“Sin will take you further than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.”
This adage is true wherever and in whomever sin may found, be it an individual, a family, a nation, or the church. In considering sin’s effect on the individual, family, and nation, I can think of no better example than that of the life of David.
The best known of David’s downfalls begins in 2 Samuel 11. In the opening lines of this chapter, we see a progression of errors leading to sin, being further exacerbated by a refusal to properly acknowledge and deal with said sin.
David’s troubles began with a seemingly harmless misstep. 2 Samuel 11 begins with a simple declaration that the time of war was at hand, but David sent Joab with the army and remained behind in Jerusalem. David’s negligence to lead his army led to idleness of mind, wherein the devil set up shop to bring David down to perdition.
Passing an evening in idleness, David gazed down upon a beautiful woman bathing on a rooftop. Inquiring as to her identity, David was told that she was the wife of Uriah, one of his 37 mighty men (2 Sam 23:39). Being enticed and unrestrained in his lust, the king commanded her to be brought to him, and he lay with her (11:4). But adultery was not the only thing conceived by his lust, as Bathsheba later sent word to David that she was with child.
Rebellious children reject God’s counsel and devise plans that they might add sin to sin (Isa 30:1), and so it was with David. After two failed attempts to hide his transgression, David sent Uriah back to battle with his own death warrant in his hand. After David murdered Uriah by the hands of the Lord’s enemies, he took Bathsheba into his own house and she became his wife, “But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord” (12:27). David would soon understand the words of Moses, “you have sinned against the Lord, and be sure your sin will find you out” (Num 32:23).
Enter God’s man Nathan, who, with a lion’s courage, rebuked the king and brought him to repentance. Nathan’s parable of the rich man’s despicable and degenerate deed against the poor man aroused David’s righteous indignation, as he declared, “The man who has done this deserves to die!” (2 Sam 12:1-5). Then came Nathan’s stinging rebuke, “You are the man!” From there, Nathan detailed God’s goodness to David, saying that if what he had received thus far was insufficient, God would have given him more.
From that time on, David’s family was cursed as: 1) the sword would never depart from his house, 2) adversity would come from within his own family, and 3) despite David’s repentance and confession, the child born to him by Bathsheba would die (12:10-14).
For the rest of his life, this man after God’s own heart would never escape the consequences of his sin. David’s family was in disarray to the day of his death (1 Kings 1-2). Here we see the vivid truth of David’s lament in Psalm 51, “For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me” (v 3). David’s sin was a perpetual blight on his life and that of his family.