Sin’s Siren Song

Few sins in the Bible are more well-know than the one that some describe as David’s Great Sin – his sin with Bathsheba. Perhaps it is because we do not expect such gross sin from such a man of God that we draw so much attention to it; or maybe we all too readily identify with it in some way. Whatever the case may be, David’s sin with Bathsheba provides some unique insight into what sin does to the heart and life of a man (or woman) of God. The contrast between what sin promises and what it delivers could not be illustrated more vividly.

In 2 Samuel 11, we read that it was wartime. David should have been out on the battlefield with his men but instead stayed behind in Jerusalem. On a presumably nice evening, in an unguarded moment, David laid eyes on Bathsheba while she was bathing and could not resist the temptation: he ordered her to be brought to him and slept with her. Upon finding out that she was pregnant, a series of events led him to ultimately have Bathsheba’s husband Uriah killed on the battlefield – one of his very own ‘mighty men’.

In the next chapter, God sends Nathan the prophet to confront David with his sin. As a child, I never realized that at least nine months must have passed between David’s sin and Nathan’s bold confrontation of the king. Many commentators even indicate that approximately a year passed between that fateful night and his ultimate repentance. Several Psalms shed a fascinating light on what must have gone on in David’s soul during that dark year of his life. Here is what he says in Psalm 32:

3 For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was dried upt as by the heat of summer.

Psalm 38 tells it perhaps even more succinctly:

2 For your arrows have sunk into me,

and your hand has come down on me.

6 I am utterly bowed down and prostrate;
all the day I go about mourning.

8 I am feeble and crushed;
I groan because of the tumult of my heart.

The misery David experienced during that year must have been horrendous! His strength was gone, his body wasted away, the light was gone from his eyes, he went around mourning all day long – that sounds like somebody who is severely depressed! I sense such a deep tragedy in his anguish, all the more because he knew what it meant to have an intimate relationship with God. How David bore the weight of his sin I am not sure; these Psalms, however, testify to the fact that it almost ruined him entirely.
Those who think David was able to be happy and escape his sin entirely are grossly mistaken and have perhaps spent too much time letting Hollywood shape their worldview. The truth is that nobody who sins will be able to escape what they have done. David’s own words in Psalm 51 testify to this:

3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.

David was no fool; he knew what he had done. Apparently, he couldn’t get away from the memory even if he tried to ignore it. Songs and stories have been composed and written to convince us that the truth is otherwise, but the Biblical reality cannot be ignored. Sin never sets free – it enslaves. No matter how great the promise and no matter how beautiful its siren song, it drags a person down to the very pit of hell. The thought that a man of David’s stature experienced something as horrible as that is staggering.
Every person reading this has faced sin’s siren song and will face it again in the future. Through David, God reminds me of the true nature of sin. He helps me to remember what sin really looks and feels like, so that when temptation does come, I can expose it for what it really is rather than believe its lies. And ultimately, God uses David to remind me that no matter how deep a man has fallen and no matter how great his sin, no matter how dirty and muddy a man finds himself, there is always a way home to the heart of God. David himself points the way in the rest of Psalm 51:

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a rightt spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.

13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will return to you.
14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,
O God of my salvation,
and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.
15 O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

The enticement of sin and the misery it brings cannot and must not be underestimated. If it can lead a man like David to a year of despair, there is no reason why we should not be on guard. More than that, however, we must remember that there is always a way back for a man who comes to God with a broken and contrite heart. And most of all, we need to know that God is always greater than any sin or temptation that could ever be thrown at us.
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One Response to Sin’s Siren Song

  1. Susan says:

    Thank you ! I like Psalm 51! ^-^

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