2 Samuel 13-20—Rise and Fall—Week 10
The Aftermath of David’s Sin
Most of you have heard of Winnie the Pooh. Two of Pooh’s friends are Eeyore and Tigger. Eeyore is a not-so-cute little donkey. He is gloomy, mopy, and discouraged. Life is not bad, it is worse than bad. The glass is not half-empty. It’s just empty. Confession: I identify a bit with Eeyore. Tigger is wound up and uber-cheerful. Extremely happy and excitable. The glass is not half-full. It’s full and overflowing.
Confession: Tigger is way over the top for me. I say, “Get a grip, dude. Life’s a lot worse than you think.”
Last week’s topic and this week’s has a mix of Eeyore and Tigger. Darkness and light. Sadness and joy. Guilt and forgiveness.
Last week: We learned in 2 Samuel 11-12 about sin’s devastation and how to respond to it in repentance and rejoicing.
- Power of temptation
- Devastation of sin
- Humility in repentance
- Joy in forgiveness
So there’s some Eeyore and some Tigger here. Some darkness and light.
But we want to know the rest of the story. What happened to David in the following years. Did he abandon the Lord? Did the Lord abandon David? Did he walk with God again? In light of the prophecy from Nathan, what happened to his family?
This week: We will learn in the next 8 chapters in 2 Samuel about life in the “aftermath” of David’s sin. What did David experience, both bad and good??
We will see that there are:
- Consequences of sin
- (yet) Intimacy with God
- (and God’s) Grace in the chaos in the aftermath of David’s sin.
Again, some Eeyore and Tigger here. Darkness and light.
In many ways, David becomes an example for us to learn from.
He is a negative example….a warning… of what not to do. A warning about sin and its destructiveness.
He is also a positive example… how to repent and turn back to the Lord after we have sinned.
He is an example in that he points us to God. If God is willing to show mercy toward David at the lowest point in his life, there is hope for us.
If David found God’s grace in the aftermath of his sin, we can too.
We will begin reading in a few minutes in 2 Samuel 13. [page 264]
We have one more week in 2 Samuel. (If you have missed any, they are all posted on our website, www.stonebrook.org.
Then we will spend 6 weeks looking at the Psalms, specifically the Psalms that David wrote.
One author called the Psalms a “mirror for the soul.” We read the Psalms and they reflect back into our souls. Our emotions and dreams and fears and longings and frustrations.
So as a review…Last week we looked at the life of this great man of God, David, who, at the height of his walk with God and his kingship over God’s people of Israel, fell to a great depth. David committed adultery with a woman named Bathsheba. And her husband happened to be one of David’s best warriors. Then David desperately tried to cover it all up, and ended up killing Bathsheba’s husband. He hid all this for many months until God’s prophet Nathan confronted him. Fortunately, David repented with the simple statement, “I have sinned against the Lord.”
Repentance is a beautiful, glorious thing, for our God is very, very merciful. In perfect justice, the Lord could and should judge sin. But when someone humbles himself and cries out for mercy, God graciously hears and responds.
In this case, David—who deserved death for his many sins—was permitted by God to live. God forgave him.
Yet, interestingly, as we will see today, consequences still followed.
For the rest of his life, some of the pain of David’s sins followed him around, especially seen in his own family.
Sexual assault. Murder. Attempted murder. Attempted overthrow of his government.
But here we should ask, “Why?” Why did David still experience some consequences from his sin? I thought God forgave him. I thought God spared his life. Shouldn’t life be all good and happy—free and easy—from then on?
The foundation of what we will read today is from what Nathan the prophet told to David.
From last week, here are Nathan’s words when he exposes David hidden sins:
2 Samuel 12:9–14 ESV
Why have you despised the word of the Lord, to do what is evil in his sight?… Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house… Behold, I will raise up evil against you out of your own house…
This describes well some of the highlights we will see in the next 8 chapters. Eight sad, gloomy, Eeyore-ish chapters.
Though David was forgiven, God gave a prophecy of some specific consequences to David’s sin.
In one way, this is a form of discipline on David’s life. And instructions and warnings to the nation of Israel that sin is painful. In another way, David was going to encounter the types of things all of us encounter on the heels of sin.
It’s like there is a spiritual law, that there are normal and typical consequences to sin…even after we find forgiveness.
We know there are natural laws that govern our world. Like gravity. Things just fall.
There also are spiritual laws that, in a way, govern our world. There seems to be a spiritual law of consequences to sin: If you sin and then repent, you will find forgiveness in Christ. But there will also be a trail of consequences.
For example, God forbid that I would ever commit adultery and murder like David. But if I did, even if I find then forgiveness in Christ, there will still be consequences, won’t there?
