Bob Deffinbaugh, Th.M
David had a remarkable peace about the death of his first child by Bathsheba, a peace which caused those who witnessed it to marvel, and to question David about it (2 Samuel 12:14-31). As we approach this text, let us listen to David's answer to the question posed by his servants. Let us seek to learn from David's lips the reason he could praise and worship God at the time of the loss of this child. As Abraham said so long ago, "Shall not the judge of all the earth deal justly?" (Genesis 18:25).
Review and Overview
After becoming King of Israel, things were going very well for David, perhaps too well. He seemed to have the Midas touch -- everything he touched turned to gold. God had given him success in all he undertook. Like Israel of old, David appears to momentarily forget that his success was the result of God's grace, and not a tribute to his efforts alone. The first glimpse of this overconfidence comes in 2 Samuel 7, where David expresses his desire to build a house for God. In response, God reminds David his successes are the manifestations of His grace ( 2 Samuel 7:8-9). He goes on to assure David that there are good things yet in store for Israel, and that these too will be His doing ( 2 Samuel 7:10-11). Having gently rebuked David for supposing that He really needed a “house,” God promised to build David a better “house,” one that is an eternal dynasty:
2 Samuel 7:11b-16, "Also the LORD telleth thee that he will make thee an house. And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee. And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever."
But in the chapters which follow, David's arrogance seems to increase. It is most evident in 2 Samuel 11. Israel is at war with the Ammonites, and in the Spring (the time that kings go to war), David sends his army to besiege Rabbah, the capital city of the Ammonites, where the last of the Ammonite opposition has sought refuge. David does not go to battle with his soldiers, but stays at home in Jerusalem, indulging himself in the good life while his soldiers camp in an open field. David gets up from his bed about the time his soldiers (and others) usually go to bed. As he is strolling on the roof of his palace, David happens to see something that was not meant to be seen -- a young woman cleansing herself, most likely a ceremonial cleansing ceremony done in keeping with the law. The woman is beautiful, and David decides that he wants her. He sends messengers to find out who she is. Their answer -- that she was Bathsheba, wife of Uriah the Hittite -- should have ended the matter, but David had no intention of being deprived of anything he wanted. He sent for the woman and lay with her.
For David, it was all over after that one night of self-indulgence. He did not want another wife; he did not even appear to want an affair, just a night of pleasure. But God had other plans. Bathsheba conceived and eventually sent word to David that she was pregnant. When David's efforts to deceive Uriah (and the people) into thinking Uriah had fathered this child, he had Uriah killed in battle with the help of Joab. After she had mourned for her husband, David brought Bathsheba into his home, taking her as his wife. Now at last, David hoped, it was over.
This thing which David had done displeased God, however, and God would give David no rest or peace until he had come to see his sin for what it was and repented of it. After some period of distress (see Psalm 32:3-4), God sent Nathan to David with a story, a story which deeply upset David. David was furious. He insisted that the rich man who stole the poor man's pet lamb deserved to die! Nathan then stopped David in his tracks with the words, “You are the man!” (2 Samuel 12:7). As David heard Nathan's recital of his sin, he broke, declaring to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord” (2 Samuel 12:13).
Nathan's response to David's confession was both comforting and disturbing. Although he deserved to die for his sins, David would not die because God had taken away his sin (2 Samuel 12:13). What a relief these words must have been. But what followed would pierce David through: the son his sin had produced would die. It is David's response to the death of this son that will be the focus of our lesson.
Before we turn to the story itself, I would like to make a few observations which may influence our understanding of this text.
- This is the first of a number of painful events David will experience as a result of his sin regarding Uriah and Bathsheba. In our text, David will suffer the loss of the child conceived through the sinful union of David and Uriah's wife, Bathsheba. Next, David's daughter will be raped by one of his sons. In retaliation for Amnon's sin, Absalom murders him. Later, David's son, Absalom, will rebel against his father and temporarily take over the throne. In the process, he will sleep with some of David's concubines, before all Israel, and on the roof of the palace from which David first looked upon Bathsheba. All of these things are directly or indirectly the consequences of David’s sin with Bathsheba.
- The tragic death of David’s son is a consequence of David's sin, but it is not the penalty David deserves for his sin. The penalty for adultery and murder is death, on each count. David deserves to die, on two counts: adultery and murder. But Nathan has made it very clear that David's sin has been “taken away.” The death of this child is a painful consequence of David's sin, but it is not punishment for his sin, per se. That punishment has been taken away, borne by the Lord Jesus Christ.
