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Eternal Rewards From God
DAVID BROKE ALL TEN
Let’s open to 2 Samuel 12. As we look this evening, I want you to before we read these eight verses, the first eight verses, I want you to think about what is going on. Remember this message that comes in God’s word primarily was recorded to capture what the Lord was doing in David’s life. Now tonight, I pray that by God the Spirit’s work in our heart, that we will draw lessons that would be:
- Profitable for doctrine, to know what is right and true about God.
- Reprove, where we have fallen short.
- Correction, how we can come into a way to guard ourselves from the situation that David went into.
- For instruction in righteousness, how we can stay that way.
First of all, think about the setting. Think of the searing pain that would come when something that was your secret, private, gets exposed for all the world to see. That’s what’s happening to David at this moment. Imagine what David felt as the truth of what he had done became public. He was known throughout the nation as this worship leader, and now everyone, when they sang his songs were going to think what else he was. He was feeling the pain of that indictment, of his hidden sins. This event and those emotions are what are flooding David as this moment comes, when the prophet of God comes to confront him in his sin.
One of the great deterrents to sin is looking at the consequences. In God’s word let’s see how David crashed through every barrier that was put up, every blockade that God put in his path he just pushed them out of the way. God lets us see the resulting wreck that David made of his life and his family. This is the climactic moment that shows who David really is on the inside. This moment had happened a book earlier to Saul in 1 Samuel 15. Saul was confronted by the prophet of God, namely Samuel, who pointedly told him about his sin. Saul deflected the blame and said it wasn’t me, it was them. It wasn’t my fault; it was their fault. I didn’t do anything wrong. Now, Nathan comes a whole book later and points his bony finger right into David’s face. David without flinching or batting an eye said, I’m guilty. That’s the difference. Both Saul and David were sinning. Saul wouldn’t agree with God about his sin. David agreed with God and wrote about this for the rest of his life in his psalms.
2 Samuel, we’re going to read together in chapter 12, just the first seven and a little bit into 7 of this story. Then we’re going to pick up with the next part when we get into the 51st psalm. Let’s stand together for the reading of this wonderful, insightful passage, 2 Samuel 12 verses 1-7. Then we’ll pray.
“Then the LORD…” Who, by the way, wasn’t deceived, knew exactly what David did the whole time, “…sent Nathan,” who just found out about it, “to David,” the guilty one. “And he came to him, and said to him: ‘There were two men in one city, one rich, and the other poor. The rich man had exceedingly many flocks and herds. But the poor man had nothing, except one little ewe lamb which he had bought and nourished; and it grew up together with him and with his children. It ate of his own food and drank from his own cup and lay in his bosom; and it was like a daughter to him.” Verse 4, “And a traveler came to the rich man, who refused to take from his own flock and from his own herd to prepare one for the wayfaring man who had come to him; but he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.’ So David’s anger was greatly aroused against the man, and he said to Nathan, ‘As the LORD lives, the man who has done this shall surely die! And he shall restore fourfold for the lamb, because he did this thing and because he had no pity.’ Then Nathan said to David, ‘You are the man!’ ” Wow, God doesn’t beat around the Bush. What an amazing moment this was.
Let’s bow before the Lord in prayer.
Father, thank you that by the miracle of inspiration, by the wonder of your Spirit breathing out through 40 different men who captured your word and put it on paper, that it has been kept for us to this day. We get to have an on the scene recording of what happened 3000 years ago and the man you wrote more about than anybody else in your book, the Bible. I pray that we would be taken back by how David could go from the loftiest songs of worship to, in one event, breaking all 10 of your commandments that he knew so well. I pray that the man who broke all 10 and was forgiven, and restored, and used, and so delighted in by You that you call your Son, our Savior, the son of David, Lord I pray that we would be taken back both by your righteous holiness and your unwillingness to allow any sin to go undealt with. But also, your grace and your mercy, that you did not give David what he deserved, which was death, and you did give him what he didn’t deserve, that was your loving forgiveness forever. Teach us both your mercy and your grace. Help us to feel your love. Help us to always respect the truth, that you hate sin, and it will have consequences in any life that allows it to run rampant. Teach us. Now we pray, in the name of Jesus and for His glory. Amen.
