“While The Child Was Yet Alive”
2 Samuel 12:22
When David’s son died, he arose, washed, and anointed himself, put on his dress clothes, went to the house of God, and worshipped. When he came home, he asked his servants to prepare dinner for him. The servants, who had watched him weep, mourn, and pray for his dying son, were astonished. They could not understand David’s change of behavior. While his son was alive, but dying, David was full of sorrow. We have no way of knowing everything that was going through his mind. But this much we do know:
1. Though David’s heart was broken over his sin, he was assured of his own forgiveness and acceptance with God (v. 13).
2. David knew that his child’s sickness unto death was by the hand and will of the God he worshipped, loved, and served (vv. 14-15). “The Lord struck the child.”
3. David was prepared to and did submit to the will of God, even when it meant the death of his son (vv. 22-23; Psa. 51:4).
4. Though David was fully convinced that upon his son’s death he would depart and be with the Lord (v. 23), he did not want his son to die (vv. 16, 22).
Was David bitter: Probably. Was he downcast? Of course. Was he in great pain? Yes. His heart was crushed. He withdrew from all others, refused the ordinary joys and necessities of life, and “besought God for the child.” Though it was evident that the child was to die, both by its appearance and by the fact that God had told him it must, David still hoped that God might be gracious to him and heal his son.
Any who saw him during this time (any who did not know David or had never experienced what David was experiencing) might have thought David had lost his faith. Nothing could have been further from the truth. Though his behavior changed radically during those days of horrible, indescribable sorrow, David believed God and he poured out his soul to him when he could express his feelings to no one else. When his closest friends tried, in their helplessness, to help him, David refused to be comforted, or even to eat bread with them (v. 17). He was in such a state of sorrow, agony, and devastation that he simply could not bring himself to discuss his grief with anyone but God. He refused to put on a good religious front. Yet, he would not let go of his God.
What faith this man exemplified when others may have thought he had none! And when the Lord took his son, God’s servant David both bowed to the will of God and found comfort in it. He lived in hope of a day when he would be reunited with his son in a world where there is no more sickness, no more pain, no more sorrow, and no more death, because there shall be no more sin (v. 23). He lived in hope of God’s fulfillment of his covenant (II Sam. 23:5). Now David, Bathsheba, and their son, united around the throne of God, understand the necessity for all that sorrow; and they thank God for it. Thus it shall be for every grieving, sorrowing believer in the world to come.