- The fast which David observes is a very serious one. In the Hebrew Old Testament, there is a unique way of emphasizing a point. The Hebrew language of the Old Testament repeats the word for emphasis. Thus, when God told Adam that he would “surely die” (Genesis 2:17) the literal translation is: “You shall die a death.” Thus, Young's Literal Translation reads,
Genesis 2:17, “And of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou dost not eat of it, for in the day of thine eating of it--dying thou dost die.”
In our text, God uses this doubling method to emphasize the certainty of the child's death.
2 Samuel 12:14, “However, because by this deed you have given occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born to you shall surely die.”
The same doubling is found in verse 16:
2 Samuel 12:16, "David therefore inquired of God for the child; and David fasted and went and lay all night on the ground."
Only in the marginal notes of the KJV do we see the literal rendering, “fasted a fast.” The point is that David's fasting was not entered into casually. He was dead serious about this fast, for it was a matter of life and death.
- Once again, Bathsheba is not prominent in this text, but David. The sin of adultery was David's doing, while Bathsheba was a victim. So it is only fitting that it is David who is prominent in this text which depicts his fasting and prayer, pleading with God for the child's life.
- The author changes the way he refers to Bathsheba in our text. In verse 15 he speaks of Bathsheba, the mother of the child who died, as “Uriah's widow.” In verse 24, there is a very significant change. Here, the author refers to this same woman, the mother of David's second child Solomon, as “his wife Bathsheba.” Not only has God come to accept this second child, He has come to accept Bathsheba as David's wife.
- The final events of chapter 12 give us a definite sense of closure. David's sin is to be understood as the exception, rather than the rule in his life:
1 Kings 15:5, "Because David did what was right in the sight of the LORD, and had not turned aside from anything that He commanded him all the days of his life, except in the case of Uriah the Hittite."
Chapters 11 and 12 of 2 Samuel are almost parenthetical, then, as they depict this exceptional period in David's life. This was a time when he was not a “man after God's heart.” And so we find chapter 11 beginning with a description of Israel going to battle, while David stays at home (2 Samuel 11:1). We find verses 26-31 of chapter 12 reporting how David showed up for the war, and when it was won, all Israel returned home to Jerusalem. There is a sense of closure, of finality, here, which I think the author intended us to feel. In addition, we find that our text records the death of Bathsheba's first son, followed rather quickly by the account of the birth of the second, Solomon, who was to rule on the throne of his father, David.
There are several ways to approach this passage. We could dissect the passage, giving attention to the nuance of each word and of each phrase. I am choosing not to do this, having already noted the details I think are important. Rather I will approach the passage somewhat like Michael Landon, the late television actor and director, would have done. We have probably all watched (at least the older ones among us) some of the works which Michael had a hand in directing. He had a way a catching the emotion of the moment and then portraying it dramatically. I can still remember one television show in which he learned, much to his surprise, that a woman was blind. When he brought his audience to that moment when the truth of her condition struck him, even I had to mop my eyes. Our text has some very emotional moments, which I believe Michael Landon would have appreciated and emphasized. I will therefore attempt to capture the emotions of David and those near him as he dealt with the death of his son, the product of his sin.
2 Samuel 12:13, "And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die."
David had condemned himself with his own words in response to Nathan's story of the stolen pet lamb: “As the Lord lives, surely the man who has done this deserves to die” (2 Samuel 12:5). The law certainly did not pronounce such a penalty on a thief, but it did condemn adulterers and murderers. According to the Law, David should have died for his sins. Based upon divine grace through the coming death of Christ, David was forgiven for his sins and assured that he would not die. These words from Nathan must have been a huge relief to David, who knew he did not deserve anything but God's wrath. His sense of relief was short-lived, however, because Nathan was not finished with what he had to say:
2 Samuel 12:14, "Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die."
Nathan assured David that the punishment he deserved has been taken away (we know this means it has been transferred to Christ). But God cannot allow His name to be blasphemed by allowing it to appear that He does not care about sin. From the very beginning the Bible teaches us that the wages of sin is death (see Genesis 2:17; 4:8, 23; 5:1ff.; Romans 6:23). For God to allow David's sins to have no painful consequences would enable the wicked to conclude that God does not really hate sin, nor does He do anything about it when we do sin.
The Law of Moses was given to set Israel apart from the nations. It was given so that Israel could reflect God's character to the world. When David sinned, he violated God's law, and he also dishonored God. This hypocrisy was observed by the nations, and it resulted in their dishonoring God. Paul would make this same charge against the Jews centuries later:
Romans 2:21-24, "Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege? Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God? For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written."
