You Are the Man

Ash Wednesday

You Are the Man

Text:  2 Samuel 12:1-13

Intro

Jim and Bill couldn’t have been more different.  Jim had everything the world could possibly offer—cars, flat screen TVs, gourmet foods, designer clothes.  Jim lived in a massive mansion right on the ocean in Hammock Beach.  Bill didn’t.  Bill had the clothes on his back, a few nickels in his pocket, and one pair of shoes with holes in it.  Bill lived in Bunnell technically, but moved around to wherever he could find shelter that night.

Though the lives and societal classes of Jim and Bill were light years apart, they had one thing in common.  They both loved dogs.  Jim practically owned a zoo in his colossal coastal castle.  But his prize possession was his prize-winning pooch, Prince.  Bill however, had just one dog—a mangy mutt named Max.  Max was really the only possession to Bill’s name.  Max was truly his best friend.  It scrounged for food with him during the day.  It snuggled with him and kept him warm during the night.  Bill had lost everything in the recession, but he still had Max.  All was well, as long as Max was by his side.

One day rich Jim saw poor Bill and his mangy mutt Max.  He knew exactly how to handle the situation.   He knew his life was missing something.  He knew just what to do.  Jim held out a fat, juicy T-Bone steak from his limo door, and Max jumped right in.  Immediately, Jim slammed the door and sped off.  Now, Max had a proper home—with Jim’s other exotic animals mounted on his living room wall. 

I.

Doesn’t that make you so angry?  Doesn’t that make you burn inside?  How could someone be so cruel?  How could someone have no pity or compassion?  Doesn’t that make you want to bubble over and scream, “That man deserves to die!”

Such a story made David burn with anger and shout the same thing.  He was furious.  He was livid.  He was outraged.  How could someone in his kingdom do such a thing?

Then came the pointing finger and pointed words from the prophet Nathan:  You Are the Man!

How could David do such horrible and unmerciful things?  God had given him so much!  He had been a lowly seventh-brother-shepherd tending flocks out in the field.  But God helped tiny David slay the giant Goliath.  God anointed David to be king over all of Israel.  He delivered him from all his enemies.  He lived in a massive palace.  He had (wrongfully) multiple wives to enjoy.  He was rich.  He was successful.  He was powerful.  And God added in verse 8, If all this had been too little, I would have given you even more.”

But it wasn’t enough.  David wanted more.  No, David craved more.  He saw a beautiful woman bathing out on her balcony, and he had to have her.  It didn’t matter that he was already married.  It didn’t matter that she was already married.  It didn’t matter that God forbids adultery in the sixth commandment.  David despised the Word of the Lord and summoned Bathsheba and satisfied every filthy passion his heart desired.

This still wasn’t enough.  David wanted even more.  Now Bathsheba had to be his permanently.  It didn’t matter that she was married to Uriah.  It didn’t matter that Uriah fought valiantly for David in his army.  It didn’t matter that God forbids murder in the fifth commandment.  David despised the Word of the Lord and arranged Uriah’s murder and took Bathsheba to be his own.

And just as we burned with anger over the made-up story of Jim and Bill, and just as David burned with anger over the made-up story of the rich man and the poor man, so the Lord burned with anger over David’s sins.  Not only did David despise the Word of the Lord, but also the Lord told him, You despised me.”

How could David do such things?  How could David have no pity on Uriah?  How could he sin so openly and flagrantly?  How could he do whatever his heart desired when God had blessed him so much?  How could David despise God’s commandments?  Worse, how could David despise the Lord himself?

II.

Brothers and Sisters, You Are that Man!

Are we not abundantly blessed by the Lord?  We all have houses to live in.  Maybe they aren’t all mansions, but they are spacious and air-conditioned.  We have running water and clean water—something most people in the world don’t even understand.  We pray weekly, “Give us today our daily bread,” but the Lord gives us so much more than Wonder Bread.  We have stainless steel fridges and deep freezes overflowing with food.  How many times do you think you’ve thrown away more food than some in this world eat in a week?  But not to worry if we get sick of what our shelves are stocked with!  We can pick up a phone and have someone hand deliver a few slices of custom made pizza to our front door within a few minutes.

We have cars and bikes and boats.  We have garages and closets spilling over with junk that could be anyone else’s treasures.  We have a beautiful world to live in and enjoy.  We have family and friends that give us comfort and love.  Even in one of the most depressed counties in America, we all have masses more than most in the world could dream of.  And just when we are thinking we are satisfied, the Lord often showers even more on us.