You may be seated. As your seated, when David was at the other end of that bony finger, I’m sure his heart was pounding. He knew who Nathan was. He knew who Nathan represented. He, of all people on Earth, knew that he was guilty. In fact, in the days ahead, as we go through the 32nd, the 38th and the 51st psalm, each one successively we’re going to see, that actually David in this year of hiding his sin had begun to shrivel up. He actually had gotten deeply sickened by the chastisement of the Spirit of God upon his life.
David knew he was guilty. David knew he had broken every law in God’s book. David knew that he had broken all 10. In reality David had, successively through his act, broken either the letter or the spirit of all the 10 commandments. A lot of people wonder how.
The first commandment is thou shall have no other gods before you. David had allowed lust to be the god to which he had bowed his life. He did have a god before God, and that was satisfying his own desires.
The second commandment is don’t take God’s name in vain. David had taken the holy name of his God in vain as he said, he was God’s man. He’s sang God’s song, yet he lived a lie. Like the devil he deceived, and he did not keep the name of the Lord. That name that was to cause him, let everyone that names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity, David didn’t.
The third commandment is thou shall not make a graven image. David engraved the image of a naked woman so deeply on his lustful soul that he forgot even the God he loved in that moment of sin. He had made an image of a god and he began to worship that god in his lustful desires. He sacrificed. Who we worship is who we sacrifice for. He sacrificed God for her. He truly had made a graven image in his heart.
The scriptures say, remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy. David didn’t keep the Sabbath day or any other day holy. Once he allowed his desires to rule, he had made every day of his life unholy. As he planned, as he schemed, as he figured how to kill this husband and make himself look like the proud, newly married, father of this child.
The fifth commandment is honor thy father and thy mother. David dishonored them and every member of his family, as he sank into such a wicked and premeditated sin.
The sixth commandment, thou shall not kill. David sent a murderous request to Joab. It was not David sword, but it was the arrows of God’s enemies that David used. It was David’s desire that Uriah be killed. God says, if you look on one with hatred, it’s like murdering. David didn’t want this man to stand in the way of him hiding his sin, so he destroyed him.
The seventh command is probably the one everyone knew that David committed. It says thou shalt not commit adultery. That was the clearest of all David’s law breakings.
The eighth one is equally clear; thou shall not steal. David stole the wife of his neighbor and his trusted friend. One of his personal, inner circle bodyguards. Uriah was one of the 30 mighty men that were willing to lay their lives down for David. Truly Uriah did lay down his life for David, but David stole his life. Nathan clearly pointed out that David had stolen in that story of the ewe lamb. David heard and felt that message.
The ninth commandment is thou shalt, not bear false witness, not lie. David’s false response was a lie. When the messenger came with the ghastly news of Uriah’s death, over the river in Ammon. Even more, every day, David lived in sin and a lie that he deceptively covered. He wept that his mighty man, and moaned that he had died and been put too close to the wall when he had ordered that event.
The 10th command thou shalt not covet, David broke this law as he coveted his neighbor’s wife, that he would steal her, kill her husband, and share in sexual sin with her.
David was a guilty sinner. David broke them all and we think wow, that’s really bad. For a moment, turn to James chapter 2. This is a memory verse I can still remember my children reciting in Awana over the years, but it’s a verse, I think, older people should remember. The book of James chapter 2. Remember James, the brother of our Lord, the Earthly brother was the pastor of the first church of Jerusalem. This isn’t James the apostle. This is James, the unsaved brother of Christ, who after the resurrection believed on Christ, was gloriously converted. He became the pastor of the first church in Jerusalem. This is probably the very first New Testament epistle that was written in the forties. Look what he says in verse 10 of James. “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point,” what does it say? “…he is guilty of all.” Truly if you think about what God said, every one of us are guilty. We all, by God’s standard, have become guilty of breaking all the commands.
