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Sermon Notes

Please note that these are only notes, not transcripts, and as such are not identical to the recorded sermons. They also contain frequent abbreviations.

Introduction

    1. Is it true that a child of God can do whatever he likes because God is a forgiving God? Is it true that our Father in heaven looks the other way when we sin?

      1. There was a time when David thought so. David presumptuously trifled with sin and thought he could get away with it.

      2. He was wrong!

      3. The very last words of II Sam. 11 tell us that he was wrong, “But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD.”

    2. Psalm 32 teaches us how David came to know this. Remember that David is still teaching. He uses himself as an object lesson. David tells us how he learned the hard way, so we do not have to learn that way.

      1. The way of David was the way of impenitence, the way of backsliding. Here was a child of God who departed for a time from the Lord.

      2. But God would not let David go: He stretched forth His hand and chastised him.

 

JEHOVAH’S CHASTISEMENT OF THE BACKSLIDER”

I. Painful Chastisement

II. Necessary Chastisement

III. Effectual Chastisement

 

  1. PAINFUL

    1. David sinned grievously. Jehovah was angry. David experienced Jehovah’s wrath. That experience was so painful that David writes to warn others about the ways Jehovah takes with His backsliding children.

      1. David experienced Jehovah’s displeasure as Jehovah’s hand upon him (“thy hand was heavy upon me”).

        1. The hand in Scripture is the symbol of the exercise of God’s power.

          1. When we want to do something, first, we think of it, then our hand does it; God determines to do something in His counsel, and in time through providence He works it by His hand.

          2. A hand is incredibly versatile: with the one hand you can gently lift some fragile thing, and with the same hand you can crush that same thing; with the one hand you can carefully mend something and with the same hand you can smash something to pieces.

          3. David has learned that the hand of God is versatile too: with that hand God can gently lead His people, but with the same hand God can apply painful discipline just as a human parent can give his child a sounds spanking.

        2. God’s hand in Scripture has 3 main functions with respect to His people.

          1. First, the hand protects. The hand of God is somewhere safe. God’s people talk about being in God’s hand, and Christ talked about His people being in His hand and in His Father’s hand.

          2. Second, the hand leads. God gently leads and prods His people in the way they should go. As a loving, vigilant parent He takes them by the hand and directs them in His paths.

          3. But third, God’s hand punishes and chastises. None deliver out of God’s hand and it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Heb. 10:31).

        3. In verse 3, David recalls his experience of that third function of God’s hand: Jehovah’s chastising hand was upon him (“thy hand was heavy upon me”).

          1. That hand was heavy: it was an oppressive, pressing, crushing weight bearing down upon David. He was trapped under that hand and, squirm as he might, there was no escape.

          2. Under that hand David found no relief because it was upon David day and night. During his waking hours he felt it crushing him as he experienced Jehovah’s displeasure, and at night, when he tried to sleep, the same terrible hand pressed down upon him.

          3. This hand was the clear manifestation of God’s holy displeasure against David and against David’s sins.

      2. David describes vividly the effects of this heavy, oppressive hand pressing down upon him.

        1. First, it was bone crushing. “My bones waxed old.” The word means that his bones became worn out, decayed, wasted away.

          1. The bones of a man are his inner substance and the most substantial part of him, but David felt like an old man whose bones were wearing away, because he was tormented and oppressed in his soul.

          2. This does not mean that David was afflicted by a physical disease: Scripture does not even hint that David was sick, in fact, II Samuel indicates that outwardly all was well with David, but inside his soul there was turmoil.

          3. Oppressive guilt overwhelmed David and he could find no rest day or night from a terrible sense of God’s displeasure.

        2. The second effect of God’s hand heavy upon David was terrible thirst (“my moisture is turned into the drought of summer”). This is another figure describing the oppressive sense of guilt.

          1. Before this, David had known God to be the fount of living waters, but now he felt dried up; there was no vitality left in his soul. He experienced no sweet, pleasant fellowship with God because God was angry with him.

          2. The word “moisture” describes the taste of manna in the wilderness (“the taste of fresh oil”) in Numbers 11:8. Now, he had a mouth parched with thirst; he could no longer taste God’s goodness. God’s displeasure was like hot summer sun, oppressive, unbearable heat which dries up all the moisture in the earth.

          3. Under the hot displeasure of God’s wrath, David’s joy and peace evaporated: his assurance of salvation was gone. The smile of God’s countenance was turned into an angry frown, and David wilted under it.

    2. David experienced the truth of verses like Prov. 13:5 (“The way of transgressors is hard”) and Jeremiah 1:19 (“Know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God”).

