The Bible tells us David was a man after God’s own heart. He sinned very publicly over and over again, yet he is a wonderful model of repentance. When confronted with his sins, David owned them, confessed them on his knees, and was forgiven.
David knew from experience that sin doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Sin has fallout that lands on you and everyone around you. And, in David’s case, on his family, his advisors, his nation, and the civilized world of the day.
Generational sin can be manifested as the children’s propensity toward the same sin—their inheritance. David’s habitual sins—lust, adultery, and murder to cover up the adultery—showed up in the lives of his children. Talk about generational sin!
- Full of lust, David’s son Amnon connived with his cousin Jonadab (son of David’s brother Shimeah) and came up with a plan to bed his half-sister Tamar. He feigned serious illness and when his father came to visit him, pleaded for a boon to aid his recovery. “Would you do me a favor? Have my sister Tamar come and make some nourishing dumplings here where I can watch her and be fed by her.” Long story short: she protested his advances, he raped her, she begged him to ask the king to let him marry her, but suddenly Amnon hated Tamar and threw her out of his house. Tamar withdrew in disgrace and hid out in her brother Absolom’s house. David was angry, but did or said nothing to discipline Amnon, his favored eldest son. Absolom bided his time, plotting revenge.
- Absolom throws a huge party at sheep-shearing time and invites all of the king’s sons. He gives a special invitation to his father and as a casual aside says, “Bring Amnon with you if you want.” David stays home, but Amnon doesn’t want to miss out on the fun and attends. Absolom’s plan all along comes to fruition when his servants kill Amnon. It’s panic time, and the king’s sons grab their mules and hightail it back to daddy. David loses it when he hears the rumor that all his sons are dead, until sneaky Jonadab sets him straight. “Don’t make things worse than they are. Absolom has been plotting to get back at your son Amnon since that little issue with Tamar.” Absolom fled, and David grieved for Amnon and looked to revenge his death for three years, until Joab tricked David into bringing Absolom home without punishment.
- After four years of plotting and scheming, Absolom pulled off a coup to depose his father. David fled, but left ten concubines to care for the palace. When Absolom took over the city, a “wise” counselor suggested a way to raise the morale of his troops and disgrace his father. So Absalom pitched a tent up on the roof in public view, and went in and slept with his father’s concubines.
And so it goes on, a circle of habitual, generational sin. Read 2 Samuel for the whole story.
But never forget: The Holy Spirit, who resides in you, has the power to release you from generational sin. Ask for help.
Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is to you, and to your children, and even to the Gentiles—all who have been called by the Lord our God.” Acts 2:38-39, NLT