Lighthouse Leader Study Guide
Date: November 5, 2017
Series: The kings & the King: A Study of 2 Samuel
2 Samuel 12:26-15:37
This Week’s Printable Resources:
Overview of this Lesson
We are in the midst of a three-part series we are calling “The Sin and the Sins.” This passage of Scripture beginning in 2 Samuel 11 and continuing through Chapter 18 is one of the darkest, most tragic passages in the Bible. We see the foolishness sin and the unspeakable consequences.
In the first part of this series, we looked at David’s Great Sin–his adulteress affair with a young woman who was the wife of one of David’s most loyal soldiers. When the young woman became pregnant because of the affair, David tried to cover his sin, but when all attempts failed, he turned his loyal soldier’s courage into a weapon of destruction and murdered him. With the husband out of the way, David took the young woman, Bathsheba, as another wife.
In our last lesson we focused on a simple biblical principle: The seeds of the most terrible possible atrocities, the capability of the worst possible deeds, live in every human heart, even the best people, even people who are converted by God (Jer. 17:9, 1 Cor. 10:12).
This week and next week, we will focus on the consequences of David’s Great Sin. The lens of Scripture first turns to the consequences within David’s family in general, then focusing solely on the consequences surrounding David’s son, Absalom.
The biblical principle we will focus on this week is simple: God always instantly and completely forgives sin when there is confession and genuine repentance; but He does not remove the consequences of our sin.
The period of time covered by 2 Samuel 11-18 encompasses roughly the third quarter of David’s life.
Memory Verse for This Week
Psalm 51:12 – “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.”
The Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 13:14): We believe the God of the Bible is the only true God and is eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
This Week’s Take Home Truth
Consequences are the undertow of sin that eventually affect both others (12-13) and ourselves (14-15).
- What would you think if you saw a few ants in your kitchen? How would you respond?
- What do you know about your great-grandparents? Can you relate one story about a great-grandparent?
- Looking back at your notes from this week’s sermon, was there anything that particularly caught your attention, challenged or confused you?
Make sure you ask this question this week. It gives people the opportunity to discuss questions or issues that come up beyond the written questions. People’s responses can often lead into one of the questions in the “Digging Deeper” section. Also, some weeks this question will result in a lot of discussion, other weeks, not so much.
Read the Text (2 Samuel 13)
Chapter 13 begins the detailed description of the consequences of David’s Great Sin. The following five chapters depict a level of family strife that would top that of most American households. The litany of sins is disgusting—incest, sexual abuse, murder, rape, adultery, murder, substance abuse, theft, and more murder. Destruction follows destruction, violence begets violence, until the entire thread of God’s grace seems to disappear. God is still at work in this dark time, but the consequences of sin are running their due course. Read 2 Samuel 13.
In this section, feel free to develop your own questions to help guide your group’s discussion. Below are some suggestions. Remember, if you are hearing from everyone in your group, chances are you won’t have to time to discuss every question. You may start with one that catches your attention so you don’t run out of time. For example, it’s not odd to start with Question #6, then go to Question #5 and if you have time come back to Question #4.
What are the first consequences of David’s sin with Bathsheba?
From the moment the prophet Nathan declared to David, “You are the man!” in 2 Samuel 12:7, God’s hand of judgment begins to fall upon David and his family. First, we see the death of his infant son who was the fruit of David’s adulterous affair with Bathsheba.
Then, 2 Samuel 13 shows us the absolute tragedy that begins to fall upon David’s adult children. His son Amnon rapes David’s daughter, Tamar, Amnon’s half-sister. As a result of this rape, the girl is forever shamed and disgraced. This scene conforms to a familiar pattern in sexual abuse. “Amnon hated Tamar,” the text tells us, “with such intensity that the hatred he hated her with was greater than the love he had loved her with” (2 Sam 13:15).
When news of the rape begins to spread throughout David’s household, Tamar’s brother, Absalom swears revenge. David, for his part, is angry, but does nothing. His failure as a husband and father push him into the corner where passivity is the response. 2 Samuel 13 ends with Absalom waiting until the opportune time (two years after the rape) and then murdering Amnon in revenge. Fearing for his own life, now, after killing Amnon, Absalom flees.
Who suffers most as a result of David’s Great Sin?
