This is a very interesting portion! Let’s read 2 Samuel 12:15-23, “And Nathan departed unto unto his house. And the LORD struck the child, that Uriah’s wife bare unto David, and it was very sick. David therefore besought God for the child; and David fasted, and went in, and lay all night upon the earth. And the elders of his house arose, and went to him, to raise him up from the earth: but he would not, neither did he eat bread with them. And it came to pass on the seventh day, that the child died. And the servants of David feared to tell him that the child was dead: for they said, Behold, while the child was alive, we spake unto him, and he would not hearken unto our voice: how will he then vex himself, if we tell him that the child is dead? But when David saw that his servants whispered, David perceived that the child was dead: therefore David said unto his servants, Is the child dead? And they said, He is dead. Then David arose from the earth, and washed, and anointed himself, and changed his apparel, and came into the house of the LORD, and worshipped: then he came to his own house; and when he required, they set bread before him, and he did eat. Then said his servants unto him, What thing is this that thou hast done? Thou didst fast and weep for the child, while it was alive; but when the child was dead, thou didst rise and eat bread. And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether GOD will be gracious to me, that the child may live? But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.”

To understand the lessons from this passage we need to realize that in verses 1-14 Nathan the prophet had just revealed to David that because of his sin of adultery with Bathsheba and his murder of her husband Uriah, the child born to Bathsheba was going to die. David himself should have died, but God chose to take the child instead. This may seem unfair to us, but God had made promises to David which could never have been fulfilled had David died, so in God’s government He decided to teach David invaluable lessons through the death of his child.

It is beautiful to see that as soon as “the LORD struck the child,” David prayed, fasted and prostrated himself “all night upon the earth.” How would we have reacted in this situation? In Hebrews 12:5-11 we learn that when God, in love, chastens us for a sin we have committed, we can respond in one of three ways. Verse 5 reads, “My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of Him.” We may DESPISE His discipline by refusing to take it seriously, or we may FAINT under it and lose heart. Mr. William MacDonald points out in his commentary on this verse, “If they rebel or give up, they lose the benefit of His dealings with them and fail to learn His lessons.” Verse 11 teaches us the proper reaction, “Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” We need to do as David did, to get into the Lord’s presence, fall before Him, and in true EXERCISE of heart pour out our hearts before Him. For a whole week David manifested his repentance by asking the Lord to spare the child’s life. Yet when the child died, David humbly submitted to God’s will and went into the house of the Lord and worshipped. His servants were bewildered by David’s calm repose and worshipful spirit and questioned him as to this. He replies to them with words borne of faith, “Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.” David KNEW that he would see his “little one” again! Though his loss was great, he was absolutely sure that he would be reunited with his child in heaven. For parents who have lost infants in death I would encourage you to read Matthew 18:10-14. (160.6) (DO)