Confronted by the prophet Nathan, David has repented. But the consequences of his sin are already set in motion. Nathan tells David: “The Lord has forgiven you, and you won’t die for this sin. Nevertheless, because you have shown utter contempt for the Lord by doing this, your child will die” (II Samuel 12:13c-14).
Before we dig into the Second Samuel passage, take a look at John 9:1-2: “As Jesus was walking along, He saw a man who had been blind from birth. ‘Rabbi,’ His disciples asked Him, ‘why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?”
How did Jesus answer? “It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins” (John 9:3a). Although Jesus used this man’s condition to reveal God’s power, the fact was that the man was born blind because he was born blind, period. We live in a sin-filled fallen world and sometimes bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people, as well as vice versa. As Jesus Himself said, “He gives His sunlight to both the evil and the good, and He sends rain on the just and the unjust alike” (Matthew 5:45b).
We need to realize that there are both direct and indirect results of sin. I would put the death of this innocent little baby in the indirect category. Had David not brought a married woman (who really had no choice in the matter) to his bedroom, the child would not have been conceived. In that sense, the child was a direct result of David’s sin. But the child was completely innocent. The sickness that caused the child’s death, in my opinion, was a part of life; a very bad thing happened to a precious baby boy.
So the fact that the child was born at all was a direct result of David’s sin. The fact that the child became sick and died was indirect. God certainly didn’t punish someone else for David’s sin.
Which makes it all the more difficult to grasp what we read in Second Samuel 12:15: “After Nathan returned to his home, the Lord sent a deadly illness to the child of David and Uriah’s wife.”
Here’s where it gets really deep, folks. Besides direct and indirect results of sin, there are also the perfect and permissive wills of God.
In a perfect world, no one would ever be sick. No one would ever suffer any harm or wrong. Had Adam and Eve never disobeyed God, sin would never have entered the world. But they did. And as hard as it is to understand, God knew it would happen and prepared to redeem us even before “the foundations of the earth” (Isaiah 40:21b, ESV). As Jesus put it, “Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58b, HCSB). Jesus, the Suffering Servant and Savior, has always been God’s plan.
The perfect world was damaged by sin and we’ll never see this world perfect until we see “the new heaven and new earth” (II Peter 3:13b). Can a person walk in the perfect will of God while living in an imperfect world? No, not entirely; but the closer we walk with Jesus, the less we allow sin to control our lives. As the apostle John so beautifully worded it, “My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin” (I John 2:1a, NLT).
But people do sin, don’t they? Which is why John went on to say, “But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous” (I John 2:1b).
Living your life focused on Jesus truly keeps you from a multitude of sins. We’ll get back to David and look at God’s permissive will tomorrow.
Copyright © 2013
Judy Woodward Bates