“It happened, late one afternoon, when David arose from his couch and was walking on the roof of the king’s house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful. 3 And David sent and inquired about the woman.” (2 Samuel 11:2-3a) (Read the entire chapter here). Things only went downhill for David from there. Author and Pastor John Piper once said, “Avalanches of evil begin with a single pebble of sin.” This truth could not be seen more clearly than in the story of David from the verses above.
According to the text late one afternoon, as David was presumably lounging around his palace all day, he decided to get up and take a walk out onto the king’s roof top. Once outside his eyes fell upon a beautiful woman as she was bathing. Now in that moment, he could have decided to hide his eyes and turn away, but rather than leave it alone, he chose to indulge himself and inquire about the woman. Once he found out who she was, he arranged for her to come over to his house. Upon her arrival the text tells us that David slept with the woman. You can see already how this situation has turned from bad to worse very quickly. It does not take much for sin avalanche. Not only had David’s lust turned into premarital sex, but to make matters worse, both David and the woman he had slept with were married. The snowball is increasing in size as this sin grows bigger and bigger.
Not long after David and Bathsheba’s affair, Bathsheba sends word to David that she is, in fact, pregnant with his child. This news seems to trouble David as he is now in fear of being caught in his sin. So he attempts, unsuccessfully, to get Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah, who is out in battle, to come home and to sleep with his wife so that no one would think anything of Bathsheba’s pregnancy.
However, when David’s first attempt at cover-up failed, he decided to have Uriah put in the front lines of battle so that his death was sure. This was his second attempt at covering up his sin (and we find out later it failed as well 2 Samuel 12). So what started with lust ended in adultery and murder. Rather than nipping sin in the bud, David allowed his sin to grow, and it quickly grew out of control. And the same thing can be true for us. We can play with sin and play with sin and think we are doing just fine, but before we know it things can get out of hand and our sin has ruined us. Sin can ruin our reputation, ministry, even our lives. And if we continue in it without repentance it will lead us to hell.
There is no such thing as a “small” sin. All sin is rebellion towards God and can lead to “avalanches of evil.” We are to set our eyes on Christ and live for Him, leaving our sin behind. John Owen once wrote, “be killing sin or it will be killing you.” Let’s strive every day, by the grace of God, to treasure Christ above all else and to snuff out our sin before it burns out of control.
The good news for David is that his story didn’t end there. By God’s grace he realized his sin (2 Samuel 12:13) and asked God for forgiveness (Psalm 51) and although there were consequences to his sin (2 Samuel 12:7-14) ultimately David was forgiven. David was well aware of God’s forgiveness for sin (Psalm 32:5) and we can be sure, by God’s grace, he was forgiven from all of it. What great news.
And the good news for David is also good news for us. There is forgiveness for sin. Complete forgiveness. That does not mean that there are not consequences for sin and we should take it lightly – sin is dangerous – but by God’s grace all our sins can be forgiven when we admit our fault and turn to Jesus (Psalm 32:5; 1 John 1:9 ). Praise God for His grace and mercy toward undeserving sinners like you and me.