Sunday, June 25, 2017

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Paralyzing Sin

When David heard of all these things, he was very angry.” (2 Samuel 13:20 , ESV)

What got David so upset, this man of whom the Scripture writes was a man ‘after God’s own heart’ (1 Samuel 13:14)? What could make this man so very angry?

It is incomprehensible to me to learn that this was King David’s total reported response to a rape. We should, of course, be very angered at rape or any other act of sexual violence. David was rightly angry because a man had forced himself upon an innocent woman. Except this was not just any woman, but his daughter Tamar. Except this was not just any man, but his firstborn son Am’non. It seems that anger alone is not the appropriate response of a King in this matter, much less a father.

Now the Scripture is silent on any other possible action taken by David, but the narrator of the book of Samuel is trying to show that David did little to correct the situation. It is interesting to note that the Law/Torah offers two insights: first, incest was forbidden (Leviticus 18:11); second, the penalty for seizing a virgin was that the man had to marry her (Deuteronomy 22:28-29). What kind of lessons did David teach his sons? What could make David so seemingly indifferent to justice with such a heinous crime?

The answer lies in the fact that it was not too early before this incident that David had committed a sexual sin of his own: adultery with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11:1-26). To be precise, David did not ‘rape’ her per se. But David used his power and authority to bring her to him and cover it up with murder. Perhaps David was weak in this area because of his own weakness. We can’t say for sure what is on David’s mind, but the text does link the events of David’s sin to the problems immediately after. Isn’t it amazing how the enemy comes at us in the areas we are weak.

We must always remember that we have an advocate in heaven who hears our repentant cries and is ready to forgive us (1 John 2:1). But, we cannot let our own sins cloud our judgment. We cannot tolerate evil because we ourselves are susceptible to a particular sin. This is why we have the Scripture; it remains impartial even though we are often partial. Let me give an example; some say a parent who had sex before marriage has no right to teach abstinence to their kids. This is nonsense and illogical thinking. It does not make the parent a hypocrite to teach the Biblical position. Rather it shows how the Ruach has taught the parent over the years and it shows how the parent has concern and love for his/her kids. But if parents will not bring it up with their children because of their own shame, they run into the same problem on a smaller scale that David encountered.

During this season nearing Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, there is no better time for us to consider our ways and confess our sins to the Lord and be restored. Don’t let sin confuse your judgment.

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