4th Sunday after Pentecost
June 12, 2016
2 Samuel 11:26-12:10, 13-15
“We are the Man”
Grace, mercy, and peace be and abide with you all in the name of our living Savior Jesus. The basis for the sermon today is the First Lesson read earlier from 2 Samuel.
My dear friends,
The army is at war, but the king is back home taking it easy. A beautiful woman, the wife of a soldier on the battlefront, is taking a bath. The king sees her and decides he must have her. She’s brought to the palace. The deed is done, and the woman is pregnant. Oops.
Now the king tries to cover up the adultery. He has her husband killed. “Send him to the most dangerous and deadly spot you can,” he tells his general. So the husband needlessly dies in battle. Now murder is added to adultery—all because the king had to have more, because he wasn’t satisfied with what he had.
The king’s name—David. The woman—Bathsheba.
In this story of violence, betrayal and lust, it’s not hard to see why the Lord was displeased with David. It needlessly cost Uriah the Hittite his life. Here was a man doing his duty, risking his life for King David and his country. His reward was the plot to have him killed. King David had counted his own desires, his own satisfaction, as more important than Uriah the Hittite. And the Lord was displeased.
Then there’s the woman. Bathsheba. David’s deed hurt her, too. She lost her husband. Her marriage vows were broken. The son born from David’s adultery died. A woman’s life is ripped apart. Home, husband, and child are gone; her life as she knew it was over. What pain she must have felt! David had other women, but he had to have her. His greedy desire for more, brought grief to Bathsheba, death to Uriah, and shame to the community. And the Lord was displeased.
What if we were assigned this case as judge and jury? We probably would have been even harsher. Listening to what happened to Uriah, to the country, to Bathsheba, we would have wanted punishment quick and harsh. Do it Southern justice style; a one-way ticket to the swamp. This man deserves to die; make him pay for what he did.
Of course that’s the kind of judgment we would render. And just like David who was caught up in Nathan’s story about the poor man and his lamb, pronouncing judgment that came back to be his own, so also we get caught in the same trap. Listen to Romans 2:1: “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same thing.”
Nathan turned to David and said, “Atta Ha Ish” – “You are the man!” Today, we who would pronounce judgment on David, hear the same accusation of ourselves. “Atta Ha Ish…WE are the man.” We are the ones who are not satisfied. We are the ones whose desires hurt others. We are the ones who sinfully want more. We are the ones who do things the way we want without trusting God’s plan for our lives. “Thy will be done?” More like MY will be done, right? And it’s true. We are the people who deserve to be punished. The Lord should be displeased with us.
Forget David and Uriah and the lamb for a second. Look what we have done to hurt others. No, we probably haven’t killed and resorted to violence, but our desires for more have kept us from helping others as we could. Sarasota is an affluent place; in 2015 the average household income was more than $78,000 a year! Yet people are still hungry, homeless, addicted, lonely, hurting. But we find the comfort of our air-conditioned living rooms, our 50” TV’s, and spare time more important than those in need. We find spending our money on ourselves, on the stuff we want or want to do, more important than giving freely. Yes, we fail to help others because our desires to satisfy ourselves become so important.Volunteering to help is a bother. We stay aloof instead of becoming involved. Yes, we complain and grumble about life in America but do little about it, and, just like with David, the Lord is displeased.
Long ago, David knew this; he made a dumb decision but he wasn’t a dumb guy. He knew Nathan was right in the accusation and he humbly said, “I have sinned against the Lord.” Wow…that kind of brutal honesty is hard to comeby these days. No excuses. No protests. No blaming someone else. No avoiding the issue. Just a simple, “I have sinned against the Lord.”
Yet, the Lord has taken away our sin. King David was forgiven and so are we. That is the judgment rendered by our Lord. He does not let us die, but forgives. He does not stay displeased with us, but He takes away our sin.
You see, God goes into action. He was not satisfied with the way things were. His displeasure was not enough. He wanted more. So God came down from heaven above. In Jesus He was born a babe in Bethlehem. God moves out of the comfort of heaven itself and into our world of hurts and needs. Nothing was more important than becoming one of us, to spend His whole life helping us.
And spend His life He did. On the cross Jesus gave His life for us. The plan was made. The crucifixion was arranged. But by His death a nation was formed—a holy nation called the church. By His sacrifice a kingdom was saved—we have become God’s people – “Atta Ha Ish!” We are now God’s family. Jesus rose from the dead on Easter morning to make us eternal children of the heavenly Father.
And with that forgiveness we can’t stay satisfied with the way things are in our lives—hurting others, betraying our country, bringing pain to our homes. Now is the time to desire what is pleasing in God’s eyes. Now is the time to give of ourselves to those around us. Now is the time to give freely of ourselves and our money for those who are hurting. Now is the time to give willingly of ourselves and our time to become involved with our communities and our government. Now is the time to give lovingly of ourselves, listening, paying attention, keeping those Baptism, Confirmation, and wedding vows with all faithfulness.
Atta Ha Ish! We are the man, a people —God’s people who will give freely, willingly, lovingly of ourselves for those in need, for our country, for our families. Yes, forgiven by Jesus, desiring what is good and right for those we live with, then and only then can we rest content, satisfied with the many wonderful gifts God has already given us throughout our lives.