Sunday School Preview: September 20, 2015

God allows us to experience the consequences of our choices. Therefore, we should flee temptation and repent quickly.

In our upcoming Sunday school lesson from 2 Samuel 11-12, we witness the devastation that results when we indulge temptation. At the start of chapter 11, we learn that the army of Israel was engaged in conflict against the Ammonites at Rabbah.  But David, the king, had remained in Jerusalem, and was walking around on the roof of his palace when he saw a woman bathing below. David found this woman so desirable that he sent someone to find out who she was. The woman was Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, one of David’s mighty men. Because he desired her, David sent messengers to retrieve Bathsheba, and he slept with her.

That was the beginning of a series of events in which the compounding effects of David’s sin grew greater and greater. Bathsheba became pregnant. And in order to cover up his sin, David brought Uriah back from the front in an attempt to get him to sleep with Bathsheba so that everyone might believe that the child belong to Uriah. When David’s efforts proved unsuccessful, David had Uriah killed by ordering his general to abandon Uriah to the fiercest part of the battle. In the process of carrying out David’s order, several of David’s men died in addition to Uriah. And when he learned that Uriah was dead, David made Bathsheba his wife.

However, because God loved David, he sent the prophet Nathan to confront David about his sin. When David recognized the wickedness of his actions, he repented. You can read the expression of David’s repentance in Psalm 51. And because God is gracious, He forgave David.

But that does not mean that David could not escape the consequences of his choices or God’s righteous judgment of his sin.  The son that Bathsheba bore David became ill and died.  David was told by Nathan that the sword would never depart from his house; and we see later in David’s life how his family would be devastated by violence.

  • His own sons would revolt against him.
  • His sons would publicly sleep with David’s wives.
  • His daughter, Tamar, would be raped by his son, Amnon.
  • Amnon would be murdered by his brother Absalom.
  • Absalom would rebel against David and sleep with one of David’s concubines.
  • Following David’s death, another one of his sons would execute his brother, Adonijah.

David’s sin would absolutely tear his family part. God allows us to experience the consequences of our choices. Therefore, we should flee temptation and repent quickly.

So, what are the lessons for the kids were discipling—whether the kids in our homes or the kids in our Sunday school classes? I believe we need to help our kids understand that God has built into this world a system of cause and effect. This system can be described in a number of ways:

  • Choices have consequences.
  • You reap what you sow.
  • “Choose to sin, choose to suffer.” – James MacDonald
  • Good understanding produces favor, but the way of the transgressor is hard (Proverbs 13:15).

God allows us to experience the consequences of our choices, in part, to motivate better choices in the future. When we experience the painful results of a sinful choice, we ought to say, “Man, that was awful. I don’t ever want to do that again.” Then, we ought to purposely look for ways to avoid making similar choices.

So, if that’s our goal, the question becomes “How do we do that?” How do we avoid destructive paths like the one David walked? And to answer that question, I think we have to look to the place where David’s rebellion began. It wasn’t wrong for David to be walking around on the roof of his palace. It wasn’t wrong for David to look below and see Bathsheba. Certainly, Bathsheba was a source of temptation for David, but it isn’t sinful to be tempted. Temptation gives birth to sin when we choose to indulge. David should have walked away. He should’ve gotten off that roof and gone back inside the palace. But instead, he chose to keep looking at Bathsheba, and that second look was enough to create years of devastation not only in his life but also in the lives of many others.

We need to help our kids think about the appropriate response to temptation. You might ask the kids you’re discipling to think about the situations in which they find themselves tempted. Maybe their tempted to sneak food from the pantry when their parents aren’t looking. Maybe they’re tempted to steal a look at their neighbor’s paper when they’re taking a test. Maybe they’re tempted to yell at their siblings or friends when they feel like they aren’t being treated fairly. Help them to think through their greatest sources of temptation, and then help them to come up with a plan of attack…or perhaps even a plan of retreat.

Of course, it will be impossible for our children to flee temptation without an abiding relationship with the Lord. If we don’t help our kids cultivate the kind of heart that motivates them to please God, then they be properly equipped to overcome temptation.  We have to encourage them to grow in their relationship with the Lord through prayer, Bible study, service, Scripture memory, and worship. It’s the job of mature believers to help younger believers develop a growing passion for God.

Finally, we need to challenge them to repent quickly when they become aware of the sin in their lives. Things turned bad for David when he indulged temptation, but before Nathan confronted him, there were many occasions when he could have repented but chose not to do so. His delay in repentance only compounded his sin. Thankfully, he chose to repent when Nathan challenged him. We can only imagine how much worse his situation would have become had he chosen to reject Nathan’s rebuke.

I think we need to encourage our kids to evaluate their lives and determine whether they need to repent of any sinful behaviors. If they need help in understanding what repentance should look like, Psalm 51 provides an excellent example.

Of course, repentance begins when we choose to acknowledge our sin and embrace Jesus as Savior.  We need to urge any children that haven’t yet chosen to follow Christ to trust in his death, burial, and resurrection right away.

If they do that, they’ll be shown the kind of grace that God showed to David. Nathan assured David that he would not be killed for his sin. Instead, he was restored to fellowship with God. And the Lord even blessed David with another child through Bathsheba. Their son, Solomon, would follow David as the King of Israel, Solomon would build a temple for the Lord.  He would serve at the beginning of an unending dynasty as part of the lineage of the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ.

God allows us to experience the consequences of our choices. Therefore, we should flee temptation and repent quickly.

Trey Garner
Trey Garner is the Pastor of Children's Ministries at Faith Church. He has been married to his wife Deb since 2001. They have two children named Noah and Lauren. Originally from Texas, Trey appreciates barnwood, armadillos, and Blue Bell Ice Cream.