One wonders how many times David said to himself, “That is why God gave me a neck. Oh why did I look instead of turning my head?”
First, note that David was the one on the roof, not Bathsheba. According to the practice of the time, she would have been in an enclosed courtyard, but from his rooftop, David could look over her wall. And that word “saw” is the same one used when Eve saw that the tree was good for food, when the sons of God saw the daughters of men, when Shechem saw Dinah and took her, et al., (Gen 3:6, 6:2, 34:2). It implies more than inadvertently seeing and then averting one’s gaze, which can happen to anyone. Bathsheba may be blameless. Given the relative position of women in those days, against a king she was helpless. Today, we would call a CEO vs a clerical worker, “Rape.”
How many times have we said, “But it was just a little thing, surely God will not care.” From David’s little failure to turn his head came adultery, then murder. Little sins are stones sending ripples through our whole lives.
Then, his son Amnon emulated David’s unbridled lust by raping his half-sister Tamar. How could David pretend moral high ground? So when justice was not done according to the Law, Tamar’s full brother Absalom took the position of avenger of blood and slew Amnon and fled David’s wrath. So David lost two sons. But, he reconciled with Absalom after five years. Then Absalom rebelled, aided by Ahithophel, Bathsheba’s grandfather. Do you suppose David’s sin against her had something to do with the side he chose? The revolution failed and Absalom was killed. Some think Ahithophel may be the “familiar friend in whom I trusted, who did eat my bread, has lifted up his heel against me” that David referred to in Psa 41:9. This seems unlikely in that David’s sin first betrayed Ahithophel. Finally, imagine the leverage Joab now had over David. David had bewailed Joab’s ambitious violence more than once. Now, they are bound by it.
We have no idea what we set in motion when we commit a “little sin” like “looking.” The drug-addict did not choose that; he just had a desire to experience a high, to feel good. Just this once. The pornography-addict did not choose that, he/she just thought he would stimulate herself by watching pornography this once to be able to satisfy his mate (pronouns scrambled to indicate the ubiquitous nature of this sin). The thief intended only to “borrow” for a time and replace it later. The gossip did not intend to betray a friend. Our lives may be destroyed, jobs lost, finances ruined, relationships demolished, futures forever altered. But, it is so unfair, it was just one mistake. Tell it to Uriah! Ahithophel! Tamar! Absalom! David.
And, “God has a better plan for you” is a lying solace. Where did God say he would do better with a person who chose to sin than with one who chose to be holy? Contrast David’s life ever after with Joseph’s who resisted stronger temptation and the same sin (Gen 39).
So, whatever the temptation, the sin is not a small thing. TURN YOUR HEAD. It is why God gave you a neck (made the way of escape from every temptation, 1Cor 10:13).
“But if you will not do so, behold, you have sinned against the LORD, and BE SURE YOUR SIN WILL FIND YOU OUT. " (Num 32:23).
"But do you suppose this, O man…that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who will render to each person according to his deeds." (Rom 2:3-6).