Thou Art the Man
June 4th, 1961 @ 7:30 PM
2 Samuel 12:1-10
THOU ART THE MAN
Dr. W. A. Criswell
2 Samuel 12:1-10
6-4-61 7:30 p.m.
Well, let us read a part of it together, chapter 12 2 Samuel; 2 Samuel chapter 12, the first ten verses. Everybody, let us read it together; 2 Samuel chapter 12, the first ten verses. Together:
And the Lord sent Nathan unto David. And he came unto him, and said unto him, There were two men in one city; the one rich, and the other poor.
The rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds:
But the poor man had nothing, save one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up: and it grew up together with him, and with his children; it did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter.
And there came a traveler unto the rich man, and he spared to take of his own flock and of his own herd, to dress for the wayfaring man that was come unto him; but took the poor man’s lamb, and dressed it for the man that was come to him.
And David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, As the Lord liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die:
And he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.
And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul;
And I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things.
Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in His sight? Thou has killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon.
Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou has despised Me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife.
[2 Samuel 12:1-10]
As we have followed the life of David, he has achieved for God one incomparable success after another, mounting up and up and up, singing the songs of Zion, playing on his harp, worshiping the Lord, building the city of Zion, the capital in Jerusalem, finding a place for the ark of God. God has blessed him. God has crowned his every desire with achievement and success. And then, and then, it came to pass, when he should have been out leading his armies against the heathen nations that battled against God’s people on every side, he was in Jerusalem:
And at eventide, he arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king’s house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon.
David sent and inquired after the woman. And somebody said, Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?
And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him . . . .
And the woman conceived, and sent and told David, and said, I am with child.
[2 Samuel 11:2-5]
A case of sheer, unabated, inexcusable, unadulterated lust; he didn’t even know the woman. He didn’t even know her name, he didn’t know to whom she belonged; all he did was to look upon her with lust.
Was it because David had no family and no wives? I just counted them up: in the third chapter of 2 Samuel is named seven wives that David had, seven of them, and they are listed there, one, two, three, four, five, six [2 Samuel 3:2-5], and then a few verses down, the seventh [2 Samuel 3:12-16] – seven wives. And I turn the page into the fifth chapter of the Book of 2 Samuel, and the thirteenth verse: "And David took him more concubines and wives out of Jerusalem, after he was come from Hebron" [2 Samuel 5:13].
This thing was a despicable thing in the sight of God – polygamy. Our Lord said, "Moses, for the hardness of your hearts, allowed a man even to have more than one wife; but [from] the beginning it was not so" [Matthew 19:8]. And David having seven wives took unto him more wives and more concubines [2 Samuel 5:13]. And there they were all around him, a harem. And yet, and yet, in the eventide, on the roof of his house, saw this woman beautiful, bathing [2 Samuel 11:2]. Didn’t know her name; didn’t know who she was, but because he was an Oriental king, fetched her [2 Samuel 11:4]. And then he wrote to Joab, and he said, "Joab, there is a man named Uriah the Hittite, and when you storm the gates of the city of Amon, withdraw your men, and let Uriah the Hittite, let him fall before the sword of the heathen. Let the Ammonites consume his life." And Joab, the captain of the host, sent word to David, "we stormed the gates, but lest ye be angry, Uriah the Hittite is dead" [2 Samuel 11:14-24]. "And the thing David had done displeased God" [2 Samuel 12:27].
And Nathan the prophet said, "Thou art that man" [2 Samuel 12:7]. And the sentence that you pronounced in this parable against that rich and affluent chief, who took the very life and love of that poor man, that sentence is yours, fourfold, fourfold [2 Samuel 12:5-6]. "The sword shall devour, and consume, and never leave thy house, and fourfold shall it destroy and consume in thine own family" [2 Samuel 12:10].
So number one, number one: Nathan departed. "And the child that Uriah’s wife bare unto David became sick. And David besought God for the child; and David fasted, and went in, and lay all night upon the earth" [2 Samuel 12:15-16]. And when you see the tenderness of the great king over the illness of that child, your heart moves in sympathy and in love for David. But lest you cry too copiously, and lest the tenderness of your heart sweep you away, go down to the grave of Uriah the Hittite, and cry over his fallen form. Four times; "and the child died" [2 Samuel 12:18], number one.
Then I turn the page, number two: And it came to pass, after this, that Absalom, the handsome son, had a sister equally as fair and as beautiful, and Amnon, her half brother, lusted after her. And Tamar, Absalom’s sister, refused. And Amnon in a ruse, forced her and consumed her. And here is a fine illustration between love and lust: "And after Amnon had forced his sister, then Amnon hated her, so that the hatred wherewith he hated her was greater than the love wherewith he had loved her. And Amnon said unto her, Be gone." When a man loves a woman, the whole passion and consuming desire of his life is to be with her forever, share every hope, and prayer, and desire, and joy forever. But when it’s lust, and he’s satisfied, he’s done; he’s through. Amnon said, "Be gone" [2 Samuel 13:11-15].