It is hard not to argue that David’s family suffered most because of his sin. Here is a quick overview of the pain David’s family suffered following “Dad’s” sin with the young woman:
- David suffered the death of an infant son–2 Sam. 12:15, 18
- David’s eldest son Amnon raped his half-sister Tamar–2 Sam. 13:1-2
- David’s son Absalom grew to hate Amnon–2 Sam. 13:22
- Absalom conspires to have Amnon killed–2 Sam. 13:23-29
- Absalom flees from his father and the two are estranged for some 5 years.–2 Sam. 13:37-39; 2 Sam. 14:24
- Absalom leads a public rebellion against David–2 Sam. 15-17
- Absalom publicly disgraces David by committing adultery with David’s concubines on top of the King’s palace–2 Sam. 16:21-22
- Absalom is murdered by David’s nephew Joab–2 Sam. 18:32-33
For his part, David is depicted as a passive spectator watching the destruction of his family. He doesn’t intercede when his daughter is raped; he let’s his son Absalom stew for years before he kills his brother Amnon. Even when he forgives Absalom for killing his brother, he refuses to see him for another two years.
What does David’s Great Sin teach us about God’s forgiveness and sin’s consequences?
We see in this retelling of David’s Great Sin a picture of God’s forgiveness. God forgave David of his sin (2 Sam. 12:13)–that is grace! Yet, David still had to face the consequences of his sin (2 Sam. 12:14-18:1)–that is reality.
Many Christians confuse God’s forgiveness with the reality of the consequences of our sin. Yes, God completely forever forgives us of our sin. Spiritually speaking, we will not die as a result of our sin, if we have placed our trust in Jesus. However, God does not take away the consequences of our sin in this lifetime.
It’s a lie to believe that if we confess our sins, it will be as if they never happened. Grace means we will not die for our sin (2 Sam. 12:13); grace means we will have God’s help as we face the consequences of our sin; grace does not mean we are off the hook.
John Lawrence underscores this point when he states,
When David sowed to the flesh, he reaped what the flesh produced. Moreover, he reaped the consequences of his actions even though he had confessed his sin and been forgiven for it. Underline it, star it, mark it deeply upon your conscious mind: Confession and forgiveness in no way stop the harvest. He had sown; he was to reap. Forgiven he was, but the consequences continued. This is exactly the emphasis Paul is giving the Galatians even in this age of grace. We are not to be deceived, for God will not be mocked. What we sow we will reap, and there are no exceptions.1
Is it true one man’s sin can impact entire families?
Most of us would quickly and publicly declare our family as one of the top priorities in our life. As parents, we want nothing more than to see our children and grandchildren grow up in the favor and admonition of the Lord, living out the biblical principles that bring the kind of blessing only promised through obedience to God’s Word.
Still, few of us are willing to acknowledge that our own selfish, many times secret sin is the greatest danger to our family’s well-being. I do believe that the sin of a Mother or Father can have long-term, destructive consequences on that man or woman’s family for generations. Don’t forget the reality of Numbers 32:23 – “…take note, you have sinned against the LORD; and be sure your sin will find you out.”
To illustrate this point, consider the story of an Israelite by the name of Achan found in Joshua 7. After winning several victories in their conquest of the Promised Land, the armies of Israel suddenly experienced defeat. What happened? God had promised them victory, and now they experienced defeat. When Joshua inquired of the Lord, the Lord told Joshua there was sin in the camp. One of the soldiers had taken some of the loot from a destroyed city.
After some investigation, a man named Achan confessed to the sin. Joshua 7:24-26 tells us of Achan’s demise:
Then Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, the silver, the garment, the wedge of gold, his sons, his daughters, his oxen, his donkeys, his sheep, his tent, and all that he had, and they brought them to the Valley of Achor. And Joshua said, “Why have you troubled us? The Lord will trouble you this day.” So all Israel stoned him with stones; and they burned them with fire after they had stoned them with stones. Then they raised over him a great heap of stones, still there to this day. So the Lord turned from the fierceness of His anger. Therefore the name of that place has been called the Valley of Achor to this day.
Because Achan had sinned against the Lord and taken the forbidden loot, his entire family was wiped out. That seems harsh to our sense of justice today, but the principle is the same: the consequences of Achan’s sin brought destruction to his entire family.
