In the Shadow of His Wings

Scripture: Psalm 63:7, Psalm 32:1-11, Psalm 51:1-19
Date: 05/14/2011 
Lesson: 7
King David's experience with Bathsheba lays bare the truth about temptation, sin, and God's forgiveness.
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Good morning. Happy Sabbath. We're so glad that you are tuning in this morning, however you are joining us, whether you're listening on the radio, watching live on our website at, or on the various television networks, we welcome you to Sacramento central Seventh-day Adventist Church for another "central study hour," where we open up God's Word and we study together. And as always, we always start by singing. And the first one is a request from josefin in ireland, and ralph and birdie in the bahamas.

And they would like us to sing, "o world of God," number 80. And we'll do all three stanzas. Number 80, "o world of God..." Thank you so much for that request. That is a beautiful song. Our next one--oh, before we sing our next song, if you have a favorite that you would like to sing with us on an upcoming Sabbath, it is very, very simple.

Look through your hymnal, pick your favorite, and go to our website at, and click on the "contact us" link. And you can send in your favorite hymn, and we will do our best to sing that for you as soon as we can on an upcoming Sabbath. Next one, 648, "I vow to thee, my country," 648. This is from David, marshall, naoko, Isaiah, Elijah, erika and elena in japan. We're going to do all two stanzas, 648.

.. Father in Heaven, we are looking forward to that better country that is coming very, very soon. We thank you so much for loving us, for dying for us, for giving us the hope that we have as Christians, that this is not the end, that there is something more. We thank you so much that we can come together and worship you on this beautiful Sabbath day. No matter what is going on around us, for these 24 hours we can just put it aside and let you spend wonderful hallowed day with us.

We thank you so much. In Jesus' Name, amen. At this time our lesson study is going to be brought to us by--oh, there he is--pastor mike thompson, our health and outreach pastor. Thank you very much, debbie and John and the orchestra and the young lady on the end there from boston. Thank you so much.

Happy Sabbath everybody. It's good to see you all this morning. I hope you're all blessed and glad for this day where we can worship the good Lord. We're on lesson seven already of this quarter's theme, "garments of grace: clothing imagery in the Bible." And lesson number seven is, "in the shadow of his wings." There's a memory verse in psalm 63:7, reads, "because you have been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will i--" sorry? Thank you. I couldn't read my own writing.

Thank you very much, dina. The london subway, or the tube as it's called, is the oldest subway system in the world. And if you go to london, and I worked there for a year sometime back, you know it is, especially when you get on some of the lines. You can tell those old tunnels have been there quite a while. And yet during the second world war, those old subway lines were a refuge for many londoners.

In fact, for thousands of them, when for a time on a nightly basis the nazi bombers would come over and bomb the capitol. And I have a picture at home in some history book. And it shows these people just laid out on the platforms on blankets. Somebody there selling sandwiches and cookies, or biscuits as they're called in england. And even laid on the train track on the third rail.

They turned the power off of course and people even laid on the rails. Imagine how comfortable, or should I say uncomfortable that was. And yet they were very thankful for a refuge, saved a lot of lives sleeping down there on the subway. And in life we often need a refuge, because Christ, he's come. And very often they don't go as quick as we would like, but they come.

We need a place to hide. And sometimes we literally need a physical refuge. But when we're dealing with the Spiritual warfare that we're all involved in, a london subway or the New York subway, that's no good at all. We need a spiritual refuge. And that refuge of course is under the shadow of God's wings.

And if you know a way to find that refuge, when everything goes belly up, then you can come through. You know where to go. But if you don't, I don't know how people do it. So we have a unique opportunity as Christians, not just to preach the Gospel, but to tell people where they can really get help from the day-to-day things that come to us sometimes in this world. Psalms 67:3, "because you have been my help, therefore in the shadow of your wings I will trust.

" If you read the lesson, you know it said quite a bit about king David. And he certainly knew what it was to find a shadow--sorry, a refuge under the shadow of God's wings when adversity came. And David had adversity before he became the King. For a number of years he was on the run from Saul. And he literally had to find a refuge.

