Utter Disrespect for God

Utter Disrespect for God May 6, 2024

Photo by Joshua Sukoff on Unsplash

David committed adultery with Bathsheba, then arranged for her husband to be killed in battle. God calls that “utter disrespect” (2 Samuel 12:14)!

Scripture:       

2 Samuel, chapters 11-12; Psalm 51; Matthew, chapter 23

2 Samuel 12:7-14 (CEB):

“You are that man!” Nathan told David. “This is what the Lord God of Israel says: I anointed you king over Israel and delivered you from Saul’s power. I gave your master’s house to you, and gave his wives into your embrace. I gave you the house of Israel and Judah. If that was too little, I would have given you even more. Why have you despised the Lord’s word by doing what is evil in his eyes? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and taken his wife as your own. You used the Ammonites to kill him. Because of that, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite as your own, the sword will never leave your house.

This is what the Lord says: I am making trouble come against you from inside your own family. Before your very eyes I will take your wives away and give them to your friend, and he will have sex with your wives in broad daylight. You did what you did secretly, but I will do what I am doing before all Israel in the light of day.”

“I’ve sinned against the Lord!” David said to Nathan. “The Lord has removed your sin,” Nathan replied to David. “You won’t die. However, because you have utterly disrespected the Lord by doing this, the son born to you will definitely die.” Then Nathan went home.

Observations – Utter Disrespect

The word that stands out to me in today’s reading is disrespect. Three times in this passage, God says that David despised or disrespected God and God’s word. How did David do that? By willfully ignoring and violating God’s commandments. Which ones? In the Ten Commandments, God prohibited

  • Murder (Exodus 20:13)
  • Committing adultery” (20:14)
  • Coveting “your neighbor’s house…your neighbor’s wife, male or female servant, ox, donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor” (20:17).

David coveted Bathsheba; 2 Samuel 11 tells us that he saw her, sent for her, and had sex with her (2 Samuel 11:4). Having sex with her was adultery; both he and Bathsheba were married to other people. When she became pregnant, David tired to cover up his sin. First, he brought her husband Uriah home from the front lines to try to get him to sleep with Bathsheba. Then, when Uriah refused, David sent him back to the battle with instructions to Joab to put Uriah at the front of the battle, then pull back so he would be killed. David not only murdered Uriah; he used the Israelites’ enemy, the Ammonites, to do it.

God’s judgment was clear: you have despised the Lord’s word…despised me…utterly disrespected the Lord. What David had done was wrong. It was sin. When Nathan confronted David, David acknowledged his sin and repented (see our reading from Psalm 51 for today). “I know my wrongdoings, my sin is always right in front of me. I’ve sinned against you – you alone. I’ve committed evil in your sight. That’s why you are justified when you render your verdict, completely correct when you issue your judgment” (Psalm 51:3-4).

The Consequences of Disrespecting God

David discovered that there are consequences to disrespecting God. First, his sin broke his relationship with God. David recognized this immediately: “I’ve sinned against the Lord!” Sin always damages our relationship with God. That does not mean that the relationship can’t be repaired; it means that we have to acknowledge our sin and ask God’s forgiveness for that restoration to take place (see 1 John 1:9). Confession and repentance are our responsibility. We acknowledge our sin, admit that we were wrong, and ask God’s forgiveness.

Psalm 51 gives us a picture of the kind of repentance that God desires (emphasis added):

  • “Wipe away my wrongdoings” (51:1)
  • “Wash me completely clean of my guilt; purify me from my sin” (51:2)
  • I’ve sinned against you…committed evil in your sight” (51:4)
  • “Hide your face from my sins; wipe away all my guilty deeds” (51:9)

But the consequences went beyond the spiritual. God forgave David; “The Lord has removed your sin,” Nathan replied to David. “You won’t die.” But there were other consequences that plagued David  throughout his life because of his sin:

  • “The sword will never leave your own house” (verse 10)
  • “I am making trouble come against you from inside your own family” (verse 11)
  • “The son born to you will definitely die” (verse 14)

All of those things began to play out almost immediately. At the end of chapter 12, the son born to Bathsheba indeed dies. Later, David’s own son Absalom will turn against him and nearly overthrow him. And as David prepares to die, his sons engage in a power struggle over who would succeed him. Make no mistake: utterly disrespecting God is a bad idea!

Application – Utter Disrespect for God

God’s words through Nathan the prophet make one clear point: sin is utter disrespect for God. God has proven himself to be faithful and good. When those who claim to follow him disregard and disobey his commands, we disrespect God by denying his sovereignty over us.

The problem is that many Christians seem to have become too willing to accept and excuse sin – in their own lives, and in the lives of others. “I’ll just do this thing that I know is wrong, and then I’ll ask God to forgive me.” However, real repentance means an acknowledgment of our sin – that we were wrong. Do we really acknowledge that “it was wrong” when we approach sin in that way?

Sin has consequences. The lie of “doing it and then asking forgiveness” ignores the fact that we have to live with those consequences. God forgave David (see verse 14), but David lived with the consequences the rest of his life. If we could ask him, I’d guess that David would tell us that it wasn’t worth it. A moment of pleasure wasn’t worth a lifetime of heartache – and it still isn’t!

Prayer:

Father, thank you for the reality that when we confess our sins, you are faithful and just to forgive them and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  But we also pray that you would remind us of the consequences of sin – of utterly disrespecting you – before we give in to the temptation. Remind us that a moment of “pleasure” is not worth a lifetime of heartache, and it certainly isn’t worth an eternity apart from you. Help us not to overlook or excuse sin, as though it weren’t really a big deal. Sin is always a big deal! Help us to walk in your way today, that we may glorify you. Amen.

 

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