2 Samuel 12:26-31 – After the Sin Comes the Preoccupation With The Cover-Up

Posted: June 29, 2018 in Book of 2 Samuel
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2 Samuel 12:26-31
David Captures Rabbah

If there ever was a presidential scandal, it was the Watergate scandal of the Nixon administration. Just think of the staggering cost to the administration in defending itself and covering up the connections between the White House and the scandal. Just think of all the professional talent making good money whose hours upon hours were spent perpetrating the clandestine operations of the Nixon administration. Just think of the staggering cost at the Washington Post uncovering and unraveling the trail to the White House. Just think of all the congressional dollars that were spent on the issue – by the congressmen and senators themselves, by their staffers, by their teams of lawyers, by their lawyers’ teams of investigators, and the mountains and mountains of paper that were generated in memos and reports that otherwise would not have been produced were it not for the scandal. Just think of all the missed opportunities within the administration and within Congress to concentrate on matters of social justice and economic well being and foreign policy that were set aside because of the ongoing Watergate scandal, the cover up and the investigation into it all. Just think of the staggering cost. What could have been accomplished by Nixon as President had he not been such a paranoid, unforgiving, vindictive, insecure man. He accomplished much to soften relationships with the Soviet Union and China that had been red hot since the end of the Korean War in the early 50s. Just think what he could have done had it not been for the scandal.

The liberals of today think Donald Trump is the devil in a suit but he’s boy scout (as least so far as we know – so far) compared to Nixon and his cronies. Nixon personally altered the landscape of the presidency. He introduced distrust of the presidency that has grown and grown over the years since then. Nixon personally is responsible for the curtailing of powers granted to the president. Nixon now is remembered far more for the damage that he caused the nation and the institution of the presidency than anything he accomplished in foreign affairs or domestic affairs. He is a caricature now of a crooked politician. He is a cartoon character. Just what he did not want to become. He wanted to be remember with the fondness of the man that defeated him in the 1960 presidential elections – Jack Kennedy. He wanted to be seen as that charismatic leader with the love of the American people in his hands. But he blew it with his paranoia and then with his dogged determination to cover his rear end after the scandal broke. Missed opportunity because of wrongdoing. Preoccupation of a nation because of the wrongdoing of its president.

That’s what I thought of this morning when I read this passage that appears to have occurred between the Bathsheba/Uriah incident and Nathan’s rebuke – how David got completely sidetracked by his sins and became an ineffective leader until he confessed his sin, repented of them, and got back to being after God’s own heart. Let’s read the passage now, 2 Samuel 12:26-31:

26 Meanwhile, Joab was fighting against Rabbah, the capital of Ammon, and he captured the royal fortifications.[a] 27 Joab sent messengers to tell David, “I have fought against Rabbah and captured its water supply.[b] 28 Now bring the rest of the army and capture the city. Otherwise, I will capture it and get credit for the victory.”

29 So David gathered the rest of the army and went to Rabbah, and he fought against it and captured it. 30 David removed the crown from the king’s head,[c] and it was placed on his own head. The crown was made of gold and set with gems, and it weighed seventy-five pounds.[d] David took a vast amount of plunder from the city. 31 He also made slaves of the people of Rabbah and forced them to labor with[e] saws, iron picks, and iron axes, and to work in the brick kilns.[f] That is how he dealt with the people of all the Ammonite towns. Then David and all the army returned to Jerusalem.

Here in this passage we see that the siege of Rabbah would have been conducted by the slow process of blockade, it might easily be prolonged into the second year, and so give ample space for David’s sin and its punishment by the death of the child. But more probably the narrator, having commenced the history of David’s sin, completes the story before returning to his account of the war (i.e., notice the use of the word, “meanwhile” at the beginning of this passage).