And God gave him a refuge, very often, literally a cave. But also as well he found comfort under the shadow of God's wings. And so he knew what that was like. And he knew literally in a physical cave what it was like at night to go to sleep haunted, but yet with a clear conscience. It was good for him to know he was doing nothing wrong.

But as you know, sometime after ascending to the throne, David also came to know what it was like to try and go to sleep with a troubled conscience. After having uriah the hittite's murder engineered and having committed adultery with uriah's wife, David stated the following in psalm 32:3-4, when his conscience was smitten. And he was longing for a refuge where his troubled conscience could find rest. But he couldn't find one. And we'll understand why as we read this, or we should.

He said, "when I kept silence," in other words kept this thing under the wraps, or he thought he was going to be able to, "my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me." God's hand was just putting a heavy weight upon his conscience. It says, "my moisture is turned into the drought of summer." So try and imagine that awful troubled conscience and that guilt. Apart from bathsheba knowing about the episode of adultery, maybe nobody else knew. We don't know for sure.

And apart from joab, David's commander and chief, chief of staff, maybe nobody else knew about the plot, the successful plot, the heinous plot to actually kill uriah. But David knew that God knew. And this was the thing that really began to trouble him. And as you know, along with guilt, it has a second cousin. They go hand in hand.

And that is what we call remorse. You can feel guilty for having done something. But then this terrible regret that you've done it. And I think it was here or some other place I was speaking recently, I mentioned life can turn on a dime. You may make an ill-advised decision in the heat of a moment, and your whole life can be just turned around, just like a huge ship.

And very often people who have--well, obviously I don't need to explain this to you, but there are people sitting in prison today, even on death row are filled with remorse. That in just a moment of time they took somebody's life. Terrible guilt, and terrible remorse. If only I could just put back the clock. If only I could just have one more chance, how different things would be.

But it's too late. The die is struck and you have to live with what you've got as consequences. And so David must have felt terrible in this respect with the guilt and the remorse. As part of his remorse, he probably wished he hadn't stayed home. But he put on his armor and gone out to fight with the rest of his troops.

He would have been far better off suffering the hardships of combat and the dangers of combat, because he would have had his armor on, his literal armor. He would have had his sword drawn. He would have kept up his guard. He would have been vigilant. But there in the palace when he had other people to take care of the fighting now, things were going really good, he was enjoying the cushy life of the palace, it's there where he kind of let his guard down on the level of the Spiritual warfare.

Let his guard down, kind of loosened off his armor. And it wasn't soon after taking off his spiritual armor that he was taking off his clothes to commit adultery with another man's wife. And that is why like David and those whose examples are also before us in the Scriptures. And then maybe people you know. We need to be very vigilant.

We gotta keep up our vigilance. We got to keep our sword up. We got to keep the armor on. We got to keep our sword drawn and be on the lookout. Because only as we remain vigilant are we safe.

Constant diligence. Because it's in those idle moments where the devil rushes in and can take even the strongest man down. As it mentioned in the lesson, David was a warrior on the battlefield facing other men with swords and shields and whatever else. But it was just one glance of his eyes of a woman bathing that took him down. So we need to learn from that.

Anyway, for a while nothing happened. We probably would have expected that David thought somehow that, you know, God was going to send down thunderbolts. But you know, nothing happened for about a year. And he probably began to think, "well, you know, is it really that bad? After all God's done nothing." But no, he didn't get away with it, not by any means. In Monday, we've got the section entitled, "nathan bears all.

" And in 2 Samuel 12, read of how God sent the prophet nathan. And in a gentle way but in a very frank way, nathan just pulled the wraps off what David was trying to keep covered up. Remember he told the story of the poor man who had just had one little ewe lamb. And there's this rich man that's got plenty of sheep and the like. And his friend comes to visit.

And his friend needs some food, and so what does he do? He takes this one little ewe lamb, belonging to the poor man. And David's listening to this story. And David is getting very indignant, 'cause he doesn't realize that this is a parable. And David just gets indignant and he cries out and he passes judgment on this man here. 2 Samuel 12:5.