That’s the lesson of God’s holiness. Yes, David blatantly, premeditatedly, and willfully broke all of them, but God says we, even if we keep everything and only keep ourselves down to only breaking one, truly like David we’re guilty of breaking them all. We dishonor God, we put up whatever that sin is, that we are willing to persist in. We make that more important than God, and we make that image in our mind where we can’t remove it. Whether it be the image of where we want to be in life, and where we want to live, and what we want to own, and what we want to wear, or if it be as low as David’s… desire of another man’s wife. We set up idols in our hearts. We have broken them all, but the good news is that Jesus died for guilty sinners. Jesus died for those who acknowledge they’re guilty sinners. That’s why David was a man after His own heart. David said yes, I’m guilty. It was just like a fountain opening up because he was so grieved by holding in his guilt for his sin.
David’s skid marks and crash into his sin with Bathsheba is a beautiful picture for all of us who love the same Lord. To learn from. If anybody could fall that far, that fast then so could we. David experienced the Lord in a way, most of us never have. Most of us have never been hunted for our lives by enemies. Most of us have never seen God miraculously work through us and slay giants. Most of us have never been able to go through hand to hand combat like David did, protected by the Lord, and never even be wounded. David knew God at a level that most of us never will in this life but yet David, in that moment, fell so far and fell so fast. Those skid marks we should watch this evening and by God’s grace heed the lessons that God put in His word.
Each of these details that we’re going to look at in 2 Samuel are put there as mile markers. They’re put there as accident scene markers, as they chalk the shape of the body, as they plot the different angles that things happen, just like at the crime scene. God shows the crime scene of David’s sin, and He says, avoid doing the same thing David did. If you remember, last time we looked at David’s first step downward. It’s in 2 Samuel 5. You don’t have to turn there, but do you remember David took more wives and concubines. Do you remember I shared with you, at this point David had let himself become involved in a socially acceptable thing that was unacceptable to God. God says I made one man, for one woman, for life. It doesn’t matter if all the patriarchs had multiple wives and it doesn’t matter if every person in Israel has multiple wives. If you are the man after My heart, you should have one. David took the socially acceptable custom of his day.
Initially it was just carelessness. It was just a tiny loosening in a socially acceptable area. David sin with Bathsheba was sparked by small disobediences in the past. You know what that tells us? The lesson is stay sensitive to sin. I told you this many times, but I’ll never forget my roommate when I was in Bible School. He was the All-American guy. Dark tan, blonde hair, total athletic, Arnold Schwarzenegger before Arnold got old, built. This guy was a lifeguard, and he was a lifeguard for southern California’s beaches. He says, I love it. He says, I get to sit up in my little stand there. He says, and I just love it. He said, I love the ocean. He says, and I love ladies. But he says, you know what? It doesn’t bother me anymore, he says. They take their tops off; I don’t even notice it. I thought, really? You’re an unmarried college kid and a girl undoes her bathing suit and lays there with nothing on, you don’t even notice it? I thought about that.
Then I went to visit my other roommate. He had a 10,000 acre cattle ranch in Texas. We went by Jeep to see his thousands of cows and his mother, who was a real proper Texan, said, I want to show you something. She said, you’re going to be a preacher, you’ll remember this, and I have. She got out of the Jeep, and she pulled a hat pin out. She says, watch out sin can desensitize you like a brand desensitizes a cow. She pulled the hat pin out and she walked up to a 1,700 pound Barzona steer. In whatever their brand was, of their ranch, she went… and poked that thing with her hat pin. It never stopped chewing its cud, never felt it. It was so absolutely desensitized by the searing brand. At that moment, as she was doing that, I thought of my roommate sitting up on his little lifeguard stand desensitized to sin. He says it doesn’t bother me. I said it should and someday, if you ever get married, your wife will hope it bothers you. I hope you never get desensitized to sin. David, he never thought that this incomplete obedience would desensitize him to sin.
Secondly, look at verse 1 of chapter 11. The second step down, we also saw last week, is David relaxed his grip on personal purity. Everybody else was going to war. David let little things slide in his life. In his life, he was supposed to be with the army, but he let that slide. He stayed home when everyone else went to war. Look at verse 1 of chapter 11, David stayed home. What David did is, he ushered into his life a series of unguarded moments. He didn’t have his mighty men around him. He didn’t have his counselors around him. He didn’t have his closest advisers. They were all on the battlefront. David was in this time of nothing to do. Usually, it’s in those times that sin lurks closest. Sin is looking for an opportunity in our lives, it’s amazing. When we think we’re safe from sins reach and it won’t bother us anymore, it’s at that very moment that the ravenous devourer himself is crouching and preparing to spring. Satan stalks us. Peter said, like a predator and he wants to devour believers. He waits for unguarded moments when we think, oh everything is ok, I’m fine. You and I need to be doing whatever it takes to maintain the purity God expects in our lives. David discovered, only it was too late, that he had to keep his guard up and he let it down.
If you look at verse 2, David began to focus, once he let his guard down, on his physical desires. What’s interesting about this is, it says in verse 2, “that David arose from his bed and walked on the roof.” You know what he was? Restless. You know what Isaiah says one of the marks of sin is? It says the ungodly are like the restless sea. They are never peaceful. They are restlessness. They’re always looking for something. David got into that restless mode, and he just began wandering around looking for something to do. Like wandering around to kill time on the computer or wandering around the mall just to kill time, just seeing what you can. If the devil knows that you’re restless, he’ll find something for you to see. He found something for David to see in this period of restlessness. With time on his hands, in a moment of listlessness and boredom, David wandered the palace. He used the highest spot in the city to take a supposed innocent peek down.
It wasn’t just anywhere down. Remember, Uriah was one of David’s mighty men. David knew his wife very well. He could see her at all the court functions. Her grandfather was one of his chief counselors. David had watched her grow up. She was obviously much younger than he was, and he had always noticed her. Now, he was going to just take an innocent peek at her. What we should underline in our mind is this, there’s no such thing as an innocent peek at another man’s wife. There’s no such thing as an innocent peek at an off-color movie or television show. There’s no such thing as an innocent peek at pornographic materials. There’s no such thing as an innocent trying out of intoxicating alcohol, or enslaving cigarettes, or debilitating drugs, or of premarital try-out, sexual relations. All of these temptations are only part of downward steps toward life crippling habits, which can destroy your testimony and rob us of usefulness for Christ. It’s impossible to flirt innocently with lust.
You know what? That’s an amazing thing. That’s why it says in Romans 12, we’re not supposed to be conformed to this world. Did you know the world flirts with sin? Products are sold with flirtatious innuendos and sexual overtones. After a while, we think that beauty is to be alluring but, in the Bible, God says those who are alluring are prostitutes. Interesting. Yet, our culture says be as provocative and alluring as possible. God says, that’s not a righteous and holy woman to be provocative. Read Proverbs 7. God says her steps lead to destruction. David didn’t realize that temptations abound and were crouching before him.
Let’s go back to James again, since it was our Lord’s brother. He seems so well-spoken in describing the sins of the first century Church. In James chapter 1, in verse 13, we have probably the premiere explanation of the process David went through. This is what James says in James 1:13, because God gave us this insight, so we could know what to do. James said this in verse 13, “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God;’ for God cannot be tempted by evil nor does He Himself tempt anyone.” Now listen to this, “But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. (NASB)” There is an insight to what happened to David. David was carried away.
