How David (and we) Get Desensitized to Sexual Temptation

If we go back to chapter 5, David is flying high. He has just been named king over Israel and Judah. He has built his new palace, the grandest building in Israel. He is winning battles on every front. His polling numbers are high. Verse 10 says, And David became greater and greater. David is feeling good, but we see a chink in the armor of his character in verse 13, David took more concubines and wives from Jerusalem, after he came from Hebron, and more sons and daughters were born to David. (2 Samuel 5:13)

This seems fairly innocent, especially by the standards of the day. This was expected of a king. If you are the king, you fill your harem with wives and concubines. I saw this firsthand when I visited Beijing two years ago. The Great Palace is the ancient home of China’s Emperors. As you enter, there is a long row of room after room for hundreds of yards. I asked, “What are those for?” They were for the Emperor’s concubines. Wow! However, this isn’t just any king; this is the king of Israel who is bound by God’s law. Deuteronomy 17:14-17 said there were three things a king was not to do: 1. Acquire many horses. 2. Take many wives. 3. Accumulate much gold and silver. Yet David did. He became desensitized to God’s will in this area and became accustomed to acquiring desirable women.

Another example of this is in 1 Samuel 25 when he meets Abigail. She is married to Nabal. Abigail is described as a very beautiful woman. Nabal dies and David sends immediately for Abigail to become his wife. She was a widow and that is legitimate, but again we see David noticing women. And David took more concubines and wives.

Over time, David became desensitized to what he was doing, how he was thinking, where his mind went and how he related to women. I think this is how it happens. We begin to make small departures from purity. Those thoughts become ponderings. Ponderings become fantasies. Imperceptibly, our perspective toward the opposite sex changes. Our perspective on our marriage or singleness changes. We become “pornified” or sexualized in our thoughts. The sexual joke at work seems funnier. The sex scene in the movie seems less troubling. The coworker seems more interesting. There is a subtle energy to these things that feels good. Proverbs says, Stolen water is sweet. (Proverbs 9:17) Our flesh quietly delights in them and desensitizes us over time. Long before we are sleeping with Bathsheba, we are desensitizing ourselves to the possibility of it. Are you here?


Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

© 2011 Steve DeWitt. You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that: (1) you credit the author, (2) any modifications are clearly marked, (3) you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, (4) you include Bethel’s web site address( on the copied resource.

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1 comment

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  1. Carmen

    Pastor Steve,

    I’m writing from Dominican Republic. It’s unusual for a pastor to bare his soul “for all to see”. You, actually, find the time to share your day-to-day experiences with your brethren. In doing so, you’re guiding Christians all over the world! Found your site (Gospel Coalition’s as well) and I’m hooked. (smiles) 🙂

    The post before last was heart warming. This one hit me in the face. Almost fell in a trap twice this year. Blatant images and spicy innuendos are not easy to ignore in this sexualized world we live in. It’s Sodom and Gomorrah all over.

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