Sermon on July 19, 1998 (P.M.)
in Hudsonville, Michigan
Rev. Barry Gritters
Scripture reading: II Samuel 12
II Samuel 12
The part of the chapter that I read at the end, I read for a special purpose because, to my judgment, that history comes between the sin of David with Bathsheba and Uriah and the history of David's repentance. The taking of Rabbah, in my judgment, takes place before David's repentance, but is not recorded until after his repentance, so that the entire history of David's sin and repentance could be told in one story.
The history goes this way, then. Shortly after the mourning for Uriah is finished and David has taken Bathsheba into his house to be his wife, Joab sends the message to David, "David, now we are in the middle of a battle. I've already taken part of the cities of the Ammonites, and I'm ready to take their key city. If you want to claim this victory as yours, David, you had better get the rest of the nation of Israel together and come out and battle against it so that the credit may be given to you. If you don't do that, I'm going to call the city after my name." So with Joab's leadership, and really Joab's skill, David goes out and defeats the city of Rabbah and claims credit for himself.
Then David returns with Joab and the armies to Jerusalem, and following in his train are the wagon loads of spoil and all of the trophies of victory so that the people can give praise to great king David. David is back in his palace. The business returns to normal. He receives the visitors to congratulate him because of the victory. The dignitaries in the city and elsewhere need to do business with him. And at the end of the line is another visitor who needs audience with the king.
Nathan, prophet of Jehovah, has something to say, too. David, unflustered and non-plussed because he is still hardened in his sin, probably says, "Sir Nathan, prophet of Jehovah, state your business," and if not saying it, felt it, "And please be quick and be gone." And the prophet of Jehovah comes to David and says, "This is the Word of God to you, David. I'm come to fluster you. I'm come to shake you. I'm come as the servant of Jehovah to bring you to repentance for your sin that you have been hiding for these ten or eleven months or so. David, you're the man."
God does that to David. God sends the prophet to him. God shakes him because God loves that man and God will bring him to repentance in sorrow for his sins. The history of David from this point on is sad. I mentioned that last week. It couldn't be very much sadder. It is grievous. It is bitter. It is sorrow for him. It is trouble. It almost all goes downhill. But the key word there is "almost." It is not all sadness, it is not all sorrow, it is not all trouble, because the sending of Nathan to David by Jehovah God is because God loves David. And God will not let David stay in his sin.
That comes out in the chapter. Compare chapter 12 with chapter 11. In chapter 11 man dominates. God permits it, too, in that history to sound that way. David sins. Joab does this. Bathsheba says that. David acts, David wants, David gets, until David, at the very end of the chapter, runs smack dab into the solid wall of the righteousness of God and the unyielding standard of God's righteousness and we read, "The thing that David did was displeasing to the Lord."
Now chapter 12. God speaks, God acts, God wants, and God gets what God wants because God pursues His servant in mercy, in grace, and will not let His people continue in their sins.
It is not on the surface of the chapter, but it is there. We are
going to see that when we look at this Word of God tonight. It
is grace indeed! When God confronts us with our sins, it is grace
for us, too, even though that grace might not come in the form
soft and easy that we might expect and wish it to come in. But
this is God's grace to a guilty, sinful David. That's the word
I want to preach tonight:
Let us hear, then, that Word of God to David through the prophet Nathan.
David repents. And God forgives. That is the simple gospel that we have in the very beginning and really the heart of the text. David says, "I have sinned against Jehovah." And God says to David, "I have put away your sin."
The confession of David and repentance of David is so simple that some criticize it for being simplistic and superficial. David says two words in the original Hebrew and Nathan responds, "David, God has put away your sins. You are forgiven."
But we ought not criticize that for its brevity. There is something beautiful in the simplicity of David's confession here that we ought to see and recognize. It is significant because in that statement of confession David gets to the heart of the matter. David says, "I have sinned against Jehovah!" He does not talk about the sin against Uriah. He does not speak about his sin with Bathsheba. He says, "I have sinned against the God who saved me and I have violated His law." David is wise here. David gets right to the point. David sees the central issue in all of sin. It is a sin against Jehovah God.
The simplicity is striking and important in the second place because David here does not make excuses. Often when we confess our sins we say, "Yes, but . I've sinned but . I did this because ." You do not hear David saying anything like that. He does not claim human weakness. He does not search for loopholes. He does not make pretexts on the foreground. He does not say, "Yes, Nathan, I did sin these ways, I did do those things that you accuse me of, but you don't know that for a long time Bathsheba had been luring me into this sin. You don't know, Lord, how cold and moody and whatever else my other wives have been and I really had reason to be attracted to her." David simply says, "I have sinned against Jehovah."
But if we would suppose that this is all David did in his confession we would be seriously mistaken because, though the history in II Samuel records only those two words that David spoke and then gets back to God's word that God spoke to David, the history that we find in the Psalms (the heading to Psalm 32 and Psalm 51) shows us that the confession and repentance of David was deep and thorough and sincere.
For one thing, it is striking that David would even write what he did about his own sin. David, in whom God worked this deep, sincere sorrow, gave that poem that he wrote about his sin and handed it to the chief musician and instructed that chief musician to make it a part of the book of psalms which God's Israel could sing until the coming of the day of the Lord Jesus Christ and, perhaps, all the way into eternity.
David's confession is thorough. And David's confession is sincere. Read how David explains to the people of God there how deep his sorrow was. Analyze what David says about how heavy his guilt was. Find for yourself what David says about how grief-stricken his soul was. Then you will understand that it was not any superficial, shallow, "I've sinned. Period. Now let me get on with my life." David understood what his sin was.
Explaining and expanding upon David's grief, those psalms show us how God in this history is turning that evil into good, and is doing that (now, please listen carefully) by fitting David to be in this history a type of the Lord Jesus Christ. Now, from a certain point of view, when you hear that you stand back and say, "Please don't say that, because there couldn't be any place in all of this history of David that David is farther away from being a type of Christ than this history. Please do not claim David here to be a type of the Lord Jesus Christ. I want nothing of that!" Yet, by God's sovereign dealings, God in this is fitting David to be a type of Christ when David is burdened and staggered and crushed with the sense of his own guilt and then sits down in the privacy of his own room and writes out the psalms and becomes the sweet singer of Israel through whom Christ Himself speaks about Christ's staggering under the guilt of our sins and the burden of our shame. Psalm 51 was written by Christ. Psalm 32 was the expression of Christ's heart. Psalm 130 and Psalm 40 and all the other penitential psalms are not, first of all, David speaking. First of all they are our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ through him, through David, who in a small way began to feel what our Lord Jesus Christ felt when He took upon Himself our sins. If David was crushed, if David staggered, if David could not handle the burden of the guilt of sin or one cluster of sins, then you can begin to appreciate how Christ could not stand in the Garden of Gethsemane and Christ could not survive in His human nature there on the cross when all of your sins, a multitude of them, sins like David's sins, were all placed on the back and shoulders and in the heart of the Lord Jesus Christ. Read those psalms again from that point of view. You hear at one time David speaking and at another time Christ speaking. But you hear always (and you must hear) that these are the psalms of the real Sweet-singer of Israel: "I have sins that I cannot bear. My strength is spent with grief. My sins are more than I can count. I don't know what to do. I don't know where to go." This is David. And you have a glimpse, a little glimpse, a little peek, of the Lord Jesus Christ.
That is one reason why, if we may guess, God permitted David to go as long as he did in his sin without repentance. God could have sent Nathan to David immediately. God could have sent Nathan to David a week after he stole the wife and murdered the husband. But God let David go on in that sin so that David could sense the awfulness of his sin and guilt, and then give expression to that sense in the psalms, as he never otherwise could have done, so that we could hear Christ speak in these words of God.
When David repented, God forgave. "I have put away your sin." That, too, is brief. But we ought not criticize Nathan for being brief there either. "I have put it away," Nathan says on behalf of God, "I pass it over. I'm not going to deal with you with regard to the punishment for your sin." That is not weakness. That is the word David needed to hear. That is the word I need to hear. Put away all of the other words, and give me this word, and I will be satisfied: "I have put away your sins."
But the emphasis in the text is not so much on the word of David's confession and the word of God's forgiveness as it is on the manner in which God worked this confession and repentance of David. The focus is on that long speech of Nathan to David. Why was it that David repented? How was it that David came to the knowledge of his sin? By means of a prophet who came speaking on behalf of God, pressing and pressing further and pressing so far that David was crushed with the knowledge of his sin.
God sent Nathan to David to speak a parable. (We call that a parable. Perhaps it is better designated as a little story. And even you children know that story well.) There was a rich man and there was a poor man. The rich man had a huge flock of sheep and the poor man had one - one little lamb that he cherished to his own bosom, fed under his own table, and loved as dearly as he loved his own daughter. The rich man had some out-of-town visitors. But instead of liquidating some of his own assets, the rich man went and (notice that the same word is used for what he did to that sheep as for what David did to Bathsheba) took the lamb from the poor man and barbecued it for his guests, so that he could keep his own.
