Consequences and Grace

2 Samuel 12: 1- 17 – The Lord sent Nathan to David. When he came to him, he said, “There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him. “Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him.” David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, “As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this must die! He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.” Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you all Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more. Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. 10 Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.’ 11 “This is what the Lord says: ‘Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity on you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will sleep with your wives in broad daylight. 12 You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.’” 13 Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” Nathan replied, “The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. 14 But because by doing this you have shown utter contempt for[a] the Lord, the son born to you will die.” 15 After Nathan had gone home, the Lord struck the child that Uriah’s wife had borne to David, and he became ill. 16 David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and spent the nights lying in sackcloth[b] on the ground. 17 The elders of his household stood beside him to get him up from the ground, but he refused, and he would not eat any food with them.

  1. During our time in Lent, I have been working with the hymn Amazing Grace as our guide on our Lenten spiritual journey. Amazing Grace is, probably, known as one of the most important hymns ever.
  2. Today we look at verse two. “Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved; How precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed.” I’m going to ask Beth to play the first two verses as we sing them – page 378 of the UM Methodist Hymnal.
  3. Here is the background of the second verse:
    1. When Newton was captain of a slave ship, a violent storm threatened to shipwreck his vessel. He prayed for God’s grace while at the helm of the boat and would later describe it as the “hour I first believed.”
    1. Embraced by the beneficial grace that God loved him in the midst of his terror, John Newton openly confessed his scandalous life, trusting Christ above all.
  4. John Wesley also felt that “hour I first believed” as the time that he felt his heart “strangely warmed.” In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street, where one was reading Luther’s preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.
  5. I began to pray with all my might for those who had in a more especial manner despitefully used me and persecuted me. I then testified openly to all there what I now first felt in my heart. But it was not long before the enemy suggested, “This cannot be faith; for where is thy joy?” Then was I taught that peace and victory over sin are essential to faith in the Captain of our salvation; but that, as to the transports of joy that usually attend the beginning of it, especially in those who have mourned deeply, God sometimes giveth, sometimes withhold, them according to the counsels of His own will.[1]
  6. Amazing Grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch as me
  7. John Wesley and John Newton were contemporaries in eighteenth century England. Each were struggling with the effects of sin on their lives – Newton — slavery, Wesley the lack of belief. And each had consequences of their own sins.
  8. Let’s pause for a moment and examine the word “consequences.” All of us recognize the effects of consequences – these are events that happen after some good or stupid action on our own part. For example, how many of us are using our phone while we are not paying attention to driving the car? Well, a very serious accident could occur as a result of our inattention. Or we simply invested $2 in a lottery ticket, and we won a lot of money. Either way the consequence of our actions has had a direct effect on our lives.
  9. In my senior year at the University of Maryland, I was an Electrical Engineering major and needed an English writing class to graduate. I was very poor at writing, much less at spelling. So, I asked Ann to write the paper for me. For some reason she did write it. I copied it word for word and turned it in. See where this is going! About a week later I got it back. F- and a note – “Mr. Harden, please see me immediately!”
  10. Confession is good for the soul – or so I thought. But an F- is not good for graduation. So, I fessed up and wrote a different paper by myself – no influence from Ann. Got a C- — at least I passed. My actions had consequences and lessons learned— do not cheat and do not ask someone else to do your work for you.
  11. Today’s theme is Consequences and grace and is centered on King David and his adultery with Bathsheba. But — let’s review what this amazing grace is all about!
  12. “Grace,” according to the dictionary, is the unmerited favor of God toward humanity. The word “grace” is used over 170 times in the New Testament alone.
    1. Grace is not bought. It is a free gift of almighty God to needy humans.
    1. When I picture Jesus Christ dying on the cross, I see the free gift of God’s grace in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself.
    1. I sing with the songwriter, “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now I see.”
    1. Our human mind, with its philosophy of an equal return for favors done, can hardly comprehend the full meaning of this grace of God.
    1. But when you catch, by the inspiration of God, its full meaning, you will leave the limits of human reasoning and revel in the spiritual riches of divine truth and privilege.
