Saturday, February 9, 2013

CXII - II Samuel 12 - God Rebukes David

In the last post we saw in chapter 11 that David committed a number of sins.  Covetousness, adultry, theft, deception, conspiracy, and yes, even murder.  Furthermore, we saw no signs of repentance by this otherwise Godly man.  Instead, we saw David determined to fix or at least hide the problems he made for himself by continually committing one sin after another.  The final action in this series of sins was that after Bathsheba's husband had died (as arranged by David) David took Bathsheba as his wife.

The last phrase in chapter 11 says, "But the thing David had done displeased the Lord".  So in the opening verse of chapter 12 we see that the Lord used Nathan the prophet to speak to David concerning the events that had transpired.  Nathan used a parable, much like our Lord used often times in the New Testament.

The parable:  There were two men.  One was a rich man with many head of livestock, both sheep and cattle.  And the other was a poor man who had nothing except one little female lamb which he had spent all of his money to purchase.  The poor man cherished his little lamb.  He bathed it, shared his food with it, even slept with it.  The lamb was like a daughter to him, he loved it so much.  There came a time when a traveler came to visit the rich man.  As was custom, the host would prepare an elaborate meal for an honored guest.  Although the rich man could have slaughtered one of his thousands of sheep to feed his guest, he instead stole the only sheep from the poor man, slaughtered it, prepared a meal from it, and served it to the guest.

Upon hearing this story from Nathan (David assumed it was a true story.  Why else would Nathan tell this to David?)  David burned with anger against the rich man and said to Nathan, "As surely as the Lord lives, this rich man must die!  Additionally, he must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity."  Then (verse 6) Nathan said to David, "You are that man!"  Nathan proceeds to remind David of all God has done for him.  God asks in vs 9 "why did you dispise Me by doing such evil?"  In vs 10 "you have despised Me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own."  Also in vs 10, God pronounced punishment on David when He said "the sword will never depart from your house (there will always be violence)".  God continues His curse on David in vss 11-12 by telling him that his wives will be given to someone close to him in broad daylight, for all Israel to witness.  {This will come to pass soon when David's son Absalom will lay with David's concubines on the palace roof.}  Finally in vs 13, David repents and confesses his sins.  God, being so upset with David's actions, adds yet another punishment.  God tells David that the son born to him and Bathsheba will die.  {This must have devistated David.}  The Lord
immediately strikes the child with an affliction and he became extremely ill.  During the time when the child was very ill, David fasted, wept, and pleaded with God in behalf of the child.  Verse 18 tells us the child died on the seventh day.  The servants were frightened to tell David that the boy died for fear that David would be devistated beyond recovery.  However, David could read the contenance of the servants and asked directly if the boy was dead, to which they acknowledged it (vs 19).
In vss 20--> we see what at first appears to be strange behavior by David.  The servants and everyone close to David observed how indescribably distraught David was when the child was ill.  So much so, that they assumed that the child dying  might send David into an emotional tailspin beyond a dangerous point.  But upon learning of the child's death, David seemed to react just the opposite.  He arose and went about his business, addressing the issues of the day.  This concerned and confused his servants even more, so they asked David about it.  He responded the way he should.  Vs 22 - "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.'  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."  {I can see David's point.  Think about it.  He wept, fasted, begged, pleaded, all he knew to do to compel God to save the boy's life.  But when God decided to take the boy in death, there was nothing further David could do.  To continue to weep and fast and beg would only appear to have questioned God's decision.}

Vs 24 - David spent the next few days comforting Bathsheba and helping her cope with thier son's death.  The Scripture tells us in verse 24 that Bathsheba was again made pregnant by David and a son was born.  His name was Solomon.  And what a glorious son he would be.

Don't be disheartened by David's behavior in these past two chapters.  It's easy to allow a small part of a person's life to tarnish one's general perception of an individual.  David was a GREAT man of God who stumbled and was punished for it.  Allow me to repeat:  He stumbled and was punished for it.  God was merciful with David, but also God was just.

As we conclude this chapter and this post, we see that David had sinned and was punished by God accordingly.  But David's problems are just beginning.  David is going to find himself dealing with family problems that will preoccupy him and his kingship.  We will pick up on some of these problems in the next post as we study chapter 13 and three prominent offspring of David's:  Amnon, Tamar, and Absalom.

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