Jesus the Savior of Murderers! Like David! Like You!
Midweek Lent 4
18 March 2015
Catechetical Sermon Series: The Ten Commandments
+ Jesu Juva +
2 Samuel 11:1-27/ Fifth Commandment
Well, God’s good will as God FOR YOU and for the world is that He wants life protected. He wants life to flourish. After all, He is the Creator of life. Life is pure gift. So all life from Him is precious. Consequently, the Lord says: “You shall not murder.” Again, He’s talking to you! “YOU shall not murder.” That means that you should fear and love (fear and love – that takes you back to the First Commandment) – you should fear and love God so that you do not hurt or harm your neighbor in his body. The commandment forbids murder, abortion, euthanasia, suicide, revenge, neglect, indifference, hatred and prejudice. The commandment expects you to help and support your neighbor in every physical or bodily need. No limit to the help. All life of the neighbor is included.
Well, King David is having huge success militarily. His army is soundly defeating and wiping out the Ammonites. What a magnificent warrior king he is! Conquering his enemies so easily. However, now we come to a turning point in his reign. He loses an enormous battle against … himself! He is, as we heard last week, “lured and enticed by his own evil desire” (James 1:14) to commit adultery and now, of all things, murder. Double crimes! Against the sanctity of holy marriage and tonight against the sanctity of human life!
The Bible doesn’t censor or cover up David’s sordid sins. 2 Samuel 11, like all of Scripture is written, “to teach you” (Romans 15:4). To warn you. “If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall” (1 Corinthians 10:11) like King David. In addition, all Scripture is written to comfort you. There is forgiveness for Christ’s sake for all sin – no matter how despicable or disgusting. For David’s. For yours. For the world’s.
So, I preach tonight’s sermon for your warning if you are smug and secure in your sin. But I also preach comfort to you that are burdened and oppressed by your sin. Here goes. Hang on!
King David covets Uriah’s wife named Bathsheba. Breaks the Tenth Commandment with no worries whatsoever. He casually and ho-humly commits adultery with her as if he does that sort of thing every day. Breaks the Sixth Commandment as easily as Taylor Swift writes and sings mega hit pop songs. As a result of their lustful tryst Bathsheba is now pregnant with David’s baby.
This isn’t Hollywood. Where affairs are par for the course and babies conceived out of wedlock are roundly celebrated. This is still King David’s court. He has to uphold a pious and religious example. An example and leader of God’s people in faith and holy living according to God’s Word.
So now what? Bathsheba’s pregnant! And he’s the father!
David goes into cover up mode ASAP! Can’t let anyone find out about the adultery let alone the results. Plan A is put into effect. Call husband Uriah in from the army. Give him a few days of military leave. Time off. “Go home Uriah,” David politely mandates. “Be with your wife. You deserve it. Know what I mean Uriah? Hmm? Wink. Wink. And here’s a little gift from me to show my appreciation. All the best to you and your wife! What’s her name again? Oh, that’s right Bathsheba! Wonderful woman! So faithful! You’re so lucky Uriah! Bye-Bye now Enjoy!”
You know what David’s trying to do, don’t you? Of course, you do. Give a soldier time off and give him the opportunity to be with his wife and he’ll jump at the chance. Won’t have to tell him twice. And when Bathsheba starts to show her baby bump everyone will be just giddy! God bless Uriah and Bathsheba. We remember when Uriah came home and … well, you know. Wink. Wink. Now they’re expecting their first child!
One big problem, however! Uriah doesn’t go home! He won’t! After all, he is devoted to his duty as a soldier. His mates are at war. It’s not fair for him to go see his wife and love her while they’re putting their lives on the line for the king and for Israel. “As surely as you live [O king!], I will not do such a thing.” In addition, the ark of the covenant, the Lord’s throne, is there on the battle field. That’s where the Lord is guiding and leading the Israelite army against her enemies. Uriah knows he belongs there. And so should the king! Plan A fails!
Plan B then. David throws a party. Opens up his royal liquor cabinet. The best and the stiffest stuff in all of Israel. Get a soldier snockered and he’ll definitely want to take his wife to bed. So that when the baby bump shows everyone will think the baby belongs to … Uriah. “Uriah! Great to see you!” King David exclaims. “Here, have a drink. I’ve poured you a drink. It’s on me! Have another one. And another. And another. Chug! Chug! Chug! Oh, Uriah, you’re drunk as a skunk. Off you go now! Best that you head home. Your lovely wife will know what to do. And so will you! Wink. Wink.”
But even Plan B crashes and burns. Again, to David’s surprise, the inebriated Uriah doesn’t go home. Incredibly, he sleeps outside on a mat with the king’s servants.
