- Sermon Notes
Pleasing God is the Key to Victory
2 Samuel 11:1-15
August 28-29, 2021
One of the things we should appreciate about the Bible is that it’s very honest and open about character. In other words, it doesn’t just highlight the strengths and victories of the characters in the Bible, it also reveals their faults and defeats.
Up to this point, David has been a hero, an example of faith and humility. That all comes to the edge of a cliff here in the story, and David will plunge headlong over it. David’s failures in this story are catastrophic.
I’m convinced that God gives examples of the strengths and victories of the characters in the Bible so we can learn from their victories. But we can also learn from their failures. That is my prayer, that we would see David’s epic failure as an opportunity to learn how not to fail, but also to know how to respond if you do fail.
God’s heart is to rescue you from the failures and defeats of life. His heart is also to redeem and to restore; that we also see in the story. These are truly life lessons.
In life there are certain immutable spiritual laws that predict the outcomes of life decisions, just like there are laws of physics that we must also reckon with. There is the law of gravity; defy that law at your own peril. Although many do. We visited the Grand Canyon some years ago, and I was amazed how many who took great risks at the rim of the canyon – on average, 12 people die there every year.
Then of course there’s Murphy’s Law, a predictable law as well; anything that can go wrong will go wrong, like for example, in traffic, whichever lane you choose will end up being the slowest one.
There is a spiritual law of sowing and reaping. Many see that as negative, but it’s actually quite positive as well. Sow to the flesh and you will reap corruption, but sow to the Spirit and you will reap life.
God gives the law of sowing and reaping because He doesn’t want you to shipwreck your life. He gives clear understanding of how to stay from the rocks that would destroy your life.
Illus – I read a few years ago about the United States’ first exploring expedition led by Captain Wilkes, setting sail out of New York Harbor with a fleet of seven vessels in 1838. At one point in their expedition, they came to the mouth of the Columbia River. It was known then and now as one of the most dangerous bars in the world for a ship to cross. Several of the ships held anchor and waited for a pilot to guide them safely through the treacherous waters, but one of the lieutenants brought his boat charging into the massive waves and ship-wrecked his vessel. Here’s the lesson – God would give us a pilot, the Word of God, and the Spirit of God, to keep our lives from being ship-wrecked.
The prevailing winds would take any ship into the rocks. The same is true of the flesh. The prevailing direction of the flesh is destruction, to be dashed on the rocks. How wonderful that God gives insight and wisdom in his Word to bring you safely through.
I. Make it Your Ambition to Please God
- We can certainly understand that failure comes when a person’s life gets off track. But how do you keep from falling? Is it inevitable that a person falls?
- I suggest that it is not inevitable. God gives principles in His word to guide your life, but more than that God gives Himself.
- The power of God that comes from walking near to Him is the key that will keep you from falling.
- This story, however, also gives hope to those who have fallen, because it speaks to the heart of God to rescue, to redeem, and to restore.
- One of the insights in the story is found in verse 27… “But the thing that David had done was displeasing in the sight of the Lord.”
- This is a key to victory; make it your ambition to please God, to understand that it is before Him that you live and move and have your being. Without question, there are many things in this world that God finds displeasing.
2 Corinthians 5:7, 9, “for we walk by faith and not by sight… Therefore, we have as our ambition to be pleasing to Him.”
- That word ‘ambition’ is an interesting word. In the Greek it means to love honor. In other words, there’s something beautiful about the honor that comes with pleasing God in your life.
- David lost sight of that honor. The desire of his flesh blinded him. These are life lessons
A. Be on the front edge of God’s purpose
- Verse 1 – gives insight into what is happening in David’s heart.
- “In the spring, at the time when kings go out to battle…” If this is the time when kings go out to battle, why isn’t David going out to battle?
- Everyone needs rest, but that wasn’t the issue. David had had the entire winter off. It reads, “In the spring when kings go out to war.” It was understood at that time that armies could not function in the mud, so everyone took the winters off from fighting.
- I can’t tell you how many people have gotten into trouble in their lives because they were bored.
- The lesson is this, be on the front edge of what God is asking you to do. He fills you with godly purpose and satisfies the thirsty soul.
Illus – After our middle daughter graduated from high school, she asked if she could spend 2 years serving at an orphanage in Mexico. “Yes!” we said. We knew it would set her life in the direction of serving God.
Matthew 5:6, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
- I have come to see how important it is to have a mission in your life that you are excited about, that you feel called of God to accomplish. But be sure you always stay on the front edge of God’s purpose in your life. Always pursue, always press forward, never relent.
B. Don’t stay where you don’t belong
- First, David was in Jerusalem when he should have been out with his men.
- Secondly, David went to the edge of his roof and from there he could see a beautiful woman. That would’ve been the time to step away from the edge. But instead of stepping away, David pursued.
- The scripture says that there is a time to flee because if you give it time, lust will conceive and give birth to sin, which brings forth death.
2 Timothy 2:22, Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.
James 1:15-16, Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.
Illus – One of the best biblical illustrations of that would be young Joseph. He had been serving as the manager of Potiphar’s estate when his wife tried to seduce him. First, he knew this thing would not please God. Then he ran even though she tried to hold onto him.
Genesis 39:7-9, And it came about after these events that his master’s wife looked with desire at Joseph, and she said, “Lie with me.” But he refused and said… “How could I do this great evil and sin against God?”
Illus – If you’re in a place where you don’t belong, don’t stay, run, flee as fast as you can. If God is not pleased with where you are, don’t stay.
- There is a great scripture that helps us to understand that God always makes a way of escape.