David was livid with anger. David was so furious that his senses were sharp with regard to justice that ought to take place. In the first place, not only must this man and his estate give up fourfold for the lamb that he stole, but the owner of that estate needs to be executed as a punishment for his sins.
David sounds there a lot like me when I am covering my sins, and you when you are covering yours - very good at finding faults in the others, very good at being sharp as to what is required for the punishment of them. And you and I may know very well in ourselves, when we are so good at finding faults in others, we ought to ask ourselves, in the first place, "Is that because I don't want my own sins to be exposed and found out?" It may very well be the case that the man or the woman in the congregation (I include myself) who is quick to find fault in others needs to have the grace of God come to him in a parable and have the servant of God come to him with the blunt word, "No, David, it is not he, it is you! You're the man, you're the woman, you're the young person. This is about you."
This is how God brings His people to repentance in grace. By the
word of the gospel, by the servant whom He sends, by the finger
that is pointed to you. Not him, not her, not that other
man, not their family - you! and you and you and you. And
when God comes with that word, "You are the
man," then we repent and then God forgives.
Is that enough? That is not enough because all of us might say tonight, "Yes, I'm the man," just like David said, "Yes, I've sinned." But Nathan says to David, "I have more to say and you need to keep listening because it's not enough that you simply say, 'I'm the man and I've sinned against Jehovah.' You need to know what you did. You need to know how severe it was. You need to know the character of your sin. You need to know what it did and the ripples of effect it has in your life and in the life of the nation of Israel." So Nathan searches and Nathan probes and Nathan gets out the spotlight and Nathan shines deeply and exposes all of the sins that were in David, not only those that we saw last week in chapter 11, but those that we need to see this week in chapter 12. You see, repentance is not easy. Repentance may not be superficial. Confession may not be shallow. It is not enough that the people of God simply say, "I've sinned and I've sinned against Jehovah." Sometimes God needs to come to us - often God needs to come to us - and say to us, "Now sit down and listen because I have much more to say to you than simply that you have sinned." Only when we come to a realization of our sin, people of God, are we going to confess it as we ought, are we going to love Christ as we ought, and are we going to hate sin and flee from sin as we ought to hate and flee from sin.
Parents need to do that, too, sometimes with their children. And elders need to do that sometimes, too, with the members of the congregation. After there is a confession and repentance and a word of sincere sorrow, say, "Yes, but that's not enough. Please sit down because we need to explain these things." The children object. The children say, "Didn't you hear? I said I'm sorry. I really am sorry. Now don't make me feel so bad and don't keep pressing and don't keep poking and prodding because you're going to make me cry and crush me." That is what the parents need to do. That is the way the Word of God works. It makes us cry, and it does crush us, because we need to get down where David was in Psalm 32 and in Psalm 51 so that we can understand our sins and appreciate the work of the Lord Jesus Christ when He was crushed in a way unlike we will ever be crushed if we are covered by Him. You need to know your sins!
David, take it. David, sit down and listen. And David, don't stop me again like you did already. Did you notice that? Nathan is in the middle of his speech explaining to David his sins and David blurts out, "I've sinned against Jehovah." And Nathan said, "I know you've sinned. And God has put away your sin. Howbeit, keep listening. Because your sin was this and because your sin was that, these are going to be the fruits of your sins."
David, in the first place, needs to understand what his sin was. It was, number one, a despising of the goodness of God. That comes out in verses 7 and 8 of the chapter. Nathan explains to David, "David, don't you know that God took you out of the sheepcote and from obscurity and anointed you to be the king of Israel? David, don't you know that God protected you from Saul and took from Saul everything that Saul owned and gave it to you? And don't you know that God is reserving you to be the great king over this great nation? In the face of all that, David, are you going to despise that goodness of God and say to God, 'I'm not satisfied with what Thou hast given me, I want more' "? David despised the goodness and the grace of God.
That is what we need to hear, sometimes, too. Maybe the Word of God is coming to you or to me in a special way tonight. It comes to all of us. You are the man and I am the man. Maybe it is coming to us in a special way so that we are broken, really broken, and we have heard the Word of God that convicts us of our sin. Now, sit down and hear this too: your sin is a despising of the grace and the goodness of God. Look what God has done for you and me, where He has brought us, and what He has given to us. And, if that were not enough, if you would only ask, God said to David, "I would have given you such and such things." Now in the face of all of these good things that I give you, are you really going to sin like that? Are you really going to say, "I'm not satisfied with these things. I'm not happy with the place that I have"? Do not despise the goodness of God, beloved. When we sin against Jehovah, that is exactly what we are doing.