Chuck Swindoll observes correctly,
Sin, to some degree, always affects others. Just because we can’t build a logical, cause-and-effect case every time, doesn’t make that any less true. As a pastor, I have seen one person’s “private” sin break the hearts of family members as well as hinder the work of an entire church. As a nation we have seen more than one president’s “private” sin corrupt an administration. Sin in the camp is a powerful enemy to a fruitful ministry. Satan would love nothing more than to keep that sin buried, convince us that our choices are nobody’s business but our own, and let it rot our lives from the inside out. The Adversary’s logic feeds on such deception.2
How does generational sin influence your family today?
You may not have seen the tragedy that split David’s family in to pieces, but you may find your family struggling in ways that are always puzzling. Marriage is an incredibly beautiful, complex relationship. When a young man and a young woman marry, they bring with them all the complexities and, in many cases, the dysfunction of their extended families. These things may seem normal to the husband, but for the wife, some of his “quirks” are absolutely frustrating. And, likewise, the husband knows what to expect from a wife (he’s watched his mother perform in this role all of his life), so when the young wife fails to meet the expectations, trouble begins to brew.
Too often, I think, we fail to fully appreciate how the sins of our parents, grandparents, and even great-grandparents impact our family today.
As a kid growing up, I had three great spiritual influences in my life: Charles Swindoll, Charles Stanley, and J. Vernon McGee. All three were pioneers in radio ministry, and my Mom was an avid, faithful listener and supporter. During the summer months, when my brother and I were out of school, we woke every morning to Dr. McGee blaring from the radio. Dr. McGee was immediately followed by Dr. Stanley and Dr. Swindoll. While we ate breakfast, we listened to Dr. McGee. While we played around the house, we listened to Dr. Stanley or Dr. Swindoll. There were few problems that crossed our path that Mom couldn’t pull a quote from one of these three men out of her hat.
In the 1990s, the Christian Broadcasting world was rocked by a stunning revelation: Dr. Stanley, the beloved pastor, author, and radio teacher was getting a divorce. How does this happen? Almost 20 years after Charles and Anna Stanley divorced, their son, Andy, wrote a book called Deep and Wide in which he shared the story behind their divorce. What was the root problem? Was it infidelity? No. Was it money problems? No. Was it a workaholic husband or the trauma of some catastrophic family event? No. Read Andy’s account of their marital problems and see how it connects to the generational consequences the homes Charles and Anna grew up in.
I’ve held every theory as to the root of their problems. It was none of the usual suspects. There was no infidelity. It wasn’t financial. My dad has always worked hard, but I’ve never considered him a workaholic. And my mom has never accused him of any of those things.
They both grew up in what we would now consider highly dysfunctional homes. My dad’s father passed away when my dad was seventeen months old. There was no insurance. His mom went to work in a mill. He was a latchkey kid before there was such a thing. They were incredibly poor. He learned about Santa Claus the Christmas morning he found the orange in his stocking that had been in the fridge the night before.
His mom remarried when he was twelve to ensure that he would have a man in his life. Out of sensitivity to my extended family, I can’t go into detail as to what a nightmare that turned out to be. He begged his mom to get a divorce, but she refused. In her mind, a vow was a vow. She would not break it. But it almost broke her. When her husband’s health took a turn for the worse, she stepped in and nursed him as if he had been the model husband. I was old enough to understand how one-sided the relationship had been and how utterly selfless she was during his final years. After he died, my dad moved his mother to Atlanta where he did his best to make up for the decades of difficulty she had endured.
My mother’s parents divorced when she was in high school. Her father, David, was my favorite grandparent. He knew how to have a good time, which, as it turned out, was part of the problem. When I was nine, I went to stay with him for two weeks during the summer. He bought me an alligator. What’s not to love about a grandparent who will buy his grandson a two-foot-long reptile? He was awesome before anybody used the term. He kept jars of cash in his refrigerator. He sewed diamonds into the hems of his curtains. He always drove a new gold Cadillac. His standard attire was a champagne-colored suit with cufflinks.
He had a condo in Fort Lauderdale, a house on a canal in West Palm Beach with a yacht parked in back, and a farm in North Carolina.
