“Some time passed.” (CSB – Read the chapter)
These three words should absolutely terrify anyone who has contemplated to the point of commission some act of sin. Let me tell you why.
When David raped Bathsheba and had Uriah, her husband and his trusting, committed follower, murdered in an attempt to cover it up, the Lord told him through the prophet Nathan that the result of these terrible deeds would be the weakening of his reign and the crumbling of his household. Specifically, God told him that the sword would never depart from his house and that someone would violate his own wives and concubines. But, unlike his act of secrecy, this violation would happen openly.
Beginning here in chapter 13, we see this promised judgment which was equal parts prescription and description—that is, it was both God actively prescribing a judgment on him for his sin, and God describing what would be the natural result of this sin in his family—begin to unfold.
The events of this chapter are sickening and heart-wrenching. David’s oldest son and the intended heir to the throne, becomes obsessed with his half-sister to the point that it makes him physically ill. With the help of his cousin, he concocts a scheme to rape her—like father, like son. When Tamar’s brother, Absalom, learns of it, he concocts a scheme to murder his half-brother. The family continues falling apart from there. Absalom ultimately stages a coup against his father which results in his own death. It’s one big mess to say the least.
We will talk about all of that and more later, but here’s the thing that matters right here: None of this happened immediately after David’s sin. In other words, for a long time, long enough for his kids to grow into adulthood, David probably figured he was in the clear from his sin. Yes, the first child he conceived with Bathsheba had died, but that was it. He’d moved on (whether or not she had is another story we are unfortunately not told).
But then, “Some time passed.” Again: this should terrify someone contemplating some act of sin to the point of actually keeping them from it. Our sin has consequences. All of it. Never will we commit a sin that does not leave a mark on our lives and the lives of the people around us in some kind of way. But, those marks may very well not show up until some time has passed. In other words, we may not find out what terrible things are going to spiral out from our sin until much later down the line.
Here’s the point: Why would we do something now that will have unknown and unknowable, potentially devastating consequences at some future point whose timing we could not guess from where we are currently sitting? No right thinking person would. So…be a right thinking person. Don’t do that thing you were thinking about that isn’t right, but nobody is going to know about. You’ll be taking out a loan against your future whose collector will eventually come and you won’t know the price he’ll demand until the day it arrives. No sin is worth that risk.