David and Bathsheba’s child had died and David had responded by ending his fast and going “to the Tabernacle” (II Samuel 12:20b, NLT) and worshiping. “His advisers were amazed. ‘We don’t understand you,’ they told him. ‘While the child was still living, you wept and refused to eat. But now that the child is dead, you have stopped your mourning and are eating again’” (II Samuel 12:21).
“David replied, ‘I fasted and wept while the child was alive, for I said, ‘Perhaps the Lord will be gracious to me and let the child live.’ But why should I fast when he is dead? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him one day, but he cannot return to me” (II Samuel 12:22-23).
“I will go to him one day.” This is one of the most powerful statements David ever made. He understood that death was not the end of life but the beginning of everlasting life.
In his suffering Job pondered about this: “Can the dead live again? If so, this would give me hope through all my years of struggle, and I would eagerly await the release of death” (Job 14:14). And what did Job conclude?
“I know that my Redeemer lives, and He will stand upon the earth at last. And after my body has decayed, yet in my body I will see God! I will see Him for myself. Yes, I will see Him with my own eyes. I am overwhelmed at the thought!” (Job 19:25b-27).
And so should we be “overwhelmed at the thought!” Knowing this life isn’t all there is should make a tremendous difference in how we live and how we respond to pain, suffering and loss. How did Paul explain the difference? He said that believers don’t “grieve like people who have no hope” (I Thessalonians 4:13b).
Why could Paul say that? Because he knew “that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands” (II Corinthians 5:1).
David knew he would see his son again. David knew that he had been forgiven. And we need to see just how clearly God showed us His forgiveness of David. Scripture had identified David’s infant son as “the child that Uriah’s wife had borne to David” (II Samuel 12:15). David may have married Bathsheba, but God was fully aware that this child had been conceived while Bathsheba was the wife of another man.
But after the death of this baby, the Bible says that “David comforted his wife Bathsheba.” God’s forgiveness. No longer was Bathsheba called “Uriah’s wife.” She was David’s.
God never extends partial forgiveness. Neither should we.
Copyright © 2013
Judy Woodward Bates