Last week I blogged about new insights I had gleaned from the story of David and Bathsheba in 2 Samuel 11. A lot happened in that chapter. David committed adultery with Bathsheba and then had her husband killed in battle.
Turns out, a lot happened in the next chapter too — 2 Samuel 12.
This next chapter was discussed as part two of a lesson plan at church about this famous story of adultery and murder. God sent the prophet Nathan to tell David the consequences of his sin — what David would live with because of what he had done. The consequences are described in verses 10-15 and listed in abbreviated version here:
- The sword would never depart from his household. (In other words, his home would always be filled with strife.)
- What David did in secret would now occur publicly with his own wives.
- The child born to David and Bathsheba would die.
David’s response was one of repentance. He said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.”
Then my heart grabbed a verse I had never noticed before:
And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die.” [emphasis mine]
You see, David deserved death for what he had done, but God let him live and suffer the consequences.
Live. With. The. Consequences.
Historically, when I say or hear that phrase, it is usually in one of two tones:
- A stern tone to a child: You will have to live with the consequences.
- A sad tone to someone about myself: I am living with the consequences of my decisions. I have to deal with that.
This verse reminded me that my grievous sins deserve death before a holy God. God paid that debt for me by having His Son die. As a result of God’s kindness, when this brief life is over, I will live forever in perfect communion with the three-in-one Godhead for all of eternity.
I would like to present a new way of wording our experience as Christians:
God has promised a PERFECT life in eternity (later) after living a life of CONSEQUENCES (now).
I have found myself being grateful for the opportunity to live with the consequences. Now I see the consequences as evidence that I am alive and as evidence of His grace.
The next verse has an interesting word in it: Nevertheless
And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die. Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the Lord, the child who is born to you will die.”
I have been wondering about my own “nevertheless.” I can imagine the Lord saying, “The Lord has put away your sin, Laurie; you shall not die. Nevertheless…” I have sinned grievously in my past, so I know I must have a “nevertheless” to live. Like David, I am not spared all consequences of my behavior.
Over the years I have been deeply saddened by the reality that I have “nevertheless” consequences, but this week my perspective brightened about them. First off, every adult has them. I am not alone. Second, suffering the consequences means I am alive to bear them in a way that honors God.
This past Friday night I was driving home with my son from a soccer game. We took a different way home and I entered a highway on an unfamiliar entrance ramp. Without notice, my lane ended! A concrete barrier was forcing me into high-speed traffic at a harsh, unannounced angle.
Nowhere to go.
A car bearing down.
I could do nothing to get out of the way.
A crash was going to happen.
Thankfully, the other driver took action and veered around us.
If he or she hadn’t, my son and I would have been squished right into heaven.
I arrived home grateful to be alive, grateful for the ability to live out the consequences of my sin.
The consequences are FAIR.
The ability to live them is a GIFT.
I don’t know why I have ever complained.
Picture Explanation: Lacrosse has begun. I love my son.
© 2016 by Oaks Ministries. All rights reserved.
I have been wrestling with the same thoughts for many years now, and especially this week as I prepare for Friday night worship and sermon on that very topic. Timely! We live on the “horns of a [seeming] paradox”. On one side we are sinful, wicked, awful, no good, very bad, people. Satan LOVES to remind me of that. All the time. 24-7 it seems. What good can come out of Nazareth? What good can come out of this person? It is a CONSTANT song Satan loves to sing. On the other horn is the necessary reminder that God sent Jesus to die for our sin and we are made righteous in Him.And this is God’s constant song though often, admittedly – both much harder to hear, and much hard to sing along with. But a very necessary and TRUE song, for those who are in Christ Jesus. We were reminded last Friday night the wilderness of temptation, like for Jesus, is something we are to PASS THROUGH, not sit and soak in. The wilderness of temptation, trial, difficult IS NOT OUR HOME. We don’t belong there. It may pass in an hour, a week or 5 years, but regardless it isn’t our goal, our home, or our purpose to be there. We need to get out of that. So we have a choice which “horn” to cling to and which song to sing along with. May God grant us wisdom and perseverance to choose the right one.
Thank you. Thank you. I am clinging to the horn of Jesus Christ and his forgiveness. It is the only reason I can smile and breathe, quite frankly. And the reality of living with the consequences of my past sins motivates me to sin no more. I love clean!
You are such a gifted and talented writer. This was just what I needed to read today. Thank you for being faithful to God by writing of your personal experiences and enriching your audience with your scriptural knowledge. You are one of a kind.
Ah, what a breath of fresh air you are to me. Having you “out there” is incredibly meaningful. May God continue to bless you from every direction, all day long, every day. If I have been part of His blessing to you, how sweet of Him.
Wow!! How appropriate this is to me in my life and my loved ones lives right now! This spoke to the core of my heart. We need to bear them and walk them out in a way that honors God. Yes!! Thank you!
I too am walking out consequences alongside you in a way that honors God (I pray), grateful for the gift of being able to LIVE with them. Let’s never quit.