Do you remember the Old Testament story of Amnon and Tamar? I figured. It is one of those often overlooked Bible stories even though it is intensely practical. Rather than summarizing the story for you, I thought I would give you the text from 2 Samuel 13:1-15:
Now Absalom, David’s son, had a beautiful sister, whose name was Tamar. And after a time Amnon, David’s son, loved her. 2 And Amnon was so tormented that he made himself ill because of his sister Tamar, for she was a virgin, and it seemed impossible to Amnon to do anything to her. 3 But Amnon had a friend, whose name was Jonadab, the son of Shimeah, David’s brother. And Jonadab was a very crafty man. 4 And he said to him, “O son of the king, why are you so haggard morning after morning? Will you not tell me?” Amnon said to him, “I love Tamar, my brother Absalom’s sister.” 5 Jonadab said to him, “Lie down on your bed and pretend to be ill. And when your father comes to see you, say to him, ‘Let my sister Tamar come and give me bread to eat, and prepare the food in my sight, that I may see it and eat it from her hand.’” 6 So Amnon lay down and pretended to be ill. And when the king came to see him, Amnon said to the king, “Please let my sister Tamar come and make a couple of cakes in my sight, that I may eat from her hand.”
7 Then David sent home to Tamar, saying, “Go to your brother Amnon’s house and prepare food for him.” 8 So Tamar went to her brother Amnon’s house, where he was lying down. And she took dough and kneaded it and made cakes in his sight and baked the cakes. 9 And she took the pan and emptied it out before him, but he refused to eat. And Amnon said, “Send out everyone from me.” So everyone went out from him. 10 Then Amnon said to Tamar, “Bring the food into the chamber, that I may eat from your hand.” And Tamar took the cakes she had made and brought them into the chamber to Amnon her brother. 11 But when she brought them near him to eat, he took hold of her and said to her, “Come, lie with me, my sister.” 12 She answered him, “No, my brother, do not violate me, for such a thing is not done in Israel; do not do this outrageous thing. 13 As for me, where could I carry my shame? And as for you, you would be as one of the outrageous fools in Israel. Now therefore, please speak to the king, for he will not withhold me from you.” 14 But he would not listen to her, and being stronger than she, he violated her and lay with her. 15 Then Amnon hated her with very great hatred, so that the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her. And Amnon said to her, “Get up! Go!”
Much could be said about this story. Much could be said about the destructiveness of sin and specifically, lust, but let me offer just a few thoughts. In the time leading up to Amnon raping his sister, he was flat out miserable. She consumed his thoughts and emotions and the text even says he was “tormented” and, “he made himself ill (verse 2).” This was his sad condition before the rape. No joy, no contentment, just lust. Amnon believed that the only way he could find fulfillment was by acting on his passion. His desire would be met; his lust satisfied.
But notice his condition after the rape. “Amnon hated her with a very great hatred.” Everything he thought he would gain – joy, fulfillment, pleasure – was nowhere to be found. Whatever satisfaction he gained through this horrific crime was quickly usurped by hatred for his sister.
Sin always promises what it can’t deliver. There might be an element of short-term pleasure, but there is never lasting satisfaction. Anyone who has ever struggled with pornography can testify to the truth of this. The enemy always tries to tell us that sin’s reward is greater than its consequences, but it’s just a lie. That’s why Jesus called the devil “the father of lies” in John 8:44.
The bottom line is this – sin is destructive, it is toxic, and ultimately it kills us (Romans 3:23, 5:12). The sad footnote to the life of Amnon is that a couple years later his half-brother Absalom murdered him. Tamar was the immediate victim of this crime, but it also negatively affected David’s whole family.
One last thought. Beware of thinking this “little sin,” whatever it might be, won’t hurt anyone. First of all, it will hurt you, and secondly, there’s a good chance it will hurt others too. Worst of all, I can guarantee you it will negatively affect your walk with the Lord. So please don’t ever try to rationalize sin in your mind. Find your joy in God (Psalm 37:4) and flee from sin.