Today we are going to look at the aftermath of David’s sin. We are going to look at “the Morning After” a night of unbridled sin.
An interesting way to observe how a sinful human system affects a community is to do a study on specific individuals in the story and observe the effects of David’s actions on each of their lives. The pivotal event in today’s reading is the death of David’s rebellious son, Absalom. Notice how each person is described before the death and after the death of Absalom.
after 2 Samuel 20:3
after 2 Samuel 19:15-23
Ziba and Mephibosheth
after 2 Samuel 19:24-30
Have you ever sat down and looked at your life and the circumstances of the world and thought, “This scene is messed up?” It is very easy to get caught up in that mode of thinking, especially if you are of the personality type that is more prone to introspection and emotion. Why is it easy to get caught up in that mode of thinking? There is one easy answer: because the world is a messed up place. Shakespeare said it well as he wrote, “Oh the tangled webs we weave…” Each one of us is born into a tangled web. We are born into family systems that are suffering from the direct consequences of the past sin of our parents. Our family system is suffering from the consequences of generations of sinful patterns that have been passed down through the ages. The family of humanity has been marked by wars and treachery that has caused us to be bitter and suspicious of each other. We live in guarded fortresses, both literal and figurative, protecting ourselves from the enemy that lies outside and from the enemy that lies inside. Many times it seems that no one can be trusted.
The second half of 2 Samuel can be a discouraging experience to read. While that is true, we can also look at it as a guidbook for how live in the reality of a messed up world. From chapter 12 on we can make some interesting observations about the nature of God, sin, and forgiveness.
First of all, the reason David was God’s man was not because he was perfect in his action, but because he was honest in his heart. When Nathan confronted him about Bathsheba, David was deeply convicted and admitted that what he did was wrong. This is what made him different from Saul. Whereas Saul tried to shift the blame and save face, David fell on his face and took full responsibility for blowing it.
Secondly, we can see that God is a forgiving God. When David truly repented of his sin, God spared him. Now, we need to be careful at this point. Many people in our day misinterpret the idea of a forgiving God. I’ve heard too many people say, “Oh, I know this is a sin, but I just can’t help myself… and I know God will forgive me because he’s a forgiving God.” Yikes! That is a dangerous theology. Yes, God is a forgiving God, but forgiveness is only possible when it is preceded by TRUE REPENTANCE. Outward religion, or going through the motions of church, does zilch for the removal of sin. David said in Psalm 51:17 that the sacrifices God desires are a broken and contrite heart.
There is a third thing we can observe about God, sin, and forgiveness. Even though God forgives sin and the relationship with God is restored, the natural consequences of sin are not removed. David’s life was never the same after the Bathsheba incident. The rest of 2 Samuel is the story of the downward spiral of David’s family and the reality of having a heart for God that is groping in the physical fallout of sin. That is the condition of the world today. The effects of sin are all around us. The world is polluted, families are decimated, people are fighting and killing each other over money, power, and property. Each of us has sinned and we live with the scars every day. It is naive to think that following Jesus will take away all the bad circumstances in life. It doesn’t work that way. Following Jesus gives us an inner joy that is anchored in an eternal truth that gives us the hope and strength to persevere through difficult circumstances, not escape them.