Would somebody like to read that verse for us? 2 Samuel 12:5. "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.'" Okay, so what does he do? He sets himself up here. "The man whose done this shall surely die. And I'm the King and I can make sure that happens." And nathan looks at him and he says, "thou art the man." Suddenly the wraps come off and David realizes his sin is exposed. And then following comes a description from nathan sent by God of the consequences that he's gonna come to David, his house and his kingdom.

So the truly humble and smitten bleeding heart, David, you notice wastes no time in kind of finding excuses and bringing out disclaimers as, "well, you know, if this hadn't happened and that hadn't happened." We got to give credit where it's due. He didn't make excuses. He said, "I have sinned against the Lord." That's what he declared in 2 Samuel 12, first part of verse 13. And as it all came crashing down upon him, you can be sure that David in that same moment just longed for a refuge, even if it was a grocery sack to just hide his face, because it must have been so embarrassing and humiliating and painful. But then comes what I think is the most amazing part of this whole story, is the fact that just as quickly as David declared his guilt and made no excuses, immediately he's given a refuge from God.

And the prophet nathan tells him in verse--chapter 13--I'm sorry, verse 13, the later part. He says, "the Lord also has put away thy sin; thou shalt not die." So just like that. So you might ask, how can God forgive somebody just like that for doing such an awful and dastardly thing. He takes a man's wife, gets her pregnant. And then cooks up some little plot to get her husband killed in battle.

Now if uriah had gone home as David first wanted, it would have worked out fine. He probably thought, he could have said, "oh David and--" I mean, "uriah and bathsheba, they've had a baby. Congratulations." But that didn't work. So he went to the next thing, the next act in deception, which was worse than the first, and has the man killed. But again, we wonder, how can God forgive something like that? Well, because that's what God is like.

He's merciful. He's very forgiving. And he promises to forgive the sinner no matter how bad the sin is. He exercises mercy to us, very often in the time when we deserve it the very least. 1 John 1:9, someone over here want to read something? 1 John 1:9, just raise your hand.

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Thank you, connie. I appreciate that. So if we're repentant, we come before God, he will forgive us. Now notice I did say repentant. I use that term repentance there.

If we don't confess our sin, and if we are not at all sorry for what we've done, then you know, we can't expect to be forgiven. I mean that should be a given. But here in the lesson we have a very, a very what's the word I'm looking for, a good definition, a five-pound--a five-point definition. Did I say nearly a five-pound definition? A five-point definition of genuine repentance. You find this in Tuesday's section.

It says, "David makes no excuse for his sin. He makes no attempt to justify himself. He does not find fault with God's law for condemning him. He blames only himself for his sin. He genuinely hates the sin that separated him from God and turns from it.

" So God could see all these sentiments were in David's heart. And as soon as he asked forgiveness, he was forgiven. That's how amazing God is. Now of course through consequences sometimes, we'll talk about that just a little further down the line here. But it's at that moment when the sinner who is worthy only of death, and that is eternal death, is offered a merciful refuge under the shadow of God's wings.

And I'll speak for myself, I've been glad that God has been there with his feathers to cover me many times in my life, 'cause I have needed that. But when we sincerely repent, confess and turn from our sin, what happens is Jesus dons us in his righteousness, as it were and presents us before The Father. And God who delights in righteousness, he looks upon us clothed in the righteousness of Jesus and he's overjoyed. He rejoices over us with singing. He doesn't see the filth, the sin.

He just sees the pristine righteousness of his own son which covers us. And God accepts us as his sons and daughters. And God loves us as much as he loves Jesus, his own son. And God declares that the cross, with all the blood, with all the pain, with all the grief, was all worthwhile, that you and I could be bought back and saved from his wrath, which those who remain and penitent will suffer one day. We don't think often enough about the consequences of sins which are left unconfessed and not put right.

