The context of 2 Samuel 12:15 is that David had sinned by committing adultery with Bathsheba and also murdering her husband Uriah by putting him in the front lines of the battle. As we read in 2 Samuel 11:4-5, “And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her; for she was purified from her uncleanness: and she returned unto her house. And the woman conceived, and sent and told David, and said, I am with child.” David wrote a letter to Joab, the commander of his army, that said, “Set ye Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retire ye from him, that he may be smitten, and die” (2 Samuel 11:15).

For these sins of adultery and murder, David deserved to die. As we read in Leviticus 20:10, “If there is a man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, one who commits adultery with his friend’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death” (NASB). Also, we read in Leviticus 24:17, “And he that killeth any man shall surely be put to death” (NASB).

David repented of these sins in 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.” What grace was shown to David! However, God still needed to judge David’s sins in order to maintain his holy reputation among the surrounding nations. As we read in 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.” God is a holy God and must judge evil.

All of this preceded the verse in question, 2 Samuel 12:15. This verse reads, “And Nathan departed unto his house. And the Lord struck the child that Uriah’s wife bare unto David, and it was very sick.” In answer to the first question, yes, the Lord caused the child to become sick with a sickness that resulted in the child’s death. It was a very sad result of David’s sins and a hard lesson that undoubtedly affected David for the rest of his life. However, David was truly repentant, which you can read more about in Psalms 32 and 51.

The second question is, “Does God sometimes cause us to be sick?” God clearly caused David’s son to become sick, so it is certainly possible that there are times when He causes us to become sick as well. However, we need to be careful not to accuse a sick person or their relatives of sinful behavior being the cause of the illness. We have an example of this with Lazarus in John 11. He became sick but nothing is said about sinful behavior causing his sickness.

Let us read verses 1-4 of John 11. “Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.) Therefore his sisters sent unto Him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick. When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.” Lazarus died, but four days later the Lord raised him from the dead.

When we get sick, we should ask the Lord to search our hearts, convict us of any wrongdoing, and repent of any sins of which we are aware. After doing this, we should not continue to blame ourselves for the sickness, but ask the Lord what we can learn through the sickness. As we saw in the story of Lazarus, sickness can result in the glory to God. May it be our heart’s cry when we get sick that the Lord would be glorified. If it is His will, then we will recover to good health. However, if not then we will be ushered into His glorious presence where we will see His face and hear His voice. What a day that will be! (308.1) (DJ)