When the Bad Guy Gets Away with It

Don’t you love it when bad people get what they deserve?

The moment news reached the world that Hitler had died, people celebrated as if they had won a million dollars. For years, they had been hoping that he would get what he deserved, and finally he was gone.

When Obama announced that Osama Bin Laden had been killed, he walked off as if floating on air, knowing that the world was better off without him and that many would credit him with accomplishing that feat. Most movies end with the bad guy falling off a cliff or being killed in a gruesome way, knowing that the audience will feel satisfaction. In fact, the movies where the bad guy wins are usually in the horror category, and fewer people walk away satisfied.

In 2 Samuel chapter 12, we get a lesson about sin. We get to see it in its full glory and it is a terrible sight to behold. But what makes it even more difficult is the fact that it is that our hero, David, who plays the bad guy in this story. And just like with an incredibly twisted movie, the reader is shocked to be shown the hero’s sin, and by the time the reader is convinced that the hero must die, the Prophet Nathan, in 2 Samuel 2:13, says some incredible words, “The Lord also has taken away your sin; you shall not die…”

Of course, this is a famous story, and one we’ve heard preached before, but I do believe that, every once in a while, we must be exposed to the dangers sin brings in the life of believers and why it is imperative that we fight the war against sin on a daily basis.


1) Sin Displeases God

“… But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord” (2 Samuel 11:27).

In 2 Samuel 11, we see the word “sent” over and over again–it seems that everyone is sending people back and forth. David send messengers, Bathsheba send messengers, even Joab does some sending of his own, and everyone seems to be forgetting a very simple fact:  that God is watching. In fact, it is quite obvious in the chapter that He is missing from the story, and He is nowhere in the minds of the main actors. But that doesn’t last for long, and in chapter 12 He is going to be doing some sending of His own by sending the Prophet Nathan.

While reading chapter 11, one might wonder why God is allowing this sin to happen and whether He even cares about what has occurred. But the answer is obvious; in verse 12, not only does the sin offend Him, but it displeases Him as well.

Looking around the world today, we could have the same reaction. We could wonder why God seems to be letting it go, and yet we forget that God will judge every sin and will not let any sin go unpunished. Sin is not only disgusting in His eyes, but it is something that displeases Him, as well. That’s true of the sin in the world, but it is also true of the sin in our hearts. Every single sin that we commit, no matter how small we think it is, displeases the Lord and is worthy enough for us to be put to death for instantly.

2) Sin Destroys the Sinner

“For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer” (Psalm 32:3-4).

Even though God is patient with sin in the world, that does not mean that there are not consequences.

David writes about his nine months between his sin with Bathsheba and Nathan’s confrontation in Psalm 32. Even though God seemed to be absent from it all, David felt as if He was staring at him the entire time. The consequences of sin in David’s life are terrible. He describes it as his bones are wasting away, as he is groaning all day. The incredible lengths he went through in order to cover up this sin were probably screaming at him. The godliness of Uriah throughout the manipulation was probably a constant confrontation of his sin. Yet David did not repent, and it took a prophet’s confrontation for him to be willing to admit it.

Sin is equally as destructive in our lives. Obviously, it causes us to be separated from Him from birth, but it is also destructive as believers. It brings depression, broken relationships, increased selfishness and pride, and, ultimately, can kill us. Sin is a disease that never stops until it takes your life.

3) Sin Distorts the Eyes 

“As the Lord lives, the man who has done this deserves to die” (2 Samuel 12:5).

As blurry as a man experiencing a powerful stroke, so are the eyes of those in unrepentant sin. Suddenly, the sin of those around them becomes unbearable, and their own personal sin is acceptable. Like a driver in a car shouting to someone who cuts them off,  “I hope you die!” and saying, “they had it coming” when they are guilty of the same, that’s the way David looks here. Involved in multiple degrees of gross sins, he hears of a man who, in his own right, commits a pretty despicable act. But that is in no way in the same league as David’s sin, and yet he declares that the man deserves death, knowing full well he does not.

That’s what sin does in our lives–it blinds us. And. unless we continually remind ourselves about our depravity and capability of great sin, we will not be able to see clearly and judge sin rightly in others’ lives. If we want to be used by God, then we must be repenting daily and viewing ourselves and our sin rightly.

4) Sin Despises God

“Why have you despised the Word of the Lord, to do what is evil in his sight?… Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised me” (2 Samuel 12:9-10).

Every time we sin, we are making a decision. In fact, it’s almost as if we are pulling out a scale and weighing our options. On one side is God, and on the other side is our choice of sin. Sometimes we choose God, and other times we think that our sin is going to bring us more pleasure than God can, and we choose it instead. Of course, this is what is happening from a spiritual perspective. Most of the time we try to put God out of our minds in order to partake of whatever sin without feeling any guilt. Sometimes it is just so impulsive that we don’t ever think about God or the consequences. In other words, we become temporary atheists, and stop believing in God and His power to see and punish sin.

When David speaks to the messenger of Job, he declares that “the sword devours now one and now another.”  In other words, “che sará sará, whatever will be will be.” It is hard to find more of an atheistic comment in Scripture. In order to appease his conscience and to feel ok about what he has done, he has to temporarily cease believing in a Sovereign God who controls the universe. He now believes in a random God or even no God at all.

Simply put, when we sin, we are always choosing creation over the Creator. And by doing so, we are despising God and declaring His worth to be below the worth of whatever thing we are worshipping instead.

5) Sin Brings Death 

The fact of the matter is that Sin always leads to death. Perhaps it may seem innocuous or that it can be covered up, but it is like a disease, and its ultimate goal is to kill you.

In this case, it ultimately costs the life of the baby David had with Bathsheba, and it is safe to say that it sets in motion the deaths of three others sons, Amnon, Absalom, and Adonijah, almost as if the fourfold restitution of the lambs in Nathan’s parable is a foreshadowing of the deaths of four of David’s children.

There is no getting around this truth, and that’s why John Owen famously said,

“Do you mortify? Do you make it your daily work? Be always at it whilst you live; cease not a day from this work; be killing sin or it will be killing you.”

As David famously penned Psalm 51, we too must repent of our sin and daily ask the Lord to purify us. This will propel us to continued thankfulness and really may provide our missing springboard toward evangelism (Psalm 51:14-15).

May we never lose our sense of wonder over the fact that, despite we are the bad guy in our story, our ending will not result in a fall off a cliff, but rather, despite our sin, we will enter into everlasting joy with our brothers and sisters in Christ, and with our Savior forever.


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