Just as a snowball starts to roll down a hill and gain size and momentum as it continues, so our sin too, if undealt with, can grow in depth and breadth. 2 Samuel 11 gives us one of the clearest examples of this tragedy.
SMALL SIN BECOMES BIG
The first two verses show David at home and resting while Joab, his chief general, leads his army to war. Maybe David was delegating, but it seems that the author is painting a picture of David’s life of self-indulgence. It’s not that David was initially in some gross, outward sin, but maybe that he was just a little lazy or lethargic.
He rises from his bed late one afternoon to walk upon the roof during the cool of the day. Has he been napping? Taking a nap isn’t necessarily wrong. But idle hands often are the devil’s workshop, and we must be careful.
He notices a beautiful woman next door bathing. Most men would be tempted. The first thought in our minds in regards to lust in any area, not just sexual, is not necessarily sinful. It is the temptation presenting itself to us. Even Christ was tempted (Matthew 4:1-11, Hebrews 4:15). The important thing is what we do with the second thought, the second glance. Martin Luther said that you can’t stop birds from flying over your head, but you can stop them from building a nest in your hair. David decided to let the birds nest.
Rather than fleeing the situation and maybe seeking help from his wife, he asked a servant who this bathing beauty was. She was the wife of one of his mighty men, one of his most trusted warriors. Often in ancient times those most loyal to the king would live closest to the king to help protect him. It is no wonder Uriah lived so close. What is shocking is how David decided to reward his loyalty.
Lust has now conceived, and it turns into full-blown adultery. He sends for her and she comes. They spend one night together. A small sin of lust and laziness has turned into a much larger sin of adultery. Oh, if David had only taken the first lustful thought captive to the obedience of His Savior.
PERSONAL SIN BECOMES CORPORATE
Many of us lie to ourselves about our sins by saying it doesn’t hurt anyone else. This is true of many sins, especially of secret sexual sin. “My porn addiction isn’t really hurting anyone, so how bad can it be.” But this is never true. Sin always splatters. Don’t fool yourself; God is not mocked.
David involved his servant in his sin at some level, making the man complicit. Bathsheba certainly bears some responsibility, but it’s not clear how much. David brings Uriah home quickly to try to cover up his sin because Bathsheba has become pregnant. Part of David’s attempt to make the loyal man sleep with his wife is to get him drunk. David’s sin is spreading, but so far, the cover up hasn’t worked. Uriah refuses to go home while his friends are still in the field.
As a result, David moves to have Uriah killed in battle. He enlists Joab’s help. Joab seems happy to oblige. More and more people are added to David’s sin that began as so small and personal.
HIDDEN SIN BECOMES DEADLY
As we have already seen, in David’s attempt to cover his sin, a loyal man lost his life. Not only did a marriage die, but also David’s intimacy with God died for a while because he so grieved God’s heart.
In chapter 12 when Nathan the prophet comes to rebuke David, he tells him that Bathsheba and David’s first child will die and that a civil war will erupt that will kill more of his family and men. Hidden sin can literally become deadly.
Haven’t you seen how in your own life when you attempt to hide your sin from God and others, it leads to more pain, heartache, and spiritual death in the long run? Satan loves it when we try and hide our sin. He thrives in such darkness.
CONFESSED SIN BECOMES FORGIVEN
Nathan offers David a stinging rebuke in chapter 12. David crumbles and confesses his sin quickly and directly. Often times when we sin, we feel the need to do emotional penance before we can turn back to the Lord. But here we see no groveling. All we see is a sincere and genuine humility and honesty about his sinfulness. In a short sentence, he admits his sin.
What is even more amazing is how fast Nathan, the mouthpiece of God, pronounces full and free forgiveness. “The Lord has taken your sin away.” God is so kind, loving, gracious and merciful. He is quick to receive a repentant child. We don’t have to stay in our sinfulness for one second. 1 John 1:9 is so true. If at a heart level we truly agree with God that our sin is wrong and that we desire to be done with it, He will forgive us fully and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
MY SIN BECOMES HIS
Small sin becomes big sin. Personal sin becomes corporate. Hidden sin becomes deadly. Sin grows so quick, so wide, so deep, and yet just honest confession to our Savior will bring instant mercy.
How does God forgive so quickly? Where did God take David’s sin? What did he do with it?
Romans 3:25-26 shows us that one of the reasons Christ died on the cross was to pay the price of Old Testament saints that God had forgiven. Jesus actually was born from the lineage of David and Bathsheba. A Son that resulted from that sinful union would shed His blood one day to forgive David’s bloodshed. That same Jesus will forgive us of all our sin when we come to Him.