Uriah won’t “cooperate.” So the king will kick up the cover up a notch! He will not be exposed as an adulterer or the father of an illegitimate child. He can’t take that chance. He is the king! He will conceal and hide his sin. Deny it at all costs. No matter who he hurts or harms.
So Plan C is hatched. It’s ruthless. Evil. Wicked. Premeditated. Well thought out! Murder in the first degree! “General Joab,” David barks! “Put Uriah in the front lines where the fighting is the most intense and where the enemy’s fiercest warriors are positioned. And then, General, pull back. Leave Uriah totally exposed to enemy fire. I’ll be rid of this Dudley Do Right once and for all.”
Well, the battle takes place. Not only is Uriah the Hittite killed but other soldiers “in David’s army fall” in the line of duty as well! Uriah’s death was made to look, valid, legal and justifiable. Poor Uriah – a casualty of war! So sad. Tragic. We wish it didn’t happen. But that’s how it goes in the army. Everyone knows what could happen when recruits sign on the dotted line.
But the fact of the matter is this: Uriah was set up. A hit was put out on him! Cold-blooded calculated murder! David planned it. David ordered it. David approved of it. David was responsible! Not only for Uriah’s death but also for the others soldiers killed in that battle in order to snuff out Uriah. It doesn’t get any more depraved than that!
When the news breaks to everyone in Jerusalem that Uriah is dead, David goes into an all out public relations blitzkrieg. “We’ll have a national day of mourning, honor him for his valiant bravery, name a street after him and set up a foundation for the families of our fallen soldiers.” Then, after all the tears and all the public ceremonies, King David pulls off one of the biggest PR stunts in the history of the world.
He announces on prime time television – interrupting Monday Night Football — that his royal majesty will take care of the poor, grief stricken, war widow Bathsheba. He went to Jared, politely proposed that they get hitched and she graciously accepted the marriage proposal. The wedding takes place posthaste. It is royally magnificent. What a king! That he cares so much for the war widow. And then, when Bathsheba’s baby bump appears a few months later what joy! A royal baby! A honeymoon baby! All legit! Kosher! According to Hoyle! AT LEAST THAT’S HOW IT LOOKS.
But it took a murder, check that, murders (remember the other soldiers that died too?) for such cunning, religious and pious appearing deception to get pulled off. Appearances are deceiving. What David did, did not please the Lord!
Well, no doubt, you’re appalled by David’s breaking the Fifth Commandment. Rightly so. But how about the murder(s) that you’ve committed? Yes, that’s right, you’re a murderer too. Even if you haven’t taken a gun and shot someone in the head or taken a knife and driven it through a person’s heart. Does that appall you? Just wait. Listen to what Jesus declares. “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder and anyone who murders will be subject to the judgment.’” So far so good. But then Jesus turns, looks directly at you and audaciously and categorically proclaims: “But I say to you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment … Anyone who say ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.” (Matthew 5:21-22) In connection with what here is 1 John 3:15. “Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer and you know that no murderer has eternal in him.”
The shoe fits, doesn’t it? Perfectly. A Cinderella perfect fit. I’ll bet you can’t count the number of people you’ve called a fool let alone all the other derogatory names that I can’t repeat in this G-rated sermon! Tell me, with whom aren’t you angry? Those people are as rare in your life as the black rhino. Who is it that you don’t hate? Very few. See! The Fifth Commandment exposes not just your deeds but also your thoughts and your words as damnable sin. Maleficent murderers one and all! Despicable King David. Despicable You. Despicable Me. A whole world full of despicables.
Despicable murderers who desperately are in need of the Savior, Jesus. And His will is to do just that! That’s precisely His cup of tea. What He’s really the best at. So He goes and does a Good Friday. Consequently, whatever sins you have committed, they now belong to Jesus. After all, on that Friday God laid on Him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:6). Seriously! All sin – every sin — was born by Jesus in His crucified body. Yours too.
This crucified Jesus, then, is your highest comfort and joy. He clothes and wraps Himself in David’s sin, your sin and the sin of the entire world. God the Father heaped all sin on Jesus and said to His Son: “Be Peter the denier. Paul the persecutor, blasphemer and assaulter. David the adulterer and murderer, Adam the apple eater in Paradise. The thief on the cross. And all the folks seated here at Trinity tonight. See to it that You become sin – become the sinner – and thereby pay and make satisfaction for all sinners and their sin.”
And Jesus did just that. He carries your sin, dies with them and gets damned with them. And so I can tell you with the utmost certainty: The Lord has taken away your sin. Buried it all forever in the black hole of Jesus’ tomb. You are forgiven.
Forgiven, the Lord’s good use for you is to be His instruments to protect and promote life. From conception to the ending of life. To fear and love God so that you support your neighbor in every physical need. After all, your neighbor needs such help. The Lord gives such help through you. And you want to be of help.
In the Name of Jesus.