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Lesson 7: In the Shadow of His Wings *

Introduction: When I was growing up, I learned in my Christian school that sin was followed by calamity. That is often true. You deserve the punishment, you get the punishment, and you should know better than to ask God to shield you from what you deserve, right? Maybe not. Our lesson this week looks at one of the Bible's greatest warriors for God, who engaged in great sin, and then suffered punishment. But, for some reason, he still seemed to be grateful for God's protection. It seems a mystery. Let's jump into our study of the Bible and see what we can learn!

  1. Called to Account

    1. Read 2 Samuel 12:1-3. Whose idea was it to tell this story to King David? (God sent Nathan.)

      1. Can you identify with the poor man in the story because you have a pet that you love?

    2. Read 2 Samuel 12:4-6. Put yourself in King David's place. Why would you think Nathan was telling you this story? (The king was also a judge. No doubt David thought Nathan was bringing some complex issue to him to resolve.)

      1. Do you agree with David's conclusion?

      2. Isn't it a bit extreme to require a man to die over an animal? (David isn't requiring death, he is of the opinion that this is a extreme violation of human rights.)

    3. Read 2 Samuel 12:7-9. Why do you think that God wanted Nathan to approach King David in this way - with a story? (He wanted David to declare a verdict stripped of self-justification.)

      1. Have you ever heard someone say something, not accusing you, but which had the effect of convicting you of your sin? (This has happened to me. I thought the sin was not that bad (and maybe not even sin), until someone said something that put it in its true light.)

      2. If you were David, would you point out that you did not kill Uriah's wife, thus the analogy is not accurate? (David is stuck, because the reply would be, "No, you killed the neighbor (Uriah) instead.")

      3. Nathan's story helps reveal the root of these terrible sins. What is it? (Selfishness. Wanting something we do not have - something owned by someone else.)

    4. Read 2 Samuel 12:10-12. How does God view David's sin? (That David has "despised" God.)

      1. Why is this so personal with God? David does not seem to despise anyone - he just fell for a pretty woman and was thereafter trying to keep his sin a secret. (God does not view the Ten Commandments as some sort of recommended list. God views our actions as reflecting on His love for us. We do not love Him when we seriously harm our neighbors.)

      2. If you were David, how would you view the future?

    5. Read 2 Samuel 12:13. What do you think caused David's confession, the story, the statement that he had despised God, or the prediction about the future?

      1. Is David's statement factually correct? After all, David committed adultery and had the husband killed. Is it correct to say he "sinned against the Lord" as opposed to those more directly in David's path?

      2. What does God say about David's sin? (It is forgiven. It is "taken away.")

  2. Forgiven

    1. Read Psalms 32:1-2. David is commenting on the sin we just discussed. I thought that David's problem was that he was covering up his sin - and God had to confront him with it? What does it mean that God "covers" our sins? (After they are forgiven, God considers them to be history.)

      1. Note the phrase, "in whose spirit is no deceit." How important is it for us to get to this point? (Use this as a thermometer in life: if you have to mislead people, that is an indication that something is wrong with your behavior.)

    2. Read Psalms 32:3-4. How does sin affect our health? (David says that he felt lousy (groaning) and he felt physically diminished (bones wasting, strength sapped).)

      1. What does it mean for God's "hand" to be "heavy on me" both day and night? (His conscience bothered him. He had trouble sleeping because of it.)

      2. Let's back up a moment. If David was so guilt ridden that he could not sleep at night, why did Nathan have to sneak up on him with a story to convict him of his sin? (This Psalm is written later in time. When we are in the middle of sin, we have a hard time seeing things clearly. Later, we have a clearer vision of our sin.)

    3. Read Psalms 32:5. What is the first step to recovery from the pressure of guilt and remorse? (Confessing our sins to God. We must stop lying to ourselves about our sins.)

      1. Notice this interesting phrase "you forgave the guilt of my sin." I thought God forgave sin. What else does this phrase suggest? (David noted God's "heavy hand" on him. That was guilt. God not only forgives sin, but he releases us from guilt.)

      2. Isn't it natural to feel guilty about some terrible thing we did - even after we are forgiven? (Read Revelation 12:10. Satan is the one who accuses us of forgiven sin. If we have made things right, to the extent possible, there is nothing more we can so. God forgives our sins and He releases us from guilt.)

  3. Consequences

    1. Re-read 2 Samuel 12:10-12. What good is it to release David from guilt if he ends up with all of these terrible consequences?

      1. Has God really forgiven David if He saddles him with these consequences?

      2. Did God really inspire the public rape of David's wives? (Read 2 Samuel 16:22, Leviticus 20:11 and James 1:13-15. God hates sin. It seems impossible to me that God inspired David's son Absalom to sin. Instead, it seems more reasonable to read this as God's prophecy about the future consequences of David's sin.)

      3. We discussed Psalms 32:1 which says that forgiven sins are "covered." Do these consequences seem like a "cover" to you? Notice that God uses the term "broad daylight" twice - just the opposite of "covered" or "secret!"(Sin will kill us. Guilt makes our body waste away. God removes both of those. Our sins, however, set in motion circumstances which God will use as a punishment.)

        1. What is the purpose of this punishment? (Read 2 Samuel 12:14. One aspect of sin is God's glory. If His favored King, the King He blessed, engages in such terrible behavior, that reflects badly on God. God will show His enemies that the rules of the universe are true: Disobedience to God brings adverse consequences - even to those God loves.)

    2. Read Psalms 32:6-7. Wait a minute! We just discussed how God forgives sin, but He allows the consequences of our sins to punish us. What is David talking about? (If David had followed God, he would not have been in all of this trouble. However, I think David is saying more - that even in the consequences God protected him.)

      1. Is such a thing possible? God allows the punishment and then shields you in the process? In the middle of punishment you feel like singing about it?(Read Luke 7:47. When you realize how much you have been forgiven, you love "much." You come to terms with the practical consequences because you realize they are your fault and they are just. At the same time God loves you so much He died for your terrible sins. He forgave you. In gratitude you praise God! He did not kill you. He did not put you away. He loves you!)

    3. Read Psalms 32:8-9. I doubt many of those reading this have committed adultery and then murdered the innocent spouse. What is King David's invitation to us? (Learn from reading his story. Learn of God's love and forgiveness. Learn about consequences. You can either follow "counsel" like this, or you can be like a mule and let your sins yank you around in life. It is your choice.)

    4. Read Psalms 38:10-11. What is God's promise to us? (His love will not fail! If we confess our sins, and trust God's word about the best way to live, gladness, rejoicing, songs of praise will lift us out of the practical consequences of our sins.)

    5. Friend, how about you? Sin is attractive. Sin seems fun. But, sin has two terrible consequences. By sinning we show that we despise God's love and sacrifice for us. By sinning, we open ourselves up to terrible consequences. Will you determine today to avoid the lesson of the mule, and instead learn from David's story?

  4. Next week: Garments of Splendor.
* Copr. 2011, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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