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. 🙂
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. Continue reading When Kings (Should) Go Off to War