"And Nathan said to
David, 'The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die. However,
because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the
Lord to blaspheme, the child also who is born to you shall surely die.'"
Sam 12:13-15 NKJV)
2 Samuel 12 takes us to the first tragedy to occur after David's fall. It was prophesied that the child that Bathsheba bore him, the very one who was conceived the night of David's fall, would die.
Wow, that hurts! It had been a horrible scandal, and the only pure thing that came out of it was that innocent baby. And he was to die!
Now the child didn't deserve to die. He was completely innocent of the whole affair. He didn't ask to be conceived. He didn't ask his father to have an affair with his mother. He didn't ask his father to kill his mother's husband. He didn't ask his mother to sleep with the king! It just happened, and he was totally innocent! Why would he be punished? Why would he have to die?
Friends, I believe that in order to truly understand this story, we must first understand that though death is the ultimate in atrocities in our way of thinking, though it is the end of all ends on Earth, it is actually just the beginning in God's view! That child never had to put up with pain and sickness. He didn't have to see his father's kingdom crumble. He didn't have to worry about idolatry or sin of any kind. He didn't need to experience the stresses and worry that life throws our way on a very regular basis. No, that child went straight to the arms of God. His life, though brief on this Earth, was for eternity in the Heavenly realm. No, the death of the child was not punishment for that child. It was simply a quick passage from this life to eternity.
But his death did serve to drive home a very important point for his father, King David. You see, David loved that child. We know this, because it is recorded in God's Word: "And the Lord struck the child that Uriah's wife bore to David, and it became ill. David therefore pleaded with God for the child, and David fasted and went in and lay all night on the ground. So the elders of his house arose and went to him, to raise him up from the ground. But he would not, nor did he eat food with them." (2 Sam 12:15-18 NKJV)
David was devastated by the child's illness, and he pleaded to God for his life. For seven days he refused to eat or to drink. In fact, he refused to even get up from the ground! His grief was so deep that his servants were afraid to tell him when the child actually died: "Then on the seventh day it came to pass that the child died. And the servants of David were afraid to tell him that the child was dead. For they said, 'Indeed, while the child was alive, we spoke to him, and he would not heed our voice. How can we tell him that the child is dead? He may do some harm!'" (2 Sam 12:18 NKJV)
But David's response was completely different than anticipated: "When David saw that his servants were whispering, David perceived that the child was dead. Therefore David said to his servants, 'Is the child dead?' And they said, 'He is dead.' So David arose from the ground, washed and anointed himself, and changed his clothes; and he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. Then he went to his own house; and when he requested, they set food before him, and he ate." (2 Sam 12:19-21 NKJV)
Surprised by David's
His servants were, too: "What is this that you have done? You fasted and wept for the child while he was alive, but when the child died, you arose and ate food." (2 Sam 12:21 NKJV)
We can learn an
important lesson from David's response: "While the child was alive, I
fasted and wept; for I said, 'Who can tell whether the Lord will be
gracious to me, that the child may live?' But now he is dead; why
should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he
shall not return to me." (2
Sam 12:22-23 NKJV)
You see, David understood what was happening here. He knew that the death of the child was related to his own sin, and he understood that the child's death was a punishment to himself, not to the child. He understood that the child was in a better place, and there was no further reason to grieve and mourn. It was natural that he should try to reverse the punishment while the child was still alive, but David understood that death was NOT a punishment! It was, in fact, but a beginning.
Friends, let's keep David's response to the death of his son in mind the next time we are faced with the death of a loved one. Let's remember that though we hurt, the one who died, if he or she knew the Lord, simply passed from life on Earth to Eternal Life with Jesus in Heaven!
Join us next week for LESSONS FROM DAVID'S FALL, Part 3: Tamar's Shame
In His love,
Lyn Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two teens, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, www.scripturalnuggets.org, with Answers2Prayer Ministries, www.Answers2Prayer.org.
(To access the entire "Lessons From David's Fall" mini-series, please click here.)