The Sin of Always Wanting More – 2 Samuel 12
It’s an old story. A man sees a beautiful woman. Man strategizes how to, ahem, get closer to said woman. But—uh-oh—man finds out she is already married. Enter a belly bump, murder, and a guilty king shooing away onlookers: Move along. Nothing interesting here. Keep moving.
My self-righteousness sighs in relief, “Phew! I’m so glad I could never do something like that.”
In 2 Samuel 11 we learn of David’s eager attempts to cover up his private indiscretions with a public wedding. David has momentarily forgotten God, but God has not forgotten him. Nor does God love him so little that He will leave David alone with his secrets. Through the prophet Nathan, God interrupts the honeymoon, confronting David with these words,
“I anointed you king of Israel, and I delivered you out of the hand of Saul. And I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your arms and gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if this were too little, I would add to you as much more” (2 Samuel 12:7b-8, emphasis added).
Four times God recounts His power and provision in David’s life. It was by the hand of God alone that a simple shepherd boy received Israel’s throne, divine protection, a king’s plunder, and abundant resources of a blessed land.
This is a cautionary tale for anyone who’s been tempted to give wings to the whispers that God has not given enough. It warns of the idol of self, with its demands that we deserve better; it heeds against its cajoling to believe we have the power to get what we want. Like David, there will be one morning before an infamous night where we will be tempted to believe the world is ours for the taking.
The scriptures frequently pair lust and covetousness as two sides of one heart in a dangerous place. (Ex. 10:14-17; I Corinthians 9:11; Ephesians 4:19; Hebrews 13:4-5a). Why might this be? My heart testifies how my failing to stay awake to the abundance of God’s provision makes sleepy to the gravitational pull of more and different and better. Lust and greed are ominous reminders we’ve lost consciousness to the sacred reality of God’s presence and provision in our lives.
Lust and covetousness persuade with the same lie. “You be your own god. You deserve better than what you have. Hold on to your entitlements. Grab hold of what you need. Make it happen.”
Truth whispers sweetly in rebuttal, “You have already received much. And if this were too little, I would add to you as much more. Release gratitude for what is. Hold tightly to trust for what isn’t.”
Frequently I look past my abundance and covet. (God, save us all from Pinterest! Amen.) I’ve pined for the body shaped by another’s self-discipline (and figure-friendly genes), for a house whose owner has better taste (and more money), for the ease of other people’s children who seem to arrive pre-assembled for obedience, spiritual thirst, academic success, and social favor. I’ve wished for a ministry marked with another’s opportunities and influence.
The prophet Nathan confronts David with a hypothetical story of injustice. I nervously cringe-giggle. Yeah, I think it’s lame when people borrow other’s ideas, try to look better by criticizing the competition, or bully with position. The nerve! Someone should call them out on that junk.
“You are the woman!” the prophet says to me (as in 2 Samuel 12:7). I am she who ignores the beauty of my many blessings. I follow the trails of dangerous desires. Oh how I twist and wring myself dry with ingratitude.
My heart collapses, “I have sinned against the LORD” (2 Samuel 12:13a).
“The LORD has put away your sin; you shall not die” (as in 2 Samuel 12:13b) comes the reply from a merciful God . We revile; God reconciles. He graces for repentance; with grace He restores.
“Then David arose from the earth and washed and anointed himself and changed his clothes. And he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped” (2 Samuel 12:20).
Do you see the hope of Jesus? We are spared the deserving penalty our sin (Rom 3:23). Sin wastes us, but we rise in the remembrance of Jesus (Rom. 6:4). His death restores more than fourfold (2 Sam. 12:6) what sin steals (Rom. 5:18). He is our Savior who rose from the earth. He washes us clean with his blood (Rom. 5:9). He anoints us with his Spirit (2 Cor. 1:21-22). We are given new garments (Eph. 4:24) and led by Jesus into the presence of our Father to worship in the overflow of His love (Rom. 5:5). Because of Jesus, we are the people of abundance!
Yes, grace and gratitude are two sides of one heart in the beautiful place of God’s presence and provision.
Brenda is passionate for Christ-followers to display God’s words and works as captivatingly beautiful. She has served in various ministerial and nonprofit roles, and is currently working on her M.Div. (at Fuller Theological Seminary) where she is delighting in new discoveries of her Savior and Scripture. She is a regular teacher of Bible studies and a hope coach for the wounded, weary and wandering. Sometimes she does laundry, but only when it’s absolutely imperative. She loves days spent in the garden, sharing a good meal with friends, and the exuberant devotion of her two Basset Hounds. She may or may not have an unhealthy relationship with coffee, chocolate, and book buying. She lives outside of Los Angeles with her husband of twenty-two years and is a mom to two college-age boys who grew up way too fast. She writes about truth, beauty, and God’s goodness at OnceUponATruth.