Summary: The author of 2 Samuel carefully details the punishment of God to David. In this chapter, the author reveals to us how sin makes the life of David complicated. The life of David now is totally different than before.
Sin Makes Life Complicated
“Cigarette smoking is dangerous to one’s health,” so says the public signs. On the one hand, no matter how lethal it is, people still smoke. The government, on the other hand, still allows the selling of cigarettes. As a result of smoking, both active and passive smoker suffer. The same is true with sin. It has a devastating effect, yet we somehow ignore its consequences. Somehow we take these effects lightly. Somehow we don’t mind how we make life difficult and complicated; however, one of the saddest things about this is, we tend to blame God for the effects of our sins. Why is it hard for us to blame ourselves and how easy it is to put the blame on others? The covenant with the Lord has its normal trajectories. When you obey the covenant, the Lord will bless you. And if you disobey it, you will be cursed. This is true in our story today. David sins against the Lord. It backfires on him and his family. So life is now complicated for him. This is what the author most probably reveals in chapter 14.
Our story today is a complicated one. David did not take any action on the rape of Tamar, on the death of Amnon, and on the running away of Absalom. For how can David make an objective decision when all those people involved in this case are dear to him? In the story, Joab takes initiative to force David into action. Joab sends a wise woman to trap David into making a decision. The decision led to bringing Absalom back but he is not allowed to see David. Desperate to have an answer, Absalom said, “If I am guilty of anything let me be put to death” (v32, NIV). However how noble the attempt is, it ends with David giving a kiss to Absalom. Barron said, “No words exchanged, no confession made or forgiveness offered, no counsel or advice either sought or given” (Barron 2015, n.p.) This is how complicated it is.
So why did the author write it this way? The author wants to alert his readers that God is not finished yet in dealing with David’s sin. 2 Sam. 12:11 says, “This is what the Lord says: Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity on you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to the one who is close to you, and he will sleep with your wives in broad daylight” (NIV). This chapter is the continuation of the calamity God has pronounced to David. It is no wonder that God did not rescue David. He instead withdraws His protection and made David vulnerable to different kinds of problem. So life without God’s blessing is complicated.
The author wants to alert his readers that David’s problem is far from over. Since David did not take any action to the case of Tamar and Amnon, another set of problems arose. With Absalom finding no answers to his case, anger starts to build up in him. As Barron said, “The king knows that an alliance on an angry son and a frustrated Joab might be disastrous” (Barron 2015, n.p.). Since this problem involves David and his direct family, making an objective decision as a judge is complicated. Life is different now for David. This is not because God planned but this is because David chose a different direction for his life. This is the natural consequence of the act of David when he chose to sin against the Lord.
So the question is why did the author write it this way? The answer I find is simple: The author of 2 Samuel allowed us to see how sin makes David’s life difficult and complicated. This truth holds the same for us today. Sin really devastates our life. Once it is made, there is no point of return. Imagine if David’s sin affects his family and complicates their situation. How much more if we combine our sins? Can you imagine how complicated our lives can be? So what can we do now? First, we need to stop sinning. Second, we need to return to God for He is faithful and just to forgive us. Third, we need to obey God and lead a new life so that His blessings will flow in us. Fourth, we need to let God’s grace lift us up. If God can curse you and make your life complicated, God can also bless you and make your life better. But before we go celebrating for His grace, let this sink into our heart that sin can make our life complicated and God’s curse can make it more complicated. May this message become a prevenient grace for us in our future decisions.
Barron, Robert. (2015). 2 Samuel: Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker