Bible Readings for September 17th

2 Samuel 13 | 2 Corinthians 6 | Ezekiel 20 | Psalms 6667

Nathan confronted David about his sin with Bathsheba by declaring this prophetic word from Yahweh, “Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife” (2 Sam. 12:10). Today in 2 Samuel 13, we see this prophecy coming to grim fulfillment as Amnon follows in his father’s footsteps into sexual sin and Absalom commits his father’s sin of murder.

First, Amnon’s sin reminds us of the dangers of keeping crafty, wicked friends like Jonadab who are eager to help us plot our sin (2 Sam. 13:3–6). As Paul writes, “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals’” (1 Cor. 15:33). What kind of company, then, are you keeping?

Second, we also see in the story of Amnon’s rape of Tamar the absolute lie of sexual temptation. Although Amnon’s desire for Tamar torments him to the extent that he becomes physically sick (2 Sam. 13:2), his “love” turns to a greater degree of hatred once he finishes raping her (2 Sam. 13:15). The reason God forbids us from taking part in sexual activity outside of the covenant of marriage—whether pornography, fornication, adultery, or homosexual activity—is not that God wants to repress some great need that we have but actually because he recognizes that these sins will destroy us. Satan, however, lies to us, stoking our emotions to scream at us, telling us falsely that we can only be deeply fulfilled if we succumb to these temptations. We must, therefore, depend upon God’s guidance in his word and God’s power through his Holy Spirit to navigate safely past the destructiveness of sin.

Finally, this story introduces us to David’s son Absalom, a figure with whom we will spend a significant amount of time over the next few days. Absalom’s anger in reaction to Amnon’s rape of Tamar was normal, healthy, and even righteous, but the actions he took in response—murdering his brother—were wicked. If David had managed his household well, holding Amnon accountable for his crimes, Absalom might not have needed to resort to murder. But, as we discussed in our meditation for 2 Samuel 3, one of David’s greatest failures as king was that he refused to discipline those around him, and we see David fail twice to discipline his sons here in 2 Samuel 13—first in the case of Amnon and then in the case of Absalom.

Sin begets more sin, so we must remain diligent to stand firm against even the smallest sins that creep into our lives. By the grace of God, keep watch over your soul, fleeing again and again to Jesus, who pursued you through his life, death, and resurrection in order for you to find your complete satisfaction in him as you put sin to death in your life.

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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