When we allow sin to snowball it can cloud our judgement.
2 Samuel 11:6-15
6 So David sent this word to Joab: ‘Send me Uriah the Hittite.’ And Joab sent him to David. 7 When Uriah came to him, David asked him how Joab was, how the soldiers were and how the war was going. 8 Then David said to Uriah, ‘Go down to your house and wash your feet.’ So Uriah left the palace, and a gift from the king was sent after him. 9 But Uriah slept at the entrance to the palace with all his master’s servants and did not go down to his house.
10 David was told, ‘Uriah did not go home.’ So he asked Uriah, ‘Haven’t you just come from a military campaign? Why didn’t you go home?’
11 Uriah said to David, ‘The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in tents, and my commander Joab and my lord’s men are camped in the open country. How could I go to my house to eat and drink and make love to my wife? As surely as you live, I will not do such a thing!’
12 Then David said to him, ‘Stay here one more day, and tomorrow I will send you back.’ So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day and the next. 13 At David’s invitation, he ate and drank with him, and David made him drunk. But in the evening Uriah went out to sleep on his mat among his master’s servants; he did not go home.
14 In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah. 15 In it he wrote, ‘Put Uriah out in front where the fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so that he will be struck down and die.’
Imagine a snowball rolling down a hill. It starts small. It picks up more snow as it rolls. It can be stopped. It does minimal damage. But then the snowball gains speed. Other things – like twigs and leaves – stick to it. It gets bigger. It could still be stopped. It would inflict damage. But then rocks get carried up in the snowball’s girth. More and more snow is picked up. Momentum builds. It gets faster and faster. Soon it can’t be stopped. It’s destroying things in its path.
In some ways, the snowball rolling down a hill is like David’s sin in this passage. On Monday we read that David had shirked his duties as commander-in chief. At this point David’s sin – the snowball – could have been dealt with. Yesterday we read that David had seen a beautiful married woman and committed adultery with her. When Bathsheba becomes pregnant, both are afraid that their unborn baby will become proof of their capital crime (Leviticus 20:10). The snowball is now out of control…
In verse 6, David calls Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah, home from war. David wants to cover up the fact that he’s impregnated Uriah’s wife. His sin is compiling! David commands Uriah to go home and wash, hoping Uriah will sleep with his wife, and disguise the baby’s true paternity. A soldier on home leave would have been greatly tempted by this. Yet Uriah is a godly man: he respects his God and his brothers-in-arms by abstaining from the rewards of home while they are still in combat.
But David can’t stop. He continues in his attempts to cover up his sin by plying Uriah with alcohol, making him drunk. Yet Uriah still doesn’t go home. Finally, David commands the general to create the conditions for Uriah to die “in combat”. He commits premeditated murder through his executive decree. The snowball has inflicted maximum damage!
It’s staggering to think that even great King David could do this. From the small, seemingly insignificant beginning of doing nothing, David’s sin has selfishly snowballed through lust, covetousness, adultery and lying to result in murder. But how? I think David’s sin clouded his judgement in different ways, helping him choose to believe his own selfish excuses. He wanted to stay home, so he did. He wanted a woman, so he continued in a habit (1 Samuel 25:39, 25:43; 2 Samuel 5:13). He didn’t want to die, so he used his royal authority to cover up his crime. By this time David had allowed his sin to overwhelm him – and he murdered a man. Only a stern rebuke snapped him out of it (see next Tuesday’s Grow Daily).
If even King David can succumb to snowballing sin, any human can. If David ‘s judgement can be clouded by the lies of his sin, ours can too. But because Jesus has died, risen again, and given us the Spirit, “no temptation has overtaken you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Head: Look back at a time when your sin almost overwhelmed you. Can you trace a snowballing effect from this back to something seemingly insignificant (like inactivity)? Know your triggers for sin (e.g. hungry / angry / lonely / tired).
Heart: David wanted peace, sex and immunity. Out of context, they’re not bad. But none of them were helpful to his duty, his purity and his relationship with God. Identify things that you want that might not be helpful for you…
Hands: Arm yourself with proactive measures for potentially dangerous situations (i.e. fix a time to leave the office or put the phone away / set a drink limit). Stop snowballing sin in its tracks (i.e. confess / flee). Equip a trusted friend with authority to rebuke you.
Prayer: Gracious Father and Righteous Judge, I have sinned against you in thought, word and deed. Give me eyes to see my weaknesses. Mould my heart to love You more than my wants. May I listen to Your Spirit in times of temptation and give me Your strength to take the way of escape! In Jesus’ forgiving name, Amen.
A song to listen to: Have Mercy on Me
Living Church – Creek Road