      1. The heavy hand of God’s wrath and the withering heat of God’s anger made David roar (“my roaring all the day long,” v. 3).

        1. David roared in distress. The word refers to roaring of a wounded animal.

          1. Again, do not imagine an audible roaring: this is the poetic description of silent groaning, the pains of an awakened conscience, the torments of an uneasy soul.

          2. David was in deep, emotional anguish. The hand of God crushed him, the heat of God dried him up and his soul roared in pain within him.

          3. This roaring was all day long – there was no let up, no relief from his roaring, because there was no relief, no escape, from the heavy hand of God.

        2. But that roaring did not bring any relief to David. Quite the opposite, “my bones waxed old through my roaring” (v. 3).

          1. The roaring did not bring any relief because it was not confession of sin or repentance from sin; it was crying in pain because of a wounded and tormented conscience.

          2. Crying buckets of tears, experiencing distress over sin, especially over the consequences of sin, brings no relief to the conscience of a backslider. The only relief, as we shall see, is in the way of confession of sin.

          3. David roared, David cried, David withered under God’s displeasure, David felt crushed. How awful, how indescribable! Let these words be a warning to us. We do not want to experience them for ourselves!

      2. What was happening to David? David knew! David experienced chastisement. Chastisement is discipline or correction, but it differs from punishment.

        1. Outwardly, chastisement and punishment seem to be the same; in fact, sometimes chastisement seems to be more severe than punishment.

          1. When God punishes the wicked, His aim is their destruction; He pours out upon them His wrath, His hot wrath which expels them from Himself into everlasting misery. God punished King Saul, but chastised King David.

          2. When God chastens His own children, His aim is salvation; His wrath is really displayed and He is really and truly angry, but the anger is the anger of love.

          3. Godly parents know the difference and children learn to know the difference also: a father can be genuinely angry – even furious – with a child and yet still love that child. In fact, anger is the expression of love.

        2. Chastisement, the experience of God’s wrath against the sin of His disobedient children, is not pleasant. David can testify to that.

          1. David writes Psalm 32 under the inspiration of the HS to warn us about the consequences of backsliding so that we do not presume to sin as David did.

          2. Do not think that you can get away with sin: David thought he had covered his tracks, but the thing he had done displeased Jehovah and He made David feel His displeasure.

          3. The devil would say differently, “Oh, there is pleasure in sin.” David says, “What pleasure I thought I could get dried up under God’s heavy hand and hot wrath.” Don’t trifle with sin, beloved. That’s the clear message.

  2. NECESSARY

    1. It was necessary for Jehovah to chastise David, and to chastise him severely, because of David’s impenitence.

      1. David sinned. Now, we all sin, we all have 1,000’s of sinful thoughts, we harbor pride, envy, hatred and lust in our hearts, but David’s sin took a specific form.

        1. We saw last time that his sin was transgression, iniquity, sin and guile.

          1. David rose up in rebellion against his God, trampled God’s Law underfoot and showed utter contempt for the Lawgiver and hatred for his neighbor.

          2. David’s sin was not a slight lapse of character, but it was deliberate, premeditated; David knew what he was doing, understood the clear commandments of God and went on regardless. David sinned with the words “Thou shalt not commit adultery” and “Thou shalt not kill” as great neon red warning signs in front of his path.

          3. To David God’s Law had become an inconvenience; it got in the way of his pleasure. David chose pleasure over duty.

        2. If you had asked David weeks before his sin, “David, is it wrong to commit adultery and then to murder a man to cover up that sin?” David would have said, “Of course, that is dreadfully wicked!” And if you had asked, “And, David, would you ever do that?” David would have said, “God forbid! I could never do that!” Obedience to God’s commandments, beloved, is theoretical until those commandments get in our way.

          1. The real test comes not when we speculate about what would be sinful in any given situation but when the temptation to sin comes to us personally. And the temptation is especially acute when obedience is inconvenient.

          2. David’s theoretical knowledge of the 7th Comm. went out the window when he saw Bathsheba. And his theoretical knowledge of the 6th Comm. was forgotten when Bathsheba announced that she was pregnant. Then it was suddenly more important for David to hide his previous sin.

          3. A young Xian might theoretically disapprove of dating unbelievers until he becomes infatuated with an unbeliever. Then, dating unbelievers is suddenly good. A person might theoretically believe that church attendance is important, but then church attendance becomes difficult – family disapprove, it proves to be harmful to employment or educational advantages, in a word it becomes inconvenient – suddenly church attendance is not important and the 4th Comm. is discarded. Stealing is wrong until I am poor; lying is wrong until I am in a tight spot; idolatry is wrong until I am asked to go to a funeral mass.

