Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Consequences Are Not Limited to the External

Taken from

By Joe Dallas

Regarding David and Bathsheba in Second Samuel 11-12

You may have crossed a line, like David did when he first took wives, and found (as he did) that the world didn't fall apart. Few men get caught the first time. Usually, they repeat whatever sexual activity they're into without consequence. Or, I should say, without external consequence. After all, there's really no such thing as "getting away" with sin. At the very least it hinders fellowship with God, hardens the heart, and pollutes the mind. Still, there's usually a period--a long one, sometimes--during which a man regularly indulges in sexual sin and seems to get away with it.

When that happens, it's not because God is ignoring the sin. He is, rather, giving the man what I call space for repentance. That's an undefined period in which God gives you room to take care of the problem before the problem overwhelms you.

If you've been given space to repent, you'll do one of two things: you'll either use it wisely by taking action while you can, or you'll make the common mistake of mistaking space for repentance as permission to continue. That's easy to do, because we tend to be consequence-driven. When we get away with something once, we're inclined to think we'll get away with it indefinitely.


David must have thought he'd gotten away with it. Months went by while he kept his sin hidden. Notice, too, that even before his adultery and murder, he'd ignored both his conscience and God's law for years. Not entirely, of course, but just enough to have set himself up for calamity. Still, he seems to have concluded it was behind him, until the crisis of truth went from the internal to the external, and he was confronted by the prophet Nathan.

Nathan began by telling David a story about a man who'd done something similar to what David had done. David, not recognizing himself in the story yet hating the sin the man in the story committed, reacted strongly, commanding the man be put to death. With that, Nathan sledgehammered David with an external crisis of truth: "You are the man" (2 Samuel 12:7).

... In one excruciating confrontation, Nathan drives the horrible truth home:

You are exactly the person you say you hate.
You have been given so much, yet you've despised it.
You are an adulterer.
You are a murderer.
You have created human misery.
You have caused unbelievers to commit blasphemy.
You are not the man you think you are!

King David--a good man who'd done evil things in secret that were now being published openly--crumpled under the weight of the truth. The wrong he'd done but had refused to face was spelled out brutally and would no longer be ignored. The pain David felt, though necessary, must have been indescribable. Yet the wound Nathan inflicted was the terrible and liberating truth.


The Wound is the trauma a man feels when he sees both what he's done and the damage he's done. The Wound is hard, but it's necessary for recovery. Because to truly recover, we need to see that, to some extent, we've been kidding ourselves.

Look at Peter. He thought he was braver than the other disciples and, I suppose, more committed. So when Jesus warned that all of them would forsake Him under pressure, Peter separated himself from the others and said, in essence, "These guys may wimp out when it gets tough, but me? Never!" He then suffered The Wound when he realized, after denying Christ, he wasn't nearly as brave and committed as he thought he was.

Then there's Job. He complained about the unfairness of his trials, arguing his own righteousness and saying, in essence, "I'm too good of a man to have to go through this!" A thorough dressing-down from God Himself followed, and Job came to a shattering realization: his "perfection" was a myth. The Wound hit him so hard, in fact, he went from promoting his goodness to uttering, "I abhor myself" (Job 42:6).

That's The Wound. You feel it when you realize you're not the man you thought you were, and it's been experienced by countless others during their own turning points.

It does have its purpose, because you're not likely to give up sexual sin until you see its seriousness. That means facing things you've probably avoided. But when you do, you experience one of three things that are needed, in my opinion, for true repentance: you get scared, sad, or angry--all of which are emotions that will, I hope, become motivators.

David experienced, I think, all three. He was heartbroken over his behavior, angry with himself, and frightened of the consequences. And that powerful combination of emotions drove him to humility, prayer, and necessary action. His crisis of truth was not, in other words, the end. It was the beginning of repentance and restoration. God certainly didn't send Nathan to confront him because his life was over, but because He wanted it to be better. In David: A Man of Passion and Destiny, author Chuck Swindoll puts it well: "Why did such a major change take place in David's life and attitude? First, because David hurt enough to admit his need."

Shame, outrage, fear--they seem like negative emotions, but they also produce enough discomfort and energy to shake a man out of his complacency and into redemptive action. ...

So today, you share David's wound and the painful self-awareness it brings. Then, admitting your need, you move toward repentance, which is the beginning of true recovery.


God still loved David very much and had a future for him. But there was no way the king could move on in life until he faced what he'd been hiding. That meant facing himself and how far he'd fallen from the man he used to be. (And the man he still could be!)

You need to see yourself in this story--a man beloved of God with potential and a future, but one whose compromise has to be dealt with before he can move on. To deal with it, you need to see the contrast between what you've allowed yourself to be versus what you can still become.


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