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the Presbyterian Church of Coraopolis

To everyone who has faith or needs it, who lives in hope or would gladly do so, whose character is glorified by the love of God or marred by the love of self; to those who pray and those who do not, who mourn and are weary or who rejoice and are strong; to everyone, in the name of Him who was lifted up to draw all people unto Himself, this Church offers a door of entry and a place of worship, saying ‘Welcome Home’!

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SATURDAY, July 13, 2024

SUNDAY, July 14, 2024

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The latest Sermon

" Choices and Consequences - David" 6/2/2024

June 2, 2024, Laurie Zickgraf

1 Kings 2:1-3, Psalm 32:2-7

Last week I spoke about the age of the Judges and King Saul, the first king of the Israelites. We pick up our story when David is running for his life. King Saul, who used to love David, is now trying to kill him. While Saul and his sons are in a battle, they’re killed.

 After Saul’s death, there was a lot of turmoil in the kingdom. Some people that were loyal to Saul are now loyal to Abner who was in charge of Saul’s army. Some people are loyal to David and his army. David, as a God-fearing man, asked God for guidance and was told to go to Hebron. There he was anointed again and became King David over the house of Judah which was in the southern territory.

 Abner made Ish-bosheth (Ish bow shauth) the King over the tribes in the north So, now there are 2 kings, one in the north and one in the south.

 David tried to unite the tribes but there were too many people with their own agendas and civil war broke out. We know this was a long war because the Bible mentions that David had 6 sons born to him during this time.

 Like any good soap opera, this story has lots of intrigue, lies and double crosses. I find it  confusing but very simply – Abner, the leader of Saul’s army, tells David he will convince the northern tribes to agree to have David as their King. Joab, who is the commander of David’s army had a brother, who was killed by Abner in a previous battle. When Joab gets the chance, he kills Abner for revenge. The northern King, Ish-bosheth, is worried and wants to surrender to David but he’s murdered by his own soldiers who disagreed. You need a scorecard to keep track of all the characters and the revenge plots.

 Eventually, after a lot of drama, all the tribes agree to be subject to David and he becomes the King over all of Israel.  

 During his reign, David and his men invaded many cities, one of which was Jerusalem. Once the Ark of the Covenant was brought to Jerusalem, David thought about the living arrangements. He lived in a nice house and the Ark of the Lord was in a tent. He told the prophet Nathan that he wanted to build a house for the Lord. Nathan hears from God and tells David, no, you will not build the Temple. One of your descendants will build the House of God.

 What was David’s reaction? He could have been like Saul and just did what he wanted without telling Nathan ahead of time. If he had done that, he wouldn’t even have known that God didn’t want him to build the temple. David’s reaction tells us a lot about his character. When told he shouldn’t build the house of God, David went before the Lord and thanked Him and praised Him.

 David believed that he was a servant of God. He knew that God was in charge, and he was thankful for the blessings of the Lord. We’ve seen David’s patience before. When Samuel anointed him to be the next King, he was about 12 years old. Even though David knew he was the King, he waited for instructions from the Lord and didn’t sit on the throne until he was 30 years old. He waited 18 years.

 Once on the throne, David and his soldiers continued to have great success because the Lord was with them. David’s kingdom expanded and at one point David found out that there was one survivor of Saul’s family. This boy was Jonathan’s son and was handicapped. Because David had loved Jonathan as a brother, he had the boy brought to the palace and took care of him.

 Everything seemed to be going well until one day, David did not go on a military campaign with his army like he usually did. Instead, he remained in Jerusalem. This is when he first saw Bathsheba. It’s a well-known story, David sees her bathing on the roof of her house. He has his soldiers bring her to him and he sleeps with her. When he finds out she is pregnant David comes up with a plan. Her husband is Uriah and he is one of

 David’s soldiers. David has Uriah brought home from battle. He hopes that Uriah will spend the night with his wife and no one will know that David is the father of Bathsheba’s child.

