The Truth About Secrets

Everyone has a story to tell, and every part of our lives make up that story… victories, successes and the mistakes. Author Jeannie St. John Taylor wrote a book called “You Wouldn’t Love Me if You Knew” where a boy did something wrong and is afraid he can never be forgiven. He tries to replace the mistake with a series of good deeds but he never feels good enough. Once he comes clean, he learns a powerful truth about forgiveness.

  1. When was the last time you felt unforgivable? What did you learn?
  2. How often to you feel like that little boy… if we only knew your deepest and darkest most private secrets of your life?
  3. If you are currently keeping a secret, why do you think you are afraid to be honest?
  4. When was a time where you came clean with a secret, how did the most important people in your life respond?
  5. How do relationship suffer or benefit from being vulnerable?

Video Questions:

  1. How did you feel after seeing this scene in the film?
  2. How do you think Hannah felt when Cindy denied her the truth she was seeking? How can you relate?
  3. Has someone close to you ever kept a secret (the truth) from you? How did you feel? How did you respond when you learned the truth?
  4. How can you relate to Cindy’s response in this scene?

Bible Study: (2 Samuel 12:1-17) David is a man that has all of his ups and downs record for the world to see, throughout generations of time. The man after God’s own heart, the adulterous murderer king.

David was a giant among godly leaders, but he remained human as his sin with Bathsheba and Uriah showed. He spied Bathsheba bathing, desired her, and engineered the death of her faithful warrior husband, after committing adultery with her (2 Sam. 11).

Nathan, the prophet, confronted David with his secret sin, and David confessed his wrongdoing. The newborn child of David and Bathsheba died. David acknowledged his helplessness in the situation, confessing faith that he would go to be with the child one day. Bathsheba conceived again, bearing Solomon (2 Samuel 12:1-25).

  1. How is it easier to see the sin in someone else but not see it in ourselves? (2 Samuel 12:5-6)
  2. What did Nathan say would be the result of David’s sin? (2 Samuel 12:10-14)
  3. How did David respond when his sin was uncovered? (2 Samuel 12:16-17)
  4. How are you impacted by knowing that David was forgiven but still had to endure the consequences of his sin?

For the rest of the story: Able to rule the people but not his family, David saw intrigue, sexual sins, and murder rock his own household, resulting in his isolation from and eventual retreat before his son Absalom.

  • David grieved long and deep when his army killed Absalom (2 Samuel 18:19-33).
  • David’s kingdom was restored, but the hints of division between Judah and Israel remained (2 Samuel 19:40-43).
  • David had to put down a northern revolt (2 Samuel 20).
  • The last act the books of Samuel report about David is his census of the people, bringing God’s anger but also preparing a place for the temple to be built (2 Samuel 24).
  • The last chapters of 1 Chronicles describe extensive preparations David made for the building and the worship services of the temple.
  • David’s final days involved renewed intrigue among his family, as Adonijah sought to inherit his father’s throne, but Nathan and Bathsheba worked to ensure that Solomon became the next king (1 Kings 1:1-2:12).

Take a look at Psalm 32:

  1. David writes these psalms as confession of his sin. Psalm 32:3 mentions that he kept silent about his sin, how did that make him feel physically and emotionally? (Psalm 32:3-4)
  2. What are some ways that you see sin and guilt affecting people?
  3. According to Psalm 32:5, what did David do and what did God do?
  4. What lessons did David learn about sin and secrets (Bathsheba, Uriah, the front lines)? (Psalm 32:6-11)

A baby lost his life, a warrior lost his life, a woman lost her husband… but don’t judge David too harshly. How have you been like David the sinner?

Take a look at Psalm 51: this is a deeper confession of David’s sin

How have you been like David the forgiven?

The fact is that we have all done horrible things and we try to put on the false face to hide the truth from other people. Here are a few truths about secrets:

  1. Secrets birth other secrets.
  2. Secrets make us lonely.
  3. Secrets disconnect us from other people.
  4. Secrets are not secrets from God, while they do strain our relationship with him.
  5. Secrets prevent us from being fully alive in Christ.
  6. Secrets lose their power when they are shared.

Assignment and Challenge:

  1. What is there about your personality that not many people know?
  2. What is something you have overcome that not many people know?
  3. What is something with which you struggle that not many people know?

What Does the Bible Say About Keeping Secrets?

A secret can be difficult to keep and equally difficult to share, yet life seems to run on secrets, from concealing birthday presents, to obscuring a difficult past, to protecting the whereabouts of an important political figure. The Bible teaches, indirectly, that secrets can be either good or bad, but it does not clearly delineate the right and wrong uses of secrets.

