In 2 Samuel 13:1-19, the horror of lust is on full display when Amnon rapes his half-sister Tamar.
1) Lust consumes the mind and heart. “Amnon was so frustrated because of his sister Tamar that he made himself ill.” (v. 2a). When we want what we can’t have, it can drive us crazy, especially when intensified by hormones. The longer lust festers, the more obsessed we become.
2) Lust leads to wicked plots. Lust won’t stay contained forever. Eventually, it leads to action. Like David who “inquired” of Bathsheba, Amnon crafted a plot to get Tamar alone. When the trap was set, his lust conceived and he violated his sister. When we’re filled with lust, we plot ways to satisfy it, whether through pornography or going too far with our girlfriends or boyfriends. Some even look in people’s windows, become stalkers, and even commit rape like Amnon. Our prisons are filled with people who gave in to lust.
3) Lust blinds us to God’s law. Lust gives us tunnel vision. All we can see is what we want. We may think to ourselves, “This is sinful and violates God’s law,” but if lust is in charge we quickly push it out of our minds and proceed. Even after Tamar told Amnon, “Such a thing is not done in Israel, do not do this disgraceful thing” (v. 12) he was blinded to the truth and did it anyway. Lust took his mind off God and onto the object of his lust.
4) Lust treats people like objects. When lust invades, people are no longer people. We don’t treat them like they have feelings, dreams, likes and dislikes. We treat them like objects to be used for our own pleasure, then discarded. Amnon didn’t care that violating Tamar would ruin her future marriage chances. He didn’t care how she would feel to be used, abused, and tossed out like a piece of trash. He only cared about using her body for his own gratification. To him, she was just a body, an object, not a human being made in the image of God.
5) Lust is dissatisfying. “Then Amnon hated her with a very great hatred…and Amnon said to her, ‘Get up, go away!’” (v. 15). God designed us for relationship; for deep, intimate, emotional connection. He designed sex as the ultimate expression of that intimate relationship. When the sexual relationship is abused and twisted to satisfy our own lust, there’s no relationship there. He stole Tamar’s body, but not her heart. She didn’t love him, so the lust and sex was completely empty and dissatisfying.
6) Lust destroys lives. Amnon’s lust destroyed Tamar’s life and his. She remained “desolate” in her brother’s house (v. 20) and her brother murdered Amnon.
It’s 3,000 years later and people haven’t changed. People today still throw their lives away for lust all the time. Just read the news. People are still throwing their careers, marriages, and money away for Tamar. They’re even throwing their souls away. Sadly, I know firsthand the powerful pull of lust, but it’s just not worth it. Still not sure about that? Just ask Amnon.
The wise warning from our Lord makes perfect sense: “I say to you that anyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matt. 5:28).