22 And he said, “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?’ 23 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 Samuel 12:22-23 NKJV
Many people of faith that I know have gone through the heartbreak of losing of a child.
I believe this must be the greatest pain we can know on this earth. If it occurs, it will always be there in some form or fashion. But people of faith have this comfort from the prophet David – I will go to them one day.
One such woman named Christine quoted this verse as she shared about her own terrible experience to a group of prison inmates at a Christian seminar. Her faith and the comfort of God shone through as she expressed her acceptance and future hope for a bright reunion one day. In the meantime, God had given her work to do, and she was doing a wonderful job of it.
We do not know why God allows these trials to come to us, but we do live in a fallen world that is being recreated through the redemption of Jesus Christ. One day, all will be set right.
In David’s case, this loss was an exceedingly rare judgement of God. Jesus in the New Testament and the Father working through prophets like Elijah and Elisha in the Old Testament brought children back to life. Further, Jesus said that unless we are as little children, we would not see the kingdom of heaven. He also scolded His disciples when they prevented little children from coming to Him to be blessed.
But these chapters in 2 Samuel highlight the fallen humanity of King David. Suffice it to say that he broke several commandments once he saw Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba, bathing on her roof. He deliberately committed adultery with her, who then conceived. David attempted a deceptive and dishonest cover-up for his act and finally resorted to ordering the murder of Uriah to protect his reputation.
He thought he had gotten away with it until God confronted him through Nathan the prophet. Nathan told him a parable about a rich man who needed to prepare a meal for a traveler, and who, rather than choose a lamb for the meal from his own abundance, stole the only lamb in the possession of a poor man nearby. To make it worse, the poor man loved the lamb, and considered it as a family member.
David thought this was a real story and became incensed at the rich man. Then, Nathan the prophet told him, “You are the man”.
When David became aware that the story was a parable about his actions with Bathsheba and Uriah, he was deeply convicted of his sin. He went before the Lord and pleaded for forgiveness, and later for the life of his son when he became sick.
In his pleading before the Lord, David penned Psalm 51. It is a great psalm of repentance that we are all able to turn to when we have fallen short of what the Lord requires from us.
9 Hide Your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit. Psalm 51:9-12 NKJV
Seven days of continuous fasting and prayer did not change God’s mind about taking the life of the child. That young man is now in the presence of the Lord. But God forgave David for all his sins and did not take away the eternal standing of his throne. He even continued the genealogy of Jesus Christ through Bathsheba, chosen over all of David’s other wives.
24 Then David comforted Bathsheba his wife, and went in to her and lay with her. So she bore a son, and he called his name Solomon. Now the Lord loved him, 25 and He sent word by the hand of Nathan the prophet: So he called his name Jedidiah, (Beloved of the Lord) because of the Lord. 2 Samuel 12:24-25 NKJV
David’s faith in God and honest repentance for his sin restored him to a position of heavenly authority and position. It is encouraging to us that God is a God of forgiveness and mercy and will allow us to remain with Him forever despite our failures and shortcomings.
What sin currently separates you from God? He loves you and wants to forgive you to remove all separation from Him. Like David, when we humbly and contritely approach God for forgiveness, He will never turn us down. All He asks in return is that we also forgive others who have harmed or betrayed us, and that we seek to walk with Him.
The sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross is the atoning act for all sin, both before and afterwards. His resurrection assures us that we, too, will rise from the dead and be reunited with the little children we may have lost.
Who do you know who has lost a child or loved one? It is always a good time to say a prayer for their comfort and restored hope.