On the negative side of the ledger sheet, he was married four times. Four marriages. That’s a lot now. That was a whole lot back then. His fourth wife was a wonderful woman under whose influence he eventually became a Christian. By then, he was in his mid-sixties. Once he said the sinner’s prayer, he started making up for lost time. In his final years all he wanted to do was discuss the Scriptures. I can still remember his giant-print brown leather Bible. While he was quick to say he was a Christian, he was never confident about heaven. He would say, “Well, I don’t know about heaven. I’ve done a lot of bad things in my life.” We never asked. We could only imagine. And while his late-in-life conversion was comforting, the damage that only a father can inflict had been done.
So a young man, who grew up without a father and for whom compartmentalization became a means of survival, married a woman whose father was distracted, to say the least; and together they set out to change the world. But as you know, the past is only the past for a time. It has a way of clawing its way into our futures. And if you don’t recognize it for what it is, the results can be devastating. And my parents were no exception.
In 1992, my mom packed up and moved to my parents’ lake house outside of Atlanta. Several months later, I received the call from my dad saying he had been served with papers. And speaking of papers, it was all over the papers. Everybody had an opinion about what my dad should do. But nobody except my sister and I knew the whole story. While most of the congregants at First Baptist Atlanta (FBA) were willing to stand by my dad no matter what, there was a group that insisted he take some time off to work on his marriage. What they didn’t know and could not have known was that six months prior to my mom moving to the lake, my parents spent three weeks at a conference center with a highly trained team of counselors and doctors “working on their marriage.” And that wasn’t the first time. They had seen every type of counselor imaginable. By the time she filed, the marriage had been dead for years. But they were both so adamantly opposed to divorce that neither of them wanted to file. On one occasion I got so frustrated I actually asked if I could hire an attorney and file for their divorce myself!
In addition to the take-some-time-off group, there was an element in the church that thought my dad should resign. It was their conviction that if my mom actually went through with the divorce, he would be disqualified to serve in his current capacity. As cruel as that may sound, you need to understand that until that time, First Baptist Atlanta had never had a divorced staff member or deacon. You couldn’t be elected to the deacon board if you had been divorced. So, in the minds of the resign-now crowd, they were simply applying what they had been taught.
But, just as things were starting to heat up, my mom suddenly announced that she was dropping the suit. Everybody rejoiced. It looked like God had answered prayer and the marriage would be saved. My sister, Becky, and I knew better. Four months later, my mom refiled. And the whole thing started up again.3
Do you struggle with various levels of dysfunction in your family? If so, you are not alone. Peel away the layers of a church like First Family and you will find many families struggling with one level or another of dysfunction. It may be a private battle with depression or a constant struggle to be the kind of Mom or Dad you think your kids deserve. There are families who have painfully watched their children wander away from the Lord and embrace a world of secularism and all the vices that go with it. And, yes, there are families who must deal with the damage of infidelity and sin habits that have left a marriage all but dead.
Here’s one thing I know: just like the issues in David’s family and the issues in Charles and Anna Stanley’s family, many times the root problems are generational in nature. Does this mean that as individuals we don’t own part of the problem? Of course, we do, but, as Andy Stanley put it so well, “the past is only the past for a time. It has a way of clawing its way into our futures. And if you don’t recognize it for what it is, the results can be devastating.”
Do you think your family history is perfect? It might be, but what about your grandparents? What about your wife’s family and her grandparents? It’s frustrating to think that the sins of a grandfather, whom you may or may not have even known, can have a profound impact on your family today, but it can and it does. The key is to recognize this for what it is.
How can you recognize the imminent threat of danger to your family and fight against it?
One thing we all must recognize and accept is that your family, my family, is a target of the devil. Families are targets of opportunity. As we see in the life of David, it can be almost too easy give the devil a foothold within our family, and once there is a foothold, the devil starts to expand his reach and influence.
Recognize the Threat
The first step in any war is to recognize the threat. Unfortunately, as is the nature of any war, the real nature of a threat doesn’t become apparent until their has been a catastrophic defeat. Think Pearl Harbor. Think 9/11. The threat from Imperial Japan and Radical Islam existed prior to these two events, but it was the sudden and catastrophic nature of these two defeats that woke up the country to the true nature of the threat.
So it is with the war against your family. The threat is there. Accept it. Recognize it. Don’t wait for a catastrophic defeat to wake up to this reality.