Throughout the history of Israel, political and military secrets are mentioned without pronouncing any moral judgments for or against them (e.g., 2 Samuel 15:35-36). However, in the story of Samson and Delilah (Judges 16:4-22), Samson reveals the source of his strength, an act which, based on the aftermath of his admission, was awfully stupid. It was a secret he should have kept.

Esther’s story provides a positive example of someone who kept a secret. Her decision to hide her nationality (Esther 2:20) became an integral part of God’s plan to save His people (Esther 4:13; 7:3-6). The same story also supports the morality of revealing a secret that, if kept hidden, would cause great wrong or serious harm (Esther 2:21-23).

Proverbs, the central book among the “wisdom literature” of the Bible, is the most explicit about secrets. Chapter 11 says that “a man of understanding holds his tongue. A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret” (Proverbs 11:12-13). So, keeping a secret can be noble, but secrets kept for the wrong reason earn a person the title of “wicked,” for “a wicked man accepts a bribe in secret to pervert the course of justice” (Proverbs 17:23), and “whoever slanders his neighbor in secret, him will I put to silence” (Psalm 101:5).

One type of secret is always wrong: trying to hide sin. “He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy” (Proverbs 28:13). When it comes to our sin, God wants full disclosure, and He grants full forgiveness (Isaiah 1:18).

Of course, there’s no use trying to hide our sin from God. Nothing can be kept from Him. He is “the God of gods . . . and a revealer of secrets” (Daniel 2:47). Even our “secret sins” are exposed in His light (Psalm 90:8). “For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light” (Luke 8:17).

God Himself keeps some things—likely many things—hidden from us: “The secret things belong to the LORD our God” (Deuteronomy 29:29). Jesus asked several people to keep miracles He had done secret. For example, Jesus healed two blind men and told them to “see that no one knows about this” (Matthew 9:30). When Job realized the immensity of God’s knowledge, he spoke of “things too wonderful for me to know” (Job 42:3).

We can conclude that God does not consider keeping a secret to be sinful in and of itself. There are some things that people should know and some things they should not. God’s concern is how secrets are used, whether to protect or to hurt.

[print_link] [email_link]

Related Images:

Leaders Must Guard Their Integrity

As men, we must constantly be on guard in walking with integrity. People are looking even when we think they are not. More than likely, all of us have broken some sacred trust, perhaps to our wife, kids, or close friend. It’s not easy to live up to the expectations of others, but we break trust by not living up to the standard we have set for others. Hypocrisy might be an accurate word. King David is one of my favorite men in the Bible; he was so great in the eyes of God and men, but he was also so stupid at times.

The life of King David was filled with numerous triumphs, conquests, and successes. He took down Goliath all by himself with a sling and a stone. He wrote many of the psalms from which we find comfort in our times of difficulty. He led the nation of Israel and was considered by many to be its greatest leader. But he had a darker side that was eventually exposed by the prophet Nathan. Surely the sins of David would find him out.

I gave you your master’s house and his wives and the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. And if that had not been enough, I would have given you much, much more. Why, then, have you despised the word of the LORD and done this horrible deed? For you have murdered Uriah the Hittite with the sword of the Ammonites and stolen his wife. — 2 Samuel 12:8-9

David also learned a harsh lesson about the importance of trust. While sitting on his rooftop one day (2 Samuel 11:2) when he should have been at war (2 Samuel 11:1), he saw Bathsheba bathing and sent for her. This act led to adultery, the murder of Uriah the Hittite, and a cover-up of the whole situation (2 Samuel 11:14-15). Only when the prophet Nathan confronted David about his actions did the king ask God for forgiveness (2 Samuel 12:7, 8, 9, 13). However, the Lord did not let David off easy. The child he fathered with Bathsheba died (2 Samuel 12:14), there was a constant threat of murder in his family (2 Samuel 12:11-12), and his son Absalom caused David problems until he was killed in battle (2 Samuel 18:9, 14-15).

When someone is trusted with a leadership role, they are given the opportunity to use their talents, time, and influence for causes bigger than themselves. As they make good decisions while showing integrity and concern for others, they earn trust. John Maxwell says this is like putting change in your pocket. When a man betrays that trust, it becomes difficult to regain. The leader has to pay some of their change back to the people. When someone runs out of change, trust is gone. When trust is gone, the leader ceases to be a leader.

King David’s story should serve as a reminder of the importance of trust and how quickly it can disappear. Men, allow God to mold and refine your character so that your decisions will inspire others to trust your abilities.

Related Images:

Could it Happen to You?