This is why God gives us every warning he possibly can. On that very first passover, you remember, about 1400, 1500 b.c., That first passover evening, when the blood of the lamb was put on the doorposts of the house of the Israelites, it was typifying a refuge from sin and from the consequences of sin when the angel of death came through the land of Egypt. It was also typifying how that refuge is Christ. And that blood on the door posts of the paschal lamb is especially going to be a most welcome refuge at the very end when this world is just literally falling to pieces and Jesus is seen coming in the clouds of glory. But can you imagine? And try to imagine what it's going to be like for those who have reMained faithful to Christ, who've kept under the blood, under the refuge of his wings.

They're going to be so thankful that they did. And try and imagine if you can how it will be for those, who in this life may have watched Pastor Doug on television, listened to some other preacher on the radio, been given a book, somebody comes knocking on their door. And they have opportunity to understand these things. And then everything's falling to pieces and Jesus is seen in the distance coming in glory. And the plagues of course are being poured out, or last one is being poured out with huge hailstones the size of a talent and the earth's having the biggest mother of earthquakes that ever was.

How will these people feel? They will be beside themselves with fear and absolute terror. And too late. They will cry out to God to give them a refuge. They'll cry out to God to watch them clean in the blood of the lamb. But that blood they despised in the day of opportunity.

So they go running and find the saints who were glorified. And they fall at their feet, and they said, "pray for me. Pray that God will forgive me." And all the saints can do is, "I'm sorry. There's nothing I can do for you." You know, if we are saved, I pray God we are, and we can be if we just trust Jesus. It won't be a joyous experience for some sinner, maybe some neighbor or some family member that falls at your feet and says, you know, "please pray to God to save me.

" And you say, "you know, I gave you all those books. I gave you all those dvds. I'm sorry I can't do anything to help you." It's going to be just such a momentous moment when the truth dawns and the reality that this person is lost. And they realize that. The issues we deal with in this spiritual warfare, my friends, are of such a magnitude and such solemnity, that we must take time to ponder it.

Because even the best of us as Christians, we get so, so busy, busy, busy, busy, doing good things. But we get so busy we do not take the time to have that sanctifying experience with Jesus that we must have. And if the devil knows you're a sincere Christian, he won't necessarily throw bad things in your path, he'll make suggestions to get you busy. "Go do this good thing over here." But he'll keep you busy. You have to watch out for his deceptions, okay.

But too late, too many people, they're going to realize that it's too late. And in a figurative sense, they'll go looking for the cross. They'll find as it were calvary. And they'll go running up to the top of calvary, and they'll go looking for the cross. And they'll find the hole in the rock where the cross was put down when Jesus was crucified there.

And they'll say, "why is the cross, where is the cross?" And they'll realize that God took the cross down. And God took the cross away. Mercy no longer pleads. It's too late. Let us not be among them, right? In fact, I hope you're glad today that it's not too late to have our transgressions forgiven and our sins covered.

Can you say, "amen?" Wednesday speaks about whiter than snow. And this section here refers us to psalm 51. And psalm 51 is a reflection of David's penitence after plotting the death of uriah and his adultery with his wife after being found out, when everything was open there. And psalm 51, it's a tremendous psalm. The first verse, David says, "have mercy upon me, o God, according to thy lovingkindness; according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions," psalm 51:1.

So here in verse 1 David asks forgiveness for his sin. But as we proceed through this psalm here, we find expressed not just a desire for forgiveness for what he's done wrong, but we find here expressed just a heart, deep, passionate, longing desire to be cleansed and delivered from the power of these things so that he will never do them again. That is true penitence, the desire to turn from sin so that we no longer hurt God nor injure those who may be injured through our sins. And this is the hallmark of true repentance. If we're sorry, sorry enough that we really hurt God, our best friend, and we're sorry for the person that we may have hurt as a consequence.

Again, in psalm 51, I want to turn there. Psalm 51, and I want to read just right near the end in verse 17. David says, "the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, o God, thou wilt not despise." Actually in the verse before it says, "for thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou desirest not in burnt offerings." You know, in those days if you sinned, you know, you brought an offering and that had its place of course. But God far preferred not to see the shedding of blood of innocent animals, but to see the person overcome. And instead of bringing an animal sacrifice, bring a sacrifice of praise and thanks.

