SONS, SIN, AND ASSURANCE
Sovereign Lord, your ways are always right, they are always best for me. Thank you that there is no circumstance in which I cannot trust you to be at work for my good.
Read 2 SAMUEL 12:15-31
15 After Nathan had gone home, the Lord struck the child that Uriah’s wife had borne to David, and he became ill. 16 David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and spent the nights lying in sackcloth[a] on the ground. 17 The elders of his household stood beside him to get him up from the ground, but he refused, and he would not eat any food with them.
18 On the seventh day the child died. David’s attendants were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they thought, “While the child was still living, he wouldn’t listen to us when we spoke to him. How can we now tell him the child is dead? He may do something desperate.”
19 David noticed that his attendants were whispering among themselves, and he realized the child was dead. “Is the child dead?” he asked.
“Yes,” they replied, “he is dead.”
20 Then David got up from the ground. After he had washed, put on lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. Then he went to his own house, and at his request they served him food, and he ate.
21 His attendants asked him, “Why are you acting this way? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept, but now that the child is dead, you get up and eat!”
22 He answered, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, ‘Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me and let the child live.’ 23 But now that he is dead, why should I go on fasting? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.”
24 Then David comforted his wife Bathsheba, and he went to her and made love to her. She gave birth to a son, and they named him Solomon. The Lord loved him; 25 and because the Lord loved him, he sent word through Nathan the prophet to name him Jedidiah.[b]
26 Meanwhile Joab fought against Rabbah of the Ammonites and captured the royal citadel. 27 Joab then sent messengers to David, saying, “I have fought against Rabbah and taken its water supply. 28 Now muster the rest of the troops and besiege the city and capture it. Otherwise I will take the city, and it will be named after me.”
29 So David mustered the entire army and went to Rabbah, and attacked and captured it. 30 David took the crown from their king’s[c] head, and it was placed on his own head. It weighed a talent[d] of gold, and it was set with precious stones. David took a great quantity of plunder from the city 31 and brought out the people who were there, consigning them to labor with saws and with iron picks and axes, and he made them work at brickmaking.[e] David did this to all the Ammonite towns. Then he and his entire army returned to Jerusalem.
- 2 Samuel 12:16 Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint; Masoretic Text does not have in sackcloth.
- 2 Samuel 12:25 Jedidiah means loved by the Lord.
- 2 Samuel 12:30 Or from Milkom’s (that is, Molek’s)
- 2 Samuel 12:30 That is, about 75 pounds or about 34 kilograms
- 2 Samuel 12:31 The meaning of the Hebrew for this clause is uncertain.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat’s on your heart as you come to God? He wants to listen, even to hear you ‘spill out … complaints before him’ (Psalm 142:2, The Message).
When Jesus stood among the weeping mourners at Lazarus’ grave, ‘a deep anger welled up within him’ (John 11:33, NLT). It was a severe response to the chaos caused by sin in God’s good creation. Sin shatters everything it touches, bringing sadness and confusion across generations. The death of a child intensifies our agony as we ask, ‘why?’
The deadly illness that strikes David and Uriah’s wife’s (a reminder of the adultery) son is heart-rending and raises numerous questions. It troubles us, making us contemplate the mysterious ways of God and the horrific impact of human behavior on those who are blameless. In other places David teaches us how to lament when faced with such confusion (e.g., Psalm 13; 42; 43; 63; 64; 142). But here, David’s reaction is perplexing. Pleading with God is understandable but his sudden return to normal seems uncaring and is no way a model for our behavior. No easy answers are provided. We note that we cannot dictate to others how long their mourning should last. Secondly, the thrust of this narrative is about looking forward. Amid disaster another son is born. The line continues and Solomon becomes the sign that God’s promise is intact. As believers in the King who has come in this royal line, we stand as the beneficiaries of this history.
Think about how this passage makes you feel—angry, dismayed, confused? Can this be a spur to a longing for the final defeat of sin?
In those times when I don’t understand your working, Lord God, help me to trust in your faithful care. Even in the most difficult times, help me align my will to yours.
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