Saturday, January 14, 2017

Sin’s Consequences: Correction, Chastening, Casualties

David and Bathsheba mourning their son

Sadly, sin is not limited to the unsaved person, but remains as an obstacle even in the lives of those who are born again by faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only Way to Heaven (John 14:6). Only Jesus walked this earth without sin (2 Corinthians 5:21), but once He calls us home in our glorified resurrection bodies, we will sin no more (1 Corinthians 15:42-57).

In the meantime, it is a daily battle between our old sin nature (Romans 7:5-13) and the born-again (John 3:3-8) new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15), who wants to follow the Holy Spirit, yielding to Him rather than quenching (ignoring) or grieving (rebelling against) Him (1 Thessalonians 5:19; Ephesians 4:30). Unless we mortify, or put to death, our sin nature daily, it is all too easy to succumb to temptation (1 Corinthians 15:31).

Even the apostle Paul described his daily struggle between the old law, or sin nature, in his body parts warring against the new law of liberty through Christ Whom he wanted to follow, so that he found himself sinning, doing things that he knew were wrong, while failing to do God’s will (Romans 7:14-25).

King David, who was God’s anointed (1 Samuel 16:13), a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22), and a wise patriarch, fell far from wisdom, knowledge and understanding, for no man is free of sin (Romans 3:23). As we have seen, his loss of focus on God’s plan for his life led to his flirting with temptation and then outright sins. When we decide to sin, it is a free choice born of our free will – we can’t blame God for not providing an escape from temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13), or the devil for making us do it.

Consequences inevitably follow the decision to sin, affecting our own well-being, that of others, and our fellowship with God. Sin never occurs in isolation, but has casualties reaching far beyond those directly involved. The disobedience of Adam and Eve brought about their own expulsion from the Garden of Eden, the curse of sin on all mankind, and separation from God (Genesis 3:16-24; Romans 5:12).

David’s desire to hide from the world his sins of lust (Job 31:1) toward Bathsheba, fornication (1 Thessalonians 4:3) and adultery (1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Matthew 5:28) resulted in the death not only of Bathsheba’s husband Uriah, but also of Abimelech and other warriors, whose lives he had recklessly endangered (2 Samuel 11:13-15).

When David learned that Uriah had died in battle, he apparently was relieved rather than remorseful, for he glossed over the other casualties and encouraged Joab to keep fighting. Bathsheba mourned when she learned her husband Uriah was dead, but then David married her and she bare him a son (2 Samuel 11:16-27).

But there can be no joy when we disobey God to get what we want, for “the thing that David had done displeased the Lord (2 Samuel 11: 27).  When a child of God sins, our loving, just and righteous Father must correct us (Hebrews 12:6; Revelation 3:19), just as an earthly father deals with a rebellious child (Proverbs 13:24) for his own good, for that of others, and to restore their relationship.

If verbal correction is ineffective, physical chastening may be needed, or even casualties with disastrous repercussions for the child’s testimony, his ministry, and his family. God first corrected David, showing him his sin by using the prophet Nathan to compare David to a rich man who took a poor man’s only lamb to prepare a feast for a visitor. When David expressed self-righteous indignation at the cruel behavior of the rich man in the parable, oblivious to his own sin, Nathan said “Thou art the man!” (2 Samuel 12:1-7).

Despite David’s repentance, expressed so vividly in many of the Psalms he wrote, Nathan warned that God’s chastening would wreak havoc on David, his family, and his kingdom. God’s message to David was that He had anointed him king, delivered him from his enemy Saul, and blessed him beyond measure. And yet David had despised God, rebelled against His commandments, and did evil in His sight. God’s judgment against David was that the sword of violence would never leave his household, his own family would betray him, and his wives would be sexually assaulted in plain sight of all Israel  (2 Samuel 12:7-12).

When David repented, God forgave him and spared his life, but would take the life of David and Bathsheba’s firstborn son. God’s reason for this judgment was that David’s adultery and its aftermath led God’s enemies to blaspheme Him (2 Samuel 12:7-13-14). This may be one of the most terrifying and sobering consequences of sin – that our sin actually encourages, aids and abets God’s enemies. Do we really want to be on the wrong side of God? (Romans 8:31)

The ensuing maelstrom of deceit, betrayal and bloodshed was far worse than that of any soap opera or murder mystery. David’s son Amnon raped Tamar, who was his half-sister and David’s daughter, and banished her from his sight, which infuriated their brother Absalom. He was so enraged that he plotted for two years and eventually conspired to assassinate Amnon, after which he lived in exile (2 Samuel 13:21-14:24).

David was distraught, more so over the absence of his beloved Absalom than over the death of Amnon or the shame of Tamar. He no longer ruled effectively until he pardoned Absalom and returned him to Jerusalem, initially as a commoner rather than a prince. Almost immediately, Absalom began plotting David’s overthrow, first by convincing David to restore him as a prince, then by openly criticizing David and winning over his own supporters.

Ultimately Absalom’s betrayal of David was so vile, thorough and shocking that he marched on Jerusalem with his troops, forcing David to evacuate; publicly raped David’s concubines; and considered murdering David but instead began a civil war. A string of deaths ensued, not only troops in combat, but also Absalom’s murder by Joab and the suicide of Ahithophel, one of Absalom’s advisors (2 Samuel 14:28-19:8).

David’s response to all this included agonizing heartbreak (2 Samuel 12:16), an attempt to restore leadership while passing the reins to Solomon (1 Kings 1-2), and his intense need to renew his fellowship with God. He prayed (2 Samuel 12:16), wrote and perhaps even sang in the Psalms that God would create a clean heart in him, renew a right spirit in him, and restore to him the joy of his salvation (Psalm 51:10-12).

If we choose sin, refuse repentance, and continue to rebel against God, His judgment will demand correction, chastening and even casualties. Ultimately, He may turn His wayward child over to Satan for destruction of the flesh, to prevent further damage to God’s kingdom, while preserving his spirit eternally in heaven (1 Corinthians 5:1-13).

If a man such as David, a man after God’s own heart, could fall so far, and yet be restored and used by God, there is hope for all of us. May we heed this dire warning not to linger in temptation, lest we sin and fall into a downward spiral of ever worsening transgressions. 

© 2017 Laurie Collett
Womanhood With Purpose
Adorned From Above
No Ordinary Blog Hop


Frank E. Blasi said...

Dear Laurie,
The sin of David and the consequences that followed in his household were indeed catastrophic. Yet, God did speak through Nathan, saying that he has put his sin away, he will not die as a result (2 Samuel 12:13). Together with his 51st Psalm, where he pleaded with God for the joy of his salvation to be restored to him (and not salvation in itself), there seems to be Scriptural backing for eternal security, even in the Old Testament.
As for Bathsheba's first-born son, David cries, "I will go to him, but he cannot return to me." (2 Samuel 12:22-23) - proving that the unnamed boy had gone straight to paradise, where his father will later join him there. Despite David's awful failures, God was graceful to him, as well as foreknowing all this at the height of the young man's glory when he slain Goliath in full view of Saul's armies.
An excellent post spelling out the consequences of sin, in which we are all liable.
God bless.

Laurie Collett said...

Dear Frank,
Praise God for His mercy and grace, always softening the blow of the judgment we deserve. No matter what trials believers endure here, whether as a result of our sin or because God has allowed them into our life for another reason (but always for our ultimate good and His glory), we can find comfort in knowing that Heaven awaits. We are secure in knowing that we will spend eternity there, with Jesus Christ, our loved ones in Him, and all children who died before reaching the age of accountability.
Thanks as always for your Scripture-based comment and encouragement.
God bless,

Brenda said...

Hi Laurie,
one of the things that has always encouraged me to do my utmost to try not to sin wilfully is where it says 'we crucify Christ afresh'. Also there is a scripture which says that many will fall away, which I find a bit of a grey area.
God bless Laurie

Laurie Collett said...

Hi Brenda,
Certainly we can grieve and quench the Holy Spirit when we sin, and not doing that is a great motivation to avoid willful sin. I do believe that born-again Christians can backslide, ceasing to honor God with their lives, which results in loss of heavenly rewards. May we always yield to the Spirit!
Thanks as always for your comment.
God bless you too!

Donald Fishgrab said...

Great post Laurie. I am so thankful God is willing to forgive even such heinous sins as murder and adultery, so David did not lose his salvation. Unfortunately, David's sin did lead to the death of the baby and the rejection of God's law by Absalom. We seldom realize the impact our actions and attitudes have on our children.

Laurie Collett said...

Thanks, Donald! Children are born with the innate desire and ability to imitate their parents, which places a great responsibility on parents to model good behavior and attitudes, and especially love for the Lord.
God bless,

Susan said...

I love your summarization of David’s life, great job! It is heartening to know how far God’s forgiveness reaches! Much further than our human forgiveness does, that’s for sure, and maybe that’s why it’s so difficult to understand it and so impossible for the unregenerate to believe it unless their eyes and ears are opened by God to receive it. Excellent point Frank makes about David’s plea to get back the JOY of his salvation and not his salvation itself, there is a difference isn’t there? God’s forgiveness and mercy and grace know no boundaries!!!

Laurie Collett said...

Thanks, Susan, for your encouragement and for sharing your insights! We cannot begin to understand the depths of God's love and forgiveness until we shall see Him in glory and then know Him as He now knows us. We can certainly lose the joy of our salvation, but praise God, once we are saved by trusting Christ, we can never lose our salvation.
God bless,