"Lord, thank you for giving me the strength. Thank you for giving me the victory to quit." Well, they didn't smoke in those days, but you know what I mean. Instead of having to come with a sacrifice, "Lord, I fell again. I'm so sorry." Well, he forgives, yes. But he wants to get us off that rung, onto the top rung of the ladder of sanctification.

Again, David's reflection of how he wants to be, not just forgiven, and he was forgiven, but to be separated from this defiling stuff that just lurked in his flesh. Verse 2 of psalm 51, he says, "wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin." Verse 7, "purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow." There was a few comments in the lessons--in the lesson on hyssop. It was used for various things, but also as a cleansing agent as well. So David has this longing for this deep, intense washing of his heart and his mind. And he says in verse 10, "create in me a clean heart, o God, and renew a right spirit within me.

" Is that what you want? Do you really want that? Well, kind of quite this morning. Am I putting you to sleep? Ha, ha, ha, ha. "Create in me a clean heart, o God, and renew a right spirit within me." Yes, Lord! Sorry judy, that's what I want. And that is what I need. That's what we all need.

You okay? And it's God's purpose. It's God's purpose to forgive and to cleanse us of the carnal passions that respond so easily to satan's temptations. You know what, he's a master of psychology. Devil understands every one of us better than we understand ourselves, most times. He knows the little things in your life.

He has his angels who take notes and they're proud to have their computers now. They put down all these little things, pull up their case file. This person over here, if you want to try and get them off track, we found three things here that they just fall for every time. He knows all about us. And so we have to, we have to, we have to ask God to keep us vigilant, to keep us constantly alert, constantly under the care of Christ, so that when the devil comes, maybe in those idle moments, and he dangles that carrot immediately, "no!" Why? Because like David, you haven't taken your armor off.

You haven't taken off your spiritual covering. And when you see bathsheba as it were, or you see something equivalent from the ladies standpoint, you can turn away. Just a glance. You may not be able--gentleman you may not be able to help the first look when a lady walks by who's kind of dressed in a way that shouldn't be. You can't help the first look.

But you can sure help the second. And that's the one that God looks for. And that's the one he should not see you doing. We need to be vigilant. Moment by moment every day as we cling to Christ.

But here's the thing. There are some Christians, they are constantly, constantly sinning, constantly asking forgiveness, constantly sinning, constantly asking forgiveness. Constantly sinning, constantly asking forgiveness. It becomes like a song. Maybe that one or two areas in life especially, "Lord, forgive me.

Lord, forgive me." It's just a constant falling flat on the face. That is not God's purpose as to how we should live as Christians. And maybe some Christians who were baptized years ago, 20, 30, 40 years ago, but there's that special area in their lives where they constantly keep falling. Somehow they just cannot get over that hump. And so they're spiritual growth remains retarded.

They remain at the same level of spiritual maturity or immaturity that they had when they first became Christians. And when you first get baptized, you're probably down here, and that's perfectly fine. But if you've been a Christian 20 years, God wants to see you somewhere than what you were 20 years ago. You've had more opportunity to know truth, more opportunity to pray in your life. And so there must be, and there has to be growth.

But it remains stunted. But Jesus, beloved, can he change all that? He most certainly can. Jesus can change all that if like David we come to our Savior with a heart sincerely longing to be seriously changed. Well, you know, somebody might say, "you know, pastor mike, I am confident on one hand that I do, I'm one of those people, I keep sinning and repenting, sinning and repenting. And I've asked forgiveness so many times.

I'm almost feeling indifferent. And I've asked forgiveness so many times and keep doing it. I just feel like a phony. I think how can God even listen to me anymore? 'Cause I know very well, I'll say, dear God, please forgive me. And within a couple hours or the next day, bang, I'm flat on my face again.

And I really don't want to be here, but that's--that's kind of how it is. "Well, if that's where you are, let me tell you this. Between the devil and yourself, you've got yourself programmed, programmed for failure. As a Christian, you are performing and achieving according to your expectations. You get what you--you get what you expect.

