““Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’ Thus says the LORD, ‘Behold, I will raise up evil against you out of your own house. And I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun. For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel and before the sun.’”
And the LORD afflicted the child that Uriah’s wife bore to David, and he became sick. David therefore sought God on behalf of the child. And David fasted and went in and lay all night on the ground. And the elders of his house stood beside him, to raise him from the ground, but he would not, nor did he eat food with them. On the seventh day the child died. And the servants of David were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they said, “Behold, while the child was yet alive, we spoke to him, and he did not listen to us. How then can we say to him the child is dead? He may do himself some harm.” But when David saw that his servants were whispering together, David understood that the child was dead. And David said to his servants, “Is the child dead?” They said, “He is dead.” Then David arose from the earth and washed and anointed himself and changed his clothes. And he went into the house of the LORD and worshiped. He then went to his own house. And when he asked, they set food before him, and he ate. Then his servants said to him, “What is this thing 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.” He said, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept, for I said, ‘Who knows 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 will not return to me.”” (2 Samuel 12:10–12, 14-23 ESV)
Despite the fact that David was eventually repentant, there were still very real consequences as a result of his sin. Confession and Repentance don’t negate the consequences for our sinful actions. David’s house would be wrought with internal struggles and destruction from then onward (Amnon, Absalom & Adonijah all die by the sword).
We tend to believe that if we are repentant that we won’t have to deal with the consequences of our sinful behavior. Being repentant does not mean that we will be spared the consequences of our sinful behavior. Walking through the consequences while remaining contrite and even joyful is a sign that the heart is really repentant. Worldly sorrow just wants to be spared from the consequences, but true repentance is willing to accept the consequences for our sinfulness. The consequences for David were very real, his sin scorned the Lord and as a result the baby that he and Bathsheba conceived would die.
The sovereignty of God is so boldly on display here that it is striking. “Thus says the LORD, ‘Behold, I will raise up evil against you out of your own house. And I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun. For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel and before the sun.’”” (2 Samuel 12:11–12 ESV). Absalom rebels against David and takes over his throne and has sex with his concubines on the rooftop. This is reminiscent of Job 42:1: “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” (Job 42:2 ESV)
The Lord afflicted the child and he became sick; God is in sovereign control. Innocent people suffer as a result of our sin – a sad, but true reality. David steadfastly petitioned the Lord to spare his child from death; He pressed into God and appealed to His mercy. But, ultimately, the child died. Only death could pay the price for adultery and murder and the death of this child is a picture of a truly innocent Son, who was not the result of a defiled union, that would die to bear the penalty of our sin.
David responds to the death of his son by worshipping (v20) – He was truly free. There were still painful consequences as a result of his sin, but he was free. It was a grace that he could go into the house of the Lord and worship because there was no acceptable sacrifice for adultery & murder, but the Lord had put away his sin (v13) and spared him from death. This is one of the most beautiful pictures of grace in the Old Testament and it doesn’t sit lightly on David. David realizes that he has been forgiven much so he definitely loves much. There is no hint of bitterness or anger at God for Him not healing his child. When we try to justify ourselves we become bitter and angry, not free. David accepts God’s decision and marvels at the grace that has been extended to him in the midst of his total depravity.
Lord, help us marvel at the undeserved amazing grace that has been extended to us.