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Unexpected Consequences

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I love a good novel that begins with a main plot, then in the blink of an eye, changes with the wind to reveal a twist in the story so powerful, so unexpected, that I remain glued to my seat in anticipation of the outcome. Some story lines grab our attention with the littlest detail, changing our perspective, and getting us to focus on a completely different scenario.

Scripture has plenty of these twists and turns, with drama, adventure, comedy, and romance filling the pages that hold the truth of God and His people. We have so much to learn from the Savior who loves us enough to not only save us but give us life application principles wrapped in real life stories.

God seems to work most powerfully in the “little things." Sometimes the littlest detail or plot twist will make the biggest difference in the outcome of a situation. One of the best stories in the Bible that captures the power of the little things is in 2 Samuel 11-12.

In this passage, David, the man after God’s own heart, has decided to stay home from war. He’s a great man in charge of a powerful kingdom – and all the king’s men are off fighting to keep his territory running smoothly. David, in a moment of weakness, finds himself sitting on the rooftop glancing over at a beautiful woman bathing and makes a wrong choice.

In a moment of pure humanity, David decides that the many women in his own home who patiently wait for him will not fill his need. He impulsively has to have this woman who is alone and apparently exposed on another man’s rooftop. That first choice to look leads to another wrong choice – to act.

The leader calls his people, and asks about the woman he has peeked at. Who is she? Will she visit me? While asking about the woman, this virile leader discovers that the vision of beauty is not only married but married to a man who is fighting in his own army!

Does that stop the path of destruction? No. The self consumed leader sends for the woman anyhow, and we can imagine the next scene...

In true Jerry Springer style, the rest of the story reads like a racy daytime talk show. He sends for her, sleeps with her, and she washes up and returns home as a woman of shame. A one night stand from another century. David was simply a powerful man having his way and sending her on her way.

I imagine that in David’s mind, the moment the conquest is over, the challenge is gone, and the passion is forever secret. He probably had no interest in giving that night, or her, another thought.

Then the little thing shows up.

She’s pregnant.

She sends word that the leader now has a new child to raise, a new problem to confront -- a new issue to face. In the blink of an eye, David’s best planned secret sin has instantly taken a turn he never expected. The consequences of his actions would appear in nine months, and a “plan B” had to get cooking. What would he do? How would he fix this?

 Instead of owning up to and repenting of his indiscretion, manipulation, lies, and trickery, the leader digs deeper and deeper into a pit of bad choices. When the dutiful husband returns from war at David’s request, he doesn’t cooperate with the covert actions of the king.

An eventual murder takes place, all at the hand of the man after God’s own heart. Who would have ever thought that David would resort to tricking his own soldier, and even send him off to die at the battle’s front line, in order to save himself?

Apparently, God wasn’t willing to let that dog lie. Nathan, God’s servant, shows up on the scene with a little tale to tell: Hey David, ever heard this story? A man with a big flock takes another man’s little ewe; steals the only good thing he has.

David’s response was filled with outrage, quick judgment, and anger. Don’t you know God was shaking his head as he watched the sinner condemn his own sin? The story Nathan told really dealt with David, and when the king’s tongue stopped wagging, Nathan rebuked the sinner with the words of God, revealing that God knew what had happened.

The leader would have to face the consequences for his own sin. God is just and fair, and He will deal with a believer in the midst of sin. Repentance is God’s goal for any sinner.

What is our response? While few of us can relate to this depth of sin, we are wise not to smugly think that we are better than the sinner we read about because we haven’t sunken quite as low as he did. We cannot build ourselves up in our own lives by comparing our own strengths to other’s weaknesses. We would do better to read this passage and take heart that the Lord will confront us in our sin and reveal our indiscretions if we do not deal with them and repent.

God’s goal is to bring us to a right relationship with Him, no matter what it takes. The Father has lovingly given us true life stories such as this one to draw us to a more godly life, and to teach us the dangers of sin. We often try to justify and cover up the sin instead of approaching it with a repentant heart. Whatever sin we find ourselves engaging in, we too may find ourselves face to face with an unexpected turn of events that can change our lives forever.

In the midst of our choices, in the daily decisions we make, let us never underestimate the little things…the consequences for our actions can creep in when we least expect them!

Excerpted from Life Principles for Christ-like Living, Copyright 2006 by Jennifer Devlin, ISBN 0-89957-339-8. For more information, visit Jennifer’s Web site

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About The Author


Jennifer Devlin is dedicated to sharing Jesus with the nations. Through teaching Sunday school, leading women's ministry efforts, serving the nations on short-term mission trips, encouraging others through retreats and conferences, and writing Bible studies and Christian non-fiction, Jennifer is on the front lines of today's culture with the Sword of the Spirit held high.She is the author of Life Principles for Christ-like Living, Verses We Know by Heart: Discovering the Details of Familiar Old Testament Passages and Verses We Know by Heart: Discovering the Details of Familiar New Testament

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