Serious Words for Sin

2 Samuel 12:9a – Why have you despised the word of the Lord, to do what is evil in his sight?

2 Samuel 12:13-14 – David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die. Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the Lord, the child who is born to you shall die.”

This exchange between David and Nathan the prophet comes on the heels of David’s sin with Bathsheba. David committed adultery, and tried to conceal his act with murder, before God made David aware that he could not hide his actions from the Lord’s sight. And while much can be learned from this passage, I simply want to point out the significant words used for David’s sin in the passage and make an application for us.

In verse 9, Nathan says that David “despised the word of the Lord.” In verse 14, Nathan said that David “utterly scorned the Lord.” Even David, in his confession, recognized that his sin, while against many people, was ultimately a sin against the Lord.

Many times, we think of our sin that it is no big deal. Particularly, when our sin does not seem to harm another around us, we are eager to excuse our own sinfulness. We say things like, “Nobody’s perfect,” or “God will forgive me,” as though the forgiveness of God is our license to continue in our immorality. We truly fail to recognize what it is that we do when we sin. But David and Nathan saw the truth., and we should learn from them.

When we sin, we sin against God. No matter how big or how small the sin, we sin against our Lord. Even if the sin seems completely private, it is a sin that involves you turning your back on the principles and commands of God in order to do something you find more valuable at the present time. Perhaps it is gossip. Perhaps it is pornography. Perhaps it is selfish thinking. Whatever the sin, it is you “despising the word of the Lord” as did David. It is you sinning against the Lord, as David saw. It is you utterly scorning the Lord, as Nathan tells David in verse 14. Yes, these are harsh words; sin is a harsh thing. We dare not take it lightly. We dare not belittle what God has declared to be of infinite significance.

Of course I understand that all of us are sinful people. Not one of us has lived perfectly. Yet, we also must recognize that we, if we are believers, serve a holy God who demands our holiness as well. To sin against that God is significant. It is not something we can take lightly. It is not something we can “O well.” Let us learn to take holiness seriously and sin seriously in order that we might not despise the word of the Lord. And let us learn to love the grace of God purchased for us by the blood of Christ.