And Tamar said unto him, "This evil in sending me away is greater than the other that thou didst unto me." But Amnon wouldn’t hearken, and he called unto his servants that ministered unto him, and said, "Put her out, and lock the door behind her." She had on a diverse colored garment, like the king’s daughters wear. And when he thrust her out, Tamar rent the garment, put ashes on her head, and walked crying and sobbing away. And Absalom, her brother, said, "Tamar, what you crying for?" And she never answered. And Absalom said, "I know, I know, Amnon has forced you" [2 Samuel 13:16-20].
And for two whole years Absalom said nothing at all. And after two years had passed, Absalom said to the king, "It is harvest time, and the shearers of the sheep are together. Let me have a banquet for the king’s sons." And in the banquet, he said to his servants, "And when Amnon’s heart is merry with wine, strike him down!" And they took Amnon and consumed him in murder and in blood. And David rent his clothes, and lifted up his voice, and wept over Amnon his boy that is slain [2 Samuel 13:22-36]. But lest you cry too copiously, lest your tears fall too fully, let’s go down to the grave of Uriah the Hittite, and cry more copiously over his fallen form [2 Samuel 11:24]: two.
And I turn the page, and a certain man came to Joab and said, "Absalom, Absalom," the insurrectionist against the king, Absalom. The most beautiful of all of the sons of Israel, Absalom; the handsomest boy, Absalom, who led Israel away from the love of David. And David himself escaped for his life before him, "Absalom is caught in the boughs of a tree." Joab said, "Why didn’t you slay him?" And the man says, "Because the king made us swear no man would put a hand upon him, no man would touch him." Joab said, "Where is he?" And the man led him to Absalom, hanging there by his hair, caught in the oak boughs, and Joab took one dart, and two darts, and three darts, and thrust him through [2 Samuel 18:9-15].
And they took the body of Absalom; King David’s son that he loved above all of his children, buried in a pit, filled it up with heavy stones [2 Samuel 18:17], and told the king. And the king went up to the chamber over the gate and wept. And as he went up, he said, "O, my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom, would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son" [2 Samuel 18:24-33]. And you can’t help but be moved as you look in pity upon the weeping form of this King David, but lest you weep too much, let’s go down again to the grave of Uriah the Hittite and weep more fully over his fallen form [2 Samuel 11:24].
Three: when I think of this sometimes, I think of a journey that I made with one of the most prominent families in a city and in a church where I was pastor. Well-to-do, most so, one of the leading families in all the state, and their boy, as so many boys reared in rich families, a spoiled boy, never knew what it was to be denied anything in his life. Their son had murdered a man in the city and was in the state penitentiary serving a life sentence. And they asked me, after the passing of the years the boy had been in the pen, they asked me to go with them to make appeal to the governor of the state, and I went with them. And at an appointed hour, I sat with that family in my church, and the governor came in. And they had me stand up and make an appeal for their son that after these years in the penitentiary that he might be pardoned.
And never till my dying day shall I forget the attorney, as he stood up before the governor, the attorney who had led in the trial that condemned that boy to a life term in the penitentiary. And he brought in the widow of the man that boy had slain. And she sat there in widow’s tweeds, black dress, black veil, and then the attorney said to the governor, "Sir, when this man was slain, and left this poor widow and her children homeless and fatherless, and the children orphans, and when the trial was set, this family here, whose pastor has made this appeal to you, this family here said, ‘If you will not send our boy to the electric chair, but give him a life imprisonment sentence, we will never ask that it be commuted.’" And now they bring their pastor to make appeal to you that the boy be pardoned. And the attorney said, "Sir, I just ask, look on the grave of the man that he slew. And look in the face of the widow who’s mourned these years. And think of her orphaned children." I’ll never forget that. And the governor said, "No, he will not be pardoned."
When your heart goes out in sympathy for David as he cries over Absalom, go down there to the grave of Uriah the Hittite, consumed by the sword of the children of Ammon, and weep more copiously over his silent form: three. "And Nathan said four" [2 Samuel 12:6]; and I turn the page, and I turn the page to 1 Kings chapter 2:
And Solomon answered, As the Lord liveth, God do so to me and more also, if Adonijah –
the fourth son; if Adonijah –
if Adonijah hath not done this thing to the jeopardy of his own life.
Now therefore, as the Lord liveth which hath established me, and set me on the throne of David my father, and who hath made me in this house, as He promised, Adonijah shall die this day.
And King Solomon sent by the hand of Benaiah, the captain of the host, the son of Jehoiada; and he felled Adonijah, and slew him, and he died in his own blood.
[1 Kings 2:23-25]
Fourfold. Fourfold. Fourfold. Fourfold [2 Samuel 12:5-6].
