2 Sam. 12:15-25
We touched on this subject yesterday, but today we’ll examine further the consequences that David faced because of his sin. Again, we need to remember the difference between eternal judgment and earthly consequences. As believers in Jesus, we need never fear eternal judgment for our sin. All of the punishment due for my sin was placed upon Christ on the cross, and I'll never have to face it again. I don’t know about you, but I’m very grateful for this.
However, the Bible teaches that even forgiven believers will often face the consequences of our sin. This is not really an issue of us getting punished, since that would imply that we’re getting what we deserve. As a redeemed child of God, I will never get what I really deserve from him. But although I will never get what I deserve, I will get what I need. His overarching goal for me is to be conformed to the likeness of Christ, no matter what that takes, no matter what it costs either me or him. This means that if I start to go astray from this goal, he'll sometimes use very unpleasant means to bring me back on track. And as a general rule, the further off-track I get, the less pleasant the course correction is going to be.
This is certainly the case with David. He'd been forgiven, but his discipline for this was pretty harsh. I remember one of my Bible teachers in college pointing out the supreme irony of David’s hypocritical outburst after Nathan’s story. What was his angry snap-judgment in vss. 5-6? “As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this deserves to die! He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity." Let’s do a brief review of what David went through in the rest of 2 Samuel, shall we?
1. His infant son (the product of his adultery) caught ill and died.
2. One of his sons (Amnon) raped his (Amnon's) sister (Tamar).
3. Another son (Absalom) murdered Amnon.
4. Finally, Absalom incited a rebellion against David and came within a hairs-breadth of succeeding in overthrowing him. And died in the attempt.
Whenever I read the sad chapters of 2 Sam. 11-12, one thought keeps coming back to my head: “I hope this was the best sex David ever had! Really, I hope he thoroughly enjoyed that night with Bathsheba!” Because it certainly ended up costing him enough. Reading onward through the rest of 2 Samuel, David never fully recovered from this. He never ever again reached the high point we read about in 2 Samuel 10 before this sordid affair began.
On another more pleasant note, let’s talk about babies for a moment. First, I’d like to point out that even in the midst of this painful discipline, the Lord demonstrated that he wasn’t through with David yet. It’s been said that every baby is proof that God hasn’t given up on humanity yet, and David's second son Solomon (which means “peace”) was also named Jedediah--“loved by God.” Even through all the heartache David would experience over the next few years, this son acted as a beacon of hope for a glorious future.
The other point I would make about babies is what David said about his infant who died. The Bible doesn’t really give us much information about the eternal destiny of infants who die, but this passage gives the clearest answer we have. When he heard that his son had died, he pronounced about as sure a hope as he could hold onto (as an Old Testament believer): “I will go to him, but he will not return to me." In other words, he believed that he would end up in the same place in the afterlife as his son. If you’ve lost a child, please take note, and hold onto this hope of David.
Lord Jesus, please help me to take sin as seriously as you do. It looks so appealing, and it’s so deadly. Open my eyes.