        3. Moreover, David’s sin brought this painful chastisement because it was aggravated by several factors.

          1. First, David’s sin was a gross public sin, the most serious violations of the 6th and 7th Comm. David did not stop at lusting after Bathsheba, he lay with her, knowing that she was already married; David did not simply hate Uriah, but he murdered him in cold blood, in a cold, calculating, premeditated fashion.

          2. Second, David’s sin was the sin of a believer. God is more provoked to anger by the willful sins of His children than all the abominations of the heathen. Do you appreciate that, beloved? Your sins and mine are worse than the sins of others, because we are His children and we sin against His goodness.

          3. Third, David sinned as a King: he was an officebearer in the OT Church; he was called to be an example, but instead he scandalized the nation and gave occasion of the enemies of God to blaspheme. The sins of a pastor, an elder, a deacon, a Christian school teacher, these sins are especially grievous.

      2. But none of those factors was decisive. The fundamental reason for chastisement was David’s impenitence.

        1. David refused to confess and forsake his sin. Verse 3 begins with that awful admission, “When I kept silence ...”

          1. Those four words, “When I kept silence” are a summary of David’s behavior for about nine months to a year, between the time David committed his awful sins and the time Nathan the prophet arrived to confront him.

          2. We need to appreciate that: Bathsheba was pregnant. David feared that their illicit adultery would get out. This had to be early because Bathsheba was not yet showing signs of being with child. Only that explains his scheme to get Uriah to sleep with his own wife to make it seem as if Uriah was the father.

          3. At the end of II Samuel 11, Bathsheba has already given birth (thus about 9 months have elapsed) and the child dies in chapter 12, shortly after Nathan comes. The Hebrew word indicates a very young child, so we could say that David was impenitent for about a year during which time God made him feel His heavy hand, dried up his moisture, and made him roar in anguish. Yet, David did not repent!

        2. What was David doing for that whole time? He was acting as if everything was normal. He refused to confess his sin to the LORD. He kept silence.

          1. Beloved. David went to the regular services at the Tabernacle, he played the role of a godly king, he played the role of a devoted husband, he was a hypocrite with an awful secret. He kept up appearances. But he kept silence.

          2. In every sermon he heard the same accusing voice: adulterer, murderer! God’s Word & David’s conscience were two witnesses. But he kept silence.

          3. And God’s hand continued to press down upon David and David’s life shriveled up under God’s wrath. But he kept silence.

        3. It is sometimes asked, “What is the one sin which leads to excommunication?”

          1. Is it murder? No. Is it adultery? No. Is it stealing? No!

          2. It is impenitence. Any sin can be forgiven except impenitence.

          3. One who is finally excommunicated from the church started off with a sin, but he persisted; he refused to listen to the admonition of other Xians, he despised the elders. For that sin he must be removed from the church.

    2. Impenitent David had to be chastised because David was a child of God, and God, Jehovah God, the faithful God of the covenant, could not allow David to go on in his sin. David’s salvation is at stake.

      1. God loved David too much and loves us too much to allow us to go on in our sins.

        1. Humanly speaking, David would have perished if God had not stretched forth His hand.

          1. Had God been done nothing, David would have been emboldened to sin, and would have departed entirely from God.

          2. We should be thankful, therefore, that God loves us so much that He chastises us: He makes sin bitter and He brings us to our knees.

          3. The more stubborn we are, the longer we persist in sin, the harder His blows.

        2. Sometimes, chastisement takes the form of unpleasant consequences

          1. God chastised Judah by taking her into the Babylonian Captivity. There she languished for 70 years until she cried out in repentance; God chastised the Prodigal son by reducing him to poverty in a pig sty, until he came to himself a returned to his father; God chastised Jonah by having a great fish swallow him and from the depths of that fish, God heard Jonah’s anguished cry.

          2. Some of God’s people have abandoned Him for a while. They try the world with all its allurements. But God turns their pleasure into pain and brings them back. Naomi abandoned the church of the OT and God brought her back “empty.” God still does that today.

          3. God has a frightening supply of sticks with which to beat us should we stray from Him. He beats some with the rod of sickness; He beats others with the rod of imprisonment (think of King Manasseh). But He reserves such rods for His stubborn, impenitent children. Don’t tempt God to use them.

        3. The worst chastisement is what David experienced – remember it all happened b4 sword came upon David’s house & the child died in chap. 12.