Thus the capture of Rabbah would occupy some of the interval between David’s adultery and Nathan’s visit of rebuke, and would lessen the difficulty, which we cannot help feeling, of David remaining for nine or ten months with the guilt of adultery and murder resting upon him, and no open act of repentance. Some short time, then, after Uriah’s death, Joab captured “the city of waters.” This is not a poetical name for Rabbah, but means the “water city,” that is, the town upon the Jabbok, whence the supply of water was obtained. The citadel, which occupied a high rock on the northwestern side, must, therefore, soon be starved into submission, and the whole of “the royal city,” that is, of the metropolis of the Ammonites, be in Joab’s power. He therefore urges David to come in person, both that the honor of the conquest may be his, and also because probably the blockading force had been reduced to as small a body of men as was safe, and the presence of a large army was necessary for completing the subjugation of the country, which would follow upon the capture of the capital.

It all points to the fact that David had gotten stalled out by his sins. He was a spiritual funk as the result of his sins. He was preoccupied with himself and not with his kingdom or the expansion of it. He was preoccupied with his sin to the point that it made him ineffective. That is where Satan wants each one of us. He tempts us to sin so that when we do, we are in his clutches. When we sin, we become so paranoid and preoccupied with our wrongdoing and its coverup that we become ineffective in the spread of the gospel. We feel that we are disqualified and we withdraw from actively pushing the boundaries of God and expanding His kingdom. Sin seems fun at the time you commit the sin and you think “what could be better”. You think “I am getting what I deserve.” You think “it might be wrong in some ways but I deserve it and God just wants me to be happy.” You think that God will suspend his normal laws of right and wrong because it is you and you are generally a good person otherwise. These are all lies of Satan when it comes to sin. Sin will take us over. It will preoccupy us. It will consume us. Even if it does not get discovered immediately, it will consume us totally in our efforts to keep our sins hidden. It diverts us from God’s calling on our lives and prevents us from being effective.

I think of my friends who were a pastor and his wife that were our spiritual parents when we lived in California (even though they were younger than Elena and me). They were such an effective couple for God. They were such an effective team. They were growing the little church that they were leading. However, he had a hidden sin of pornography. She has reacted with multiple affairs. When his sin came out, the church imploded and no longer exists. They moved away to Colorado to try to save their marriage but the damage between his addiction recovery and her affairs has them at the point of divorce now. He is out of the ministry now but is teaching at a Christian school and is regaining some effectiveness. She is a gifted artist but the years of damage in their relationship has shoved her further and further into the arms of another man. She has quite simply gone of the deep end into destroying what was left of their marriage. When I think back to those days in California when they were on top of their game for Jesus Christ, they were building real Christian community. They were challenging people to live out the Bible on a 24/7/365 basis and not just on Sundays. They were challenging people to see the real Jesus and real Christianity and not just some pluralistic, all roads lead to heaven version of Christianity. They were developing a core of a great church. But sin got it all turned sideways. The last time I was in the Bay Area with my wife, we drove by the former school where the church was located and we just felt the stabbing pain of what might have been.
Sin will turn you sideways my friends. My life is a testament of that. I am 55 years old and am just now following what God’s call has been on my life. All the sins of my life got me turned sideways to the point that I did not come to Christ until age 39 and it has taken all those years to get to this point where God said I was finally ready to follow His call into the ministry. Imagine what I could have done for Christ if it were not for a lifetime of sidetracks. Imagine what God could have used me to do with the passion for serving Him that now fills my soul. Sin sidetracks. Sin delays us. Sin diverts us from what God has called us to do.

My prayer for myself is that we dust off the shackles of sin and take the hand of Jesus and move forward into what He has for us. May we repent of our lifestyle of sin. May we admit our sins immediately and quickly after salvation. May we learn from them and turn away from situations that will lead us to those sins again. May we seek forgiveness in the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ and ask the Holy Spirit to change us from the inside out such that we seek Him and only Him. May we receive wisdom from God when it comes to sin. May we recognize before we succumb to the siren call of Satan that sin will sidetrack us in ways that we cannot even count. Sin will derail what we are doing for the Lord. It damages our witness for so much longer than the benefits of enjoying a sin will last. May we think of David and how his greatness as king of the Israelite nation was sidetracked for a long period of time by the consequences of the Bathsheba/Uriah incident. Without even realizing it, David became consumed with justifying his sin and keeping it covered up that he pretty much forgot to be king. Help us to learn from David about the derailing effects of sin.

Amen and Amen.

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