10th Sunday after Pentecost 29th July

2 Samuel 11:1, 4, 13, 15

In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army. But David remained in Jerusalem.
Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (Now she was purifying herself from her monthly uncleanness.) Then she went back home.
At David’s invitation, he ate and drank with him, and David made him drunk. But in the evening Uriah went out to sleep on his mat among his master’s servants; he did not go home.
In it he wrote, “Put Uriah out in front where the fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so he will be struck down and die.”

King David is one of the characters in the Bible that most people have heard of. He is the great military ruler of Israel who unified the tribes and defeated all their enemies. The Jews revere Him too, and a common symbol of Judaism is the star of David. And for those who’ve read some scripture, they’ll notice that many, maybe most, of the psalms were written by Him. For us Christians we know He is mentioned in many prophecies, the coming King like David, He will unite Israel again, and save the people. It is eve3n said that He is a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22). He was a great man in history, and a devote follower of God.

But then what is this? What devote follower of God would fall so far? How could the psalmist and man after God’s own heart sin so grievously? Is  there anyone who can live the righteous life? It’s true when David writes in Psalm 14 and 53, that everyone has turned away from God, all are corrupt and no one does good. What does it mean to turn away, or turn aside from God? It means to go our own way. That we think we know best, that I am right about everything and God doesn’t really understand His creation. Also that I know better than you and others about what we should and shouldn’t do and how we should or shouldn’t do it. It is sin, trying to putting ourselves in God place.

And what does that mean for us? How do we live like that, living in our sin and selfishness? When you try to take full control of your life you don’t want to let it go. When we dedicate ourself to something we will try to keep it going. An easy example is making a cake, you don’t stop halfway through otherwise bad things happen. Also we know that when you choose to lie and deceive people, one lie will lead to another, then another and another, until it consumes your life or you reveal the truth and cop the consequences. Sin leads to sin. Here with David we see that play out, first he rejects his role as king and leader of the armies, then he falls into lust and adultery, then deception, then leading another into drunkenness, then the murder of one of his loyal soldiers. Throughout all of this he doesn’t seem to feel any remorse or regret, but rather he has let go of God’s Word, he’s turned aside and done what he saw as right and he has fallen prey to Satan the deceiver.

Sin led to sin and resulted in death; the death of Uriah, the death of David and Bathsheba’s firstborn, the death of four of David’s sons and the death of David himself (2 Samuel 12:9-12, 14). David’s first sin, when he turned aside from God’s calling as king of Israel, didn’t seem too bad but he fell deeper and deeper before turning back to God, before repenting. Now what might this mean for you? I won’t ask for hands up, but how many of us sinned in a small way last week? How many times have you then ignored your sin and refused to confess it? How many times does that lead you to sin again? And finally how do we stop falling?

David was a great figure in our Christian history, but another is greater. David had another Israelite, a speaker of God’s Word, reveal his sin to him and immediately David confessed his sin to Nathan and Nathan replied, “The Lord has taken away your sin.” (2 Samuel 12:13). David confessed the truth and turned back to God and God remove the sin and took David out of the spiral of sin, out of the depths of hell. There were still earthly consequences for his sin, just as there are for us too. When we deceive someone we break trust and even when we repent and come clean the broken trust needs to be healed. This is the same with God, our relationship is broken by sin as deception.

But Jesus Christ, the Great King of Israel David’s descendent, is also the great healer coming to heal us sick with sin. Jesus came to live, teach, die and rise again for us; to wash us clean by His blood; to heal the sickness of our sin and corruption and to bring us into a whole and loving relationship with God. No matter how great our sin, Christ is greater. He forgives you for all your deception and wickedness, you are now free from it in Jesus. You know that Jesus is the truth, the life and the way of God (John 14:6), and we are joined with Him by baptism and the Holy Spirit (Romans 6:3-5; 8:9-11). Certainly sin is ever tempting to turn us aside to our own will, but we like David before us confess the truth of our sins, and turn back to God who gives us free mercy and grace. Cling to God for you are forgiven, and now you are free from sin.

The peace of God which passes all human understanding guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Pastor Joseph Graham.

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