- I will crush my wife and my children and all of you.
- I won’t be a pastor any more.
- I will be in prison.
Consequences from sin is simply a spiritual law.
So my question today is, “Is there life after sin and repentance?”
Is there life? Real life? Certainly forgiveness. Yes, we can have peace with God, as the gospel of Christ offers.
But often in our lives, our sin has left a trail, and that trail follows us around.
It can feel like our lives are relegated to a second best life. We missed out on God’s Plan A for our lives. Now we’re in Plan B. Or maybe Plan C. Or it’s so bad, maybe it’s Plan Z.
Was David’s life …and are our lives now…simply stuck? Are we damaged goods now, and can we ever find intimacy with God? Can we ever find grace again?
Today we’ll see this lived out. Let’s pick up the story in Chapter 13. [page 264 in the house Bible].
First, there is a story of sexual assault among David’s children.
2 Samuel 13:1–2 ESV Now Absalom, David’s son, had a beautiful sister, whose name was Tamar. And after a time Amnon, David’s son, loved her. 2 And Amnon was so tormented that he made himself ill because of his sister Tamar, for she was a virgin, and it seemed impossible to Amnon to do anything to her.
Since David had many wives, Amnon had a different mother than Absalom and Tamar. So Tamar was Amnon’s half-sister.
Amnon’s lust was so great that he forced himself upon Tamar.
2 Samuel 13:15–16 ESV Then Amnon hated her with very great hatred, so that the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her. And Amnon said to her, “Get up! Go!” 16 But she said to him, “No, my brother, for this wrong in sending me away is greater than the other that you did to me.” But he would not listen to her.
He despised Tamar now, sending her away in shame.
2 Samuel 13:21-22 ESV When King David heard of all these things, he was very angry. But Absalom spoke to Amnon neither good nor bad, for Absalom hated Amnon, because he had violated his sister Tamar.
David was angry, but he apparently did nothing. We are left to assume David did not deal with the situation.
Absalom loved his sister, and understandably he is very angry with Amnon, hating him for the evil he had done.
Absalom’s anger with his brother comes full circle.
Two years later….two years…Absalom has stored up his anger and his vengeance. He plots the death of Amnon. He gathers all the king’s sons together for a feast.
2 Samuel 13:28–29 ESV Then Absalom commanded his servants, “Mark when Amnon’s heart is merry with wine, and when I say to you, ‘Strike Amnon,’ then kill him. Do not fear; have I not commanded you? Be courageous and be valiant.” 29 So the servants of Absalom did to Amnon as Absalom had commanded. Then all the king’s sons arose, and each mounted his mule and fled.
Absalom murdered his half-brother and fled to a country to the north and lived there three years.
For David, this is like a nightmare that we only read about in the news. It’s always someone else. But now David’s own son murdered another son. A nightmare and an unimaginable heartache.
David finally allows Absalom back to Jerusalem, but David doesn’t speak to him for two more years. David’s general, Joab, talks David into seeing his son once again. So David is reunited with Absalom. This has now been five years…five years since Absalom killed Amnon. And seven years since Amnon attacked his half-sister Tamar.
All of this so far is part of the fulfillment of the prophecy on David. The fallout from his own sins. Remember what Nathan the prophet told David?
2 Samuel 12:10 ESV Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house…
David’s family is falling apart. One son assaults his half-sister. Another son kills that son. Now, if the story could get worse, it does. Absalom spends the next four years secretly plotting to overthrow his father, David, and take the throne. Absalom wants to kill his own father and become king. This story is remarkable.
2 Samuel 15:6 ESV Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.
For four years, he quietly plotted to turn people from his own father to himself. Very, very crafty. At the end of these four years, Absalom takes action. He rallies some key leaders in Israel behind him and declares himself to be king. It’s a government overthrow by the king’s son. Simply stunning. And David has been clueless. But now he needs to run for his life.
2 Samuel 15:13–14 ESV A messenger came to David, saying, “The hearts of the men of Israel have gone after Absalom.” 14 Then David said to all his servants who were with him at Jerusalem, “Arise, and let us flee, or else there will be no escape for us from Absalom. Go quickly, lest he overtake us quickly and bring down ruin on us and strike the city with the edge of the sword.”
Israel can’t have two kings, so David knows Absalom will kill him. So David runs for his life.
2 Samuel 15:30 ESV David went up the ascent of the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went, barefoot and with his head covered. And all the people who were with him covered their heads, and they went up, weeping as they went.
The grief. The shame. The heartache. The emotions of this story are beyond my ability to grasp. Can we imagine the agony that David is facing?? We have read only 5% of the drama that David endured. Eight whole chapters of tragedy. It’s a somewhat depressing section. But we need to read it.
