In 2 Samuel 13:1-14:33, we see the unfortunate tale of David’s family falling apart. One of his sons, Amnon, has a twisted infatuation for his stepsister Tamar, and it drives him to the point of terrible sin. Reflecting a similar pattern of David with Bathsheba, Amnon manipulates others to gain what he desires most, even to the point of forcing himself on Tamar. What he discovers immediately after is the truth about giving in to unbridled sinful passion. Not only is he aware of his guilt and shame, but he immediately hates Tamar even more than he ever longed for her. Sin has a way of doing this. As soon as we get the thing we have been wrongfully longing for, it becomes disgusting to us. The nature of the sin we have sought has not changed, but now we are contaminated by it.
            The destruction was not completed yet though, for sin rarely stops yielding consequences that quickly. Tamar’s brother got involved, filled with outrage and hatred that seethed for two years, until the opportune time came. At a seemingly safe banquet, Absalom had Amnon killed. Even that was not the end though. Yes, Amnon experienced the end of his earthly consequences, but the sin kept destroying things. In particular, David’s relationship with Absalom was permanently marred, eventually leading to a coup, and David being driven into the wilderness.
            It is noteworthy that David recognizes that this was attached to his earlier sin with Bathsheba, where he gave into his own unbridled passion. It is amazing how much can be harmed when sin is not confessed or dealt with and is allowed to run free in a life. Not only are the sin, guilt, and shame unbridled, but so is the destruction to the one caught in sin and all those around them. Perhaps this is why Paul’s instruction to men was so concise in Titus 2:1-8: “be self-controlled in everything.” What pains can we avoid this week, if we let the Holy Spirit have the reigns, and start living the properly bridled life?

by Ben Urban

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