Do you remember how Nathan described it? He said a traveling man came and visited another man. That man needed something and so that man, that was hosting him, took- stole this lamb. The way Nathan described David’s lust was, it was just a traveling man that came, that David responded to. James, look what he says, every man is tempted. Each one is tempted when he is “carried away and enticed by his own lust.” It’s a traveling thing, it’s not a constant drum beat. It comes at unexpected times and carries us away, enticing.
Look what James continues to say, “Then when lust has conceived.” What he says is, lust on its own does not count, but when we choose willfully to respond there is a marriage between my will and that lust. The union, look what it says, “When lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin.” I understand we’re going to be surrounded by lust. It’s like the pathogens that surround us. If we’re healthy and if we do moderate care to not infect ourselves, we stay relatively healthy. When not careful with open cuts, or with putting hands into our mouth, those germs can overwhelm us. It’s like that with lusts, it’s always around us. If we take precautions, it doesn’t overwhelm us.
Look at the end, “When sin is accomplished,” verse 15 says, “it brings forth death.” David was shriveling up and dying from his sin, because it wasn’t dealt with until Nathan came and pointed it out. Note that James, in verses 13 through 15, doesn’t say if. It doesn’t say, let no man say if he is tempted. Looked back at 13, he uses a different word. He says, “let no man say when he is tempted.” What James is telling us is, temptation is inevitable. Temptation is inescapable. Temptation is going to follow us through all of our Earthly lives. Temptation is there, but temptation arouses the interests of our lusts. If we have fed them long enough and they’re big enough, those lusts began to woo our will. When our will is not in step, and guarded, and kept through obedience to the word of God, we yield in our will to the lust. Lust conceives and brings forth sin. Amazing.
The message of James is that all of us are going to face temptation. All of us are going to stare our lusts in the face, that we have cultivated. All of us are going to have to either decide to mortify them and lessen their strength or pay the consequences of yielding to them and the death to our relationship with God and to our usefulness to Him, that lust conceived sins bring.
Lust, the word in James 1:13-15 is epithymia. Thymia is passion. Epi is super strong. It’s passions that are allowed to be supersized, allowed to grow big. That’s what lust is. It can be any kind of passion. It can be a passion for food. It can be a passion for beautiful things. It can be a passion for excellence. It can be a passion for even doing things for the Lord and they get oversized. It becomes a lust. A lust to be seen, a lust be recognized, a lust for whatever.
Remember the scriptures tell us that the youthful lust we nurture, and feed as young people will chase us all through our life. 2 Timothy 2:22, you remember what Paul said to Timothy? He said flee the lusts of your youth. If you endear them, they get bigger, and bigger, and bigger. They will be stalking you for life. He says, mortify, poor spiritual Roundup on them, kill them to the roots, keep them down. Lust, which tempts us to sin against God, always costs us far more than we could ever imagine and that’s what David finds.
Back in 2 Samuel 11, let’s look at verse 3, the fourth step downward that David took. The first step downward was, back earlier in his life when he didn’t completely obey the Lord. Then, he lost his grip on purity and he started fixating on his desires. Look at verse 3, David begins to rationalize in his mind.
It says, “David sent…” in verse 3 of 2 Samuel 11, “…and inquired about the woman. And someone said, ‘Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?’ “ David took another step downward when he, in his mind said, oh it’s really not that bad. It will only be once, no one will know. Nobody’s in town. Each of us has an infinite capacity for rationalization, not just David. According to Webster’s dictionary, rationalization is seeking, and here’s the dictionary definition, to provide plausible but untrue reasons for our conduct. Plausible, but untrue. David says, it’s plausible that it was an accidental meeting. It’s plausible that I didn’t know who she was. It was plausible that she wanted to come. He just thought, he rationalized this, until it made sense. What David was about to learn was how horrible sin is. David, in the passion of the moment, over the years had slowly grown insensitive to the Spirit of God saying, you shouldn’t do that, shouldn’t do that, shouldn’t do that. Now he was deafened.