Insights into David’s Heart: Psalm 3
Through all of this, David is still facing consequences from his sin. One son assaults his daughter. Another son kills the first son. Now that son trying to kill him and take the throne.
Now he is running for his life. What is going through David’s mind? What is he thinking? Is he dwelling on his sin of adultery and murder years before? Is he consumed with guilt and shame? Is he kicking himself for what he did? Is he so ashamed he can’t even pray? Does he wonder if his life is all washed up? That he is of no use to God or to anyone? Has his relationship with the Lord simply tanked after all his sin and its aftermath?
We don’t have to wonder what he was thinking, for David himself tells us. He wrote it down and put it to music. David, the Singer-Songwriter-Man-of-God-Warrior-King-Adulterer-Murderer-Forgiven-Walking with God.
Turn to Psalm 3. [page 448]
Psalm 3 (ESV)
These are David’s own words, written during those few insane, dark days being hunted by his own son.
1 O Lord, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me;
2 many are saying of my soul, “There is no salvation for him in God.” Selah
Many, many people in his nation, and many who had served him for years now doubt him. They taunt him. They have quickly abandon him. They say, “There is no salvation for him in God. There is no hope for him. There is no future for him.” What does David think about that?
3 But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.
4 I cried aloud to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy hill. Selah
Here we remarkably see an intimacy with God. He sees God as his shield. His protector. As the Glorious One in heaven who will lift up his head, sustaining him and watching over him. He sees God as attentive to his prayer, the God who cares and who answers David’s cry for help. Though David is experiencing even more of the consequences from his own sin years before, he is confident that the Lord is with him. Watching out for him. Protecting him. Through all these years, David is still walking by faith.
5 I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the Lord sustained me.
6 I will not be afraid of many thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around.
This is quite telling. David’s predicament is fearful is beyond anything I have ever faced. A monstrous army—many thousands!—is out to get him. Yes, David has a small band of soldiers to fight for him, but all of Absalom’s army is seeking to kill just one person: David the King.
But David is so intimate with the Lord, so confident, so trusting, that he can lie down and sleep in peace. He will wake again, for God is his sustainer. His protector. His guard. Sometimes I lay awake at night with stressful thoughts. David’s stress is 1000 times more, yet the Lord gave him peaceful sleep.
7 Arise, O Lord! Save me, O my God! For you strike all my enemies on the cheek; you break the teeth of the wicked.
8 Salvation belongs to the Lord; your blessing be on your people! Selah
He prays for protection and salvation…. for God to defeat his enemies. Then he prays for all the people under his care. David, the former shepherd boy, still has the heart of a Shepherd. He is the Shepherd King. And he wants the Lord to bless all the people of Israel. At a time of great stress, he is concerned for his people.
I find this Psalm stunning on many levels. If I didn’t know the history of David’s sin and the aftermath of all that, I would still find this Psalm remarkable. David’s confidence in the Lord and his intimacy with his God is inspiring. I read this and I think, “Lord, I want to know you like David did.” Then when I understand the background….the drama…this Psalm is other-worldly. David’s heart is a work of the Holy Spirit who comforts and strengthens…. who shows grace and mercy and renewal……….even in the aftermath of sin.
What do we take from all this?
What do we take from all this??
Perhaps you have made a connection between David and you. And between David and someone you love. You may not have sinned to the magnitude of David, but all of us to one degree or another have sinned.
So we come face to face with our sin like David. We say like he did, “I have sinned against the Lord.” So we see Jesus, and we call out to him to save our souls from death. We believe in him. And we believe that he has forgiven us and loves us.
Yet we can still face the aftermath of our sin.
- Hurt relationships.
- Dealing with guilt and shame.
- Financial harm from decisions we’ve made.
- Perhaps even health issues from sinful behavior.
And this raises questions.
- The gospel says I’m forgiven, yet I’m still dealing with pain from my past. What’s the problem here?
- Because of my past sins and even unwise decisions, there is a trail of carnage behind me. Is the course of my life now ruined…. or relegated to Plan B or Plan C….or even Plan Z?
- Can I really end up with a good, even intimate relationship with the Lord? Can I really be OK with God, even MORE than OK?
This is extremely important: In spite of all that David had done, Psalm 3 shows us that he rediscovered intimacy with the Lord. A tender, trusting, confident intimacy with his God. He had great hope in the Lord. He boldly prayed to the Lord. He slept peacefully in the face of great fear.
God’s grace entered the scene. Grace and mercy came from heaven upon David in the worst moment of his life.
God said to David through Nathan the prophet years before, “You have despised me by what you have done….The sword shall not depart from your family…”
Yet God’s indescribable mercy and grace was sent from heaven.
