A sermon preached on 2 Samuel 11:26-12:10,13-15 by Pastor Michael Johnson at Good Shepherd Lutheran in Sioux Falls, SD, on July 7, 2019.
Who is the real you? Just like our profile pics on Facebook, Instagram, or dating sites are very carefully crafted; we are very careful how we present ourselves to others.
That was the case for David – he wanted his people to look at him and see a successful, godly king… not the true, real version of himself. Maybe you can relate to that. Often times, there’s a big difference between who we really are and who we tell people we are.
Who are you? It’s a simple question…but not always a simple answer. Are you always the person who shows up here at church on Sunday mornings? Are you always the person on your resume? Or when no one’s around are you actually someone very different? Do I speak differently at the bar? At night, by myself, do I think things I hope no one ever finds out about?
I of course keep certain aspects of my mind and heart to myself because I want others to still like me. Well, I may or may not be able to hide certain sins from others; today, we see with King David, you can’t hide your true self from God.
When Uriah’s wife heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for him. After the time of mourning was over, David had her brought to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing David had done displeased the LORD. Let’s recap what all led to these verses. One night, David went out and walked around on his roof for some fresh air. Across the street he could see a beautiful woman bathing. Instead of looking away, he wanted to know more and asked around to find out who she was. He found out she was the wife of one of one of his most loyal soldiers. He should have looked away and that would have been the end of it. This should have been the end of it. But the fool sent for her and slept with her.
Later, she sent word that she was pregnant. The king committing adultery and having a kid out of wedlock would not be a good look for David. So he tried to cover it up. He recalled Uriah, her husband, from a battle he was fighting in David’s name. He told Uriah to relax and be with his wife so he would think the baby was his. Out of respect for his fellow soldiers who were fighting and dying at that very moment, Uriah would not just go home and relax with his wife. David even got him drunk, but he wouldn’t go sleep with his wife.
The thing is, only David and Bathsheba knew he hadn’t. And David could keep a secret. So he sent Uriah back to the battle with orders to his commander to purposely get Uriah killed. Then, not only did David keep his affair a secret, but he looked good as the king who consoles the poor widow by inviting her and her son who would be born without a father to stay with him at the palace.
On the outside, David was the picture perfect king. On the inside, he was tripping over himself, rushing into sin. Maybe you know what it feels like to have committed a sin you never thought you would. For David, it was eating him up inside. In Psalm 32, David wrote: “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long” (Psalm 32:3). Holding onto this sin and secret was tearing him apart. Yet, I can understand from a human perspective why he didn’t tell anyone.
How would people react if they knew the truth? Maybe you’ve struggled with that kind of dilemma. You keep a deep, dark secret bottled up and hate yourself for it. But you’re afraid of what people might think of you if they actually knew. Would someone still be able to love you if they actually knew everything about you? Would they keep treating you the same? I get that feeling.
I also know how utterly foolish it is to act like I can keep my sins a secret because God Almighty knows and sees all. And the Bible tells me how stupid I am if I try and ignore my sin and hope God will too with words like: “If we claim we have not sinned, we make [God] out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives” (1 John 1:8). God showed David how impossible it was to hide from him by sending him a man named Nathan.
The LORD sent Nathan to David. When he came to him, he said, “There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him. “Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him.” David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, “As surely as the LORD lives, the man who did this deserves to die! He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.” Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! Nathan tells David a simple, effective story. David rightly burned with anger at the injustice in the story. He was right when he said “the man who did this deserves to die!” The thing is, the guy in the story was just pretend. The man David was furious with wasn’t. With four simple words, God lays David bare. “You are the man!”
It doesn’t matter how hard you try and cover something up. It doesn’t matter if it was done in secret. God knows our sins and can come to you and say “you are the man” or “you are the woman.” And for our sins, we deserve to die as well. God can read us like an open book. Psalm 38 says: “All my longings lie open before you, O Lord; my sighing is not hidden from you” (Psalm 38:9).
David wrote those words. He wrote them after he realized he had spent a lot of energy trying to hide something that was never actually hidden. And when God brought his law upon David. When David realized what he deserved from God for his sins. He finally had to admit what he knew was true this entire time. “I have sinned against the LORD.” Finally, he doesn’t make excuses. He simply admits what he has done and deserves.
And here is the amazing thing about how God works. Almost before David even finishes his sentence, Nathan replies: “The LORD has taken away your sin.” God had removed his sin. Obviously not because David had deserved it. Not because David had done anything. But because of David’s own descendant: Jesus.
Jesus knew what it was like to have his bones waste away and groan all day long – not because he silently carried his sins around, but because he carried your sins and my sins to the cross. He felt the weight and punishment of every sin ever – ones hidden, ones public – and he was crushed for them in your place. Jesus wiped away every one of David’s sins. He wiped away all of your sins, all of my sins. And when David confessed, he found out something that we all need to know. God is someone that truly knows you, knows even your deepest, darkest secrets. Yet, he loves you anyways.
That is something so many people in this world need to hear. There are so many people in this world walking around in the darkness of their sins. When you ask them how they’re doing at work, they might say “fine” but, inside they are wasting away. They’re convinced that there isn’t a person in the world that would accept and love them if they knew the whole truth about them. It might be a spouse who hurt you in the past, a child longing for attention, a sibling who has kept a secret for far too long.
Show them what they long to hear. Show them the cross where we find a God who not only knows them, but loves them anyways. Show them their sins are washed away completely.
That is the reality you have today. You have someone who knows you better than anyone else in the entire world and he loves you anyways. In fact, he died for you.