II Samuel is one of the most sordid chapters in the Bible (and one of the saddest). Nathan had told David that his sin would affect his house. Chapter 13 records the fulfillment through sexual immorality (rape and incest) and murder (vengeful fratricide) among David's children. All of this is leading up to the rebellion led by David's son Absalom which will dominate the next several chapters.
This tragic chapter is full of practical application. Through Amnon we learn to distinguish between infatuation, lust and real love. We also are warned about the friends and counselors we choose. Through Tamar we are given reasons to resist temptation. Through David we see how our sin can influence our children.
In contrast we are reminded that God offers us hope. He has a better way for us to find true romantic love â€“ in a godly marriage. We are comforted knowing that He is the protector of those who have been oppressed (and the judge of their oppressors). We also remember how Christ was abused and afflicted for us, and that in Him we can be set free from bondage to sin (and the sins of our fathers).
Some might wonder whether we should speak of such ugly things in church. Everything recorded in Scripture is profitable for our instruction (II Tim. 3:16-17). The world is continually bombarding us with false messages about sexual matters. Passages like this speak to the realities which are occurring in our community and threaten our families. While the world makes sexual sin appear to be exciting and glamorous, the Bible portrays lust in all its ugliness and accurately warns of the consequences of doing evil. The Bible speaks of these things without impropriety.