Wednesday, May 05, 2021

2021.05.05 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Samuel 12:15–25

Read 2 Samuel 12:15–25

Questions from the Scripture text: To where did Nathan go (2 Samuel 12:15)? Who struck whom? What is the child called? What is the effect of this smiting? So what does David do with Whom (2 Samuel 12:16)? What form does this pleading take? For how long? Where? Who tried to get him to stop (2 Samuel 12:17)? For how many days did he do this (2 Samuel 12:18)? What happened on that day? What were the servants afraid to do? What was their reasoning—what hadn’t David done before, and what did they think he might do now? What does David see in 2 Samuel 12:19? What did he perceive by this? What does he ask? What do they answer? What four things does he immediately do (2 Samuel 12:20)? Then into where does he go? To do what? Then where? What does he finally ask for and do now? What befuddled question does this prompt from the servants (2 Samuel 12:21)? What had David done while the child was alive (2 Samuel 12:22)? Why? But what can’t be done now (2 Samuel 12:23)? Where will David go? Whom does David comfort in 2 Samuel 12:24? With what outcome? What is the Lord’s disposition toward the baby? What word does He send by whom (2 Samuel 12:25)?

Being in covenant with God can bring us great pain. His threatenings are as real as His promises. Just ask the seven churches of Asia in Revelation 2–3. But being in covenant with God also gives us ground for a wrestling hope, a worshiping hope, a grieving hope, and a family hope that strangers to the gospel cannot understand.

A wrestling hope. The passage interestingly goes from “Uriah’s wife” in 2 Samuel 12:15 to David comforting “his wife” in 2 Samuel 12:24. The God of the covenant is fierce. Christ’s threatenings referenced above remind us of covenant-curse warnings like the Lord gave His people (interspersed with promises of blessing for faithfulness) in Deuteronomy 27–29. The Lord still actively interacts with His people in similar, covenantal fashion as He has done throughout the administrations of the covenant of grace.

But He is a marvelously merciful covenant Lord—so much so, that even when His condemnation of our conduct has put us in full expectation of His chastening (2 Samuel 12:14-15), His mercy has surprised us so often that we may be emboldened to wrestle in prayer for it (v22). The guilt of our sins is forgiven by the blood of the covenant (2 Samuel 12:13), and even the fatherly chastening that we often need and receive for them is often restrained or removed in surprising mercy!

The Lord’s anointed is a great example for us here of what wrestling prayer looks like. “Pleading with God” (2 Samuel 12:16) is a summary statement for humbling himself and denying himself. He literally lowered himself to the ground in humiliation. And he refused to eat. Those who wish to know what fasting is, let them join it with this pleading, this humbling oneself before God, this relentless anticipation of surprising mercy. When you’re in covenant with a God Who is so prone to mercy, you always have a wrestling hope.

A worshiping hope. While the child was alive, David’s conduct demonstrated that the Lord is all his purpose and pleasure. When the child dies, the man who has lain on the ground for a full week without eating immediately rises, washes, spruces up, and changes clothes… to go to worship (2 Samuel 12:20). 

What our Lord does for us is always best—even when He denies our most earnest and pleading requests. He has bound Himself to us by His oath and blood. Those times when His perfect will crosses ours are perhaps the ones at which we need most of all to worship. To bow the heart and bless His Name for His goodness and glory.

A grieving hope. Or, we might better say, a sure hope in grief. The servants are stunned. They thought that the Lord’s action might result in a second funeral (2 Samuel 12:18), rather than a worship service (2 Samuel 12:20). Not knowing what to make of it, they ask the oddly behaving king (2 Samuel 12:21). “I shall go to him,” David says (2 Samuel 12:23). 

That which brought the death of the child—the fact that by covenant the Lord’s name was upon David and his child, giving Yahweh’s enemies great occasion to blaspheme (2 Samuel 12:14)—now brings David comfort in the child’s death. 

When the Lord takes a covenant child in the flower of youth, He has told us about that child, “I am God to you and to your children.” He was the One Who chose to give that specific child to this specific believing parent. He has thus declared that child holy (cf. 1 Corinthians 7:14). He has put the mark of His covenant upon the child. 

It is His covenant promises that drive our zeal as we apply His means in parenting, with full expectation that He will make it effectual by His almighty power. So even when it was David’s spectacular sin that brought his child’s death as a covenantal chastening, David is confident that in his own forgiven condition (2 Samuel 12:13) he will be going to where his deceased child has now gone. How much more, when the Lord providentially takes a child, when He has not declared it to be an instance of chastening!

When we have a covenant God Who has made such declarations about our children, we can do much better than throw up our hands in uncertainty. We can say with freshly worship-bolstered faith, “I shall go to him” (2 Samuel 12:23).

A family hope. Despite the sin that was involved in the process, Bathsheba is now David’s wife (2 Samuel 12:24). While he was laying on the ground, fasting in desperate prayer, she was almost certainly desperately nursing her dying son for seven days. Now, he comes to his wife with that sturdy hope exhibited in the preceding verses of worship and explanation, and comforts her (verse 24). 

They have a son, and now the prophet again is sent to David, this time with glad tidings. The Lord has given special affirmation of the status of their child, giving him the covenant name “Jedidiah,” “Beloved of Yahweh.” Covenant families are those in which husbands have sturdy comfort to give our wives, and where the Lord tells us about each of our children that they are “beloved of Yahweh.”

In what circumstance do you especially need to be laying hold of God’s promises in prayer? How have you been responding to His answers in worship? What covenant/gospel comfort are you giving and receiving?

Suggested songs: ARP51A “God, Be Merciful to Me” or TPH190 “Thus Saith the Mercy of the Lord”


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