David and Bathsheba

David and Bathsheba
Surrounded in darkness, David poured out his soul before the Lord, his face burning from crying for the life of his newborn son. He was alone, floored by an emptiness that numbed him.

Sprawled on the dark tiles, David writhed at the thought of his child, deathly sick in Bathsheba’s arms. He could do nothing to save him.

I’m the ruler of Israel, David tortured himself, a fighter of unmatched skill. Yet I can’t save my son from the claws of death. It broke him to be so helpless.

 “Wash me completely from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin,” David screamed into the blackness of the room. “For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge.” David scraped his nails against the cold tiles as he curled his fingers into tight fists.

“Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. Behold, You desire truth in the inner being; make me therefore to know wisdom in my inmost heart,” he moaned in agony. The pain was too much. It had been seven days, and still he wept before the Lord. His advisors begged him to eat, but he fasted. How could he eat? His sin had tainted him with death. “Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness and be satisfied; let the bones which You have broken rejoice. Hide Your face from my sins and blot out all my guilt and iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right, persevering, and steadfast spirit within me. Cast me not away from Your presence and take not Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and uphold me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners shall be converted and return to You. Deliver me from bloodguiltiness and death, O God, the God of my salvation, and my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.” [1]

His entire being bled with the horrors he had committed. Yet, God had been merciful in sparing his life.

If only You will not take my son, he prayed, clamping his eyes shut, oh God, if You would take the consequences of my sin from me—from my wife.

“Where’s my husband?” Bathsheba wept over the still body of her child in her arms. Her lips twisted in anguish when she couldn’t feel his chest move against hers, her tears dripping onto the boy’s bluish face.

“It was a child conceived in sin,” Bathsheba keened, throwing her head back. “But I love him.” She clung to the tiny baby as if there was nothing else left for her. Her world had died with the boy.

Where was her David? She had not seen him since the birth of their son.

I cannot deal with the pain alone, she thought, tasting bitter tears on her lips, I need him.

Bathsheba shook her head vehemently as she moaned, her face breaking against her lamenting.

Suddenly, David stood in the doorway. He looked like a ghost. There wasn’t a sign of tears on his face. He was strong, and she ran to him.

David clenched his eyes shut as Bathsheba sank into his embrace, shaking with bitter weeping. His face was thick from fighting tears.

“The child is no more,” he murmured. “Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.”

Holding her tightly, David whispered to her, “I love you.” As she looked up at him, she saw the pain of a father in his eyes, tinged with guilt, and she adored him.

Bathsheba kissed him deeply.

David looked into Nathan’s eyes, and he couldn’t help but remember the power he had seen in the prophet’s expression when he had delivered God’s message. But now his eyes were gentle.

David savoured Bathsheba’s touch as she leaned closer to him. They didn’t know what Nathan wanted to tell them, but he understood the fearful energy that stiffened her body. The pain of their child’s death was still fresh, and the journey of healing with God, still lay ahead.

 “David, you know as well as I, that each one is tempted by his lusts, being drawn away and seduced by them. Then when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin. And sin, when it is fully formed, brings forth death.[2] But God loves you, He saved you from the claims of sin, though not from its consequences,” Nathan said, and Bathsheba turned her head from the old man. “But God is grace, and with the Lord, there is restoration and gentle healing. There is a relationship, and He sees our hearts, and blesses us.” Bathsheba looked at the prophet suddenly.

“God still loves me,” she breathed the words.

Nathan smiled.

“Wife of David, you are with child.”

Bathsheba gasped, burying her face in her hands. She wept.

David was like a statue, a single tear running into his beard as he thanked God.

“And Jehovah will love him,” said the prophet.

David took Bathsheba’s hand in his. Wiping away her tears with a hand, he savoured the elation glimmering in her eyes.

“We shall name him Solomon,” David said proudly.