But it isn’t enough.  We want more.  No, we crave more.  It doesn’t matter if we don’t need it.  It doesn’t matter if we shouldn’t have it.  It doesn’t matter if it harms our body.  It doesn’t matter if God forbids it.  We want what our hearts desire and sometimes we’ll be stopped at nothing to get what we want or do what we want.

So we leave our Bibles closed and dusty on our shelves to pursue what we think is more fun or valuable for life.  We ignore what we heard on Sunday when we say what we’re really thinking to our friends and coworkers.  We deliberately forget the commandments that are so clear as we pursue the passions and cravings of our hearts.  All the while, we’re despising the Word of the Lord, too.

Then, like David, we heap sins upon sins.  We make excuses for actions.  We cover up our actions.  We hide the things we do in secret.  We blame someone else for tempting us.  We claim we were just weak or forgetful.  Anything we can do to ignore our guilt and continue our shameful ways!  Anything we can do to continue to indulge in what we want to do!

The God who burned with anger over David’s sins burns with anger over our sins, too.  God hates disobedience.  God hates defiance.  We have done more that despise his Word.  God adds to our charges too:  You despised me.”

III.

David was cut to the heart.  The words of the prophet Nathan hit home.  The guilt that had been festering in his conscience and gnawing away at him was fully realized.  There were no excuses.  No defenses.  No, “But . . . but . . . but.”  David simply confessed, I have sinned against the Lord.”

What can we do?  Where can we turn?  Where can we hide from a God who sees everything and knows everything?  There are no more excuses.  There are no more defenses.  There’s nowhere to pass the blame.  All we can but do is fall to our knees and join David:  I have sinned against the Lord.”  I Am that Man.

What would God do with such sinners?  What would God do with those whom he blessed so greatly, yet disobeyed him in return?  What would God do with those who despised his Word, even despised him?  I should be punished!  I should die!  I should rot with Satan in eternal prison!

But listen.  Listen to Nathan speak.  He speaks the Word of the Lord.  He speaks a message that is not from a vengeful and wrathful God.  He speaks a message from the compassionate and gracious Lord.  Listen.  The Lord has taken away your sin.  You are not going to die.”

The Lord’s anger has passed you over and your punishment has passed by.  Though we are a pitiful pile of ashes and dust, though we certainly will return to dust at death, we will not die forever.  For David’s greater son, the Son of God himself, has become both payment and punishment for us.

An exchange has taken place.  All our disobeying, all our defying, all our despising was laid upon the Lamb of God.  Those great and gross sins you are so embarrassed by that they make you want to throw up right now . . . those secret sins you are so ashamed of that you couldn’t imagine the person next to you knowing . . . your accidental sins and your purposeful and planned sins . . . your big sins and your small sins . . . your overt sins and your covert sins . . . everything you have ever done wrong was placed onto the spotless Lamb of God.

Oh, God surely burned with anger over the things we have done.  But that anger and wrath were executed as punishment upon Jesus as he was executed on the cross.  The fiery heat of his anger and fiery flames of hell passed over from us and were placed onto him.  And as we surely should be the ones to die, Jesus was the one who bowed his head and breathed his last in our stead.  He died.

The incredible words of the prophets are clear to us as well:  Look!  The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.”  The blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from every sin.”  Your sins—every sin—was blotted out by the blood of the Lamb of God.

As the Lord has showered upon us blessing after blessing—cars and homes and money and possessions and luxuries and family and friends—his love was wide enough and high enough and deep enough to give us sinners one more thing:  forgiveness.

Conclusion

Though they are just remnants from a fire, the ashes still almost burn on the back of our hands as the words burn in our ears:  “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.”  Like David, the guilt of our sins against the Lord is nearly overwhelming.  But Nathan also proclaimed to David such comforting news of forgiveness.

Brothers and sisters, You Are that Man.  The Lord has taken away your sin.  You are not going to die.”  Forgiveness is yours.  Eternal life is yours.  Go this evening in peace.

AMEN

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About Pastor Phil Huebner

Pastor. Missionary. Principal. Husband. Father. Serving in love as each. http://www.ctkpalmcoast.com

Posted on February 22, 2012, in Church, Sermons and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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