The Ripple Effect

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In 2 Samuel 11-12, we find David at home wandering around his palace when he should have been off at war with his men. “In the spring when kings march out to war, David sent Joab with his officers all Israel. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah, but David remained in Jerusalem.” 2 Samuel 11:1

I have often wondered why David decided to stay during that time when kings usually accompanied their soldiers. Was he sick, injured, depressed or had he spotted Bathsheba before and wanted everyone to be at war when he made his move? In any case, he remained and spotted Bathsheba (a married woman) from his balcony and sent for her. He blatantly disobeyed God by having sexual relations with a married woman and committing adultery.

After all we read about God doing for David in previous chapters it’s difficult to understand how David could have turned so abruptly. Or is it? Don’t we do it daily? Maybe not with an “in your face” offense like adultery, but with idols of greed, coveting and gossip. After all God had done for David, he blew it in one moment of weakness. We are familiar with the story of sin, but I want to focus on the response from God.

At this point in 2 Samuel, David is hearing from God through the prophet Nathan. Nathan reminds David of all God blessed him with, protected him from and has promised him and then drops the sentence. “I am going to bring disaster on you from your own family: I will take your wives and give them to another before your very eyes, and he will sleep with them publicly. You acted in secret, but I will do this before all Israel and in broad daylight.” 2 Samuel 12:11-12

David responded to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” Then Nathan replied to David, “The Lord has taken away your sin; you will not die. However, because you treated the Lord with such contempt in this matter, the son born to you (and Bathsheba) will die.” 2 Samuel 2:13-14

God had already promised David (2 Samuel 7:15-16) that He would not remove His faithful love from David has He had done to Saul and that his kingdom would be established forever. Nathan even tells David that he will not die and his sins have been taken away. However, we see the consequences of his sin do not go away. Nathan explains to David that his son will die and disaster will fall on his family. We become disillusioned if we believe that being forgiven for our sins means that everything will go back to normal. That there will be no consequences. That our entire slate is wiped clean and we start fresh. We do start fresh when it comes to forgiveness in God’s eyes. We are wiped clean and white again with the blood of His sacrifice each time we repent, but repenting does not mean that the consequences of our actions are erased or go away. The ripple effect continues, but it doesn’t mean God hasn’t forgiven you. I have fallen prey to Satan’s lies in the past because when I repented the consequences of my sins continued on . . . . . .

This is where the rubber meet the road in our faith. We must remember that each time we sin and humbly ask for forgiveness it happens, but that the ripples sin creates can’t be stopped. Do not confuse consequences with unforgiveness. The forgiveness remains even as the consequences continue on.

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