Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Sin's bitter consequences

David's grief over Absalom - Artist unknown
TODAY'S SPECIAL: 2 Samuel 18:19-33

TO CHEW ON: "Then the king was deeply moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept. And as he went he said thus: 'O my son Absalom—my son, my son Absalom—if only I had died in your place! O Absalom, my son, my son!'" 2 Samuel 18:33

David's only reaction to his army's victory over Absalom is grief. In fact he is so overwhelmed with that one emotion that Joab, his army captain, lectures him about the effect this is having on the army's morale (2 Samuel 19:1-7).

The writer of my Bible's notes makes an astute observation about David's sorrow: "Part of his grief has to be the awareness that his sin ultimately had killed his sons" - Jerry Cook, notes to 2 Samuel, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 425.

How so?

Remember the words of prophet Nathan who pronounced this consequence of his sin with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband? "'Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife'" 2 Samuel 12:10.

Witness the fulfillment of that when:
  • Absalom killed his brother Amnon in revenge for Amnon defiling Absalom's sister Tamar - 2 Samuel 13:28-29.
  • Absalom himself was killed in battle - 2 Samuel 18:14.
  • After David's death, Solomon executed his half-brother Adonijah after Adonijah's sneaky attempt to wrest power back into his hands by asking for Abishag (who had been King David's companion) as his wife - 1 Kings 2:25.

If anything, I believe it is easier than ever for us to feel that we will escape sin's consequences, living as we do in the era of grace. But maybe we shouldn't be so sure about that. For though God forgives our sins and casts them away "as far as the east is from the west" (Psalm 103:12), we may still need to deal with their aftermath and consequences in health, wealth, relationships, reputation etc.

Realizing this is an incentive for us to live life from this moment on with more attention than ever to uprightness and integrity.

PRAYER: Dear God, please point out to me areas in my life where there will be bad consequences if I stay the course. Help me to clean up my act and life with integrity before you and others. Amen.

MORE: Consequences of forgiven sin
"...the aim of God-sent consequences of forgiven sin is not to settle accounts demanded by retributive justice. The aim of the God-sent consequences of forgiven sin are (1) to demonstrate the exceeding evil of sin, (2) to show that God does not take sin lightly even when he lays aside his punishment, (3) to humble and sanctify the forgiven sinner

Thus Hebrews 12:6 teaches that “the Lord disciplines him whom he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” This is immensely important to teach in a day when there is an imbalance of emphasis on the Father’s forgiving tenderness to the exclusion of the Father’s forgiving toughness. Thus many people have no categories to handle the consequences of the sins in their lives except to become less biblical and God-centered in their interpretation of life.

... We must not equate forgiveness with absence of painful impact. David’s life is a vivid illustration of this truth. May God give us the grace to learn it and live it."

- By John Piper, © 2012 Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org (emphasis added).  Read all of Consequences of Forgiven Sin.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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