This post is meant to offer guidance to common “What now?” questions that could emerge from Pastor J.D.’s sermon “Still Searching for a King: 2 Samuel 24” preached at The Summit Church Saturday/Sunday February 12-13, 2011.

In this sermon we saw the symmetry that marks every human life. Our sin causes disruption. But because we are so committed to or blinded by our sin we think we think more of the same sin is the remedy to that disruption.

In I Samuel 8 we saw:

The PEOPLE try to replace GOD with a KING.

In II Samuel 24 we saw:

The KING try to replace GOD with PEOPLE (an army).

Consider this reflection from a Christian philosopher on the ensnaring nature of sin.

“Trying to cure distress with the same thing that caused it is typically the mechanism that closes the trap on an addict (p. 131).” Cornelius Plantinga Jr. in Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be

Once this cycle begins, it can be infinitely self-perpetuating and self-devouring. Consider the following examples.

SUBSTANCE ABUSE: An individual tries to escape the stress of life through a substance. The abuse of substance creates more stress. The abuser then turns again to their substance to gain relief. The cycle is in motion.

LYING: Someone is facing a difficult situation and lies (creating an artificial reality – replacing God as Creator) to get out of it. When the lies are challenged by reality (stress) they lie again to cover up the first lie. Soon the artificial reality is elaborate enough for the liar to live in and they push away anyone who challenges it.

PORNOGRAPHY: Loneliness and insecurity drives someone to the computer for relief. They find pseudo-intimacy and pleasure without the risk of vulnerability. This makes real relationships seem even more risky and pornography even more “safe” and appealing. Soon any relationship that asks something of the person or wants to genuinely know the person is too dangerous.

JEALOUSY & CONTROL: A relationship is strained, so one person begins to express their jealousy through controlling behaviors. This puts a further strain on the relationship and increases the jealous partner’s feelings of distance. They try to remedy this through being more controlling. The cycle is in motion again.

Take a moment to examine your own life. What sins are you engaging that have entered the cause-cure trap? Before you will “stop it,” you must “see it” for what it is – sin making a promise of relief and paying you back with more life disruption. You are trying to dig yourself out of a hole.

It is this reality that shows the response of God (II Samuel 24:11-17) to be as gracious as it truly was. God was staging an intervention. God could see more clearly (than David or the people) that a mechanism had been enacted that would lead their expressions of wickedness to match that of the surrounding peoples. The destruction of military aggression would far exceed the 70,000 who died from God’s pestilence.

We see another principle emerge from this discussion: when we feel as if God’s response to sin is too severe, it reveals that our understanding of sin is too small. God saw the cycle, not just the event. Our response to seeming injustices of God’s punishment (this is not speaking of suffering), should be to examine our sin rather than question our God.

If this post was beneficial for you, then considering reading other blogs from my “Favorite Posts on Addiction” post which address other facets of this subject.