If you wanted a study of character, nobility, wisdom, courage, and devotion; you could not find a better man than David. The Bible calls him, “… a man after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22).

Yet there was a dark chapter in David’s life. Even though he was a great man and lover of God, David committed a horrible sin against God and others. He entered into an adulterous relationship with another man’s wife, Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11:3, 4). Then, in an attempt to cover his sin, he arranged to have her husband, Uriah, killed (2 Samuel 11:6, 15).

We need to be warned! If it could happen to David, it can happen to us. First Corinthians 10:12 says, “…let him that thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” So, we need to see how and why this happened in David’s life to help it not happen to us.

Second Samuel 11:1-2 says, “In the spring of the year, when kings normally go out to war, David sent Joab and the Israelite army to fight the Ammonites. They destroyed the Ammonite army and laid siege to the city of Rabbah. However, David stayed behind in Jerusalem. Late one afternoon, after his midday rest, David got out of bed and was walking on the roof of the palace. As he looked out over the city, he noticed a woman of unusual beauty taking a bath.”

The Sin of Casualness:
What was David’s sin? In the beginning, it was simply the sin of casualness. The harvest time was over, and there were battles to be fought; yet David remained at home. He did not do anything wrong in itself; he just failed to do what was right. He was a king, but he lay around in bed all day while others fought.

Maybe the battle-scarred veteran thought, “I’ve done my time on the battlefield; I need a little rest and relaxation.” Don’t ever think you have done your service to Jesus and you can quit.

The Sin of dis-Connectedness:

I think David was also alone; he did not have another man to keep him accountable or faithful. A man who is disconnected will fall for lack of focus and counsel. Life unchecked will often lead to ruin. Had David been in an accountability relationship, perhaps this whole scenario could have been avoided. Every man needs to be connected to other men, or he will be led astray by his own desires, passions and weaknesses.

The Sin of Carelessness:
It was also a sin of carelessness. David had failed to keep up his guard. How different David was from Joseph. When tempted by Potiphar’s wife, Joseph immediately fled (see Genesis 39:11-13). He obeyed what later would be an imperative by the apostle Paul, “Flee fornication” (1 Corinthians 6:18). Jesus also warned the apostles in Matthew 26:41: “Watch and pray, that you don’t enter into temptation.”

You will have times in your life when everything is going just fine and you don’t feel any unusual temptation, but watch out for the sin of carelessness.

The Sin of Compulsiveness:
David’s sin was also a sin of compulsiveness. It has been said that sin is an undetected weakness, an unexpected opportunity, and an unprotected life. That was true in David’s life. He didn’t intend to sin; it just happened. He looked over the wall and there she was. He called his servants and said, “Get her for me” (2 Samuel 11:4).

You may say, “Well, that couldn’t happen to me.” David would have said the same thing before he compulsively fell into sin. There are three people seated in your seat right now: the person you are this very moment; the person you could be for God; and the person you could be for evil.

The Sin of Callousness:
The sin of David doesn’t end with Bathsheba. David became calloused and tried to cover his sin. When he found out Bathsheba was pregnant, he attempted to hide the fact that the baby was his. When that failed, he arranged for Bathsheba’s husband to be placed on the front line of battle and killed (see 2 Samuel11:5-17).

Can you imagine this is David doing such a thing? When he committed adultery with Bathsheba, that was bad enough; but it was a hot-blooded sin. Now, what he does to Uriah is cold-blooded murder. See where his carelessness led him. David had been hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

It Could Happen to You!
This is a sad story, and God was grieved by it (2 Samuel 11:27). David also grieved over his sin and finally cried out to God for mercy. And as we read about the rest of his life (2 Samuel 12 through 1 Kings 2), we see that the consequences of David’s sin followed him; but David received forgiveness from God.

You very well might say, “That’s an interesting story; maybe I can pass it on to somebody else who needs it.” Then you missed the point. David got into trouble with the sin of casualness. He didn’t go roaring into sin. Don’t ever think it couldn’t happen to you. Is your heart cold? Get it warm. Have you been lazy? Go to work. Have you been careless? Keep the fire burning for Christ and His mission.

Don’t take that first step toward sin. It will cost you more than you want to pay.

Related Images:

Covenants in the Bible

Covenant is a pact, treaty, alliance, or agreement between two parties of equal or of unequal authority. The covenant or testament is a central, unifying theme in Scripture, God’s covenants with individuals and the nation Israel finding final fulfillment in the new covenant in Christ Jesus. God’s covenants can be understood by humans because they are modeled on human covenants or treaties.

