The sword comes to David’s household as the unnamed child of David and Bathsheba’s adultery sickens.
2 Samuel 12:15-25
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 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 realised that 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 worshipped. 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 in 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.
Judgment comes swiftly to David’s household. He feared that death sentence that he himself had proclaimed would come to him, but instead his newly born son dies in his place, harking all the way back to Genesis where the innocent had to die for the sins of others.
While the boy is ill, David does all that he can to ‘change God’s mind’. For seven long days he fasts and sits in sackcloth, hoping that the child would be spared. But the judgement is set, and David has to live with the consequences of his sin. It may seem harsh to us reading now, but David had had Uriah murdered – and it was life for life, an eye for an eye.
David accepts this, and he also accepts death as a finality. Once the child dies – no more mourning and fasting can bring him back. David accepts what has been meted out to him and goes to the house of the Lord to worship.
So, David and Bathsheba get something of a reset on their union. They have another son and name him Solomon meaning ‘peace’ possibly hoping that now that the first judgement has passed, they will have peace in their family. At the close of this sad episode we see a glimmer of God’s grace. The Lord loves this new baby boy and sends word through his prophet to name him Jedidiah – Beloved of the Lord. Through all the judgements, sins and death, God’s love shines through. With this new name is a new start for David’s lineage. The infant Jedidiah would grow to be the temple-building King Solomon, who in his turn would become one of the ancestors of the Lord Jesus. The most Beloved Son, the one whose Name would change history and give us a new start to life.
Head: Do you find yourself doing things to try and change God’s mind? Do we sometimes pray that He will do what we would like?
Heart: How does it feel knowing that in spite of all our faults, through Jesus, we are beloved by God?
Hands: We have been given a new name, the name of Christ Himself. As Christians how do we show the new beginning and the hope that we have in Him?
Prayer: Thank you Lord Jesus for the new life that I have in your Name. Thank you for your grace extended to me, in spite of all the mistakes I have made. Thank you for taking my place under judgement at the cross. Thank you that I can bear your Name and live a new life in You. Amen
A song to listen to: Grace awaiting me
Living Church Creek Road