Wednesday, April 28, 2021

2021.04.28 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Samuel 12:1–15a

Read 2 Samuel 12:1–15a

Questions from the Scripture text: Who sent whom to whom (2 Samuel 12:1)? What did Nathan start telling David about? What did the rich man have (2 Samuel 12:2)? What did the poor man have (2 Samuel 12:3)? How does Nathan describe the specialness of the little ewe lamb? Who came to the rich man (2 Samuel 12:4)? How did David feel toward the rich man (2 Samuel 12:5)? What did he say should be done? How did he say it? What else did he say should happen (2 Samuel 12:6)? What does Nathan answer to this (2 Samuel 12:7)? With what does the word from Yahweh begin? What does Yahweh recount in 2 Samuel 12:7-8? What question follows in 2 Samuel 12:9 (cf. Psalm 51:4)? What is the penalty for what (2 Samuel 12:10)? What will Yahweh do to David (2 Samuel 12:11)? Who will see this (2 Samuel 12:12)? What does David say (2 Samuel 12:13)? How does Nathan answer him? Who will not die? Who will die (2 Samuel 12:14)? What does Nathan do in 2 Samuel 12:15?

Nathan’s approach works, because we are much readier to condemn sin in others than we are in ourselves. Bearing that in mind, we ought to prepare our hearts to find that the rest of the passage really does condemn us much more than we might at first think.

The logic of the Lord’s accusation against David is that He has done so much for David (2 Samuel 12:7-8) that it makes it all the worse for David to have despised the commandment of the Lord (2 Samuel 12:9), and that committing such sin has “given great occasion to the enemies of Yahweh to blaspheme” (2 Samuel 12:14).

So, there is a sense in which the condemnation declared here is one that is only and especially for believers and their sins. We tend to be scandalized by how flashy the sin is. Murder! Adultery! And certainly there is a great heinousness in those particular actions. 

But let us not miss that “despising the commandments of the One who has done so much for us” and “giving occasion for the blaspheming of Him Who has identified Himself with us” are two complicating/aggravating factors that apply to every sin of a Christian believer. It is as if the Scripture comes to us in this passage, as we are ready to condemn David, and points the finger out at the Christian reader, saying “You are the man!”

Indeed, even we who are forgiven ought to fear greatly to sin. Although it is a great mercy and relief for us to hear in Christ’s cross, “Yahweh has put away your sin; you shall not die,” we must face the sobering reality that there are very real and very intense consequences even for forgiven sin.

In this case, the entire nation would suffer as adversity arose against the house of the king from within it (2 Samuel 12:11a). And the wives/concubines would suffer dreadfully in the fulfillment of 2 Samuel 12:11b–2 Samuel 12:12 (cf. 2 Samuel 16:21-22). And the unborn child himself would die (2 Samuel 12:14), missing the opportunity to serve the Lord in this world/life. 

So, both out of love for the Lord and for those who may be harmed by the consequences, even we who are forgiven—and especially we who are forgiven—ought greatly to fear and to hate sinning!

What makes your sins to be like David’s sins? What has the Lord done for you? What can happen if you sin?

Suggested songs: ARP51A “God, Be Merciful to Me” or TPH180 “Kind and Merciful God, We Have Sinned”

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