2 Samuel 12:14
However,, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme…
David's wickedness gave occasion for reproach of religion by the ungodly among his subjects, and by the heathen peoples around. Indeed, it occasions blasphemy and contempt of religion down to the present day.
I. CONDUCT WHICH OCCASIONS CONTEMPT AND REPROACH OF RELIGION. The conduct must be that of professedly religious men, and the more strict their profession, and the more prominent their position, so much the greater the mischief they do.
1. Great inconsistency between profession and conduct. Gross immorality, fraud, falsehood, avarice, intemperance, hasty temper, revenge, etc.
2. Unworthy presentation of religion itself. Ignorant rant, unctuous cant, too much insistence on mere doctrinal refinements which have little or no bearing on practical life, elaborate ceremonialism, fierce strife in a Church, sectarian bitterness and exclusiveness, indifference to the well being of the general population, clerical pretensions, ambition, or avarice, - all in their various ways and degrees occasion "the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme."
II. THE CLASS OF PERSONS LED THEREBY TO DESPISE AND REPROACH RELIGION. "The enemies of the Lord." Not his friends; they know too well the value of religion; reverence and love it too much. The effect of such conduct on them is sorrow, self-examination, and greater watchfulness and prayer, lest they also should be overcome by temptation. Also prayer and effort (if possible) to restore those who have sinned. To take occasion from the inconsistencies of Christians to despise and revile their religion is a manifest sign of enmity to God. It is also a mark of great ignorance of the religion they revile; for, did they understand it, they would perceive its opposition to the sins and follies of its professed adherents; and that its truth and goodness remained the same, whatever their conduct. Or, if it be said that it is only the profession of religion that is spoken of with contempt, it is plainly unjust to cast a slur on all who make it because of the sins of a few of their number.
III. THE SERIOUS EVILS THUS WROUGHT.
1. The slanderers are themselves injured. To occasion them to blaspheme is to occasion the increase of their guilt, and the greater hardening of their hearts; whereas it should be the aim of good men to do all that is possible to bring them to the knowledge of the truth and the experience of salvation.
2. Discredit is brought upon religion. Hence some who might have been disposed to inquire into its claims, and others who were preparing to make an open profession of godliness, are deterred from doing so. In this view the inconsistencies of Christians are a serious matter. They help to promote in society a sentiment adverse to earnest godliness and the profession of it.
3. The hearts of true-hearted and consistent Christians are wounded and distressed.
4. Above all, and including all, the Name of God is dishonoured, and the progress of his kingdom checked. Finally, let inconsistent professors of religion ponder the words of our Lord (Matthew 18:7, Revised Version), "Woe unto the world because of occasions of stumbling] for it must needs be that the occasions come; but woe to that man through whom the occasion cometh!" - G.W.
Parallel VersesKJV: Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.