Before we get started, I want to offer a few statements. This situation with David and the loss of his child is a difficult subject. The loss of a child and the heartwrenching grief that goes with it should not be overlooked, dismissed or trivialized. Nor should it spiritualized to the point of stripping it of the very human emotions and experience it encompasses. However David’s experience is recorded in Scripture to teach us, so we will carefully approach the story with the intent to learn about God and about ourselves.
In 2 Samuel 11, David’s sin with Bathsheba is detailed along with the concomitant sins of conspiracy, lies, and murder. In chapter 12 Nathan the prophet confronts the king and the sin is laid bare. It is an inescapable principle that sin brings judgment. In this case, the judgment was the death of David’s and Bathsheba’s son.
For seven days, during the child’s illness, David fasted and prayed, strenuously interceding for his son, for God’s grace to intervene and remove the judgment.
And God said no.
So what do we take away from this? Is God petty? Or perhaps vindictive? Or mean? No. But here are some things to consider.
Blasphemy is serious. Nathan explains, “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.” (2 Samuel 12:14) As we saw last week, God will not allow His name to be defamed. If we don’t protect His honor, He will.
Sin hurts innocent people both in an abstract and very personal sense. David’s and Bathsheba’s son died. Bathsheba’s husband died. Soldiers in Israel’s army lost their lives. All as a direct or indirect result of David’s sin. No doubt in the justification that preceded the sin and in the moment the line was crossed, David was sure no one would ever know about the encounter, no consequences would follow. But the self-delusion doesn’t overturn reality. Our sins cause the innocent pain and suffering. The ultimate outworking of that is the suffering and death of the innocent Christ for our sins.
Sin is not to be trifled with. Through David’s experience, we see that we cannot treat sin as a pet who occasionally makes messes we have to clean up and instead realize it is a killer we cannot control. Once we understand that we grasp how desperately we need a savior and God’s amazing grace in giving us one.
Admittedly, this was a tough one. There was another instance when God told David ‘no,’ but the circumstances and the results were much more uplifting. So are the lessons. We’ll look at that occasion next week.