Elsewhere, the apostle Paul instructs Timothy that elders -- those spiritual leaders whose lives are publicly under scrutiny -- who persist in their sin are to be corrected publicly, so that all will learn (1 Timothy 5:19-20). God is very concerned about his reputation. He works in such a way as to instruct not only men who look on, but also angels who do likewise (see Exodus 32:9-14; 34:10; Ephesians 3:8-10).
God could not look the other way when David sinned, for his disobedience to God's commands was a matter of public knowledge. As his victories and triumphs were known among the Gentiles, so his sins would be widely known as well. By taking the life of this child, conceived in sin, God makes a statement to those looking on. "If God does not deal with the sin of His saints", they might reason, "then He will not be concerned with mine, either." Thus, they will mock God with the confidence that they can get away with their sin.
Years ago, when teachers would teach young children, occasionally a child would blatantly disobey one of the rules, and it was necessary to take him outside and introduce him to the paddle. The class (and all those within hearing range) knew what to expect when the teacher stepped outside with a student. But when a child was sent to the principal's office, it was frequently a different matter. The principle would give a little lecture, and the student would come back with a big smile on his face. The willful student and everyone else knew he had gotten away with his unacceptable conduct. God could not allow David to come through this monumental sin without doing something about it, something visible to all. This was for David's discipline, and to silence those who would use David's sin as an occasion to blaspheme the name of God; it was to proclaim and promote the glory of God.
David's Response to His Son's Sickness and Death
2 Samuel 12:15-23, "And Nathan departed unto his house. And the LORD struck the child that Uriah's wife bare unto David, and it was very sick. David therefore besought God for the child; and David fasted, and went in, and lay all night upon the earth. And the elders of his house arose, and went to him, to raise him up from the earth: but he would not, neither did he eat bread with them. And it came to pass on the seventh day, that the child died. And the servants of David feared to tell him that the child was dead: for they said, Behold, while the child was yet alive, we spake unto him, and he would not hearken unto our voice: how will he then vex himself, if we tell him that the child is dead? But when David saw that his servants whispered, David perceived that the child was dead: therefore David said unto his servants, Is the child dead? And they said, He is dead. Then David arose from the earth, and washed, and anointed himself, and changed his apparel, and came into the house of the LORD, and worshipped: then he came to his own house; and when he required, they set bread before him, and he did eat. Then said his servants unto him, What thing is this that thou hast done? thou didst fast and weep for the child, while it was alive; but when the child was dead, thou didst rise and eat bread. And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether GOD will be gracious to me, that the child may live? But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me."
After Nathan left David, God struck the child born to David and “Uriah's widow.” We do not know what the malady was, but we do know that after seven days the child died. David had mourned when Saul and Jonathan died in battle (2 Samuel 1), when Abner was killed by Joab (2 Samuel 3), and even when Nahash the Ammonite king died (2 Samuel 10). His mourning here, however, is not a mourning over the death of his son (for he has not yet died), but is instead the mourning of repentance. David mourns as a sign of his repentance as he beseeches God to spare the life of his son.
Is it right for David to beseech God to spare the life of this child when He has already said that He is going to take the life of the child? I believe the answer is “Yes!” David knew that some prophecies were warnings of what God would do unless men repented. God sometimes foretold future judgment, which would come to pass if men did not repent. The hope for divine relenting in response to human repenting is set down in:
Jeremiah 18:5-8, "Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel. At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them."
This hope of forgiveness proved to be true for ancient Nineveh (much to Jonah's displeasure -- see Jonah 3 and 4), and also for Manasseh (2 Chronicles 33:10-13).
Further, it may be that David viewed this situation through the eyes of the Davidic Covenant, which God had recently made with him ((2 Samuel 7:12-15).
Is it possible that David felt this child might be the heir to his throne? If this were the case, then David surely had reason to hope that God would spare the child's life.
David was certainly right in his assumption that the life of this child was in God's hands, and that his best course of action was to appeal to God to spare the child's life. David believed in the sovereignty of God, and thus he rested his case with God. David's prayers are not only the expression of his repentance, but the exercise of his faith. Believing in God's sovereignty did not keep David from taking action (fasting and praying); his faith prompted him to act.
In spite of David's sorrow, sincerity, and persistence in petitioning God to spare the child's life, his request was denied. The child died. David must not have been with the child when it happened or he would have seen this for himself. David did see his servants whispering to one another, perhaps furtively glancing in his direction as they did so. They were afraid to tell David because they feared he might cause harm.