Embrace Your Identity
Let’s face it, you are a target of the devil because you are a child of God. Rather than run from this identity, embrace it! You are in Christ, and Christ is in you. Openly confess this and profess this reality. The devil has no power over you. If you have sinned against God, confess this sin and repent of this sin. Keep in mind the principle we have stressed throughout this lesson: God will forgive you of your sin, but you must still live with the consequences of your sin. But, God gives you the grace to face those consequences and He promises to be with you as you face those consequences.
Engage in the Battle
How do you engage in the battle for your family? Do what you know is right before God. If you are not sure what is right before God, then let your first step to begin reading the Bible daily. Commit to reading your Bible for 20 minutes every day and asking the Holy Spirit to reveal to you what is right before God? Let this be your prayer before you read your Bible:
Lord, use Your word to show me what is right in your eyes, and help me to follow Your word in obedience. Help me to live my life as a testimony of godly obedience before my family, my friends, and my co-workers. And may You receive all the glory and praise, in Jesus Name, Amen.
Consider daily Bible reading and daily prayer as the foundation upon which you will build your life in Christ. Your faithfulness in these two disciplines will show your family more than anything of your seriousness and commitment to engage in the battle for your family.
Pray for Your Family
- Pray in the name of Jesus. You are His, remember? Your identity is His identity. As you pray, pray in the Name of Jesus. “And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it” (John 14:13-14).
- Pray the Word of God. When you pray, quote the Word of God back to God. As you read your Bible daily, there are passages of Scripture that will jump out at you as both a promise and a reality. Use these in your prayer to reinforce that reality that you are praying God’s will for your life and your family’s life? For example, consider Philippians 4:8–“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” Pray this truth over your family: “Lord, as my children walk through this day, I pray that you would fill their minds what those things that are true, noble, just, pure, and lovely, and that they would reflect these qualities in their life. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
Be Bold in Your Testimony
As you learn what is right before God (through your Bible reading, remember?), don’t be afraid to openly confess these truths before your family. When you hear a “little white lie,” speak the truth of God’s Word. When you hear one of your children speaking poorly of a teacher or a friend, speak the truth of God’s Word. When you hear someone curse or you see your children watching a program that is counter to what is right before God, speak the truth of God’s Word.
Don’t become comfortable with “little sins” in your family’s life or your life. Call them out and speak the truth of God’s Word. Sin is deadly. Remember, when the devil has a small foothold in your life or your family’s life, that can quickly become a growing stronghold of evil right in your own home!
Most importantly, who is Jesus to you and what is Jesus doing in your life? Share this testimony with your family.
These questions are given to prompt both reflection and learning on a personal level, and should likely be completed individually and apart from your regular group time.
Looking back at this week’s teaching and study, what’s the most important thing to remember?
Becoming A House of Prayer
“Even them I will bring to My holy mountain, And make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices; Will be accepted on My altar; For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.” – Isaiah 56:7.
Prayer Focus for the Week of November 5
This week, make a commitment to prayer Colossians 1:9-14 over yourself and your family.
9 For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; 12 giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.
- God desires that we be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.
- God desires that we walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him.
- God desires that we be fruitful in every good work.
- God desires that we know Him better every day.
- God desires that we be strengthened with all might, according to the glorious power of the Holy Spirit at work in us.
- God desires that we have patience and be longsuffering with others, and have these attitudes and behaviors with joy in our hearts.
- God desires that we give thanks always to Him for our salvation.
- God desires that we be ever mindful that we have been delivered from the power of darkness—the enemy of our souls—and that we have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus.
- God desires that we live in an ongoing state of forgiveness, frequently confessing our faults to God and being forgiven of our sins so that we might walk in purity and a continual newness of life.
When we pray what God desires, we can pray with confidence that God will answer our prayer!
Questions to consider as you continue to reflect on what you learned this week:
- Take Action: Can you identify dysfunction in your extended family (on both the husband and wife’s side) that may be impacting your family today?
- Take Courage: While the war against your family is real and dangerous, you are not alone. God is on your side, even if it is your own sin that has brought destruction to your family. Lean on His strong arm as you face the battle for your family.
Work to memorize this week’s memory verse: Psalm 51:12 – “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.”
Our Core Belief this week is The Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 13:14): We believe the God of the Bible is the only true God and is eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Remember to use the daily Bible reading plan as part of your walk with Christ, taking the time to reflect on each passage and what it means for your lives.