David’s situation reminds me of the Apostle Paul.
You see, Paul was a murder. A violent man. A blasphemer of God. He persecuted Christians to the extreme, throwing them in prison, participating in their murders. Yet God showed mercy to him.
And Paul, for the next 30 years of his life and ministry, saw himself as an example—as the greatest of sinners—to show all of us how gracious and merciful God is.
1 Timothy 1:15–16 ESV
The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.
Jesus Christ is the Great Redeemer. The Savior of our souls.
In him and in him alone we have hope….hope even in the aftermath of sin.
God’s grace comes down from heaven upon us in our greatest hour of need.
His grace comes in the message of the gospel of Christ.
Let me offer to you three ways God’s grace comes down upon us in the Gospel to help us in the aftermath of sin.
- God’s grace comes to bring PEACE.
David knew the peace of God so much that he could go boldly to God in prayer, as in Psalm 3 when his son is trying to kill him.
In Psalm 51 hours after his sin is discovered, David prayed this:
Psalm 51:10,12 ESV Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me… Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.
God answered David’s prayer. David found a clean heart. David’s joy in the Lord’s salvation was restored.
The Apostle Paul tells us of the PEACE of the gospel.
Romans 5:1 ESV Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
When our sin weighs us down….When the trail of consequences of our sin follows us even for years…We like David and like Paul can know, by the grace and mercy of God, God is at PEACE with us through Jesus Christ.
God is no longer vengeful. He is not mocking us, reminding us how stupid we were. He is at PEACE because his Son has taken our place in judgment.
We need to humble ourselves, and rejoice that God’s grace brings peace.
- God’s grace brings INTIMACY.
God is so gracious to us in the work of his Son that we are intimate now with the Living God who Created the World.
Romans 8:14–15 ESV For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”
To all of you who believe in the Person and Work of Jesus on the cross, you have God himself through his Spirit living in you.
And you have been adopted as his precious son and daughter. You now can draw near to him and call him, “Abba, Father.” Far more intimate than the best earthly father any of us have had.
Such tenderness. Such nearness.
David knew God like that. Paul knew God like that.
Are we on a quest to know the Lord like that? Are we seeking him in prayer? Are we immersing ourselves in the Word of God to know God and to know his will?
Such intimacy takes time and effort. We must persevere in prayer and in studying this Book.
Often we give up too quickly in seeking God’s face.
We can learn from David. Read Psalm 3. Read all David’s Psalms for a gaze into his soul. See his faith and his love for his God.
God in his grace so longs for us to find that intimacy with him.
- God’s grace brings GOOD out of the chaos.
Again from the Apostle Paul.
Romans 8:28 ESV And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
He doesn’t say all things ARE good. Some things….like your son chasing you down to kill you…are utterly evil.
But God in his extraordinary wisdom and power is able to turn evil on its head and bring good out of it.
Some of that good we will see in this life.
But in eternity, we cannot fully imagine the glory and the good that will come out of our worst moments and out of the carnage of consequences that follow it.
I think often of Joseph in Genesis. His 10 older brothers did great evil to him, selling him into slavery. Human trafficking. His own brothers! Joseph’s words are some of the most profound in Scriptures. The words of the victim:
Genesis 50:20 ESV As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.
He didn’t minimize his brothers’ evil.
But he did tell them that God had taken their evil, turned it on its head, and saved the whole family and an entire nation.
So from the brothers’ perspective, God brought good out of their malicious evil.
God’s grace is astonishing….that he is willing and able to bring good out of the chaos, even the chaos WE CREATE.
He brings good out of the chaos of David’s adultery and murder.
He brings good out of Paul’s violent persecution of Christians.
He graciously brings good out of our sin and its consequences.
One lesson we can take from David’s story—captured in 10 dark chapters in this beautiful book of 2nd Samuel—is that there is life after sin. There is life even in the trials that come from consequences of sin.
We can look at men like David and Paul and find courage and hope.
If God will forgive them…If God will wash away their guilt and shame…If God will reveal himself to them in intimacy…If God will transform their lives…If God will empower them…If God will use them to accomplish his will…If God will listen to their prayers….If God will watch over them…If God will never leave them nor forsake them…….will he not—graciously through his Son Jesus—do the same with me?
Here is your assignment. It’s very simple.
Read Psalm 3 (and 4, which seems to have been written at the same time).
Read it with prayer.
Read it with David’s trials in mind.
Read it and seek the Lord.
Pray, “Lord, I want to know you like David. I want to find PEACE like David. I want to find a CLOSENESS with you like David. I want to trust you to bring GOOD out of the chaos in my life.”