Sin in any form has this effect. It tends to sneak into our lives with little notice. “Others do it. We love God; therefore, this small thing doesn’t matter,” we reason. Yet, sin has a way of encroaching on more and more good ground. David’s sin journey began with someone to replace Michal, then it felt the need to comfort Abigail, a good woman who’d helped him in the past. From there, it seemed wise to make an alliance with a nearby king through yet another marriage even though God’s example of marriage had been one man and one woman and his command had been to avoid multiple wives (Deut. 17:17). Sin justifies itself in the eyes of the doer, nullifying God’s instruction. It perpetuates taking greater hold. Suddenly, we slip in what we’d been diligent in—like David’s failure to go to war.
It’s unlikely David sent Joab off that spring without a reason for his own absence. Maybe he felt poorly, was tired, or had an issue at home that took precedence over battles. For whatever reason, he stayed behind—and was ripe for temptation’s set-up. Stressed or bored, he walked around his palace and gazed upon his city. Eyes landing on Bathsheba, he saw her as the solution to his present need—not realizing his actions were a culmination of sin left unchecked.
Sin presents itself when we are weak. Sick. Tired. Bored. Lonely. Discouraged—when we, too, are ripe for temptation. What we may not realize is that we do what we’ve edged toward. It becomes flagrant and jaw-dropping, where it once was deemed justifiable. It manifests what we’ve dabbled with in our hearts. For David it was marrying lots of wives. For us, music, movies, conversations, and corrupt imaginations can suddenly become actions.
Sin is a trap, and anything caught in its trap no longer sneaks away. It gets revealed. David’s sin was reveled in an unwanted pregnancy. He attempted to cover it up, but keeping sin private doesn’t make it ok. David, comfortable with his servants and Joab knowing what had happened with Bathsheba, didn’t want the nation to know. Like him, we may disregard sin’s presence among friends, but attempt to keep it a secret from those we deem spiritual. But we can’t hide anything from God. He deals with what is, not what we’ve allowed others to see.
For David, that judgement was death of his children—the baby, Amnon, Absalom. It resulted in the rape of his daughter, defilement of his concubines, threat against his kingdom, diminished respect among some of his followers--consequences that stretched for generation—far beyond the decisions of a weak moment. Sin always leaves a wake of destruction in its aftermath. And it always affects others. In David’s fall, Uriah and a group of valent men, innocent of wrong-doing were killed. Bathsheba, a paw caught in a kings’ game of chess, experienced one loss after another. Tamar, a virgin daughter attempting to do good, was pulled under the judgement on David’s house. Amnon an Absalom inherited their dad’s weaknesses. A child’s life was cut short. A kingdom was caught in a ruling family’s dispute.
Sin is far-reaching, and its touch is bitter. By building perimeters that go beyond what’s acceptable by the world’s standards and choosing to stay in the protected areas of God’s perfect will, we can avoid the destructive grasp of sin.