In the second place, David is despising the commandments of God. That comes out in verse 9. "Why, David, have you despised my commandments?" You see, the commandments for David were clear. He knew those commandments as we do: Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not commit adultery. But David not only knew the Ten Commandments; he knew the commandments of Deuteronomy that were addressed to the king: Thou shalt not multiply to thyself wives like the nations' kings about you. In spite of those clearly-worded commandments that came to him, David said, "I'm going to do it anyway." Then David needs to know that when he despises God's commandments, he is despising God.
That is what Nathan goes on to say in verse ten. "You despise the commandments," God says, "and you are really despising Me." That is true because, when God gives His commandments, He is revealing something about Himself. When God gives us the Ten Commandments, He is teaching us something about Himself in each one of the commandments. All of the commandments, taken as a whole, are a revelation of the righteousness of God and a revelation of the holiness of God. When we say, in spite of the clear teaching of the commandments, "We don't want to obey them, and we're going to disobey them anyway," we are holding God in contempt, we consider Him to be a vile and worthless thing. That's because these words of His, forbidding us these behaviors, and commanding us these, are a revelation of God. "You are despising me, David."
Beloved congregation, when you sin against Jehovah, you are despising Jehovah. When you disobey your parents, as we saw this morning in the Word of God, when you steal in heart or really, when you commit adultery or fornication, when you worship another god, when you worship God improperly, when your tongue is loose or sharp, you are despising God Himself. Sit down, David, and listen to what your sin is.
And if that were not bad enough, Nathan says to David, this is the worst: by your sin (and this comes out in the later verses - 13 and 14) you have given great occasion to the enemy to blaspheme My name. By your sin, David, you have made the nations laugh at Me. You have given this people, who are named by Me, occasion to blaspheme My great holy name.
That teaches us that the sin of David was public already. If God, by this, was not making David's sin public, it was public. God says to David, "You've now, and you've previously, given the nations occasion to laugh and to blaspheme Me." The nations knew, they saw, they understood what David did. It was not just Joab. It was not just his closest confidants. The people spoke. They knew, they saw. And the nations around did too. And David's sin made Israel a laughing-stock. That is the kind of God you have? This is the kind of people you are? This is the sin that you commit? You are a member of this congregation? You go to the Protestant Reformed Churches? What kind of God in all of the world do you people have when you live that way? Understand, beloved, what our sin is and what our sin does. It gives great occasion to the enemy to blaspheme.
I was thinking about that last week. For some reason, distracted by other things, I did not mention it then. I need to now. I was wondering how many enemies of the church of the Lord Jesus Christ laughed at the Protestant Reformed Churches when they saw our young people at the birthday bash down in Allegan for the country music station, B-93. That is not only a violation, young people, of the commandments of God. It is not only a despising of God's commandments. It is a despising of God and it is an opportunity for the enemy to say, "Protestant Reformed, eh? Antithetical they are, eh? They speak of holiness, do they? Here they are rocking and rolling, drinking and smoking perhaps, but participating in fun with all of the other people of the world. Protestant Reformed, eh? That's the last place I want to visit if that's the kind of people they are."
Young people, think about that this week when you go to the young people's convention and you are tempted in front of the others at Grand Valley and the others at Grand Haven at the beach and the others at the ballgame or wherever you go; think about this: what your sin is and what it does. And say to yourself, "I don't want to despise God. I don't want to despise His goodness to me because He's been so good to me. And I don't want to give occasion to the enemy to blaspheme."
But now, young people, sit still, because I have a word for us parents. I hear sometimes great blasphemy against the Protestant Reformed Churches and the faith we hold dear because of the behavior of the parents. Then it is not surprising that the children behave as they do. I do not know who they are. If I did, I would be compelled to speak to them and come to them as Nathan did to David, except saying, "I'm the man, too. And now, let's get down on our knees and repent in dust and ashes." But, beloved, do you know what your sin is? Do I know what my sin is? Be oh so careful!
When you hear and when you are broken and when you are crushed by the knowledge of what it is and what it does, then hear this Word of God: "I've put away your sin. I'm not going to punish you for those sins." A word of grace is a word of forgiveness. Howbeit, howbeit, because you have despised My goodness, and because you have despised My commandments and therefore Me, and because you have given great occasion to the enemy to blaspheme, therefore these judgments will come upon you. And you will live, David, for the rest of your life under great sorrow as a fruit of these terrible sins.
