Blog Archives

The Hand of the Ammonites

2 Samuel 12 records the familiar story of the prophet Nathan confronting David over his sin with Bathsheba.  After telling David the story of the rich man stealing the poor man’s lamb and arousing David’s wrath against this injustice Nathan declares (2 Samuel 12:7-9):

Nathan said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you out of the hand of Saul. 8 And I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your arms and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah. And if this were too little, I would add to you as much more. 9 Why have you despised the word of the LORD, to do what is evil in his sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and have taken his wife to be your wife and have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites.

There’s certainly a lot that could be said about this passage, but what has recently caught my attention is the end of the verse.  Nathan holds David guilty of the murder of Uriah, even though David was hundreds of miles away when Uriah was killed in a legitimate battle.  What is implied is that even though David was not the immediate cause of Uriah’s death (Uriah was killed by the hand of the Ammonites), he was nonetheless the cause of his death (he gave the order) which makes him just as guilty.

This may seem like a terribly obvious observation, but stay with me for a minute here.  What if we were to take this observation about immediate causes and remote causes and apply it to life today (no, I’m not talking about buying Starbucks coffee and worrying about where the proceeds from your triple grande mocha frapacino are going, let’s keep it a little more manageable for now).  What about gossip?  Words spoken in secret have a way of making their way from one set of ears to the next (Ecclesiastes 10:20) until a person’s reputation is tarnished or even destroyed.  The person who spoke those words is more than a gossip (even though all he did was speak a few words into someone’s ear), he is a violent aggressor as he assaults his friend’s reputation.

One of the great tragedies of living in modern times is the free availability of pornography to the masses.  It used to be that pornography took a small amount of effort to obtain, but today all it takes is a computer and an internet connection (or a nearby library).  Working with teenage boys, I am well aware that this is a tremendous temptation for them.  While most Christians would agree that pornography is a great evil, they would do so mainly because of the great harm that it does to the person viewing the pornography.  But what about the women who are enslaved to this lifestyle?  This principle of immediate and remote causes seems to apply here as well.  You see, pornography doesn’t just destroy a man’s life it makes him a rapist by supporting the rape of these women, it makes him a pimp by promoting the sale of these women through his web browsing, it makes him a violent man as he supports violence against women and it makes him an adulterer (Matthew 5:28).

There are a lot of other applications of immediate and remote causes.  The big question is where is the hand of the Ammonites in our lives and what do we need to do to repent of it?  “This is the way of an adulteress: she eats and wipes her mouth and says, ‘I have done no wrong’” (Proverbs 30:20).

April 20 2009 | Devotional | Comments Off on The Hand of the Ammonites

How Should a Husband and Wife Manage Having Opposite Sex Drives

Don’t worry this isn’t a topic that I’m going to touch with a 10 foot pole, but it is one that needs to be addressed and that’s why I’m so thankful for John Piper’s ministry.

December 25 2008 | Blog | Comments Off on How Should a Husband and Wife Manage Having Opposite Sex Drives

« Prev