I start in on the familiar story in 2Samuel and what catches my attention is the collateral damage–the injury suffered by others than the intended target.
First, Bathsheba is the king’s intended mark. But she was the violated daughter of an innocent man named Eliam (11:3). And she was the adulterous wife of a faithful soldier, Uriah. Both those guys were collateral damage.
Then, Uriah was the target. But when the cover up David masterminded was unsuccessful, when the finessed furlough failed to provide a credible birth announcement, he resorted to a less sophisticated, more brutal plan B–send Uriah back to war and put him on a suicide mission (11:14-15). And it worked. A little too well. The report came back to David, “Some of the king’s servants are dead, and your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also” (11:24). Don’t know how many died with Uriah. Don’t know their names. Just more collateral damage.
And then what of the innocent baby? What did he do other than be born? But God had determined the fruit of their affair would be afflicted for life and that life would be but seven days (12:14-15). You might make the case the little guy got the better end of the deal by being fast-tracked into God’s presence after only a week of toiling on the earth, but for all earthly reality, he died before he had a chance to live. An innocent bystander bearing the wages of his parents’ sin. More collateral damage. Heavy sigh.
But then, like a light being switched on when your eyes have just grown accustomed to darkness, the following verses nail me . . . and the awe-o-meter starts to spike . . . and wonder evokes worship as I chew on the collateral blessing.
Then David comforted his wife, Bathsheba, and went in to her and lay with her, and she bore a son, and he called his name Solomon. And the LORD loved him and sent a message by Nathan the prophet. So he called his name Jedidiah, because of the LORD.
(2Samuel 12:24-25 ESV)
Think about it. David had a number of wives who might have been more worthy of bearing a son like Solomon. What about Abigail (1Sam. 25)? A wise, resourceful, noble woman. Just the kind of mom you might want to bear a son like Solomon. The kind of women you’d pick to be in the forever promised royal line of David. But that, praise God, is not how our God rolls.
I’m struck by the grace of God in fulfilling the promises of God. The grace that determined that a David and Bathsheba would have a Solomon.
“That woman” is now referred to as David’s wife. Before this she was referred to as the wife of Uriah the Hittite.
And David is still king, even though he had “despised the word of the LORD” and done what was “evil in God’s sight” (12:9). Even though, by his own admission, he had “sinned against the LORD” (11:13) and, by God’s own prophetic declaration, he had “utterly scorned the LORD” (11:14).
But God raises beauty out of these ashes (Isa. 61:3). Weeping endured for a night, but joy came in the morning (Ps. 30:5).
And the basis for such grace? The justification for such collateral blessing?
And Nathan said to David, “The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die.”
(2Samuel 12:13b ESV)
The LORD had put away David’s sin. Though there would be consequence and collateral damage, neither David, nor Bathsheba, would bear the debt of sin they could never pay. How come?
But as it is, [Christ] has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.
(Hebrews 9:26b ESV)
And sin put away opens the floodgates for the collateral blessing of grace overflowing. Makes way for things “no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined”, prepared by God for those who love Him (1Cor. 2:9).
How great is our God? Pretty great!
Hallelujah! What a Savior!
Because of grace. For His glory.