all the possibility of going into another relationship. It's going to be a struggle, but God will be honored, and finally your conscience will be clear. Thank you, Shelley, for sharing your life with us. Thank you, Dr. Lutzer, for your words of counsel. If you'd like to hear your question answered, you can just go to our website at 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, Illinois, 60614. Repercussions can't be avoided. Forgiven sin carries with it the consequences that come when we sin. Next time, God judges David for his sin with Bathsheba and then restores him to fellowship. For Pastor Erwin Lutzer, this is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-10-29 15:51:53 / 2023-10-29 16:00:55 / 9

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