“But if you fail to do this, you will be sinning against the Lord; and you may be sure that your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23).
Moses was speaking with the Israelites about not following the Lord in settling over the Jordan. Not seeking the Lord to go before them would mean disaster and it was sin. Have you sinned, confessed, repented and been forgiven or do you regret what you have done and still are stuck in it? Scripture tells us, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
There are many examples of sin in Scripture that led to severe consequences and death, until repented. King David and his sin with Bathsheba is perhaps the best-known story. In this sad case, David sinned and then covered it up to the extent of having Bathsheba’s husband killed to set up a rouse that he was the father of the child not David. Well, it didn’t work. David was found out. Psalm 32 tells us, “Blessed is he whose transgressions is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. When I was silent, my bones grew old through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was turned into the drought of summer. I acknowledged my sin to you, and my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’ and you will forgiven the iniquity of my sin” (Psalm 32:1-5). David delineates a process wherein his sin was heavy upon him until he confessed to the Lord. Actually we know from the sequence in 2 Samuel that David did not confess until the prophet Nathan went to him and confronted him in his sin. David then was crushed and knew that he had sinned against the Lord, but confessed and was forgiven. However, there were consequences to his sin, there always are. David and Bathsheba’s love child died and David’s life, although once full of valor was filled with sorrow over a runaway family even with his son Absalom treasonously trying to overthrow eventually tragically leading to his death. David was a broken man, yet more wise about sin, even believing that the cursing from a Wildman Shimei in 2 Samuel 16 might have some truth in it.
Sin will find you out. I think of President Clinton and his lies, that eventually were uncovered leading to impeachment trials. President Nixon’s cover up and Clinton have caused the Office of the President to be forever marred.
My own sin found me out during a very intense period of my professional life as a turnaround hospital CEO. I led troubled hospitals through transitions back from bankruptcy. The overwhelmingly intense processes through hospital reorganizations turned them and myself upside down. Long days and weeks, leading to months of intense 16-hour days led to heavy drinking and moral mistakes. Several of these efforts led to successful hospital turnarounds, but crushed me, causing the end of my hospital career at the C-level. Confession and repentance has led to forgiveness and the Lord’s blessing me with a new career in His “calling” for me.
I have been a hospital chaplain for the past 15 years having been restored and completing seminary and two years of chaplaincy training to move from “the front office to bedside.” This process is journaled in my book, Hospital Parables: “Front Office to Bedside.” Now I serve people in crisis in hospitals that were once in crisis as I served in a different capacity.
David learned very hard lessons that he spoke out in Psalm 55. “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to your lovingkindness; according to the multitude of Your tender mercies. Blot out my transgressions, wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned…Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me…Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean, wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me hear joy and gladness, that the bones You have broken may rejoice…Create in me a clean heart and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me” (Psalm 55 excerpts). David confessed and was forgiven. He was the only man, even in his sin that it was said, “And when he had removed him, he raised up David to be their king, of whom he testified and said, ‘I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.’” (Acts 13:22).
Jeremiah the Prophet said, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? “I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind,to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.” (Jeremiah 17:9-10). This is a scary verse about man. Coupled with David’s statement that we are sinful from conception, we are indeed a dark people, only to be saved from our sin by believing what God Himself did for us through His Son. God said to Solomon when building the temple, “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14). This was also the theme verse of a Sacred Assembly, Stand In The Gap, of nearly 1.3 million men, that I also attended in October, 1997, occupying the Washington D.C. mall to pray for our nation and its sin. It was the largest meeting in the nation’s history for nay purpose. God take our sin and our repentance of it seriously. I believe that our country in morally bankrupt, a state that can only be dealt with by turning to God in confession of sin, repentance and prayer. May it not be too late.