Long distance running is a sadistic sport. The only way you can prepare is to suffer, long and hard, under the unforgiving sun. Every summer, my coach was obsessed with giving us a high mileage count and for increasing our pain tolerance.
When we became used to suffering in practice we didn’t mind it as much when it mattered. Unfortunately, what’s true in our pain tolerance is also true of our own moral code; when we become used to sin we don’t mind it as much even when it matters.
In our scandal saturated society, sin and failure have almost become the expected outcome. How many times have we seen a public figure in culture, politics, finance, and especially the church fall from grace? If this weren’t enough, our society and institutions increasingly lead with a clouded sense of what’s up from down, right from wrong, righteous from wretched.
But this Psalm makes it very clear: David’s sin in sleeping with Bathsheba is egregiously offensive to God. “Against you, you only, have I sinned,” (Psalm 51:4). Though David’s sin had full fledged consequences, the preeminent one was a breach in relationship with the one who “anointed David king over Israel, delivered him from the hand of Saul… gave him Saul’s house and wives into his arms. He gave him all Israel and Judah. And if all this was too little, I would give you even more.” (2 Samuel 12:7-8, paraphrased).
While God gave David tremendous grace, favor, and special treatment – none of this was satisfying to the entitled David, and he ruined everything in one childish moment. And the consequences of this sin led to self-deception, a reckoning in his family and friendships, a compromise of the kingdom, and a severing of relationship with God Himself. Sin has a four-fledged ability to ruin the self, relationships, creation, and the divine connection.
The severity of this misjudgement on David’s part likewise cost him a divided household, destruction to the kingdom, public shame and embarrassment, and the derailment of the kingdom beyond his own reign.
Though we live in a world full of compromise and blurred lines, it would be wise of us to pay attention to David’s example. Sin may be a familiar presence in our world, but it is no less potent in its terrible ability to ruin everything.
What are the areas of our lives, individual and corporate, where we have gotten too close to the stinging effects of sin? Join me in praying for the Lord’s mercy in drawing us back to Him!
Pastor Ryan Lunde
Young Adult Ministries