We need to look above and beyond that. You're expecting to fail and so you do fail. "O ye of little faith." Who would say that to you? Jesus would, right? It would say, "o ye of little faith, expect much. Not from yourself but from me, and you shall have it." And you will not be constantly sinning and repenting, sinning and repenting. You can come with a sacrifice of praise and say, "Lord, thank you.

It's been a month now." Put a little check Mark on the wall. You can come with a sacrifice of praise six months later. "Lord, thank you!" It's been six months. It's been a year, two years. I've spoken to people who were just tobacco addicts, but you know, five years go by and they come and say, "pastor mike, I haven't smoked now for 10 years," or "I haven't drunk for 20 years.

" And you ask 'em, "well, obviously you had a problem at one time." "Yeah, I would smoke and ask forgiveness, and drink and ask forgiveness. And then I'd smoke again and drink again. I just couldn't get out of this vicious cycle." Well, for sure they didn't get out of it themselves. But who got them out? Jesus. That's why it says, "o ye of little faith.

" He can help you and he can pull you right out and set you on your feet. See, the same Holy Spirit that worked upon David's heart to break it with that deep sorrow for sin and empowered him not to repeat that behavior, is the same Holy Spirit that can work upon your heart, to just break it and to give you that true penitence and that deep heart sorrow for sin, and to empower you to be able to overcome that thing so that three months from now you can put a check Mark on the wall and offer God a sacrifice of praise. This is what he can do. He can turn somebody's life around. Any of us in this room may be struggling today.

He can take every one of us and turn every one of us around. And when he comes, every one of us can be ready to see Jesus, every single one of us. In fact, if we as a people had got this, we'd have been in heaven a long time ago. Would we not? Sure we would. So he's waiting.

The Holy Spirit is there. So anyway, if you're one of those people who, you know, you just wish, you know I could feel sorry, don't get hung up on how you feel right now. Just forget about the emotions. Just ask yourself, alright, in my mind, intellectually, though it's kind of a--what's the word I'm looking for--objective question to myself, "would I really like to stop doing this thing?" "Well, yes, I would." "How do you feel about it?" "Well, I like doing it." "But, alright, that's the feeling. But intellectually how do you feel?" "Well, I know it's harmful, but yeah, in my mind I'd really like to stop, even though in my heart I love this thing here.

" Let's just work on the level of the intellect. "Okay, so you realize it's wrong." "Yeah." "You'd like to stop?" "Yeah, I would, but I love the thing so much." Don't get hung up on the feelings or the desires. Just stay on the level of the intellect. What we need to do is begin with the mind and with the will. And even if you can't bring yourself to the point of saying, "Lord, I'm sorry for doing this.

And I really would like you to take it away from me," because you're just in love with this wretched thing. You can ask God. I'm not going to tell you anything new by the way. You've heard this before. You can go on your knees, and you can ask God to make you--tell him, "I'm willing to be made willing for you to put in my heart the desire to be sorry for this sin.

And I'm willing for you to make me willing to turn away from it." Now what's hard about that? Nothing. You see, you don't have to deal with your feelings. Do it on the level of the intellect. If you pray that prayer, and you're willing to be made willing, God--you will see that God will begin to work in your life. You see there's some people they think, "before I come to God I gotta have this--i gotta feel so sorry.

" Right? So they try to work up this feeling of sorrow. And maybe you get in a frenzy and you think, "if I could just cry, you know, I look more genuine. I might feel more genuine." So you try to get yourself worked up, maybe into tears so I can show God, "I'm really sorry, Lord!" Well, you just don't get that you're heart's like a rock. Don't worry about that. Just say, "Lord, I'm willing to be made willing.

" If that is the only place you can start, God will meet you there. He will meet you there, and he will give you repentance, 'cause you cannot make yourself repentant. Repentance is a gift from God. In acts 5:31, it says, "him," speaking of Jesus, "him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a prince and a Savior, to give repentance--" it's a gift-- "to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins." So go to God and ask him. He'll take care of everything if you're just willing to be willing, to let him change you.

And then in a quiet place, find a quiet place, and ask God to reveal to you your dying Savior upon the cross. And what I mean by that is find a quiet place and go open this book. Now some people pray, "Lord, show me Jesus." And they expect to have a vision. Well, sometimes people do have a vision. They have dreams.

