When Kings (Should) Go Off to War

Genesis 3:5Greetings

It has been waaaaaaaay too long since Michelle, Augie, and I have been here at the Antrim Church of Christ…and as I typed up my sermon notes I knew I could confidently say how great it is to see you all. We may live 2,000 miles away for now, but you are still our family and always will be. How is it that Paul said it? “For though absent in body, I am present in spirit” (1 Corinthians 5:3, in part).

Of course, let’s just hope I never have to continue with the rest of that verse and say “and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing.” 🙂

You will forever be a part of us, and if the Lord does not bring us back in Antrim again, we’ll make sure we put in for the same neighborhood in heaven. Well, we’ll do that even if God does return us here more permanently. 🙂

King David

Although I suspect I could spend a full sermon’s time talking about how much we miss you…that’s not what we are here for, is it? Instead it is to hear the Word of God from the Word of God…so let’s dive right in by turning to to 2 Samuel 11:1:

In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel. And they ravaged the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem.

That’s a curious verse, isn’t it?

Being spring…it is apropos to base a sermon on…but that’s not what is curious about it.

How many here think the “In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle…but David remained at Jerusalem” indicates David was doing something wrong? [Estimate count of hands.]

Well, then you ____ agree with John MacArthur:

Staying home in such situations was not David’s usual practice (5:2; 8:1—14; 10:17; but cf. 18:3; 21:17); this explicit remark implies criticism of David for remaining behind, as well as setting the stage for his devastating iniquity.1

Now, how many of you instead think the “In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle…but David remained at Jerusalem” is just a statement of fact…nothing positive or negative meant? [Estimate count of hands.]

Well, then you ____ agree with the Faithlife Study Bble:

This is probably not intended to be a disparaging remark toward David; in 10:7, he takes the same course of action (see also 3:22). The death of such a powerful figure in battle would likely spell defeat for the nation; David stays behind for his safety and the welfare of his kingdom (see 18:1—4; 21:15—17, especially 18:15 and note).2

Although I am an “assume the best” kind of guy, I have to admit I’m with MacArthur. Especially since what follows is one of David’s greatest failures…it really seems to be saying…

“In spring, when David should have been out valiantly leading his army, he instead was dilly-dallying back in Jerusalem.”

Let’s go back where we left off and read four more verses:

2 It happened, late one afternoon, when David arose from his couch and 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. 3 And David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, “Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” 4 So David sent messengers and took her, and she came to him, and he lay with her. (Now she had been purifying herself from her uncleanness.) Then she returned to her house. 5 And the woman conceived, and she sent and told David, “I am pregnant” (2 Samuel 11:2—5).

So here we have king who God said was “a man after [His] heart” (see Acts 13:22, 1 Samuel 13:14) take another man’s wife and commit adultery.

And, of course, it doesn’t stop there…because Bathsheba got pregnant and her husband couldn’t be tricked into having sex with her (out of solidarity with those in the field of battle)…David had him killed in a cowardly, secretive way.

How does a man after God’s heart fall into such deep, dark sin?

The same way we humans have from the beginning.

[ These are quick sermon notes…not cleaned-up…and missing the “extras” that come out in the audio (which is available here). All quotes are from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted. ]

Eve

And to the beginning we go…the beginning of human sin that is. Please turn to Genesis 3 and we’ll look at verses one through six:

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.

He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die. ‘” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate (Genesis 3:1-6).

What was Eve’s first mistake? [Wait for answers.}

Although, just as with David staying back in Jerusalem in spring, I can’t state it definitively…I believe Eve’s first mistake was hanging around the one tree that she couldn’t eat from. Why be near the only location in all of the newly created world where you could get in trouble? The Garden wasn’t big enough? She had to pass it to get from her hut to Safeway whenever she needed groceries? It was right next to the Garden of Eden Library and she was a fast reader, always checking out more books?

In fairness to those who might disagree with me…technically it doesn’t say she was even by the tree when Satan started his slithery work…but I believe it likely. I also believe I’ve previously shared that there are some who believe that the prohibition given in Genesis 2:17 about the Tree of Life was to protect Adam and Eve…not to test them. That there was only one place in the Garden the devil could tempt them.

And where do we find Eve?

David is hangin’ out, bored in Jerusalem when he should be leading his nation’s army and Eve is hangin’ out next to the one thing containing what she is prohibited from eating.

See something wrong here?

You

Well, enough of this focusing on long-dead Bible characters.

How many here are sinners?

How man here have done something really bad?

I’m not going to air all my dirty laundry…but I have done some stuff that I would consider really bad.

Now…for those who are in the same boat as me…

How did it happen…did you go from innocently smelling flowers on a quiet, contemplative walk in the woods to that “really bad” sin?

Or, perhaps, did it escalate?

First you were where you probably shouldn’t have been.

Then you were doing some stuff…you know…not so bad stuff…but still wrong stuff…

Then, before you knew it, you did something really bad.

Really, really bad.

Like David. Should have been out on the battle field, but killing time on his roof. Then should have averted his eyes instead of coveting is neighbors wife. Then committing adultery. Then murdering.

Or Eve. Should have been enjoying every other inch of the Garden, but was next to the Tree of Life. Then should have stood up for God and told Satan to shut up. Then desiring the fruit from the forbidden tree. Then eating the fruit from the forbidden tree. Then getting her husband to do so too.

