Exodus 20: 13-14
13- Don’t kill.
14 – Do not commit adultery.
Today we will begin our reading in these 2 verses. In Exodus chapter 20 of verses 3 through 17 we have a list of God-given rules for harmony to be established among the Israelites. This list contains God-pleasing principles and such rules are called God’s commandments.
I did not put up the full list today because our study will not be about the commandments or how to keep them. Today we will talk about what to do when, unhappily, we sin against God by disregarding His commandments.
What to do when we sin?
This is today’s theme. To study it we will see how God treated some of his servants and these 2 commandments will be important in understanding the context.
Let’s think about what the lives of the Israelites were like before they received these rules. Were they all good? Nobody fought with anyone and nobody committed murders? Wasn’t jealousy part of the people?
There are no reports of this, but we can conclude that if this were not part of people’s behavior, God would not need to enumerate the rules. So it means that the people committed sins while in Egypt living as slaves and yet God set them free!
This is one of the times God gives a “collective forgiveness.” God delivers the people from sin, but each must follow the path to the promised land. God takes the people into the desert, they need to walk through inhospitable places.
In this context, among the trials suffered in the wilderness, God gives the rules and warns that breaking these rules means sin.
20Then Moses answered,
– Do not be afraid, for God only wants to put you to the test. He wants you to continue to fear Him so that you do not sin.
Brothers, that’s the way it is for us when we convert. God seeks us wherever we are living as slaves to sin. He frees us from this slavery through the sacrifice of Jesus. We are then forgiven of our past and free to decide to follow Jesus’ way.
(In Pastor John’s preaching last week he emphasized this: Jesus sets us free from the yoke of sin, but we are the ones who choose to leave the life of sin and follow Jesus’ way)
God does not do things incompletely. He frees us from the power of sin, and just as He did with the Israelites in the wilderness, He shows us the way forward: the Master Jesus. By accepting Jesus as our savior, we declare our intention to follow Him and plead with the Father to blot out our sins, for we will never be able to pay the price of our salvation. Jesus is the commandments of the Christian.
But what happened when an Israelite broke a commandment? What to do if we fail to follow Jesus?
We may think that the Israelites received from God the rules of sacrifice. These sacrifices served to ask the Father for forgiveness of sins, of the infractions committed to his rules. The Christian does not have this feature. Jesus was not given a set of instructions to perform when we fail to follow Him and fall into sin. What to do then?
Dear brothers, Jesus came to make old things new, but God is not old! God does not change! Therefore we can use the example of King David, the man after God’s own heart.
They remember the two sins I quoted at the beginning: “do not kill” and “do not commit adultery.” For exactly these two commandments were disobeyed by David when he yielded to his carnal desire and sought Bathsheba. And God was not pleased with that.
2 Samuel 11: 26-27
Bathsheba knew that her husband had died and wept for him. 27After her time of mourning passed, David sent her to the palace. She became his wife and gave him a son. But the Lord did not like what David had done.
Brothers God is not pleased with sin, but that does not mean that He turns away from us. He is patient, thank God!
Nathan, sent by the Lord, went to speak with David. Nathan warned David about what he had committed. That is why it is important that we be close to our brothers in Christ. God will tell us about our sins and can do this through other Christians. The world will not condemn you for your sins!
God wants to see our hearts and so He will make us see our mistakes.
In 2 Samuel 12, verses 1 through 12, the prophet Nathan, commanded by the Lord, rebuked David. And finally in verse 13:
13Then David said,
– I have sinned against God the Lord.
– The Lord has forgiven your sin; You will not die. 14But because in so doing you have shown such contempt for the Lord, your son will die.
David shows repentance. He acknowledges that he has sinned against God. He is not justified. David receives a cruel sentence from God: “your son will die.” And David continues to show his repentance.
2 Samuel 12: 15-16
… Then the Lord caused the son of David and the wife of Uriah to become very sick. 16Davi prayed to God that the child would heal and would not eat anything. He entered his room and spent the whole night lying on the floor.
David knew the punishment was deserved. He did not rebel against God. He accepted the price of his sin, but kept hope in his Creator:
2 Samuel 12: 21-23
21Then his officers said,
– We don’t understand this. While the boy was alive, the Lord wept for him and did not eat; but as soon as he died the Lord arose and ate!
Well, it seems that God didn’t listen to David. It will be? Let’s read again what is written:
… Then the Lord caused the son of David and the wife of Uriah to become very sick.
Notice brothers, God did forgive David, but he hears a price for his sin, and this price was the death of his son with the wife of Uriah. The fruit of sin was taken from God, taken from David. God did not allow his servant to enjoy happiness over something he achieved with sin.
Making it clear: if our success, our wealth, is the fruit of sin, betrayal, theft, then God will not allow us to keep this fruit!
But let’s focus on God’s forgiveness. See what is written below:
2 Samuel 12: 24-25
See brothers! The same man, David, the same woman, Bathsheba, and the same fruit, a son. However, no longer a fruit of sin, for now she was David’s wife. And God blessed the boy and we all know who Solomon was!
We can say that God really forgave David, for he showed a repentant heart.
So God continues to work with us today. When we make a mistake, we must first acknowledge the mistake. We must humble ourselves before God and cry out for his forgiveness. We must accept the price of our sin by begging for mercy. And we can be sure of your forgiveness, for God loves us!
Here we have confirmation in the Bible.
1John 1: 9
9But if we confess our sins to God, he will keep his promise and do what is right: he will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all evil.
I thank God for bringing us this message. A message of instruction and hope in your holy name. Amen.