David and Bathsheba:
Sin, Cover-up, Condemnation, and Restoration
A four-part Biblical study of grace and healing
Part 4: Healing and Restoration
So far, David has committed adultery, then ordered the murder of several innocent men, trying to cover up his sin. God has sent Nathan the Prophet to confront David,
and David has sought God’s forgiveness and expressed an attitude of genuine repentance.
Now, there are many who want the story to end here, with 2 Samuel 12:13:
13 Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” And Nathan said to David, “The LORD also has taken away your sin; you shall not die.”
We love stories with perfect, happy endings, and we want sin forgiven without consequence. In reality, we can be forgiven for breaking the window, but we still have
to sweep up the broken glass and repair the window. There are consequences to our actions, and like it or not, we must coexist with those consequences, just as David
2 Samuel 12:14 “However, because by this deed you have given occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born to you shall surely die.”
15 So Nathan went to his house. Then the LORD struck the child that Uriah’s widow bore to David, so that he was very sick.
16 David therefore inquired of God for the child; and David fasted and went and lay all night on the ground.
17 The elders of his household stood beside him in order to raise him up from the ground, but he was unwilling and would not eat food with them.
18 Then it happened on the seventh day that 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 still alive, we spoke to him and he did not listen to our voice. How then can we tell him that the child is dead, since he might do himself harm!”
19 But when David saw that his servants were whispering together, David perceived that the child was dead; so David said to his servants, “Is the child dead?” And
they said, “He is dead.”
20 So David arose from the ground, washed, anointed himself, and changed his clothes; and he came into the house of the LORD and worshiped. Then he came to his own
house, and when he requested, they set food before him and he ate.
21 Then his servants said to him, “What is this thing that you have done? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept; but when the child died, you arose and ate
22 He said, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, ‘Who knows, the LORD may be gracious to me, that the child may live.’
23 “But now he has died; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.” (2 Samuel 12:14-23).
The death of David’s newborn son seems, at first look, to be a cruel and unfair punishment of an innocent child. There are many commentaries that see this from other
perspectives, including that the child would have lived a painful and disgraceful life, as an illegitimate son, and his death as an infant was merciful. Others have
commented on the possible ramifications of this illegitimate child becoming king. Still others see the example of atonement, an innocent life being given to redeem the
life of the guilty. Frankly, I don’t have a definitive answer. The child’s death does, however, underscore an important truth; our sin affects not only ourselves, but
also those around us. The long-reaching effect of a moment of sinful self-indulgence can be disastrous. We seldom pause to consider that factor in a moment of
temptation. If we could see the results of our actions clearly, we’d say “no” more often.
There were other consequences, too. The judgement proclaimed in verses 11 and 12 came to pass, when in 2 Samuel 16:20-22 David’s rebellious son Absalom publicly went in
to his father’s wives and concubines to demonstrate his rebellion to the nation. In verse 12, Nathan told David that what he tried to keep as a secret affair would be
made public, and he would face public disgrace and humiliation. Bathsheba, though a part of the king’s household, had to live with humiliation and disgrace in the midst
of the king’s other wives and concubines. In the terms of their society, the loss of a son was a sign of God’s judgement upon them that was a matter of deep, scarring
The best news of all is that the story does not end with the consequences of sin. Where there is sin, there are consequences, but where there is grace, there is
restoration and healing:
24 Then David comforted his wife Bathsheba, and went in to her and lay with her; and she gave birth to a son, and he named him Solomon. Now the LORD loved him
25 and sent word through Nathan the prophet, and he named him Jedidiah for the LORD’S sake.
I would have expected the embarrassed and disgraced Bathsheba to tell David that he could just stay on his side of the palace, and that she never wanted to lay eyes
on him again. Perhaps she even did. Scripture does not record Bathsheba’s journey of healing as it does David’s, but there is sound evidence that she did, indeed,
make the trip.
Who would think that a relationship with such a sin-drenched foundation could even survive, much less prosper. God demonstrated His grace in the sanctification of a
relationship that had once brought the condemnation of death. This is not a “healed but always deficient” relationship, but a “healed and holy household,” a union that
brought forth Solomon, a child regarded by both sacred and secular authority as one of the wisest men ever born. He succeeded his father as King, and his name appears in
the direct bloodline of Christ in the New Testament genealogies.
The restored, healed, sanctified marriage of David and Bathsheba bears both God’s hand and His blessing. It is purely poetic that the same prophet chosen to bring God’s
condemnation of sin was also chosen to deliver God’s blessing on the fruits of this healed, holy relationship. The LORD sent word through Nathan that He had a special
name for this special child: Jedidiah — which means “beloved of God.” It is important to note that the healing and reconstruction of this relationship did not happen
immediately. Based on historical accounts and comparative scriptural studies, it is apparent that several years passed between the death of the first son and the birth
of Solomon. It is also apparent that, although David had many wives, Bathsheba became his favorite. A marriage built on the healing grace of God always produces very
special, intimate, bonded relationships.
God never brings us condemnation without offering us grace and healing. This is a recurring theme throughout the Bible — God wants to have an intimate
relationship with each of us, and goes out of His way to invite us into that relationship. The whole point of Nathan’s charge against David was not to punish him,
but to restore him.
There have been many parallels between this chapter of David’s life and the lives of men who have fallen into sin. Whether the man is a well-known figure like Jim Bakker
or Bill Clinton, or a common “man in the street,” we all stand on level ground at the foot of the cross. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done, or where you’ve been –
God’s healing, restoring grace is available for you, just like it was for David. All you have to do is be willing to face God — and yourself — with the same painful
honesty that was David’s first step toward rebuilding his life.
Are you ready for a fresh start? Your life can be healed, restored, and rebuilt, just like David’s was. I can tell you from experience that it will not be an easy
journey, but it will be the most worthwhile venture of your entire lifetime.
Like David, you will have to be honest with God, and with yourself.
- Stop trying to hide your sin behind cheap excuses and lies
- Be willing to deal with and accept the consequences of your sin
- Totally surrender yourself to God
- Allow Jesus to come into your heart and forgive your sin
- Having accepted His free gift of salvation, let Him start the process of rebuilding your life on His firm, eternal foundation.
God is not only willing to help you rebuild, He wants you whole even more than you do!
Why hesitate? He’s waiting for your call!