  13. From Billy Graham, Yes, the grace of God is a reality. Thousands have tried, tested, and proved that it is more than a cold creed, a submissive doctrine, or a tedious theory.
    1. The grace of God has been tested in the crucible of human experience and has been found to be more than an equal for the problems and sins of humanity.[2]
  14. This morning we have the Scripture 2 Samuel 12 — the prophet Nathan confronting David about his adultery tryst with Bathsheba.
    1. David, a man after God’s own heart, committed a terrible sin when he saw Bathsheba bathing on the rooftop and lusted after her. He then committed adultery with her, which led to Bathsheba becoming pregnant.
    1. In an attempt to cover up his sin, David arranged for Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband, to be killed in battle.
    1. David’s sin had severe consequences, and he was forced to face the truth of what he had done. Nathan the prophet confronted David about his sin, and David was forced to acknowledge his wrongdoing. David then repented of his sin and sought God’s forgiveness.
  15. So, we ask “What Were the Consequences of David’s Actions?”
  16. There is no getting around the fact that—even though David was “a man after God’s own heart he abused his power and dishonored God’s law. Seems to happen many times to people in power – to think that they are immune to the consequences of their sinful actions.
  17. Before his encounter with Bathsheba, David’s life went from achievement to achievement. He slew beasts, defeated Goliath, was heralded by the people in song as a mighty warrior and became King of all Israel and Judah.
  18. After his transgression, however, his life was fraught with pain and betrayal.
    1. David and Bathsheba’s son died.
    1. His daughter, Tamar, was raped by David’s son, Amnon, who was then murdered by her brother, Absalom. Absalom betrayed David and went after the kingship in a stunning coup d’état. Absalom also raped his father David’s concubines and expelled David to exile. David is eventually restored but is bitter and leaves instructions with Solomon to exact revenge on his enemies. Even after his death, Adonijah, another son, is murdered in the conflict for succession.
  19. In 2 Samuel 12:5-6 which we just read, David reacts to the parable Nathan shared about a rich man who, for the pleasure of a traveler, took a poor man’s beloved pet ewe lamb instead of one of his own and had him prepared for the traveler’s supper.
  20. Nathan said, “As the Lord lives, the man who has done this shall surely die! And he shall restore fourfold for the lamb, because he did this thing and because he had no pity.” This was in answer to Nathan telling him the sword would never depart from his house, and though David manifested his sin in secret, the Lord would raise up adversity against him “before all Israel.”
  21. Important Lessons from the Story of David and Bathsheba[3]
  22. Forgiveness does not always mean no consequences.
    1. David fasted and prayed for his and Bathsheba’s son, yet after the son died, David worshiped the Lord.
    1. Sin equals consequences, as we saw for David. Our sins not only affect us, but they also affect others.
  23. No sin escapes God’s notice.
    1. Nathan the prophet told David, “Therefore, the sword will never depart from your house”. God is all-knowing. God clearly sees everything transpiring throughout the universe (Hebrews 4:13).
  24. We cannot control the effects of our sin, and all sin affects others.
    1. David could not control the grief which resulted from his sin, either for himself or Bathsheba, nor could he prevent the child’s death. He in no way could influence God’s response, and he couldn’t control the resulting family turmoil.
    1. Temptation often encourages an arrogant approach to things where we think we have more control than we, in reality, do.
  25. Sin must be confronted. David—in confession of his egregious sin—worshiped the Lord and asked God to cleanse him (Psalm 51). Nathan possibly risked his own life when he confronted David, but David knew his sin was against God, and he also regarded God as the only One who could forgive him. We too can go to God—with a remorseful spirit—a broken and repentant heart (Psalm 51:17). When we sin, we must acknowledge we are first sinning against God, and then we confess our sins against others. Christians often need another brother or sister to point out their sin either due to pride or ignorance (Galatians 6:1).
  26. The child died because of what David had done. The loss cut him deep and hard. But David needed to be shaken. He had become complacent and callous and had drifted from God to the point that he had fallen prey to deadly serious sins. A gracious God knew that David needed to learn a painful lesson for his own spiritual well-being. And through a painful loss David gained something much greater—restoration of his relationship to God. This was also an important lesson for the nation at the time—and for all of us to this day.
  27. God’s Grace pushed David to write a very moving and heartfelt reflection, Psalm 51, as a result of this experience. For 3,000 years it has stood in the Bible as a model of what a truly repentant heart and attitude should look like.
  28. Now restored, David would go on to bigger and better things. But none is more important to us today than this story of the grace of God bringing a fallen king to repentance and restoration to a right relationship with Him![4]
  29. Let us read Psalm 51 together – Page 785 in our hymnal.
  30. Thanks be to God.


[1] John Wesley: Journal of John Wesley – Christian Classics Ethereal Library (

[2] 5 Quotes from Billy Graham on Grace – The Billy Graham Library Blog

[3] David and Bathsheba – Bible Story Verses & Meaning (

[4] A King Fallen and Restored: A Story of God’s Grace | United Church of God (