Over the years, countless men and women who have descended into sexual sins have been asked the same question. What could have been done to prevent this? After they blow up a family, or blow up a church, or blow up a company, or blow up a political campaign. Ask the governor of South Carolina and the Senator of North Carolina. Just ask anybody, what could have been done to prevent this. With haunting pain and precision, most of them have answered nearly the same thing. Most of them have said, if only I had really known, really thought through, and weighed what it would cost me and my family, I honestly believe I would never have done it.
It’s always in the moment, the decision is made. It’s not thinking long-term, it’s thinking of momentary things. You remember what Moses said? Moses says, that he resisted the momentary pleasures of Egypt and endured seeing Him who was invisible. Now, he didn’t say that Egypt didn’t have pleasure, he said he realized it was momentary. Sin is pleasurable for a very short time. It has a very rapid half-life. This much pleasure out of sin, the next time it’s only this much, the next time it’s only this much, the next time it’s only this much. Ask the Hollywood actors who have gone beyond normal sins, and now they have to commit sins with drug induced additions, and with multiple partners. It’s unbelievable, the length people go to try and extract a drop of pleasure out of what God designed to have intoxicating powers. They can’t even get an instant of desire and pleasure because of the half-life, the decreasing pleasures of sin.
I keep, taped in the back of my Bible, something. It’s a list. Many years ago, there was a pastor who came around and challenged us. Let me find it, it’s taped on page 1105 right there. What he said is, he says, I challenge all of you… it was a men’s conference, and I was just attending as a normal attender. And he said, I challenge all of you to make a list in your Bible, so that you can look at it from time to time, of what would happen if you did what David did. Taped in the back of my Bible is my personalized list of the anticipated consequences of immorality. I’ll just read some to you because all of us had to do this and I still have it.
First of all, toward my God, immorality would: Grieve my Lord. Displease the One whose opinion most matters to me in life. It would drag Christ’s sacred reputation into the mud. I would lose my reward and commendation from God. I would dread the day that I would have to look at Jesus in the face, at the judgment seat, and weep for the days wasted by my sin. That’s what we’re going to have to do. Our sin is removed, but we’re going to still weep because we suffer loss. 1 Corinthians 3 says. 2 Corinthians 5. Christians, under grace, suffer loss because of sin. Sins removed, record’s gone, but our life is still going to be held before the judgment seat of Christ. For all those parts that are all like how they blackout emails, because they’ve been censored, and because they have intelligence information, our life’s going to be there and it’s going be all this stuff that the Lord is whited out. That’s going to be loss, it’s going to be burnt up.
Another one is, forcing God’s chastening on my life in various ways through the inevitable work of Galatians 6 verses 7-9, the consequence engine. God says, even though I’ve forgiven it, you’re going to suffer consequences. Do you think that someone that goes out and commits adultery, and destroys their marriage, and family, and they say, Lord, forgive me. Do you think everything is perfect after that? Do think everybody has amnesia and they go, I don’t even remember what he did. No, let’s have a good time, let’s start over and have a second honeymoon. They may say that but there is that deep wound that almost never goes away. It would prompt the laughter, rejoicing, and blasphemous smugness by those who disrespect God in the Church and bring great pleasure to Satan. Did you know, that’s what Nathan said to David? You have caused the enemy of the Lord to rejoice. You’re God’s man, you’re after God’s heart, and what you just did made the evil one mock God. That’s what sin does.
Secondly, in my personalized list of anticipated consequences of immorality… that was toward God… how about toward my wife and family? Immorality would heap untold hurt on Bonnie, my best friend and loyal wife. It would give up my credibility with my beloved sons and daughters. Realizing if my blindness should continue, or if my family is unable to forgive, I could lose my wife and children forever. There are people, they just say, I never want to see you again. Christians do that. They cannot deal with the destruction that person did. They say, I love you and the Lord, but I don’t like you. That is possible. You just can’t be around them because they were so destructive. It would bring years of shame on my family. Can you imagine what happens when people meet other people and they say… oh, aren’t you? Oh yeah, that’s right. It just years of pain. Of course, it brings plaguing memories and flash backs that can taint any future relationship, with anyone.