The Bible speaks of seven different covenants, five of which God made with the nation of Israel. Five are unconditional in nature, which means regardless of Israel’s obedience or disobedience, God will fulfill these covenants with the nation of Israel. One of the covenants is conditional, meaning this covenant will bring either blessing or cursing depending on Israel’s obedience or disobedience.

The Adamic Covenant comes in two parts: the Edenic Covenant (innocence – Genesis 1:26-30; 2:16-17) and the Adamic Covenant (grace – Genesis 3:16-19). The Edenic Covenant outlined man’s responsibility toward creation and God’s one rule regarding the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The Adamic Covenant included the curses pronounced against mankind for the sin of Adam and Eve, and includes God’s provision for that sin (Genesis 3:15).

  1. God’s Promise – Satan and mankind will be enemies.
  2. God’s Sign – Pain of childbirth, toil in work (Genesis 3:16, 17).

The Noahic Covenant was an unconditional covenant between God and Noah and mankind. After the Flood, God promised that He would never again destroy all life on earth with water. He gave the rainbow as the sign of that covenant and a reminder that God can and will judge sin (2 Peter 2:5).

  1. God’s Promise – God would never again destroy the earth with a flood.
  2. God’s Sign – Rainbow (Genesis 9:12-13).

Abrahamic Covenant (Genesis 12:1-3, 6-7; 13:14-17; 15:12-21; 17:1-14; 22:15-18). In this covenant, God promised that He would make Abraham’s name great (Genesis 12:2), that Abraham would have numerous descendants (Genesis 13:16), and that he would be the father of a multitude of nations (Genesis 17:4-5). God also made promises regarding the nation of Israel. Geographical boundaries of the Abrahamic Covenant are laid out in Genesis 12:7; 13:14-15; 15:18-21. In the Abrahamic Covenant, all the families of the world will be blessed through the line of Abraham (Genesis 12:3; 22:18). This means the Messiah, who would come from the line of Abraham.

  1. God’s Promise – Abraham’s descendants would become a great nation if they obeyed God, and He would be their God forever.
  2. God’s Sign – Smoking fire pot and blazing torch (Genesis 15:17-18).

Palestinian Covenant (Deuteronomy 30:1-10). The Palestinian Covenant amplifies the land aspect which was detailed in the Abrahamic Covenant. In this covenant, God, because of the people’s disobedience, would cause them to be scattered around the world (Deuteronomy 30:3-4), and He would eventually restore the nation together (Deuteronomy 30:5). When the nation is restored, then they will obey Him perfectly (Deuteronomy 30:8), and God will cause them to prosper (Deuteronomy 30:9). See also Deuteronomy 28, 29. Because of this covenant, the right of the Jews to live in the land is conditional upon their behavior. This partly conditional covenant has several parts:

  1. Dispersion of the Jews was to be a consequence of disobedience.
  2. Future repentance will be accomplished by God.
  3. God will regather his scattered people and restore them to the land.
  4. The people of Israel will be brought to the Lord as a nation.
  5. The enemies and oppressors of Israel will be punished.
  6. Future national prosperity and preeminence is guaranteed.

Mosaic Covenant (Exodus 19:5-6, Deuteronomy 11). The Mosaic Covenant was a conditional covenant that either brought God’s blessing for obedience or God’s cursing for disobedience. The ten commandments (found in Exodus 20) is part of the covenant. The history books of the Old Testament (Joshua-Esther) show how Israel succeeded at obeying the law or how Israel failed at keeping the law. Deuteronomy 11:26-28 details the blessing/cursing theme.

  1. God’s Promise – Israel would be God’s special people, a holy nation. But they would have to keep their part of the covenant – obedience.
  2. God’s Sign – The Exodus, and gathering for worship at Sinai (Exodus 3:12).

Davidic Covenant (2 Samuel 7:8-16). The Davidic Covenant expands the seed detail which was part of the Abrahamic Covenant. The promises to David in this passage are significant because God promised that David’s physical line of descent would last forever and that his kingdom would never pass away permanently (2 Samuel 7:16). This kingdom would have a ruling individual exercising authority over it (2 Samuel 7:16). The Davidic throne has not been in place at all times, but there will be a time when someone from the line of David will again sit on the throne and rule as king. This future king is Jesus (Luke 1:32-33).

  1. God’s Promise – Salvation would come through David’s line through the birth of the Messiah.
  2. God’s Sign – David’s line continued and the Messiah was born a descendant of David (2 Samuel 7:12).

New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34). The New Covenant is one made with the nation of Israel and speaks about the blessings which are detailed in the Abrahamic Covenant. In the New Covenant, God promises to forgive sin and there will be a universal knowledge of the Lord (Jeremiah 31:34). It even appears that the nation of Israel will have a special relationship with God (Jeremiah 31:33).

