Saturday, March 19, 2011
THE DOMINO EFFECT
Over the years, I have seen some videos showing domino competitions where contestants try to build the largest configuration. The final test is to see if the dominoes fall one after another to break a record. It often takes them a very long time to build and only a short amount of time for it to fall. This is fun to watch, but in real life, the domino effect can have tragic consequences. This was true in the life of King David.
In 2 Samuel chapter 11-13, we read about a series of events that create havoc in the life of David and his family (please take time to read these chapters for a better overview). Most of this story is well known so we often overlook the details that demonstrate how one sin can lead
to even more. There are always consequences for our actions, and the idea that we can do "our own thing" because it isn't hurting anyone is a fallacy as we shall see.
Instead of going out to battle with his army, King David stayed behind in Jerusalem. Scripture does not tell us why he chose to do this. During this time, he regarded a beautiful woman as she was bathing. With lust as his motivation, he sent for her and committed adultery with her. This was the fall of the first domino.
Bathsheba was the wife of Uriah the Hittite one of David's faithful soldiers. When it was discovered that she was pregnant, the king began an elaborate cover up plan. He called Uriah back from the field thinking he would go home and spend time with his wife. This would provide an explanation for her pregnancy and the adultery would go unnoticed. However, Uriah was a loyal man and refused to enjoy any time at home while his fellow soldiers were at war. David tried everything to entice him, but nothing worked. Therefore, he sent word to his commander to put Uriah in a dangerous position, and withdraw support so he would be killed. When word was received that Uriah was dead, David took Bathsheba as his wife. The second domino fell.
While King David thought he had covered his tracks, he did not understand that he had a close observer to everything he had done - God. It was the Lord that sent the prophet Nathan to confront David with his sin. Nathan's rebuke from the mouth of God stung because he knew it was all true and the one chilling word that the prophet spoke came true not long after: "Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own. This is what the Lord says: 'Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity upon you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will lie with your wives in broad daylight. You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel'" (2 Samuel 12:10-12). The death of King David's son with Bathsheba following this pronouncement was a crushing blow, but further pain was about to follow. The third domino fell and they were picking up speed.
In Chapter 13 of Samuel, David's son Amnon, who was the crown prince, lusted after his sister Tamar and in a ruthless scheme devised by him and Jonadab (King David's nephew), this young virgin daughter of David was lured to Amnon's home and raped. She was the sister of Absalom and after her defilement, Amnon threw her out of his house. When David got the report of this incident, he was angry but did not discipline Amnon as the law required. This lack of response only created more enmity within the family. Absalom plotted a way to kill Amnon by inviting the sons of David to a feast.
After his brother was put to death, Absalom fled and lived apart from his family. Once again, David failed to act and bring proper retribution. Another series of dominoes fell.
Ultimately, Absalom returned to the land when David was persuaded by Joab to do so. However, there was no real reconciliation between father and son. How sad to see the family picture fall apart. Amnon committed sexual sin with his sister and Absalom murdered his brother. Like father like sons? To make matters worse, Absalom tried to overthrow David by winning the favor of the people and driving his father from Jerusalem. He even violated his father's wives as the Lord had spoken through the Prophet Nathan. Then, he pursued his father to kill him and take the crown. The whole affair came to a tragic end with the death of Absalom. It was the final domino to fall.
There we have it. This story makes soap operas pale in comparison with the death of so many: David's loyal soldier Uriah, his baby with Bathsheba, his son Amnon, and finally, his son Absalom. Sadly, it all started with a glance, followed by a thought and carried out in a sinful act. Actions have consequences.
Our relativistic society says it doesn't matter what you do as long as you don't hurt anyone. Yet, when we commit a sin (any sin), it does affect others. In addition, even if those around us are unaware of something we have done, God knows. Trust me, secret sins ALWAYS become known. Sooner or later, it will be uncovered.
True life stories like David's are recorded in the Bible so that we might see the painful results of our actions. David repented and continued to be used by God because He is a God of mercy. Nevertheless, there was a price to pay and pay King David did. The sword never did depart from his household, but we do not have to live like this. No dominoes have to fall if we will clean out and clean up our thinking, before we step across the line. We do this through prayer, Bible study, and church fellowship.
If we have stumbled into sin, we do have an advocate with the Father...our Lord Jesus Christ. By sincere repentance, our relationship with God can be restored (1John 1:9); yet, we may suffer some consequences that will need God's healing touch.
Today, I hope you will join me in prayer for those out there who have been wounded by someone who stepped across the line. Pray also for those who are on the brink of pushing over that first domino that they may repent before it is too late. Lastly, let us pray for our own hearts that we may not be caught up in the domino effect. No one is immune from sin, but we serve a mighty God who can keep us on the right path if we will seek Him with all of our hearts. Selah!