, Muskogee, OK

Fort Gibson

January 11, 2013

There never are any victimless sins

Our culture has bought into the lie that whatever sin a person commits, privately or otherwise, only affects them. This has never been true.

In 1 Samuel 21 we are told the story of the shepherd boy turned decorated war hero David who also worked as harp player for King Saul. His job was to play the harp anytime King Saul was upset about something so he would calm down. And although David did his job masterfully, King Saul became increasingly jealous of the fact that so many people were fans of David. They would sing, “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.”

Occasionally, Saul would become so incensed he would throw a spear at David, even while he was playing the harp! How would you like to have a job where your boss was always trying to kill you?

Well, David eventually had enough. But instead of taking vengeance on God’s anointed king, he ran away with no food or weapons to a town called Nob. Ahimelech the priest lived there, and when he saw David approaching, he trembled and asked why David was wandering around by himself. This is where David made a crucial mistake. He told Ahimelech that King Saul had sent him on a secret mission and that David was supposed to meet his men later at a certain place. Ahimelech gave him some bread and Goliath’s sword, and David left.

In reality, there were no orders from King Saul, no secret mission, and no meeting with his men. It was all a lie, probably to save face after running away. But David’s lie would come back to haunt many innocent, unsuspecting people in the town of Nob.

The king’s chief shepherd, Doeg the Edomite, told Saul about the exchange he had seen between Ahimelech the priest and David. Saul was so angry he sent Doeg to kill all 85 priests in Nob including Ahimelech, also every man, woman, child, and infant, as well as all the sheep, cattle, and donkeys (ref: 1 Sam. 22:18-19). This all happened as the result of a single lie from the mouth of David.

Every decision we make has a consequence, either good or bad. The writer of James 3:16-17 says that the world’s idea of wisdom results in envy, selfish ambition, disorder, and every evil practice. “But wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure.” The apostle Paul says we need to keep our minds on things that are pure in order to enjoy the peace of God (ref: Phil 4:8). You see, when our minds are on evil, even secretly, there are negative consequences that steal our time away from teaching the lost about the love of Christ. May we all strive to have purity in everything we say, do, and think. Have a great week!

Reach Barrett Vanlandingham at the Fort Gibson Church of Christ at (918) 478-2222 or

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