2 Samuel 12:18, "And it came to pass on the seventh day, that the child died. And the servants of David feared to tell him that the child was dead: for they said, Behold, while the child was yet alive, we spake unto him, and he would not hearken unto our voice: how will he then vex himself, if we tell him that the child is dead?"
It is what happens from this point on that perplexes David's servants. While the child was ill they had not been able to get David up from the ground, nor to eat any food. They assumed it would only get worse once he knew the child was dead. Instead, David arose from the ground, washed and anointed himself, changed his clothes, and went into the house of the Lord, where he worshipped. When he had finished worshipping God, he came home and asked for food. When they set it before him, he ate it.
Matthew 9:14-15, "Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not? And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast."
David was expected to mourn for the child after he died. From the servants' perspective, David had mourned so much for this child while he was still alive that they feared what would happen when they told him he was now dead. Finally David’s servants worked up the courage to ask the king how he could respond so calmly, knowing that the child was dead. David now explains his change in behavior. I think David’s unusual response can be explained in this manner:
- The death of this child came as no surprise to David because it had already been foretold by Nathan. Through Nathan God had informed David that this son, the fruit of David's sinful union with Bathsheba, “Uriah's widow,” would surely die. The death of this child was the revealed will of God. For David to mourn excessively would have been to express his regret over God's will. David's actions indicated that he had accepted the death of this child as God's will.
- Nathan had already explained the reason for the death of this child to David. The purpose for the death of this child was not to punish David. The appropriate punishment for David's sins under the law would have been the death penalty. Nathan has not given David news of a reduced sentence, but of complete forgiveness, because the guilt and punishment for his sins had been “taken away” (2 Samuel 12:13). The purpose for this child's death was instructive. It was meant to silence any blasphemy on the part of the “enemies of God.” Lest any might wrongly conclude that Israel's God was oblivious to David's sin in the breaking of God's law, God made it apparent that He would not wink at sin, even the sin of a man after His own heart. The death of David's son was an object lesson to the enemies of God.
- David's mourning during the child's sickness was an act of repentance, not the mourning of the loss of a loved one:
2 Samuel 12:22-23, "And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether GOD will be gracious to me, that the child may live? But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me."
- The death of this child was accepted as God's final answer to David's petitions for the child's life. This is the substance of David's answer to the question posed by his servants. While the child was alive, David fasted, wept, and prayed. But now the child is dead. David has done all that he could. God has given David a clear and final answer: “No.” David sees death as the time to cease those activities which were only appropriate in life. Someone has said, “Where there's life, there's hope.” As far as David's hope for the healing of this child is concerned, God has indicated to David that he should cease his efforts to persuade God to relent concerning this child's death.
I see a similar example of David's acceptance of death as a point of termination in chapter 13, where David finds a certain comfort in the fact that his son Amnon was dead:
2 Samuel 13:39, "And the soul of king David longed to go forth unto Absalom: for he was comforted concerning Amnon, seeing he was dead."
David's comfort, to some degree, was found in Amnon's death. In David's mind, it was as if God had closed a chapter. The death of David's child by Bathsheba was God's final answer to his request that the child might live.
- David was comforted by the fact that what he asked for (and was denied) was grace. God's grace, by its very nature, is sovereign grace. Grace is often defined as “unmerited favor.” Allowing this simple definition to stand for the moment, let us see how David can be comforted by the fact that what he asked for -- and was denied -- was a matter of grace.
I have already called attention to the words of Jeremiah 18, where repentance is encouraged, and where God leaves His options open concerning the canceling (or even delaying) of threatened judgment. There is a very similar passage in the Book of Joel, where repentance is encouraged, and divine relenting is spoken of as a possibility:
Joel 2:12-14, "Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil. Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the LORD your God?"
In both Jeremiah 18 and this passage in Joel, sinners are encouraged to repent in precisely the way we see David repenting and petitioning God in our text. The appeal of the penitent sinner -- that God would relent and withhold judgment -- is based upon God's grace, and not on the sinner's merits. And just because it is a matter of grace, we dare not presume that God must relent. Thus, in Jeremiah and Joel, we are encouraged to hope for the possibility of God relenting, but not to presume that He will indeed relent.
We can see an example of the right kind of thinking in the Book of Daniel. Daniel's three friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, refused to bow down to King Nebuchadnezzar's golden image. He was furious, but he gave these men a second chance. If they would bow down at the next opportunity, they would not be punished, but if they refused, they would be cast into a fiery furnace. This is the response of the three men to this offer: Daniel 3:16-18, "Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up." These men knew they were obeying God rather than men. They knew that God was able to deliver them from the fiery furnace. They did not dare to presume that He would do so, and so they responded to Nebuchadnezzar in a way that left the option open. God could deliver them, for He was able. But whether or not He would do so, they did not dare to presume. Either way, they would not do as the king demanded, for they were committed to serve God first and foremost.
