2 Samuel 12:15-23
“And the Lord afflicted the child that Uriah’s wife bore to David, and he became sick. David, therefore, sought God on behalf of the child. And David fasted and went in and lay all night on the ground. And the elders of his house stood beside him, to raise him from the ground, but he would not, nor did he eat food with them. On the seventh day, the child died. And the servants of David were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they said, “Behold, while the child was yet alive, we spoke to him, and he did not listen to us. How then can we say to him the child is dead? He may do himself some harm.” But when David saw that his servants were whispering together, David understood that the child was dead. And David said to his servants, “Is the child dead?” They said, “He is dead.” Then David arose from the earth and washed and anointed himself and changed his clothes. And he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. He then went to his own house. And when he asked, they set food before him, and he ate. Then his servants said to him, “What is this thing that you have done? You fasted and wept for the child while he was alive; but when the child died, you arose and ate food.” He said, “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.”
One of the things that I have learned of loss through study, personal experience, and speaking with others who have gone through it is that there’s no one way to grieve. Different stages and reactions to grief have been labeled and categorized but everyone’s grief is personal and different. David went against his culture’s normally accepted response by mourning while his son was still alive. He prayed, wept, refused food, and humbled himself completely before God. However, when he found out that his son had passed, David got up, cleaned up, and ate, much to the confusion of his servants.
Our first response to David’s actions might be to consider him callous or look at his earlier displays of grief as disingenuous, but David’s thoughts revealed a practical and eternal focus. David reasoned that if God were to change His mind and spare his son, it would be while he was still alive. But he also had faith that once his son passed, he would see him again in eternity. Both scenarios showed trust in God and an eternal perspective.
I don’t believe we’re expected to assume that David never again gave the loss of this young child a second thought. But David knew that the death of his child was a consequence of his sin. And it was a consequence that he would have to live with.
It’s terrible to go through a loss but when it stems from our own poor choices there’s an added burden. Any attempted answer in the context of a short devotional would come off incomplete at best, or judgemental and unfeeling at worst. But we see in David’s case, his grief involved a time of repentance and pleading and transitioned to a step to move forward in the covering of God’s mercy and grace.
If you are going through a time of grief, however you are feeling right now is ok. And if you don’t have a support network or church home, let us be that for you. You can reach out to email@example.com.
While reading today’s scripture, use the HEAR method to expand your time with God today.
Highlight – what words or phrases jump out at you?
Explain – what does the passage mean?
Apply – how does the passage intersect with your life today?
Respond – how is God leading you to respond?
Jon Price, Associate Pastor