Gotta be careful though with dreams, but sometimes somebody may actually see Jesus on the cross. But the vast majority of times, if you want to see Jesus, God says, "go and open the word." Here's where you see Jesus. And find those scenes in the Gospels, closing scenes of his life, Gethsemane and calvary. And read those passages slowly and say, "Lord, well here I am. I want to see Jesus.

Help me to start seeing him." Go to the book "Desire of Ages," and read the chapters there, "Gethsemane" and "calvary." Read it slowly. You got to give yourself some time. See we're so much in a rush. Read the chapter "Gethsemane" and pray, "Lord, help me, help me to see these things. Make them very, very real.

" 'Cause the scenes that took place there in Gethsemane and calvary, that's where the destiny of this world hung in the balance. Our eternal destiny hung in the balance. Ask God to help you see these things. Ask him as you contemplate these things to be able to take in two things as you do, the sinfulness of sin and how much God hates it. We need to see that, 'cause unless we see how hateful sin is to God, unless we can grasp the magnitude of the sinfulness of sin, it's not going to disturb us.

We need to ask God to show us that. And at the same time, ask him as you go to these closing scenes of Jesus' life, along with seeing how bad is sin, that you can see also how good is God, that he gave his son to suffer and die for us upon the cross. And ask God to let these sins profoundly impact your mind. And in his time, it'll start getting down into your heart. You'll start feeling something inside.

You'll be delivered from your indifference. And that heart that was so kind of hard and resistant, it'll start to get soft. And your life, your life will begin to change. And God will do all this, all this--somebody who's struggling right now, if the only prayer you can pray is, "Lord, my heart's hard. I love this thing, but I'm willing for you to make me to be made willing.

" Start there. You work on the plan of addition, and God will work on the plan of multiplication. And you will find it will put that enmity within you to want to get away from sin and hunger and thirst for righteousness. The cross is the place where for 2,000 years God has been breaking the hearts of hardened men and women and different men and women. I was somewhere the other day listening to a gentleman or watching a gentleman.

He was a man's man if ever there was one. He was a big, hunky guy. And he'd been in prison. And he was resistant to the Gospel. But one day he decided to make a start and find out.

And that big boy, that big guy finished up on his knees with a broken heart. He was a different person. He wasn't a tough guy anymore. He was a Son of God. And that's the amazing thing that God can do at the cross.

I should have got the reference, but I didn't. I often do this. I think it's in "Desire of Ages," where it gives a good definition of sin. It goes something like this. We often sorrow because of the consequences that sin brings to us.

But this is not repentance. True repentance comes when we see what our sins do to Jesus, when we realize that we have nailed him there through our behavior, it gives us an abhorrence of evil and a desire to detest it and turn away from it. Something like that, some of you have read it. It's a fairly well-known one. So this is how God works to change us, to wash us clean.

Wash us clean in the just sense that the record is washed clean. We're forgiven. Though that's not fully told our sins are blotted out in the sanctuary, the record is there. But "forgiven" is written at the side. And also to cleanse us from this terrible thing.

And as I mentioned once more I think, once some time back when I was doing Sabbath school here, when God transforms us he makes a clean start. God is not in the structure modification or the remodeling business. He's not a repair specialist; he's a demolition expert. He comes in, he knocks the whole thing down. Bam! He knocks the whole thing down, totally destroying that which was old and decrepit and sinful and starting from the ground up, building a whole new person.

Because he gives us not a modified heart, not a heart back that's got bandaids on it and it's stitched up down here and it's got a clip on over here or stapled in this part. It gives us a new heart. Read about that in Ezekiel 36. Let's look really quick. Somebody read Ezekiel 36:26-27.

Somebody over here. Andrew, thank you. "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments , and do them." Thank you very much. Thank you, thank you very much indeed.

A new heart. Some time ago a thought came to me, and I wrote it down here between the old and new testament. That new heart is where Jesus lives. This is what I wrote here. Jesus, when Jesus is in your heart, Jesus will make your heart an alien and hostile environment for sin.

