The Jist: Coming Back
Sin results in death. David’s sin meant the death of his son. Once he confessed his sin, he received forgiveness, but there were consequences that had to be born.
In hopes that the Lord might spare the child’s life, David fasted and wept. But once he was dead, the king got up, washed and cared for himself, and ate. To his servants, puzzled at his reaction, he explained, “But why should I fast when he is dead? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him one day, but he cannot return to me” (1Sm 12:23).
The whole Bible teaches that once a person dies, there is no coming back. There remains only the judgment.
But there was one who came back. In Jesus’ final discourse to his disciples in John 13-16, he said,”I have told you thses things so that you won’t abandon your faith” (16:1). They would be persecuted, he would go away to the Father, he would send the Advocate.
These all would bring about good things. But he would also return; they would see him again. Their grief would turn into wonderful joy.
Regardless of what would happen to him and to them, they could have joy and peace. His last word in this discourse, shortly before his betrayal and the disciples’ scattering, is this: “But take heart, because I have overcome the world” (16:33).
While sin results in death and the impossibility of returning, Jesus’ death meant victory over sin and his return means the undoing of the great separation between us and God and between loved ones parted in tears and grief.
When Nathan confronted David with his sin through the story of the rich man who killed the poor man’s only lamb, several months had passed since the king’s transgression. The child conceived in adultery had already been born. The Lord must have known the right moment to confront David, letting him agonize internally while pretending before the world that all was normal in his life.
After David confesses, he resumes his successful career as God’s king, winning over his enemies (2Sm 12:26-31).
God’s discipline is to bring the wanderer back to follow closely his word (Ps 119:67). In this way, those who fear God find a cause for joy in he who hopes and holds to the Lord’s word (v. 74).
What sin am I hiding that needs to be confessed to God? What words do I need to hear from God, in the Bible, to keep from abandoning my faith? (Jn 16:1).
Lord, save me from secret sin. May your Holy Spirit use me to convict the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. Thanks be to my Lord Jesus for rescuing me from the power of sin and from eternal condemnation. Because he overcame the world. Amen.