Read – 2 Samuel 13
Focus on verse 9-10
Breaking the law typically has consequences. If I choose to drive my car at ninth miles an hour through a school zone, while the police are monitoring the area, I will face some severe consequences for making that choice. If I choose to try to run from the police – the consequences will get worse. If I am so fortunate as to not die in a wreck, I would likely find myself facing jail time and some large fines, and I would probably lose my license and my vehicle. All consequences of the choices I made.
In today’s reading David is informed of the consequences of his choice to murder Uriah and steal his wife.
Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.’ (v. 9-10)
When Nathan confronts David about his sin with Bathsheba David is told that his sin is forgiven, and his relationship with God will be restored, but his sin has some consequences that will affect his family. In this chapter those consequences begin with the death of the child conceived in his adulterous affair.
David was unparalleled as a military strategist, but is not so good at keeping his own family in order. In the chapters that follow we will see the extent of this dysfunction. His son Amnon rapes his half sister Tamar. Absalom, the older brother of Tamar sets up a scheme by which he can murder Amnon in revenge for the rape. When David banishes Absalom in response to the the murder, Absalom plans and nearly succeeds in ousting his father from the throne in a coup that fails when Absalom is killed. It mystifies me that a king as brilliant and as blessed by God as David could be such a failure when it came to raising his own sons to walk in obedience to the Lord.
If success is measured by the size of one’s kingdom then David was a tremendously successful king. On the other hand if we measure his success by the condition of his family, David does not fair so well. Perhaps in this regard David might compare rather well to the businessmen and executives in our current age who are hugely successful at building companies that generate great wealth and prosperity, but only at tremendous cost to their personal lives—three divorces later, alienated from their children, they commit suicide in their office because they suddenly realize that their life is meaningless, and they really have nothing of any value to show for all their effort.
David at least continued to cling to the Lord through the low points of his life, and God was faithful to sustain him through every crisis. How tragic it is, however, for the man or woman who, when the crisis hits, does not have a redemptive relationship with God on which to rely when everyone and everything else fails to support them.