So the Lord sent Nathan the prophet to tell David this story: “There were two men in a certain town. One was rich, and one was poor. The rich man owned a great many sheep and cattle. The poor man owned nothing but one little lamb he had bought. He raised that little lamb, and it grew up with his children. It ate from the man’s own plate and drank from his cup. He cuddled it in his arms like a baby daughter. One day a guest arrived at the home of the rich man. But instead of killing an animal from his own flock or herd, he took the poor man’s lamb and killed it and prepared it for his guest.”
David was furious. “As surely as the Lord lives,” he vowed, “any man who would do such a thing deserves to die! He must repay four lambs to the poor man for the one he stole and for having no pity.”
Then Nathan said to David, “You are that man! The Lord, the God of Israel, says: I anointed you king of Israel and saved you from the power of Saul. I gave you your master’s house and his wives and the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. And if that had not been enough, I would have given you much, much more. Why, then, have you despised the word of the Lord and done this horrible deed? For you have murdered Uriah the Hittite with the sword of the Ammonites and stolen his wife. From this time on, your family will live by the sword because you have despised me by taking Uriah’s wife to be your own.
“This is what the Lord says: Because of what you have done, I will cause your own household to rebel against you. I will give your wives to another man before your very eyes, and he will go to bed with them in public view. You did it secretly, but I will make this happen to you openly in the sight of all Israel.”
Then David confessed to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” Nathan replied, “Yes, but the Lord has forgiven you, and you won’t die for this sin. 2 Samuel 12:1–12 (NLT)
David didn’t die for this sin. He was a believer who confessed his sin and was forgiven. However, the law of sowing and reaping is evident as you continue reading the story of his family. His children not only reaped what their father had sown, but they did similar sowing as well. His son Amnon raped his sister. David’s son Absolom slept with his father’s concubines and began an insurrection in his country. And the list goes on.
There are two things at play.
- David’s sons chose to sin. They opted to follow their lusts and their desire for power. (Deuteronomy 24)
- In doing so, they were propelled by the propensity that they had inherited. This propensity gives ground for such curses to take effect.
How do these sins descend through the generations, even in God-fearing families?
Our DNA—our genetic inheritance. Physically, relationship is often easy to spot. Three generations of men have the same walk: shoulders squared, elbows slightly extended, long strides. A dimple in the cheek. Red hair. Bad backs. The same DNA makes itself known in traits, abilities, talents, etc.: a number whiz, a high IQ, athletic ability. . . There are also things carried in our DNA that extend beyond our families to our race, for example: sickle cell anemia in blacks, Tay-Sachs disease in Jews of Eastern European descent, and cystic fibrosis most common in Caucasians.
Another answer is experiential—we lead by example. Also possible is the influence of familial (or familiar) spirits. These are spirits (demons) masquerading as part of your familiar surroundings and relationships, often so common in your experience that you really do not think of them as attacking, opposing, and seeking to destroy.
Lord, help us to choose to stop generational sin in ourselves. Help us not to pass it down through the next generation. It is our choice, but your strength that enables us to resist temptation and live a resurrection life–a life dedicated to you. Amen.