          1. David lost the assurance of salvation – God does not give assurance to His children who walk in unbelief and impenitence. He hides His face for a time.

          2. God still loved David but He did not display that love as He once did: David had to see that God was serious.

          3. And that is a terrible experience – God does not seem to answer prayer, all you feel is guilt, and God seems to be against you, all because you are walking in sin. For David, who wrote, “Better is thy love than life” this was a dreadful chastisement.

      2. Ps. 32 is beautiful proof of the persev. of the saints or the preserv. of the saints.

        1. You might imagine that nothing is as bad as this: crushed by God’s hand, dried up by the hot displeasure of Jehovah, his bones waxing old and roaring all the day-long but there is something worse.

          1. The worse punishment God can inflict is to give a man over to sin. When the wicked sin, sometimes God makes an example of them by some dreadful punishment but more often He hardens them and gives them over to sin.

          2. God says to the sinner, “You want to sin? You don’t want to keep my commandments. OK, I will deliver you into the power of sin.”

          3. But to His children God applies the rod & when His children persist in sin, He applies it harder & harder until they cry out for mercy.

        2. That is the way in which a parent who loves his children will treat them. The world thinks love is to indulge your children and never to discipline them.

          1. So, if your child cries he does not want to eat vegetables, feed him what he wants: crisps, sweets, chocolate, etc. Then he becomes an obese, couch potato.

          2. So, never say no to your children lest you hurt their self esteem: then the child becomes a spoiled brat who thinks the world revolves around him.

          3. But parents who care about the welfare of their children make them eat healthily, teach them responsibility and discipline them when they are naughty. For their own good.

  3. EFFECTUAL

    1. Jehovah’s chastisement of David had the desired effect. It wrung a confession of sin out of him and brought him to repentance (“I said, I will …”)

      1. Pos., he acknowledged his sin; he caused Jehovah to know his transgressions.

        1. Jehovah, of course, knew already, but David must express sorrow over sin.

          1. This is true with children: sometimes they have done something and the parents know, but the children cannot experience forgiveness until they admit their wrongdoing.

          2. Sometimes, it requires some gentle prodding for this to happen, at other times (as in David’s case) it requires strict discipline.

        2. David’s confession is full, frank and free. After months of silence he now opens his mouth to the Lord.

          1. Notice the language: “my sin,” “mine iniquity,” “my transgressions,” and “the iniquity of my sin.”

          2. David takes full responsibility for his sin; he does not blame others; he does not make excuses or minimize his sins.

          3. And his confession is specific: he confesses the sins of adultery, murder and impenitence.

      2. Negatively, he does not hide his sin (“mine iniquity have I not hid”).

        1. David tried to hide his sin, but that made him miserable. Jehovah saw from heaven what he could hide from others. Be sure says God in Numbers 32:23, your sin will find you out.

        2. You can hide your sin from the pastor and elders of the church; you can hide it from your parents, children, spouse & friends, but no one can hide from Jehovah!

        3. David learned that the hard way. David speaks to us, “Don’t do what I did. Don’t hide. Confess. Confess immediately.”

    2. The result was immediate and David wants to shout it from the rooftops: “Thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin”

      1. The word “forgive” is to lift up or carry away. As soon as the words, “I am sorry for my sin” left David’s lips, David’s sin was forgiven.

        1. No longer did God’s heavy hand crush him, no longer did David feel God’s burning anger. The relief was palpable. A huge burden was lifted and he knew it and experienced it

        2. The smile of God’s countenance was restored, and the assurance of salvation came back. Joy, peace flooded David’s soul. And he sang, “Blessed is he …”

      2. David did not deserve it. It was pure grace, and all because of “Christ.”

        1. David knew, for all the promises of the OT and all the types of the OT proclaimed to him, that there was one coming who would bear his sins.

          1. The heavy hand of God would crush Christ on the cross, and the crushing weight of our sins would be placed on Him. That experience of God’s wrath would be infinitely greater that anything David felt.

          2. In Psalm 22 David prophesied of the roaring of that one, (read v. 1). Christ roared in anguish because our rebellion was laid to His account

          3. And on the cross, Christ thirsted, as the heat of God’s wrath consumed Him.

        2. There is forgiveness in Christ. David knew. That’s why he confessed. He knew that Jehovah was merciful and now he tells us too.

          1. When we stray from God, His hand will bring us back; if in our folly we walk in the ways of sin in stubborn rebellion and impenitence we must be instructed from this Psalm that God will apply the rod.

          2. But He will not permit one of His children to perish (Quote Psalm 89:30-33).