Then of course, toward church and ministry: Moral impurity brings years of shame to all the Church family. Pastors don’t usually just serve one congregation. There are very few W.A. Criswell’s and John MacArthur’s that stays 45 years at one place. What’s amazing is, a man can go around the country serving the Lord and at one of those stops have a blowout. All the way back down the trail the people go whoa, I wonder if he was doing that when he was here. He kind of acted different. It just destroys a record of a life. It brings years of shame and hurt to fellow pastors and elders. It brings years of shame and hurt to friends. Especially those you lead to Christ and disciple. Realizing guilt is very hard to shake, even though God forgives, I wonder sometimes would it be possible to forgive yourself as you look back and think why. That’s how dangerous sin truly is. The momentary pleasures are gone so fast, and the lingering pains are so deep and so unending.
Look back at verse 4 of 2 Samuel 11, and we have enough time to do it. 2 Samuel 11, verse 4 says this. “Then David…” Nothing was stopping him now. The avalanche was rolling down the hill knocking everything out of its way. “Then David,” verse 4 of 2 Samuel 11, “sent messengers.” I’m not even sure how willing she was at this point. She’d already had all the whispering of all the couriers and people asking her about David being interested in her. I’m sure that she is starting to feel a little uneasy because it doesn’t say she came, they took her. That’s the point that this came to. David plunged his life in to sin, dove. Nothing could stop him.
When David plunged his life into lustful sin he forgot to do what he had done in the past. In fact, for just a moment, turn to Psalm 139. This is one of the most beautiful of David’s wonderful, inspired writings. What David was saying in the 139 psalm, is that you can never get away from God. He’s always watching. God is always there. He’s always close. The 139th psalm talks about how the Lord knows us. Verse 1, he searched us. Verse 2, He knows our location, what we’re doing. He knows what we’re thinking and everything, but look down at verse 7. This is the climax of this whole description of God’s omnipresence. He says this, “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to Heaven, you’re there. If I make my bed in hell, behold you are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me.” David said, I can’t get away from you.
That truth is even clearer, this Psalm 139 truth that God is always there no matter what we do is even more clearly captured by the apostle Paul. I would like to close there. Isn’t that comforting? Did you hear that? Close, by going to 1 Corinthians 10. What that means is, it’s the last verse you have to turn to. 1 Corinthians 10, let me show you something. And this is what I hope you remember. Sin is horrible, don’t meditate on it. David jumped into sin. This is the part to remember, look at 1 Corinthians 10, starting in verse 12. “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you,” did you catch that? Overtaken you. Sin is pursuing us all the time. If you’re a believer then the world, your flesh, and the devil are, all three, on your tail; trying to trip and cause us to fall into sin. “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man.”
Now look at this, this is what I want you to remember. “But God is faithful.” The God David knew was always watching, was still watching David in the avalanche of his sin. Barreling into dreadful destructive lust, into the pit of sin. God was there and God is faithful, look what it says, He “will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you’re able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape.”
If you ever go on the interstate and when it gets really steep it says, runaway truck lane. I love going by those. In fact, when we used to drive a 40 foot motor home with a 20 foot car behind it, I really liked it. I was always thinking about how you could get into that thing if your brakes failed. Did you know that there is a runaway truck lane that the Lord has, always available, for us when the brakes don’t work in our lives? Notice what David didn’t do. David, who wrote the 139 psalm and said, I know the Lord is everywhere, wherever I look He’s there, guess what? He didn’t look for God. That was the essence of what David did wrong. That’s why God says, that David was a man after all My heart in everything except Uriah.