My soul, preacher! My soul, if the sword never leaves the house of David, and sin is never assuaged, then how can a man hope to live? For David slew Uriah the Hittite and you haven’t murdered anybody, you haven’t murdered anybody. But the Book says that "He that has broken one commandment is guilty of all" [James 2:10]. Like a chain, and a chain, and a chain, and a chain, you don’t have to chop every link in two to break it; break it anywhere, anywhere, anywhere and the whole chain collapses. So God says to a man, "You do not have to break all ten of those commandments [Exodus 20:1-17]. The soul that sins shall die" [Ezekiel 18:20] – that sins. Have you sinned? "The soul that sins shall die." God’s Word says, "There is none righteous, no, not one, not one" [Romans 3:10]. You have sinned. Oh, you may not have slain Uriah the Hittite, but if I were to exhibit before this congregation your inner life, would you blush? Would you be ashamed? Would you die in your heart? Then what do you think of God as He looks upon you and knows your life? Did not God say rightly, correctly, when He said, "There is none righteous, no, not one" [Romans 3:10]. All have sinned and come short of the expectation, and the stature, and the canon, and the measure of God; all of us; "all we have gone astray" [Isaiah 53:6], all of us alike [Romans 3:23]. Then does the sword consume forever? If a man sins, is he damned, and doomed, and lost forever? Look, look: in the psalm, David said – when Nathan came and pronounced that judgment – David said in his psalm:
Have mercy, O God, according to Thy kindness; according to the multitude of Thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.
Wash me from mine iniquity; cleanse me from my sin.
For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.
. . .
Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
. . .
Oh, purge me with hyssop –
that is what they sprinkle blood with –
purge me with the blood: wash me, wash me, wash me.
. . .
For Thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: Thou delightest not in burnt offerings –
I would offer them day and night –
The sacrifices of God are a broken heart; a broken heart, contrite, O God, Thou wilt not despise
And then I turn to the answer, the other psalm. And God said, "Nathan, tell him I have put away his sin" [2 Samuel 12:13]. Then did he sing:
Blessed is the man whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered [atoned for in the blood; washed out of sight].
Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity.
. . .
I acknowledged my sin unto Thee, and my iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and Thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.
Washed, cleansed, covered over – the word for "atonement" – covered over by the blood of the Son of God [1 John 2:2; Revelation 1:5].
This is no excellent illustration, but do you remember I have told you, when I was a boy and go to church and hear those old time preachers preach, they used many, many illustrations. And here is one that my pastor used when I was a boy; for the years I’ve remembered it: there was a girl, there was a girl, a young lady, there was a girl, who in heaven was shown the story, the record of her life. And when she looked upon it, page after page after page, sins, shortcomings, mistakes; the whole record. And when the girl looked upon the pages of her life and saw them so filled with error and mistake and sin, she looked into the face of the Savior and said, "How could it be that I’m in heaven and my record so dark and the page so filled with sin? How could I?"
And then, the marvelous change: instead of the exalted and glorified Lord of heaven [Philippians 2:9-11], she saw, and on His head a crown of thorns [Matthew 28:29], and His hands nailed to a cross [Matthew 27:32-50], and His side riven with a thrust of a Roman spear [John 19:34], and blood flowed down and flowed over the pages of the sin of her life and washed it pure, and clean, and white [Revelation 1:5].
I say those stories those old preachers used to tell made an impression upon me when I was a boy. And I remembered that. How is it we have any hope for heaven, you, I? In a city where nothing that is defiling, nothing that is sinful, nothing that is [not] pure, where nothing but what is holy could ever enter in, how could you and I ever enter in? Because of the washing of the blood of the Lamb [Revelation 1:5]:
Have you been to Jesus for the saving power?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?
Are you fully trusting in His grace this hour?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?
["Are You Washed in the Blood?"; Elisha A. Hoffman]
"Oh," cried David, "wash me with hyssop, and I shall be whiter than snow" [Psalm 51:7]. We’re saved in Jesus, saved in the blood of the Crucified One; we’re saved by coming to Jesus [Acts 16:30-31; Romans 10:9-13].
And that’s our appeal to your heart this evening. Come, come, come. God bids you come. The Holy Spirit bids you come. The bride, the church of Christ, bids you come. "Whosoever will, let him come; let him come" [Revelation 22:17]. "And Lord, tonight, here I am, and here I come." While we sing this invitation hymn, in the balcony round, you, on this lower, you, you, a youth, or a child, a family, or a couple, one somebody you, "Pastor, tonight, I give my heart to Jesus; I give you my hand, here I come." Or, "Pastor, we’re coming into the church; this is my wife, these are our children. All of us are coming tonight." As the Spirit shall lead the way, shall say the word, shall make the appeal, come. Come, while we stand and while we sing.
ART THE MAN
Dr. W. A. Criswell
2 Samuel 12:1-10
Sowing the seeds of death
1. Sins of David
2. Murder of Uriah
3. Fourfold judgment
The child is taken
Absalom is murdered