Sin

The Tragedy of Sin

bathsheba

I’m not sure there is a more tragic portion of Scripture than what we have in 2 Samuel 11. Most of us, even if we don’t spend a lot of time in the Bible know this story. David, one of the most loved and celebrated men in the history of Israel committed one of the most disgusting acts that we can imagine. This act I am referring to is his sin with Bathsheba, and the ensuing murder of her husband to cover up his sin.

The Bible says that, “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.” This is an important detail that we might be quick to just pass over. As the stage is set for the Bible to relay the story of David and Bathsheba to us, we see that David should have never been in position to commit this sin, he was supposed to be out in battle with his men. David however has grown complacent, and instead is at home while his men go out and fight his battles.

This is an important detail for us, and the point in which I want to make. I’m writing today, not so much to talk about the tragic case of David and his sin, but I want to write about the nature of sin, and the danger of sin. I’m not writing just about David’s sin, but our sin as well.

Sin tends to snowball. One sin leads to another sin. In order to avoid the consequences of one sin we have to commit another sin to cover it up. Our sin ends up not simply impacting us, but the people around us. Very often, it isn’t only ourselves that suffer for sin, but those around us as well.

David’s very first sin in this scenario, is as I said slothfulness. He was supposed to be in battle with his men, yet he stayed behind. The next sin we see David committing is lust. David takes a stroll on his roof and he sees Bathsheba, a beautiful woman bathing. David then sent and inquired about the woman and discovered that she was the wife of Uriah the Hittite. One would think that a righteous man such as David, in whom we’ve seen God work so mightily throughout the Bible up to this point would then back away from the situation. Certainly an upstanding man such as King David wouldn’t pursue this relationship any further.

Sadly, this isn’t the case. David sends for Bathsheba and he commits adultery with her. Sometime later, Bathsheba informs David that she is with child. In order to cover up his sin, David sends for Uriah and makes several attempts to get the husband of Bathsheba to sleep with his wife. Uriah, being more righteous than David refuses to do so. He refuses to eat and drink and lie with his wife while the other soldiers are in battle. When David can think of no other way to cover up his sin, he sends word to put Uriah on the front lines of battle, then for the other men to fall back. To put it plainly, David has Uriah murdered. David then takes Bathsheba as his own wife.

Usually when we talk about the heroes of the Bible, we don’t associate a sequence of events like this with their lives. If we had only studied the life of David up to this point, and knew nothing of this story before now…we would be in utter shock!

But the Bible is very clear about sin, even the sins of those whom God in his providence chose to use in mighty ways. The Bible is very clear about the nature of sin. Sin is dangerous, sin is evil, and even the best of us are not immune to its disastrous effects and consequences. This window into the life of David is a powerful reminder for us all. When we crack the door, even a little bit and let sin into our lives we have no idea how tragic the results can be.

In David’s own life, what started out as sloth and complacence gave way to lust, which gave way to adultery, which gave way to murder. As a result of David’s sin a righteous man died. But not only did David’s sin cost Uriah his life, but several other of David’s men died. We know from further reading in 2 Samuel that the child whom was conceived as a result of David’s sin also died.

Again, David’s sin had tragic consequences that were far reaching. The depths of sin and the consequences of sin were far beyond anything that David could have imagined.

Truthfully though, this isn’t just true of David’s sin, it is also true of our sin. It is very rare that our sin impacts only us. Very often when we allow sin to take root in our lives, the end results are far reaching. As parents our sin affects our children. As husbands our sin affects our wives, and vice versa. The sins of children affect their parents – and we could keep going, but I think we get the idea. Sin is indeed tragic, and left to itself it kills and leaves a path of destruction in its wake.

But God in his grace has given us the remedy for sin. God offers mercy and forgiveness, for even the most tragic cases of sin. What is that remedy you might ask? Repentance. When we come face to face with our sin, when we see it for what it is God calls us to repent – to humble ourselves, admit our sin, and turn away from it and throw ourselves upon the mercy of God. We know that this is what David did. (2 Samuel 12, Psalm 51)

God’s forgiveness ultimately comes through Jesus Christ, the “Son of David” who willingly took upon himself the tragic consequences of our sin so that we wouldn’t have to. This is good news for us all. Again, if David can fall victim to the tragedy of sin, no one is immune. So, no matter where you are today, no matter what you’ve done, you have hope in Christ. Turn to him today and ask him to take your sins away and to pour out his mercy upon you.

The Greatest Gift

greatest gift

Whether we like to admit it or not. We all like gifts. The thing I like about children is that they are way more honest than most adults. Adults talk about the “true meaning” of Christmas and pretend that they don’t get excited about the presents they see wrapped up under the tree with their name on it. But, I have good news for us all, we can stop pretending. It’s okay to get excited about gifts, because God designed us that way. Not only did God design us to like gifts but he gave us the greatest gift of all, His own Son.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” -John 3:16

This verse is by far one of the most familiar verses in all of the Bible. Even people who don’t read their Bibles or don’t know anything about the Bible have heard this verse, and what a beautiful verse it is. I was speaking to a pastor friend of mine recently about this verse, and the gift of Jesus, and he made the point that he thinks sometimes people don’t understand why it is that Jesus is a gift.

To answer this question fully would take way more time than a single blog would allow, but I think the book of Romans helps us to shed some light on the question at hand. Romans 3:23 tells us that, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Every person reading these words right now has sinned against God. The Bible time and time again tells us that God is Holy. Since God is Holy, he cannot dwell in the presence of sin. Most of us would like to believe that God could just look past our sins or just “get over it.” But to do that would violate who He was as God. So, if we know and believe that God is indeed Holy, but we are sinful, and that God and sin cannot dwell together, then that creates an obvious problem.