Even though God forgives, God also judges. Just because David confessed his sin and repented of it and been forgiven by God does not mean that God does nothing by way of judgment upon him for those sins. Immediately after Nathan says, "God forgives," comes that haunting word that we hear too: Howbeit, this is going to be God's chastisement for you upon you for those sins.
Number 1: God says to David, "The sword will never depart from your house."
Number 2: God says to David, "I will raise from out of your home a great evil that will cause unspeakable sorrow."
Number 3: "I will take your wives from you, and I will give them to your neighbor. And your wives will be ravished not only before your eyes but before the eyes of all this people."
Number 4: David, "the child, that is, the fruit of this adulterous union, will surely die."
Those judgments upon David were fitting. As David sinned, so David is judged. That is always the way it goes. As a man sows, so he reaps. Think of Jacob - a deceiver of his father, and his brother deceived him; a cheater of his brother, and his uncle cheated him. So these chastisements upon David are the kinds of chastisements that fit well and harmonize with the kinds of sins that David committed. David slew Uriah with a sword. The sword would never depart from David's house. David robbed Uriah of his wife. David's wives would be robbed of him. David had disturbed the purity of a family. The purity of David's family would be disturbed. David abused the devoted faithfulness of a covenant bond that existed between him and Uriah, his faithful servant. His own son would abuse the covenant relationship in which he within the family. David mingled deceit and treachery in his dealings with Uriah and Bathsheba, and deceit and treachery would be the experience of David from not only this quarter, but every quarter.
They are fitting. But they are also severe, these judgments of God upon David. We can hardly imagine any more severe punishments or judgments upon David. A man would rather die than have his wife raped in front of the whole nation. A man would give all of his possessions to keep his beloved son or daughter from perishing. He would have his throat cut rather than endure the shame that David endured here. Yet God says, "This is going to be the fruit of your sin. I've forgiven you, David, but the chastisements upon you are going to be these."
People of God need to understand this, and the young people especially, because some times we in our youth are so foolish. Understand that even though you are elect and even though God has forgiven your sins, it may very well be that these kinds of judgments come upon you because of the folly you commit now, and you may feel those judgments until the day you die.
The election that you know is yours, the love that you know of God for you does not take away from the very real possibility that God will come to you with judgments that fit and with judgments that are severe on account of the sins that we commit.
Now I need to qualify that very carefully here for a moment. Do not suppose at all that every time we experience an evil in our life it has a corresponding sin that we have not repented of. Do not always trace a sickness or an injury or an accident or a death to something that we have done in the past, when we have not said to God, "Oh God, I have sinned and done this evil in Thy sight." That is not true. Not all of the evils that we experience and the chastisements that we endure are because of specific sins. The Word of God makes that plain. But sometimes they are. Example: David and David's judgments. What a man sows, he reaps. And it may very well be, beloved, that all his life, I say it again, all his life he endured the judgments of God as a chastisement for his sin.
You have to ask yourself the question, "Why? Why, God, why would you do this if you have forgiven me, if you've covered my sins, if you're not going to judge me for them, if you're not going to take vengeance upon me to make me pay for those sins? Why?" Understand clearly here, too, people of God, it is not punishment. It is not retribution. It is not vengeance. God said to David through Nathan, "I have put away your sin." How could it be that this judgment was a punishment and retribution and vengeance, as though it were a tooth for a tooth and an eye for an eye, David has sinned and David is punished, David violates this law of God and God comes with a punishment upon him for that sin. That cannot be! The Word of God is clear. All of our punishment is on Christ. Every sin was punished by God upon Him on the cross. And when God deals with us in this way it is not a punishment for sin.
We need to be clear there, too, in our dealings with our children and be very careful that we not call those chastisements that we give to them punishment. God has punished their sins in the Lord Jesus Christ. Sticking to a technicality? picking on words? So be it. Let us not call anything that we experience punishment, because all our punishment went upon Christ. Let us call the judgments of God upon us because of our sins exactly that: judgment and chastisement and correction and discipline. God sends these things to us as He sent them to David, because He wanted David and He wants us to learn. He wants us to learn about Him - He is a holy God. He wants us to learn about Him - He is a righteous God, He deals righteously. He wants us to learn about Him so that we more and more seek to be conformed to His image and look like Him. And He wants us to learn about sin and how hateful is our sin. He wants us to hate sin like we have never hated sin before. He wants us to see sin like we've never seen sin before. He wants us to understand the horrors of sin so that when we see it we run, and when we do it we hate it and confess it and come to Him for forgiveness in the Lord Jesus Christ. He wants to teach us because He loves us. And when God deals with us in our guilt and sin, God deals with us in grace. He wants us to learn something. He wants the congregation to learn something when they see someone in the congregation reaping the bitter fruits of his sin. To use the language of the Old Testament, He wants all Israel to hear and fear and to know that we do not get away with sin.
