Leave The Past Behind

The other evening I read 2 Samuel Chapters 11 and 12.  It’s the story of King David, Bathsheba and the price David paid for his sins.

If you’re not familiar with the story here is a recap.

One day King David is up on the roof of his house looking around.  He looks down and sees Bathsheba taking a bath.  She is described as “very beautiful”.  David wants to know who she is.  He asks and is told she is the wife of another man. This doesn’t stop David, he has her brought to him and then next thing you know Bathsheba is pregnant with David’s baby.

David knows that this isn’t going to look good.  The holy king knocking up another man’s wife.

David has Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah a soldier in David’s army, brought to him from the front lines.  He meets with Uriah and his commanding officer and makes some small talk.  David then tells Uriah to clean up and go home to his wife.  It doesn’t say exactly why David is doing this but I assume it was to get Uriah to “lay” with his wife and then everyone, including Uriah, will think that the kid in Bathsheba’s belly is Uriah’s.

Uriah doesn’t go to his house, instead he spends the night at the king’s door with all the other servants.  In the morning  David asks him why didn’t he go home and Uriah explains that his fellow soldiers are sleeping in the field, it would not be right for him to go home and enjoy his wife and all it’s comforts.

David keeps trying to get Uriah to go home and “lay” with his wife.  David even goes so far as to get Uriah drunk, but Uriah’s sense of duty will not allow him to do so.

Finally David sends Uriah back to the front line with a note to his commanding officer.  The note instructs Uriah’s commander to put Uriah in a situation where he will be killed in battle.  Uriah is killed in battle.  David takes Bathsheba as his wife.

King David has broken a number of the commandments, from coveting his neighbors wife to committing murder.  He didn’t personally kill Uriah but he made sure Uriah died.  David seems to be okay with what he has done until he is confronted by Nathan the prophet who knows the sins of David.

Nathan uses a couple of parables that describe what David has done.  David, not knowing the parables are about him, becomes incensed at the behavior of the person in the parable.  David emphatically states to Nathan, “As the Lord lives, the man who has done this deserves to die!”

Nathan then informs David that the man in the parable is David.  David is then informed of his punishment for his sin.

2 Samuel 12:11-14

Thus says the Lord, ‘Behold, I will raise up evil against you out of your own house. And I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun.  For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel and before the sun.’”  David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die. Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the Lord, the child who is born to you shall die.”

The Lord will not kill David.  David has a destiny to fulfill, but the Lord tells David, through Nathan the prophet, that the son that was produced by this sin shall die.

I have read this story of David and Bathsheba a number of times, but this time I learned something new from it.

In 2 Samuel 12:15-23, David’s son becomes ill and David tries to reckon with God and save the child.  David realizes that he not only murdered Uriah but he is now responsible for the pending death of his son.  For a week David did not eat and he laid on the ground seeking God’s intervention on behalf of his son.  The elders tried to console David.  They tried to get him to eat.  They tried to get him to just move, but David would have none of it.  I’m sure David was ready and willing to sacrifice his own life in order to save his son.

At the end of the week David’s son dies.

The elders seeing how distraught David was when the boy was still alive were afraid to tell him the child had died.  I guess they thought he might just go berserk and kill them or himself.  But when David found out that his son had passed on, he got up, cleaned himself, worshipped God, and then got something to eat.

The elders were perplexed.  They asked David, while your son was sick you were a mess but when he died you just got up and went about your business.

David’s response to the elders is I what I found to be most interesting about this story.

2 Samuel 12:22-23

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.”

David is saying what we all must do with life.  While his child was still alive he was going to do everything he possibly could to try and keep him alive.  But after his death what else could he do?  David realized that the situation was now out of his control and all the mourning, weeping, lamenting and fasting will not change a thing.

What is in the past is in the past.  That is where it stays and there is nothing you can do about it.  All you can do is learn from your mistakes, like don’t fool around with another man’s wife.  You accept what has happened and move on.

The future produced greater things for King David.  In verse 24 David and Bathsheba produce another son.  A son of great influence on man.  They produced King Solomon and twenty eight generations later they produced Christ.

This story of David and Bathsheba shows us the need to leave the past behind and look to the future.  You must let go of what is out of your control and the past is certainly out of your control.  You take hold of what you can control.  Many modern day gurus and life coaches will profess this same thought but it was really being taught to us thousands of years ago.

© Otis P Smith and About the Groove, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Otis P Smith and About the Groove with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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