  1. God’s Promise – Forgiveness and salvation are available through faith in Christ.
  2. God’s Sign – Christ’s resurrection.

How does the church of Jesus Christ relate to the covenants? Some people believe that the church fulfills the covenants and God will never deal with Israel again. This is called replacement theology and has little scriptural evidence. Others believe that the church initially or partially will fulfill these covenants. Many believe that the church shares in the covenants in some way, while others believe that the covenants are for Israel and for Israel alone.

[print_link] [email_link]

Related Images:

Traitors, Friends and Regrets

The end of Absalom is getting closer… notice the correct advice of Ahithophel (2 Samuel 17:1-4), he urges Absalom to attack David’s troops immediately while David is still weary and weak. Then came the crafty advice of Hushai (2 Samuel 17:5-14, 23). He advises that the attack be delayed until a large number of soldiers throughout the land can be assembled, and then Absalom himself should lead them into battle (2 Samuel 17:11). Hushai’s plan is accepted, causing Ahithophel to go home and hang himself. This leads us to the main chapter for today.

  1. Why did David want to go into battle? (2 Samuel 18:2, 5)
  2. How has David benefitted from the delay in Absalom’s attack? (2 Samuel 18:1-2)
  3. Why didn’t Joab and the people want him to go into battle? (2 Samuel 18:3)
  4. What are David’s specific instructions to Joab? (2 Samuel 18:5)
  5. What do you make of the reoccurring phrase, “the young man, Absalom?” (2 Samuel 18:5, 12, 29, 32), perhaps the youthful rebel could still be forgiven.
  6. How do you think this sounded to Joab, Abishai, and Ittai? (2 Samuel 18:5)
  7. With all the betrayal going on, why does David trust these three generals? (2 Samuel 18:5)
  8. How did Absalom die? (2 Samuel 18:9, 14, 15)
  9. What irony do you see in Absalom’s getting hung up? (2 Samuel 18:9, 14:24, 25)
  10. How does the man reporting to Joab respond to Joab’s rebuke? (2 Samuel 18:11, 12, 13)
  11. What do you make of Joab disobeying King David’s order? (2 Samuel 18:5, 12)
  12. What does Joab’s treatment of Absalom reveal about him? (2 Samuel 18:14)
  13. What do they do with Absalom’s body (2 Samuel 18:17, 18) Notice the irony; a heap of stones and a monument to himself (similar to 1 Samuel 15:12). His death as a traitor remains far more memorable than his self-absorbed life. (Deuteronomy 21:20, 21, Joshua 7:26, 8:29)
  14. Why did Ahimaaz want to run back to David, and persist in his request? (2 Samuel 18:19, 22, 23)
  15. What did Joab fear if the truth be known? (2 Samuel 18:21, 31, 32), perhaps killing the Cushite was better than killing one of his soldiers.
  16. Why did Ahimaaz lie when he was in front of the king? (2 Samuel 18:29, 20, 29)
  17. What did David have on his mind when the got the word that they had won the war? (2 Samuel 18:24, 25, 26)
  18. Why is David so preoccupied with Absalom’s safety more than his own? (2 Samuel 18:29)
  19. Why did Ahimaaz waffle in his answer after being so eager about running to tell the king? (2 Samuel 18:28, 29)
  20. Why didn’t the Cushite just say, “Absalom is dead”? (2 Samuel 18:31, 32)
  21. How did David celebrate the victory? (2 Samuel 18:33) But David should have cried these tears long ago, intervening after the rape of his daughter.
  22. This section sends a chill up the spine of any parent. Death would be easier than a life without our children.
  23. How does David feel after Joab’s rebuke? (2 Samuel 19:5, 6, 7) Was Joab right in doing so?

Here are a few life application questions:

  1. Why do you believe that our King is worth ten thousand of us? (2 Samuel 18:3)
  2. These men were pawns in the hands of King David, what will you do tangibly to demonstrate your belief that Jesus is absolutely worthy of our sacrifice?
  3. What news or information or sin are you hiding from the King? What will bring this hidden truth into the light?
  4. From what enemies has God delivered you? Like David, what has preoccupied your mind from the reality of your current situation? What role does your faith and this small group play in your victory?
  5. Think back over this long story. How could David have avoided this eventuality?
  6. What regrets do you think David had at this point?
  7. What is the lesson of this story for our lives? What break in relationship is happening in your family right now? Act quickly to make reconciliation, before it all spirals out of control.


Related Images: