Sowing and Reaping in the Life of David

Farmer harvesting with horses.

Recently I preached about the concept of sowing and reaping in our church. This is the basic theme of my Sunday morning preaching for the next couple of weeks.

As mentioned before, the law of the harvest can be summarized in these four statements:

  • You reap what you sow.
  • You reap more than you sow.
  • You reap later than you sow.
  • You reap in proportion to what you sow.

Today we looked at David’s sin against Uriah and Bathsheba. We saw how David experienced the law of sowing and reaping in the life of his family.

Quick Summary

David, Bathsheba and Uriah

You would be well served to read the whole story contained in 2 Samuel 11-12, but here is a quick summary.

King David sent his troops to war. He stayed home and committed adultery with Bathsheba, who was the wife of one of his mighty men of valor named Uriah. When Bathsheba found out she was pregnant with the king’s child, she sent a message to him to let him know. King David was distraught that his sin would be found out, so he put into motion a plan that he hoped would cover his wrong actions.

David called Uriah from the battlefield to give the soldier an opportunity to spend time with his wife. Then people would assume that the baby was his. But Uriah could not bring himself to go home to his wife when his friends were fighting on the battlefield. He slept at the king’s door.

When David discovered this he called Uriah back to him. David caused Uriah to get drunk and then sent him home again to be with his wife. Uriah still refused to go home.

David then sent a message back to Joab, the captain of the army, instructing that Joab put Uriah at the front of the hottest battle and then pull the troops back so that Uriah would fight alone and be killed. Imagine Joab’s surprise when he read the letter from David which was delivered by Uriah! Yet, Joab obeyed and he later sent a message back to David that the deed was done—Uriah was dead.

Pleased that he would be able to hide his sin, David then took Bathsheba to be his wife. Yet 2 Samuel 11:27 says, “…the thing that David had done displeased the LORD.”

Nathan’s Story

Picture of a white lamb.God sent Nathan the prophet to tell a story to David. Though David may have liked a good story on occasion and probably used to enjoy the company of the prophet, he assuredly felt awkward as Nathan told him the story of two men, a traveler and a lamb. David thought he had hidden his sin. We know that this story was told to David after the baby was born. So at least 9 months had passed from his initial sin until he was confronted by Nathan. The Bible does not say how much time passed, but it could have been more than a year that David had been living with his guilt.

Nathan told the story of a rich man who had many sheep and a poor man with only one lamb. This lamb was a family pet. A traveler came to the house of the rich man. The rich man seemed to have no guilt in taking the poor man’s lamb from the family and butchering it for a feast.

David was livid. He could not understand why a man with many sheep would take the lamb of a poor man who only owned one. Worse yet was that the poor man’s family loved this sheep as one of their own family members. David declared that the rich man needed to pay back four times the number of sheep he stole. And then, after restoring four times the number of sheep taken, David declared this man was worthy of death! (2 Samuel 12:5, 6)

With David’s righteous indignation hanging in the air between him and the prophet, Nathan delivered the judgment to David that the king was the rich man guilty of slaying the beloved lamb. The truth of David’s sin and the fact that he had not hidden it like he had hoped, came crashing down on him. God knew that David had stolen someone else’s bride even though he had many wives of his own.

The Harvest

There would be consequences for the sins of David. He was forgiven. God was merciful. But there would still be consequences. A person may sin in a way that causes physical damage. God can forgive the person, but that does not mean they will be wholly restored. This happened in the life of David. He was forgiven, but still suffered consequences for his actions.

Death of the Child

Nathan told David that God would be merciful on him and that David would not die. But there would be consequences in the life of the king and his family. One of which was that the newly born child would die.

Nathan left from speaking with the king and the child became ill. The king’s son was sick for a week until he died. David had fasted and prayed for the life of the child. Though David had been forgiven by God, there were still devastating results because of his sin.

This section of the story contains the comforting words of David that he knew he would see his child again. David knew that the child would not be raised from the dead, but that David would one day go to where the child is—in the comfort of Heaven. Anyone who has lost a child can take solace in these inspired words that God will not hold a young child or baby accountable for their sins. God will whisk them to Heaven to be reunited with their parents again. (2 Samuel 12:18-23)

Beyond the death of the child, God said that David’s sin would result in public consequences. People would know of the sin of David. There would be war. The people of Israel would have no rest. David’s wives would be taken. Evil would come from within the house of David.

This is where David reaped what he had sown. Even though he was forgiven, he could not turn back the law of sowing and reaping.

Amnon

One of David’s sons named Amnon was in love with his own sister. Her name was Tamar. Amnon devised a plan and ultimately raped his sister. (2 Samuel 13:1-21)

Absalom

Absalom, another of David’s sons, killed Amnon for his sin (2 Samuel 13:22-33). But Absalom did not stop there. He publicly went into the wives of David and committed adultery with them. (2 Samuel 16:20-22)

The adultery, lying and murder that David committed carried consequences. The sowing of the king resulted in a harvest. David’s children mimicked the behavior of their father.

This is not to say that all children will be wicked because their parents are wicked. However, it is true that our children learn much of their behavior from their parents. We know that Solomon was a good man and a good king. Yet he was born and grew up in the house of a changed man. David was not the same father to Solomon that he had been with his older children. I believe David learned from his mistakes.

You also are not condemned to act out the harvest of your parents. You and I have a choice to allow the Holy Spirit to take control of our life and sow a good harvest. With the Holy Spirit’s guidance we can sow well and reap a wonderful, godly harvest.

Tearing Down Idols of the Heart

And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart, and put the stumblingblock of their iniquity before their face: should I be enquired of at all by them?

—Ezekiel 14:2, 3

A group of elders from Israel came to Ezekiel for what reason we are not told. Apparently they had a request for God and wanted to plead that the prophet Ezekiel would carry their request to God’s throne for them. However, God spoke before the Scriptures tell us what their petition might have been.

God said, “these men have set up their idols in their heart, and put the stumblingblock of their iniquity before their face…” Then God asks Ezekiel why God should be obligated to listen to these men who think they have a better way to worship God than the way He has designed.

Idols and the 10 Commandments

Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

—Exodus 20:3-6

Picture of Aztec Calendar. Was it an idol?

God’s first command in Exodus 20 was that God’s people should not have any gods before the one true God. God did not want to take second priority to anyone or anything. God does not want us worshiping false gods. Yet so often we do set up other gods with higher priority in our life the God of the Bible. Or, as many religions have done, we can be guilty of replacing God completely with our own ideas.

When we create our own view of God that is contrary to the Bible, then we have rejected the God of the Bible and established an idol in our heart that does not place Jehovah God in His right place. This is done any time we think, “I know what the Bible says, but I just can’t believe God would do…” We have probably all heard words like those. Sometimes we begin to believe them ourselves.

In the next couple of verses God says that He does not want us making graven images. He does not want us bowing down to them. He does not want us worshiping them.

Though we may not go out and carve an idol from a block of wood or stone, we can conveniently buy them in stores today. They have clever names like Ford, Panasonic and Apple. Anything that causes you to place God in second place or that we would prefer to worship on a Sunday morning instead of spending time with Him and His people have become the idols that God warned us against.

God Answers According to the Idols in Their Heart

Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord God; Repent, and turn yourselves from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations. For every one of the house of Israel, or of the stranger that sojourneth in Israel, which separateth himself from me, and setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to a prophet to enquire of him concerning me; I the Lord will answer him by myself: And I will set my face against that man, and will make him a sign and a proverb, and I will cut him off from the midst of my people; and ye shall know that I am the Lord.

—Ezekiel 14:6-8

God tells Ezekiel that He will respond to the people. He says in verse 5 that the people have estranged themselves from God. They have walked away from Him. What obligation does He have to answer them?

But God says that He will answer. He response is that He will set His face against them. He will cut them off as they have cut Him off from their lives. He will be known as God.

And if you don’t agree with Him, then you are guilty of the point of making your own god. Don’t try and claim that you are worshiping the God of the Bible if you don’t want to agree with Him about what He says about Himself or the way He chooses to do things.

Tearing Down Idols in the Heart

God says to repent and return to Him. You can tear down these idols of the heart and return to God. He says that it is the elders who have estranged themselves from Him. They can return. They can repent.

You and I too can tear down the physical idols that we have in our lives and return to God. The god that we have built in our own minds and with our own beliefs can be destroyed as we look to the Bible and see what God has to teach about His own character.

Certainly God is not saying that owning a car or a computer is wrong. But when your stuff begins to own and control you, then you are setting up idols and stumblingblocks in your heart.

Besides the physical items which can become idols, there are many thoughts and character traits that the Bible speaks against which can become idols. Pride, lust, entertainment and religion are just a few of these.

Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord God; Repent, and turn yourselves from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations.

—Ezekiel 14:6

Statements of Christ on the Cross: Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.

Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit:

—Luke 23:46

Because the timeline of the events on the cross is a compilation of the various accounts by the four Gospel writers, it is uncertain whether this one or “it is finished” was the last statement of Christ on the cross. Either way, Christ has now come to the point where He addresses God as Father once again, and not as a God who has forsaken Him.

Jesus on the CrossThe word commend is an entrusting or depositing of one’s resources into the care of another. It carries with it the idea of a voluntary surrender of something to someone else. In the Bible it is more often translated “set before” as in to place food in front of someone for their use. Jesus was handing over His spirit to the Father’s complete control.

As the Son of God, Jesus had complete confidence in what lay before Him. There was no fear of death. He had even said before that no one could take His life from Him; He freely laid it down (John 10:18). In that same verse He says that He has the power to take it up His life again. His assurance in death was that He and His Father were in complete control of the events.

Statements of Christ on the Cross: It is finished

It is finished.

—John 19:30

Words with such finality, yet full of comfort.

Throughout the book of John Jesus says that His time is not complete yet (John 2:4; 7:6; etc.). He still has work to do. However, on the cross He says that His work is complete. He has finished what He came to do.

I also think back two chapters to the prayer of Jesus in John 17. Jesus said that the time had come for God to glorify the Son so that He could glorify the Father. Part of Jesus work was done. He said that He had completed the task that God had given Him. Obviously not everything was complete at that point because Jesus had not died. But each step of the way Jesus was completing the tasks God had given Him.

On the cross Jesus says that the work He was sent to do was complete. The sin debt had been paid. He had done His work of reconciling man to God. He fulfilled the law in His life and opened a way that we could have access to God through Him. What a glorious statement: It is finished!

While His work of redemption is complete, I am also thankful to know that He still has plans. We can read the Scriptures and see that He has a future planned for us and that because of His work on Calvary, we can have an eternal future with Him.

Praise God!

 

Statements of Christ on the Cross: I thirst.

I thirst.

—John 19:28

Two simple words that can mean so much. I have read how people want to spiritualize these words and what they mean. But, I think the simple answer is just as powerful.

The fact that Jesus was God in human flesh is fundamental to what Christians believe. This is yet another example of how Christ showed His humanity. He was hanging on a cross with real pain. As a man, Christ was thirsty.

WaterThese two words in John are preceded by the phrase, “After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith…” As the divine author of the Bible, Jesus knew the scriptures. He either said these words because He knew the scriptures. Or, as the inspiration behind the Bible, He had the Psalmist write his prophecy because He knew He would utter these words from the cross.

 They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.

—Psalm 69:21