Reading For Thursday 2 Samuel 12:1-25
God dispatched the prophet Nathan to pronounce his judgment to the sinful king. He chose to use a parable in order to convey the truth that far exceeded this story. The parable was simple. A poor man and rich man lived beside one another. While the rich man had many flocks and herds, the poor man had only one little lamb that was prized by the family. A traveler came to the rich man and he took the poor man’s lamb, making a meal of it for his guest. David’s anger began to boil as he listened to the story that he thought to be an actual occurrence and he swore an oath in the name of God that the rich thief deserved to die. David ordered that this man make a fourfold restitution for the stolen lamb.
Then came the devastating pronouncement, “You are the man.” God had anointed David as king and delivered him from the hand of Saul. God had given Saul’s house, including his wives into the care of David along with both Judah and Israel and he would have given him many more blessings had he not despised the word of God and committing terrible evil. David was guilty of murder as if he had struck Uriah with his own sword. He had taken the wife of the man whose death he had orchestrated. David had despised God. The penalty for this sin was that the sword would never depart from him, and God would raise up evil against David from within his own house. One of David’s neighbors would take his wives from him and lie with them in full public view. David was wounded deeply by the words of the prophet, made no excuses for his behavior, and acknowledged his sin. Nathan accepted the confession and declared that God would not take David’s life. However, God would punish him by taking the child which had recently been born.
God struck the child with a serious illness, and David prayed for him. He fasted, laying all night prostrate on the ground. His advisers encouraged him to eat with them, but he refused. After seven days of illness, the child died. The courtiers were afraid to tell their king of the infant’s death. Observing how the child’s illness had affected David, they feared that he might take his life when he learned of the death. The whispering of the attendants led David to think that the child had changed for the worse. When he learned that the child had died, David arose from the ground, washed, anointed himself, changed his clothes and went to the house of God to worship. Later, he returned to his house and requested food. The servants were completely staggered by the king’s behavior. David explained that he had fasted and wept while the child was alive, hoping that God would be gracious and spare the life of his son. After the child had died, fasting was of no help, and no amount of mourning would bring back the child. David’s faith increased as he proclaimed that he would go to the child one day. David comforted Bathsheba over the loss of their son and eventually had a son and named him Solomon. God loved this child and sent the prophet Nathan to bestow a particular name: Jedidiah, “beloved of God.”
Things To Consider:
- Why does God have to judge sin?
- Why was the parable so effective with David?
- Why are satisfaction and contentment so difficult?
- Where do you see mercy in the story?
- Why did David pray if God had already determined what he would do?
- Why would David worship under such dark circumstances?
- How does God bring beauty from such evil and loss?