David knew that God was able to save his son. He also knew that if He did so, it would be by grace alone, and not on the basis of merit. If God had spared his son, David would have rejoiced greatly. But when the child's death made it apparent that God had declined to spare him, David could still find comfort, because he knew that grace is always sovereignly bestowed. God's choice is not determined by man's merits, and thus it is a sovereign choice, one that is not determined by any outside force, but by the independent choice of God Himself.
In the case of the men of Nineveh, God did relent, and the city was spared (much to the displeasure of Jonah). In the case of David, God did not relent. David cannot legitimately be angry with God, for he did not deserve that for which he petitioned God. Indeed, he deserved much worse than what he received. One dare not be distressed with God when He does not give us what we do not deserve. We have no claim on divine grace. When it is granted, we should gratefully receive it as those unworthy of it; when it is not, we should humbly acknowledge it was nothing we deserved in the first place.
These five reasons alone are sufficient basis for David's actions in our text. But there is yet one more thing we are told in this text to which I call your attention:
- David found consolation and comfort in the death of the child because he was assured that, although the child could not return to be with him in life, he would go to be with the child when his spirit returns to God:
2 Samuel 12:23, "But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me."
I believe there is only one way this verse makes any sense, and that is by understanding David to be saying something like: “I cannot bring the child back to life, to be here with me once again, but I can look forward to being with this child after I die.”
This conclusion, expressed above, is not accepted by all. There are some who understand David to be speaking of joining the child in the grave. In the context of our text, I find it difficult to understand how. David has fasted, wept, and prayed, so much so that his servants have become concerned for his own well-being. They could not convince him to get up off the ground or to eat. Suddenly, after the child dies, David goes on with his life as though nothing had happened, and when asked why by his servants, he gives the answer we find in our text. A part of this answer is that while he cannot bring the child back, he will someday be with the child. In the minds of some, David would be saying something like this:
“I was greatly intent on expressing my repentance, and in petitioning God for the life of this child. But now the child is dead, and I know that he will be buried in lot #23 at Restland Cemetery. To my great joy and comfort, I know that I will be buried in lot #24. This is the reason why I can be comforted in my grief. We will be side by side in the grave.”
I simply do not find this explanation to be an adequate explanation for David's comfort and conduct. I believe that David is looking beyond the grave, to his reunion with this child when his spirit returns to God. Is that not the same sense that we gain from Paul's words below?
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, "But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words."
We have lingered long on this sad incident in which David finds joy and comfort, but allow me to conclude by pointing out several areas of application.
- This text offers comfort to all those who have suffered (or will suffer) the loss of a little one. I believe that our Lord summed it up as concisely as possible when He said, “Permit the children to come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these” (Luke 18:16). What comfort there is to know that our little ones are in His arms.
- We learn from this incident that even when God forgives our sins He does not remove all painful consequences. David’s sins with Bathsheba and with Uriah were forgiven, but the death of this child was still necessary. Sin has painful consequences. Even though our sins are forgiven, they are never worth the price tag that comes in terms of consequences.
- God is more concerned with His reputation than our happiness. Some people think that God is a kind of magic Genie, who awaits our every command, and who seeks to satisfy our every whim. David would have been happy to receive his child back, but God’s reputation required that He deal with sin in a way that makes it very clear how a holy and righteous God feels about sin.
- We can learn a lesson about unanswered prayer. David prayed as earnestly as a man could pray, but God clearly answered, “No!” David was content with that. He did not protest or complain. He accepted God’s will as that which was best. He worshipped God in spite of his loss and his pain. He did not agonize that he simply lacked faith. He knew God had heard him and He had answered. How many of us praise God when He has told us “No!”?
- Finally, the believer’s hope and joy in the midst of trials and tribulations is the context for witnessing to our faith in Jesus Christ. David’s servants expected him to (re)act in a very different way, once he learned that his son was dead. They were amazed at the way he found comfort, joy, and a desire to worship God when his family was struck by tragedy. They asked David concerning this hope, and David was able to give an explanation of that hope. Our response to our sufferings and trials affords us the same opportunity. Let us learn to rest in Him in Whom we have placed our hope, and then to share this hope with those who do not possess it (see 1 Peter 3:15).
1 Peter 3:15, "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:"
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