Did you know, every other struggle David went through, he always was looking for God. When he was depressed, he looked for God. When he was discouraged, he looked for God. When he was angry, he looked for God. When he was afraid, he looked for God. This time he didn’t want to look. He had decided he wanted to sin. He wasn’t going to look because he knew there was a runaway truck lane, and he didn’t want to take it. This is a call to all of us who know and love the Lord, to look for God in times of temptation.
You know what you to find? You want to feel God close? Look for him in temptation. He’s always there. Always right there. Regardless of the type of temptation facing us we can be sure that our faithful God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we’re able to take. He will keep us from falling into sin, if we ask Him. That’s what David didn’t do. God knows our limits and thus, God always stands by to protect us. He always holds open the escape hatch, so we don’t have to succumb to the devil’s snare.
The deepest lesson of this is, God is there all the time. If God is there in temptation, He’s there all the time. He’s there before the temptation. He’s there to advise us how not to feed the lust to even prompt the temptation to be so strong. God has told us He’s faithful. Whenever we think we’re alone, we’re not alone. He’s there all the time. He’s with us all the way. He’s there every time. We never face an adversary, the prowling lion, alone. It’s amazing to think about.
Warren Wiersbe once told the story… the great pastor at Moody Memorial, the great Bible teacher and everything, Warren Wiersbe. I love him. I have all his books. He tells good stories. He once told a story about this little boy that went to school, and he was a little shorter, the big bullies beat him up. They punched him, and bloodied his nose, and everything. The boy came home, crying with blood on his face and his father said, okay, I’m going to help you. He took him out in the garage and he taught him a few self-defense moves, cleaned him all up, and prayed with him.
The next morning he opened the door and said son, time to go to school. The boy says, the bullies are going to be waiting. The dad said, I showed you those moves and I told you that the Lord’s going to take care of you. So, the boy with tears running down his face trudged down the sidewalk, anticipating at any moment the bullies were going to get him. What he didn’t realize was, that as soon as he left home, his father jumped in the car and he was at a very good, near pace. Always at a close enough distance, that he could jump out and rescue his son.
That night, the boy came home and says, hey dad, I didn’t have any trouble all the way to school and all the way home. He said, aren’t you happy? The dad said I am. He said, I was with you all the time and that boy realized, in that moment, that the dad that he loved and trusted didn’t just give him a few tips and pat him on the back, he came with him. We can’t go with our kids everywhere for the rest of their lives, but God is faithful, and God will always be there and make the way of escape.
To close this evening, I would like to do two things. First, I would like you before you forget this, life is full. The Bible says, don’t merely hear things, but be doers. You know, what would be good to do tonight? To take about a minute, and this is what I’d encourage you to do. In just a minute, we’re going to bow our heads. Don’t do it yet. I’d like you to bow your head and I’d like you to in your heart say, Lord, you know what I struggle with? He does. By the way, He knows what temptation is common to us. Say, Lord, I want you to remind me and help me when I face whatever that besetting sin is. Lord, I don’t want to just remember that you’re there, I want to look for you. You know what you can do? In your heart, this is not out loud, you can say, Lord, I will look for you. You know what you’ll find? Do you want the greatest assurance of your salvation? Whatever besetting sin that we face, you ask the Lord to make the way of escape, boom. You cannot believe how He is more desirous of you getting in the truck runaway lane than you ever could be. It reveals Himself to us.
Let’s take a moment to bow our heads and whatever your besetting sin is, just in your heart, silently say, Lord, you know what I’m talking about. Then say, remind me to look for You and then tell Him, in your heart, that you’re going to look for Him next time you’re tempted. We have a minute before we close.
Dear father, even 38 seconds of silence is so immense. I pray that you would have heard hundreds of whispers before your throne of us, your saints, saying that we want the way of escape that you make that we might not sin against you. I pray this would be the beginning of all of us looking more closely for You and fleeing to You as our refuge from temptation. Thank you for the great truth, that You are the God who is faithful. In your precious name, Amen.
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