Learning to Kiss the Heavy Hand of God

October 12th 2023



Learning to Kiss the Heavy Hand of God

Introduction

Charles Spurgeon is often credited with saying, “I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me against the Rock of Ages.” In that expression it’s hard to see anything other than a man who is fully invested in trusting God. The truth of the sentiment also comes to bear regarding God’s heavy hand of discipline. We could rightly say, “I have learned to kiss the heavy hand that leads me back to the safe refuge of the Rock of Ages.”

David’s Rebellion

It was a season of selfishness and sinful rebellion in David’s life. 2 Samuel 11:1 says, “In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel. And they ravaged the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem.” David was king. It was his role and responsibility to execute God’s justice in the land and keep the peace. Instead, he chose to be selfish and take a holiday.

The text goes on to describe a very familiar scene. In his defenseless afternoon stupor, David went to his roof, spied a beautiful woman bathing, and took her for his own. When she became pregnant, knowing she was the wife of his friend, Uriah, David attempted to cover up his sin by calling his friend back from battle to lay with his wife. When he refused, David sent him back to battle and arranged for a battlefield execution. The army would charge with Uriah at the vanguard; they would then pull back and leave him to be struck down by the enemy.

Upon the death of Uriah, David took Bathsheba to be his wife. He sought to cover his adultery by claiming that the child conceived was due to their union rather than his lust. Verse 27 of 2 Samuel tells us that nothing David did during this season of his life pleased the LORD.

David’s Realization

When David had rested in what he thought was the end of his cover-up, God intervened on his behalf. In 2 Samuel 12, Nathan the prophet came and confronted David with a story of injustice. Upon hearing the story, David was furious. To think of a rich man taking the lamb of a poor man caused David to demand that justice be repaid four-fold. Nathan, however, illuminated David with the reality that, in this example, he was indeed the rich man. It was he who had robbed his friend Uriah of his life and his bride, all because of the lust of his flesh and the greed of his eyes.

When David realized what he had done, he confessed and repented of his sin. God, in his gracious love for David, allowed for his heavy hand to fall on his life, without which, David may have never seen the error of his ways. The chapter tells us that God covered David’s sin. God would not require his life in payment for what he had done, but the consequences for his newborn son, and for the future of his house, would be dire.

David’s heart is poured out and exposed for us in Psalm 32 and Psalm 51 during this season of his life. Psalm 32:1 says, “Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.” Verses 3–4 goes on to shed light on how David was feeling, even in what he thought was relative success of his cover-up. The Psalm says, “For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.” Psalm 51 shares David’s penitent heart of confession when he cries in verse 1, “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy; blot out my transgressions.”

David’s Restoration

When we continue reading in Psalm 32:5, David says, “I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,’ and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.” In his repentance, David calls all who are godly to offer prayer to the LORD, and in doing so, they will find protection, preservation, restoration, and deliverance from death. God’s instruction through the kindness of his grace will be evident in the life of any believer who seeks the Lord in humility with an attitude of repentance, confession, and desiring forgiveness.

The result of David’s full confession, which we find in Psalm 51, is that David’s heart is realigned with God. The joy of his salvation is restored. David then says in verse 13, “Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.” The result of God’s heavy hand on David was his confession, repentance, and restoration, yes, but it would also be praising the name of God, bringing him glory, and teaching sinners about his grace. David also confesses a beautiful truth of a true heart of worship. Psalm 51:7 says, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”

God’s Heavy Hand as a Grace for Our Assurance

None of what we read in these two incredible and uplifting Psalms would have happened without the heavy hand of God. David could have gotten away with his sin. God could have left him in his unrepentant sin. God could have chosen not to restore David. But the LORD, in his steadfast covenant love for his people, thankfully does not do this! Hebrews 12 instructs us not to take lightly or disregard the corrective hand of God’s discipline, because God demonstrates the fact that he cares for us in his shaping, molding, discipline of us! Only through his love for us would God care enough to desire a good and righteous outcome in our lives.

In the same manner, the subject of our assurance of salvation (that is, our sense of God’s closeness and guarantee of our redemption) is addressed in 1 John as a theme. John reminds us that when we sin as a habit or in a high-handed and unrepentant way, we will feel God’s heavy hand through the removal of assurance. Just like when we sin against a loved-one, before that sin is confessed and restoration occurs, there is doubt about the status of the relationship, is there not? We wonder if we will ever have the same level of love for that person or from that person, until confession and restoration happens! In the same manner, removal of assurance serves to draw us back to our loving Father who will never turn us away. This act of God’s heavy hand is a measure of loving discipline, which God employs to call his children back into faithful, obedient, repentant, and restored covenant relationship with him.

Conclusion

Occasionally, the heavy hand of God will fall upon us in our lives. All of us have faced it, because we have all sinned. We have all fallen, like David, and tried to cover up our sin instead of exposing it before God. Our Father, though, being righteous and holy, cannot abide with such sin. So, in his love for us, he exercises discipline by laying his heavy hand of gracious reproof upon us, causing us to suffer physical, spiritual, and emotional stress, just like David, until we run to him for restoration. But remember, God’s heavy hand only falls on those he loves! Hebrews 12:6 says, “For the lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”

The next time you are sensing God’s heavy hand upon your life, do not recoil from it. Do not run from it! Instead, know the truth. God’s heavy hand falls only upon his sons and daughters, and it is only extended to those with whom he desires a right relationship. We must see God’s heavy hand as a loving act of the Father in heaven drawing us back to himself, and we must all learn to kiss the heavy hand of God that draws us back to the safe refuge of the Rock of Ages.

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Author: Kyle Swanson

Kyle Swanson earned a Master of Divinity from The Master’s Seminary followed by a Doctor of Ministry from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He currently serves as Pastor & Elder on staff at Redeemer Bible Church. Pastor Kyle's roles involve overseeing classroom training, missions, conferences, and various other ministry responsibilities. Kyle and his wife Jackie have one child, a daughter named Lucy. Together they enjoy good food, good movies, their dog Darby, and traveling together to new places.