Not sure that what I’m starting will end up being cohesive as there’s a number of thoughts running around in my head as a I chew on the aftermath of David’s sin with Bathsheba in 2Samuel 12.
First, Solomon had an older brother. An innocent baby conceived out of lust, by an abuse of power, followed by a treacherous, murderous cover up. A baby who had been allotted but seven days of life on earth as a consequence of David’s sin. Though literally “brought forth in iniquity” and conceived in sin (Ps. 51:5), while born a sinner by nature as are we all, too young to have done anything himself which deserved the consequence of sin. A reminder that the effects of sin are often felt beyond just the sinner. That in the wake of sin there is often untold damage and destruction.
And yet even in the darkness of sin’s collateral damage, a transcendent reminder of hope.
“While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept, for I said, ‘Who knows whether the LORD will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’ But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.” ~ David
(2Samuel 12:22-23 ESV)
I shall go to him. David aware that while his son preceded him in death, he would follow. Follow to the grave where his body was. Yet follow also to heaven and eternal happiness, where his son’s soul was. For to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (2Cor. 5:8).
But why should a despicable sinner like David have such hope? How could it be right? How could it be just? While the consequence and death destruction were painfully present, so was the promise that David’s sin had been permanently dealt with.
David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” And Nathan said to David, “The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die.”
(2Samuel 12:13 ESV)
The all-knowing, holy, holy, holy God of all mankind didn’t overlook the sin. He didn’t ignore the sin or brush the sin under the carpet. He didn’t arbitrarily decide it wasn’t that big a sin. But neither did God, who in Himself is steadfast love, deem it too big a sin. And that because He had determined to put away the sin.
Literally, He passed over the sin. Just as the angel of death passed over the Israelites on that fateful night when they covered their homes with the blood of an innocent and pure sacrifice, so too God passed over David’s sin as He looked beyond David’s time and place to a time and place yet to come. A time when His Son would come to earth as the once for all eternal sacrifice for sin. A place on a hill outside of Jerusalem where a Roman cross would become heaven’s altar to receive the payment for the debt of David’s sin. And so, a righteous God could declare David justified. Justified by grace as a gift “through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” The Father in His “divine forbearance” having “passed over former sins” because of the atoning blood of the Son (Rom. 3:24-25).
One other thing that grabs me. Their’s could have been a forever cursed union. In my world of justice, I can imagine a divine decree that any additional children conceived by David and Bathsheba would continue to suffer the consequences of their illicit union. If not the consequence of death, then at the very least, the consequences of just being inconsequential. But where sin did abound, grace did more abound (Rom. 5:20).
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 12:234-25 ESV)
Jedidiah. Literally, Beloved of the Lord. Same sinning father. Same victimized mother. Yet the second son was by God’s sovereign determination a favored son. A son like no other son. A son who would flourish (though, in his latter days, he would fade).
Brothers. Both caught up in the wake of sin. Both today in the presence of God. Both loved by God.
Because of God’s grace. For God’s glory.