The rest of the nation of Israel learned something in the death of David's son. They learned something in the rape of David's wives by David's own son. They learned something in the treachery of Ahithophel against David. They learned that God is a righteous judge, that God chastises sinners, that God does not let us get away with sin but He wants us to learn to hate it. The congregation learned something. David did, the congregation did, but also the nations around Israel learned something here: God is God. God is not to be mocked. God is not to be blasphemed. God is not to be laughed at, because God's people, when they sin, repent and sometimes come under a judgment that the rest of the nation knows for the rest of their life.
Do not run away from the prophet, beloved. Do not ignore the words
of the prophet, people of God. Whether that is the word of the
prophet coming to you tonight or whether that is the word of the
elder who pursues you this week, do not run away from the word
of the prophet. Maybe that is the word of the prophet that comes
to you when you open your Bible tomorrow for family worship or
private devotions and it says "You are the man." Do
not quickly close it. Sit down and listen and hear about the forgiveness
of God, about the judgments of God and about the mercy of our
God in the Lord Jesus Christ - because, as severe as the judgment
of God upon David was, it was tempered by mercy, tempered by tender,
kind mercy. Aside from the fact, beloved, that the judgment itself
(and we have seen that) was mercy, it taught David to hate sin.
It brought David to write the psalms. It brought David to his
knees in repentance. Besides the fact, I say, that the judgment
itself was mercy, God dealt with David in tenderest mercy.
The mercy is not that the baby died, as some say, whereas if the baby had lived it would have been a constant reminder of his vile sin. The mercy of God is not that He let David keep Bathsheba, whereas she ought to have been punished with stoning as well as he. The mercy is not even that God gave David another son whom David named Solomon and God named Jedediah, "Beloved of God." But the mercy is this: "I'm not going to deal with you, David, as you deserve."
And that is what David hangs on to. God is a merciful God because He does not deal with me as I ought to be dealt with. David confesses it. The judgment comes out of his own mouth. That man ought to die. David, you are the man. Nathan says it. God will not make you die, David. God has put away your sin. God does not deal with us as we ought to be dealt with in our sins.
Beloved, your sins never are dealt with as they ought to be dealt with. As severe as your judgments are, as heavy as the hand of God is upon you even now, as many strokes as you felt, God does not deal with you as you deserve. Sometimes we say that foolishly, you know. We get sick, we get in a wreck, we lose a child, we lose a parent, and we say (maybe not publicly but privately), "I deserved that, I deserved it." Do not speak so foolishly. You do not get what you deserve. You deserve death. You deserve everlasting punishment of God in hell. And I do. You deserve to be banished from the presence of God for ever and ever and live with all of the people who refuse to repent. That is what I deserve.
God says to you and to me tonight who repent, "I am a merciful God. I am a kind God. I do not deal with you as you ought to be dealt with because I have dealt with My Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, on behalf of you and as a substitute for you."
Do not run away from the prophet. Do not fail to hear the word of the man who speaks and says, "You're the man!" Do not do that. But repent. Repent tonight, now. Are you hiding your sin? Am I? Have I been going nine months or ten, or five years or ten, and refuse to repent and confess? The Word of God to you says, "Repent, repent! You're the man, you're the woman." Are you afraid of exposure and shame? Indeed, I am too. Do you fear the chastisements of God upon you? I too. But understand this: we have a God who deals kindly and mercifully and does not do to you and to me what we deserve. Repent and be forgiven.
Let us pray.
Father in heaven, show us. And not only show us, but break our hard hearts and make us to see how vile are our sins, how hurtful they are to Thee, how dishonoring they are to Thy people, how offensive they are to the children, how grievous they are when we see Thee to be the righteous and holy God. And so break our hearts that we may break with our sins, that we may plead for mercy, that we may cry for forgiveness, that we may say, "I am the man!" And then show us the word of forgiveness in Thy Son, in whose name we pray, Amen.
Last modified: 31-Aug-2000