1 Corinthians 10:13, No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.
- Instead of stepping away, David got even closer. First, he inquired who she was. When he found out she was the wife of Uriah; that should have put an end to it right there. But still he got closer to the rocks.
C. Beware the slippery slope
- I’ve heard many people categorize sin as a “mistake.” A mistake, however, is when you go into the women’s restroom thinking it’s the men’s restroom. That’s a mistake.
Illus – One time my family and I were ordering lunch at Wendy’s. You stand there while they assemble your order and one day, I was standing there munching on the fries they had set down first. All was well until another customer picked it up and gave me ‘the look’ —it wasn’t my lunch! That’s a mistake.
One time I drove the church van to Home Depot. I just had one quick thing to get so I left the van unlocked. I came back out and jumped in the van only to realize… It wasn’t the church van. That’s a mistake.
- What David did wasn’t a mistake. David didn’t just suddenly sin. I submit that this had been building in his life for some time.
- By this time, David had had more than eight wives and concubines. He probably had other wives not listed in scripture.
- A family like this never works as we will soon discover as we continue our study to David’s life.
- God warned in advance that one day when Israel had a king, he must not multiply wives…
Deuteronomy 17: 14, 17, “When you enter the land which the Lord your God gives you, and you say, ‘I will set a king over me like all the nations who are around me,’… He shall not multiply horses for himself… He shall not multiply wives for himself lest his heart turn away, nor shall he greatly increase silver and gold for himself….”
- You would think that having several wives would cause David to not have any problems with sexual desire, but it’s actually the opposite; it only made it worse. That itself is a life lesson. God gives keys for victory…
II. Strengthen the Inner Man
- It’s interesting that when David tried to hide his sin by bringing Uriah up from the war, it failed miserably because of Uriah’s character.
- God was rebuking David by showing him that Uriah was a better man than he was. By showing him Uriah’s strength of character, God was confronting David’s lack of character.
- That was where the trouble began and that is where it must be rebuilt, in the inner man.
A. Let the Spirit reign over the flesh
- First, no one should be surprised at their flesh. We were born with it, and we will die with it. But that doesn’t mean it has to control you.
- Praise God that He gives the empowering of the Holy Spirit so you and I can have mastery over the flesh.
1 Corinthians 6:12, All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.
1 Corinthians 9:27, I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.
- What we need is to strengthen the inner man, strengthen the spirit within, so that the Spirit reigns over the flesh.
Galatians 5:22, But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace … self-control;
- If you’re soul, your spirit, is weakened, then the flesh will rear its ugly head, but if you are strengthened in the inner man, then spirit will reign over the flesh for your victory…
Ephesians 3:16, I pray for you… that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man.
B. Love the Lord with all your mind
- What God told David was that he had despised the Word of the Lord. The Hebrew word for ‘despised’ here means to ‘lack esteem.”
- In other words, David did not esteem the Word of the Lord; he didn’t value it in his heart and in his mind. That’s true for anyone when they sin.
- God is as concerned about what you think as much as what you do because what you think determines who you become.
Luke 6:45, The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.
- What you and I need to keep in our mind is that the consequences of sin will cost you dearly. “Stolen water is sweet,” the scripture says, yes, that is true, but it is poison to the soul.
Illus – If I could write a book about every person who followed the way of sin and then it worked out great for them, every page would be blank, because it doesn’t work out great. But if there was a book of the consequences of sin, that book would be huge.
- After David sinned and then tried to hide it, he was in terrible anguish. His mind could not love God because he had such a troubled soul.
Psalm 32:3-4, When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer.
- But this was also the same Psalm in which David said, “You are my hiding place… you surround me with songs of deliverance.”
C. God’s grace is still amazing
- This story would not be complete until we understood that David truly repented of his sin and God forgave him.
- By God’s grace Solomon came from this marriage and he then sat on the throne of David as one of the greatest leaders of Israel.
- In fact, God also gave Solomon the name Jedidiah, which means, “beloved of the Lord.”
- God wants you to have fellowship with Him. He rescues, redeems, and restores.
2 Samuel 11:1-15 NASB
1Then it happened [a]in the spring, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him and all Israel, and they destroyed the sons of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David stayed at Jerusalem.
2 Now when evening came David arose from his bed and walked around on the roof of the king’s house, and from the roof he saw a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful in appearance. 3 So David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, “Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” 4 David sent messengers and took her, and when she came to him, he lay with her; and when she had purified herself from her uncleanness, she returned to her house. 5 The woman conceived; and she sent and told David, and said, “I am pregnant.”
6 Then David sent to Joab, saying, “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” So Joab sent Uriah to David. 7 When Uriah came to him, David asked concerning the welfare of Joab and [b]the people and the state of the war. 8 Then David said to Uriah, “Go down to your house, and wash your feet.” And Uriah went out of the king’s house, and a present from the king [c]was sent out after him. 9 But Uriah slept at the door of the king’s house with all the servants of his lord, and did not go down to his house. 10 Now when they told David, saying, “Uriah did not go down to his house,” David said to Uriah, “Have you not come from a journey? Why did you not go down to your house?” 11 Uriah said to David, “The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in [d]temporary shelters, and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are camping in the open field. Shall I then go to my house to eat and to drink and to lie with my wife? By your life and the life of your soul, I will not do this thing.” 12 Then David said to Uriah, “Stay here today also, and tomorrow I will let you go.” So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day and the [e]next. 13 Now David called him, and he ate and drank before him, and he made him drunk; and in the evening he went out to lie on his bed with his lord’s servants, but he did not go down to his house.
14 Now in the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it by the hand of Uriah. 15 He had written in the letter, saying, “[f]Place Uriah in the front line of the [g]fiercest battle and withdraw from him, so that he may be struck down and die.”