What David didn’t count on was that Uriah was an honorable man.  He doesn’t go home because he feels it would be wrong while the other soldiers and the Ark of the Covenant are in battle. David even got Uriah drunk, but he still wouldn’t go home. So, Uriah returned to the battle, and David gave him a note for his commander. The commander is to send Uriah to the front lines. David knows that he’ll be killed. Isn’t it odd how history repeats itself. In the past, Saul had sent David into battle – twice- hoping that David would be killed.  

 When Bathsheba heard her husband was killed, she is very upset, she loved her husband. When the time of mourning was over, David brought her to his house, married her, and she gave birth to their baby, a son.

 God sends the prophet, Nathan to David to tell him that what he did was evil in the sight of the Lord. There were consequences to David’s actions. The Lord said the sword will never leave his house. 1 Sam 12:11a The Lord said: “Behold, I am going to raise up evil against you from your own household”.

 David’s response was very different than Sauls would have been. David didn’t blame others, he said to Nathan; “I have sinned against the Lord”. Because David repented of his actions Nathan told him that God would not kill him but that his infant son would die.

 Eventually, David and Bathsheba had another son, and he was named Solomon and we’re told the Lord loved him. This was the son that would become King after Daivd and the man who would build the Temple for the Lord.

 Trouble came to David’s household just as the Lord promised. With multiple wives and each wife having kids, there are bound to be problems as in any large, extended family. But David’s family problems are more than you would expect. One son wanted his sister and deceived her into coming to his room. When another son, Absolom found out what had happened, he took this sister to his own house to care for her and waited for 2 years before he got revenge and killed his brother. Family fighting continued and got worse. Absalom fled and was banished from the King’s house.

 Eventually he returned to David’s house and began a quiet campaign to become King. It got so bad that David had to flee Jerusalem and many of his men went with him. When the armies of David and Absalom met, Absalom was killed. David was grief stricken. He cried and said: “if only I had died instead of you”. Absalom was David’s favorite son and even after all the trouble he caused, David still loved him.

 David was restored as the King of Israel but the evil in his household continues throughout David’s lifetime.

 David acted more like Saul when he took another man’s wife, and there were consequences. The consequences didn’t just affect the person that had sinned. They affected many people and future events. Had David asked God for guidance, he would have been given the strength to stay away from Bathsheba. His family history would have been very different.  

 David was a man who truly wanted to follow God. He was a good guy.  He had loved Saul so much that when he cut off a piece of Saul’s robe back in the cave, he felt bad for being disrespectful to his King. Saul was trying to kill him and David felt bad.

 But even good guys are human. David sinned, as we all do. But he accepted the rebuke from God’s profit Nathan, and he repented, not an insincere apology but a real heartfelt sadness that he had sinned against God. When he acknowledged his sin, he accepted the punishment for his actions because David knew that his Father was a merciful God. He had to live with the consequences and the turmoil in his family brought on by his sinful behavior. I wonder how often he sat by himself, watching the family intrigue and thought about what he had done. Was it worth it?

 Disobedience has consequences. I asked last week - Do you obey God? If God spoke to you, would you listen? If God tells you to do something, would you say, yes Father? Or would you say yes Father, but….

 Many of us don’t ask God what we should do because we think many things are little things, too small for God. Or maybe we’re afraid of the answer because we want to do it our way. There is a saying – better to ask for forgiveness than ask for permission. This may work in our world, but it doesn’t work with God.

 This is the history f mankind, our history. It is a history of sinful humans unable to see God in everything we do. We are unable to focus on what comes next. This world is not the end, it’s the beginning. This world is full of people that act as though today is all that matters, but as Christians we know there’s more. We need to remember God’s promises every day.

 When you believe in God, it doesn’t mean you become infallible. It doesn’t mean you don’t make mistakes and it doesn’t mean you can do whatever you want without consequences. It DOES mean we should show our faith by how we live our lives. It DOES mean that God loves you and that He will forgive those who truly repent.

 Look to God for your moral code not social media, not other people.  Teach your family about God and His love.  We tell people don’t follow the crowd. As a Christian you should know that there is one exception to that rule. If a crowd is jumping off a bridge don’t do it – but, if Jesus is descending from the clouds and a crowd of people are running to meet Him – that’s the crowd to follow.                  Amen