It may try to enter and look for a place to nest. But as long as Jesus is there, it will find none and be obliged to leave. So I haven't. Sin tries to flutter in there, no place to go, out the door. Actually the sin doesn't even get in when Jesus is there actually.

Jesus slays it on the threshold. But you get the picture language I'm assuming. Okay, we got to move on here. Time's almost--now let's go to Thursday, "in the sanctuary of his wings." David was forgiven of his sin, but as we know, there was still consequences to be faced. And we mentioned this near the beginning.

To be faced with--there was strife and death that was going to come in his own family. There was even a coup, a temporary coup, led by his son absalom. There was further bloodshed in his life and in his kingdom. However, as God was merciful to David as a sinner, he was just as merciful to David as the sinner suffering the bitter outcome of his sin. And the lesson tells us in psalm 61, it's thought that this is written by David during his period in exile, it was thought that after absalom and his son usurped the throne.

Now as we read here, we hopefully we can catch David's anguish, while at the same time his trust in God to comfort and protect him. Psalm 61:1-4, "hear my cry, o God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of the earth will I call unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than i. For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in thy tabernacles for ever; I will trust in the covert of thy wings.

" We can be sure that God heard every prayer, every word that poured out of David's heart and counted every tear that ran down his cheek, as he expressed his heart-pain to God. And yet at the same time, as he was going through this fiery trial, he expressed faith that God would still bring him through it. In psalm 61:1, he says to God, "thou wilt prolong the King's life; and his years as many generations." So just to know in the midst of the upheaval and strife, David had a refuge for his heart under the shadow of God's wings where there was the bomb of gilead, in spite of the fact that God had pronounced judgments upon him. And that can be the same for us, you know. There are consequences, but God can help us.

And if we trust him, all things will work together for God. In fact, the lesson tells us, there's a statement from "Patriarchs and Prophets," 725, "though David had fallen, the Lord lifted him up. He was now more fully in harmony with God and in sympathy with his fellows than before he fell." So it's not the path we should choose, but if we are truly penitent, God can take a bad thing with David, and it can actually bring something good out of it for him. And I want to conclude with this. How do we rate sometimes when we hear--how do we rate on God's scale of compassion in dealing with a sinner? How do we rate sometimes when we hear that somebody in the church has had a moral fall? Do we just feel anguished and grieved that God's law has been broken and disgrace and shame has been brought upon his name? Do we feel that? Do we also at the same time feel this deep sorrow for the one who has fallen? We fall on our knees before God and we weep for this person, praying that God will restore them, praying that God will help them and heal them, praying with all our heart that God will stop satan taking advantage of them, perhaps at this very vulnerable time in their life.

Is that how we feel? That's how we should feel, isn't it? But if we're honest, I wonder if maybe sometimes, we kind of relate to somebody who's fallen, not so much with concern, but kind of an interest. You know, like you watch the evening news and there's a high-speed chase on the freeway. And you just totally engrossed and you're totally interested in this, and you think, you know, "what's going to happen here?" And you're sitting back totally distant, abstract from these people who are actually in this situation. We can be sometimes like that I think with people in the church who are falling or are going through grief. And we kind of look and we think, you know, we're not interested perhaps than heart-broken for them.

Like somebody watching a soap on the television and somebody's in trouble, you know, and they get into some moral dilemma. And grandmother's watching and she says, "wow, I wonder how they're going to get out of this one?" And I think sometimes in church we might have the same attitude sometimes. Somebody you hear about, oh pretty high position in the church, an elder, instead of weeping for this person, you think, "oh, I wonder how they're going to get out of this one? Be interesting to see." Now you wouldn't want to admit to people that this is kind of interesting, you know, it's a little different. Would you dare admit that in some ways it's almost a little bit of pleasure as you would read a novel or something like that. You can search your hearts on that one.

We have to stop there right now. The free offer is--if the ushers would like to come forward. The free offer is "the armor of God." And if you call the number 1-866-study-more, or 1-866-788-3966. Ask for--the offer number's not on there, but it's "the armor of God." If you're in the continental United States, Amazing Facts will send this to you free.

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