Or the guy who should have been home with his wife, but went to grab a drink with a female coworker. Then drinking too much. Then ending up in a hotel. Then committing adultery. Then infecting his wife with a venereal disease or worse, AIDS.

Or the woman who should have been home reading, but needed to “blow of steam” so she headed to the casino to have some fun. Then didn’t stop when she spent enough. Then maxed out her credit cards. Then embezzled money from work to pay her debts.

Our you.

What was your path to the “really bad” sin?

What will be your path to the “really bad” sin?

Quick Caveat

A quick caveat before we we continue. All sin is “really bad.”

Let me repeat that.

All sin is really bad.

All sin separates us from God and will lead to hell if you are not covered by the blood of Christ.

I talk about “really bad” because, just like some symptoms show a physical disease has progressed very far, some sins show that the spiritual disease we all are afflicted with has progressed very far. For instance, lies are damnable, but someone who murders is probably a lot further into the darkness than a little kid who, afraid of getting in trouble for breaking something, says, “I didn’t do it.”

Avoid all sin, not just the “really bad” ones.

James

At this point we’ve seen a couple biblical examples of how sin progresses into “really bad,” proposed a few modern day scenarios, and perhaps considered how we personally have done it. Does Scripture tell us how it works?

As luck would have it, yes it does!

But before we look at the most applicable verses, let’s turn to 1 Corinthians 10:13:

13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

This is a really important verse for us to always remember. Going back to my example of a guy who ends up in bed with a coworker.

It could really seem to him that the affair was “meant to be.”

This woman really and completely understand him.

His wife doesn’t understand him and doesn’t even try.

This woman listens to him. Really listens to him.

His wife doesn’t care if he is alive.

And this woman is so, so cute…and she wants him for him…she’s his soulmate.

How can resist?

God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape.

From the very first human sin in the Garden to the last one that will be committed before God ends the disease for good…

Nobody is forced to sin. We choose to sin.

Some will say 1 Corinthians 10:13 is just for believers…but I think God gives everyone a way out. We just reject it because, frankly, our natural self loves sin.

God will keep you from sin if only you will let Him.

Which leads us to the most apropos “How does sin grow?” verses in the Bible:

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death (James 1:12-15).

Remember Eve? What happened before she ate the forbidden fruit?

She desired it.

How about David? What happened before he committed adultery with Bathsheba?

He desired her.

How about you? What happened before you <fill in the blank here>?

You desired <fill in the blank here>.

Sin progresses. Nip it in the bud. God promises you an escape, but only if you desire the escape more than your sin.

You know your weaknesses.

God does too.

Satan does too.

Satan, as a roaring lion, will use that knowledge to try to devour you (see 1 Peter 5:8).

God, as your caring Father, will use that knowledge to give you a way of escape.

You, as the person who gets to choose between a evil, roaring lion and a caring Father, will use your knowledge of your weakness to do what?

Stare at a cute woman while on your roof?

Linger by the forbidden fruit?

Or to “flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace” (see 2 Timothy 2:22)?

Nip sin in the bud or it’ll more than nip you in the you-know-what.

Jesus

Unless you read the sermon notes, you won’t see how the outline is basically:

  • David
  • Eve
  • You
  • James

Before we wrap up, I want to add one more name. Do you know what it is?

That’s right, Jesus!

Even if you have not so effectively blown it as David did…as Eve did…or as many of us here have done.

You have sinned.

Additionally, you will sin…and it may be “really bad.” What should you do?

Three Step Plan

I have a three step plan for you:

Step #1: Trust Jesus to understand:

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:15—16).

Step #2: Trust Jesus to forgive you:

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

Step #3: Trust Jesus to save you:

Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household” (Acts 16:30-31).

Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:37-38).

Augie

Augie…as you sit here with your God-given family in the Antrim Church of Christ…you are only a couple hours away from also becoming a brother in Christ by getting that baptism you have so long desired.

  • Don’t be like David.
  • Don’t be like Eve.
  • Don’t be like me or so many others.
  • Nip sin in the bud. Don’t go to the wrong places. Don’t give time to the wrong desires.
  • Nip sin in the bud. Flee from it.

However, whenever you fail…follow my three step plan:

  • Trust Jesus to understand
  • Trust Jesus to forgive you
  • Trust Jesus to save you

Because He loves you even more than I do…and I couldn’t love you more.

Are You Saved?

I didn’t write this sermon for Augie, but by the time I finished composing it 30,000 feet above sea level it seemed that maybe God did.

But it is for everyone here or who listens to it in the future…especially anyone who may not yet have committed her or his life to Christ.

After church.

After the pot luck.

We will be going to head over to the Keene Church of Christ to welcome Augie into the body of Christ through immersion.

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life (Romans 6:3-4)

If you have not given your life to Christ, do not wait to do so. There is a “newness of life” that awaits you if only you will repent, turn from your sins, and turn to Jesus. If God has convicted you to follow Him then you too can be baptized today…and they’ve promised to warm the water up. 🙂

Seriously though…don’t be a slave to sin…be a child of God.

  • Trust Jesus to understand
  • Trust Jesus to forgive you
  • Trust Jesus to save you
  • “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins”

Love you Augie.

Footnotes

1MacArthur, J., Jr. (Ed.). (1997). The MacArthur Study Bible (electronic ed., p. 441). Nashville, TN: Word Pub.

2Barry, J. D., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Mangum, D., & Whitehead, M. M. (2012). Faithlife Study Bible (2 Sa 11:1). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.


Follow Traditores

Your thoughts?