But, here is the amazing thing. Romans 5:6, “…Christ died for the ungodly.” In Romans 5:8 the Apostle Paul said it like this, “…but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

I can’t think of a more beautiful picture or a more wonderful thing to celebrate this Christmas than the fact that a Holy God would love sinners so much that He would give his only Son to the world. Many times when we read John 3:16 we think of God “giving” Jesus to the world simply in terms of his birth, or maybe even his life and ministry while on earth. And while the birth of Jesus, His incarnation and everything that flowed from that is an amazing thing, and something we should celebrate…God went even further than that.

Not only did God send His Son Jesus to be born into a world of sin and to live amongst sinners and to teach us about God and do all of the amazing miracles that He did. But God the Father actually sent His Son to earth to die for sinners. Christmas isn’t simply about the cute baby Jesus in a manger, but it is also about a Roman Cross and the death of our Savior for us. It is about Jesus coming to earth to take upon Himself the sins of His people.

God gave His Son to the world so that we might believe in Him and receive eternal life. Is there a greater gift than this?

Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

You and me, through our sin we earned death. But God has gifted us with His Son Jesus, and in Him Eternal life. In Matthew 7:11 Jesus says, “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”

Friend, the greatest gift God could give us is His Son Jesus. My question this Christmas season to you is, have you received this gift? Those of us who have children know, there are few joys greater than giving our children gifts. God feels the same way about his children, and if you are yet to ask him for this gift of eternal life that only comes through Jesus, I ask you today to come to Him and ask. It is a gift. There is nothing you can do to earn it, the gift is free…all you have to do is ask.

Blogging Through The Bible: Genesis 3:9-15

When we left off last time in our journey through the Bible, the man and woman have just eaten the fruit. We began to see some of the first consequences of sin: loss of innocence, shame, loss of intimacy. This loss of intimacy manifested itself by the man and woman making loincloths out of fig leaves to hide from each other, but even more importantly in their hiding from God as they heard him in the garden. That takes us to where we are today in verse 9…

God asks the man, “Where are you?”

Obviously, God knows all things, so he didn’t really need to ask this question, or the question that follows for that matter. He knows where man is, he knows what has happened. He asks these questions I believe for a couple of reasons. One, he wanted the man to think about where he was. To contemplate what had happened. It’s sort of like when I see my kids doing wrong, I will ask them, “What are you doing?!?” Obviously I know what they are doing, but I want them to stop and think about what they are doing, and to help them to see that this is not what they should be doing.

It’s the same thing with man. God had commanded man not to eat the fruit, yet he did. He disobeyed God. He did wrong, and he knew it. He hid from God…He was afraid, and rightly so. Disobedience of God has costly consequences, and God had already informed the man and woman what those consequences would be. Death.

Man told God he was afraid. He knew he was naked, so he hid. God then asked man how did he know he was naked, who told him? “Did you eat from the tree that I commanded you  not to eat from?” (3:11)

Here, man has an opportunity to confess his sin and disobedience. Which I believe is the second reason for these questions God is asking.  I’ve often wondered how things might have been different had man confessed his sin…I suppose we will never know…But we do know how the man responded, and if you’re like me, you see yourself in this story. Instead of acknowledging his sin, the man blamed the woman, and even God himself. “The woman YOU gave to be with me– she gave me some fruit from the tree and I ate.” (3:12) Man is essentially saying, “It’s not my fault God! You gave me the woman, if she hadn’t been here, this never would have happened! She ate the fruit first, then I ate it.”

God then turns his attention to the woman, and asks her what she has done. She takes the same approach as the man. Instead of accepting responsibility, she blames the serpent, “He deceived me, and I ate.” (3:13) This was certainly true, but the serpent wasn’t force-feeding her. She ate the fruit because she wanted to. The same was true for the man.

God then turns his attention to the serpent, “Because you have done this, you are cursed more than any livestock and more than any wild animal. You will move on your belly and eat dust all the days of your life.” (3:14)

But here is where things get good…

“I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.” (3:15)

If we’re unfamiliar with the Bible, this last verse might seem a bit strange or confusing…But, this is actually one of the most important verses in the Scriptures. Genesis 3:15 is the first prophecy of the coming Messiah. We know that to be Jesus Himself. Right after man has sinned and sin and the curse has entered the world, we have a glimmer of hope. The Gospel is being preached to us right here…

There will be hostility between the serpent and the woman, and between her seed (her children) and the seed of the serpent.Yet, God says He (The seed of the woman) will strike the head of the serpent. This is a picture of Satan’s defeat. The defeat of sin. A blow to the head is a death blow. Satan will be crushed by the seed of the woman…We know this ultimately to be through Christ. But we also see a glimpse as to how this would happen…”You (the serpent) will strike his heel.” The seed of the woman would be wounded. Here we have a picture of the cross. We know that Jesus was nailed to a Roman cross…We know that he died there…But we also know that he didn’t stay there. Death couldn’t hold him, and after three days he rose from the dead after satisfying the penalty for sin…Which we’ve already seen from our studies is death. So here in Genesis 3:15 we have a clear reference to Christ, his cross, and how Satan will ultimately be defeated. Amazing!

I had intended to go further, but I find myself in that familiar position of not wanting to stretch this out too long, and knowing that I can’t do the rest of the chapter justice in just a few words…so, keep a watch for the next post. We will pick up in verse 16 next time.