“The child that is born to you shall surely die. Then Nathan departed to his house. And the Lord struck the child that Uriah’s widow bore to David and he was very sick.”
II Samuel12: 13, 14
“Bathsheba’s Heartache ” Part Ias PUt Away your
“The only way to meet affliction is to pass through it solemnly, slowly, with humility and faith, as the Israelites passed through the sea. Then its very waves of misery will divide, and become to us a wall, on the right side and on the left, until the gulf narrows before our eyes, and we land safe on the opposite shore.”
Do I feel afflicted right now?
How has the affliction I’m facing affected my relationship with God?
What have I learned about God during the darkest moments of my life?
“Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth (her) out of them all.”
Psalm 34: 19
“The truly loving heart loves God’s good pleasure not in consolations only, but, and especially, in afflictions also.”
St. Frances de Sales
As I have shared with you in the past, if I were not challenged by the consequences of the car accident that broke so many bones, especially in my legs and feet, I’d absolutely love to travel to the British Isles. Having a great deal of my family bloodline from this part of the world, I’ve always been fascinated by the extraordinary beauty found in this verdant part of the globe.
Since I can’t travel now, I decided recently to get some wonderful videos and take a “trip” through those special places I’d love to see in person.
One of my very favorite travel videos was an extensive tour of Scotland, which with wide aerial views from a helicopter, took the viewer into areas of the remote Scottish highlands where it would have been nearly impossible for a well-trained hiker to navigate.
As I gasped at the beauty I was observing, it occurred to me how very arduous this trip would be, especially in the rugged mountains where humans rarely enter. This thought came back to my mind as I was working on today’s devotional and read a quote by one of my all-time favorite old-time preachers, Charles H. Spurgeon. He penned these words, “The Lord gets His best soldiers out of the highlands of affliction.” As I reflected on the rugged landscape in Scotland, the highlands as they are called, I thought about your life and mine, and the highlands of affliction, the rough terrain, where we are so often prepared for the work that God has for us – the best He calls us to partake in. As Fred Greve noted, “Affliction can be a treasure absolutely functional, it triggers life’s greatest insights and accomplishments.” I have personally found this to be true.
Now at this point in our devotional you may be thinking, “What in the world does affliction have to do with our text today?” Well, as a matter of fact, a great deal.
For the next few days, we are going to spend time looking at the consequences of David’s sin. In today’s text there is an interesting piece of information I had passed over when I read this portion of Scripture in the past.
You’ll see that Nathan told David, “You won’t die. But the child that was conceived is going to die.” Let me insert, in the coming days, we are going to tackle, with God’s help, the sorrowful fact that an innocent child died because of David’s sin, and in my way of looking at life, this event doesn’t seem one bit fair.
However, for today, I want to focus on another issue in this story which I’ve never seen or heard addressed. If you will note, in II Samuel 12: 14, the Bible refers to Bathsheba, not as David’s wife, but as Uriah’s widow. This fact only serves to be a big red marker highlighting the fact that in God’s eyes, Bathsheba belonged to Uriah and her presence in David’s life was only a theft carried out by a lustful, greedy king who thought he could take what he wanted.
As the story of David and Bathsheba progressed, it was Bathsheba who carried a precious baby inside her for nine months. It was Bathsheba who went through the pains of labor to deliver this child. And it was Bathsheba, the mother of this innocent baby, who suffered the affliction of loss. And this is what loss is – it is affliction or as the dictionary defines the word “affliction,” it is, “a condition of pain, suffering, and distress.” What makes this case so hard to understand is that the Bible states that God “struck the child that Uriah’s widow bore.” This is a very tough sentence to read. And so we are going to spend several days on this complicated event because it is when evil things happen to innocent victims that you and I are the most prone to lose our grip on our heavenly Father.
While we find that David lamented his sin, consequences followed and we often forget that Bathsheba’s heart was crushed, too. This mother lost her baby. And the Bible tells us that David’s sin was the root cause. The problem is that Bathsheba’s heartache was forged in a moment when human lust prevailed over heavenly love.
I wasn’t with Bathsheba when David’s men came and got her and took her to the palace. I wasn’t in the room when David “used” this woman he “lusted” after. Could she have stopped the advances? We don’t know. What we do know is that the result of this tragedy was one dead husband and one dead child – and frankly, that’s a lot of heartache for any woman to have to endure.
What we will find though in the coming weeks is that the fires of affliction can help strengthen us for the challenges we face in our future. As Izaak Walton observed, “Affliction is a divine diet which though it be not pleasing to mankind, yet Almighty God hath often imposed it as a good to those children whose souls are dearest to Him.”
In the painful moments of your own life, when you may be suffering heartache and feel you are alone in the fires of affliction, let us never forget that gold is tried in fire. As Alexander Proudfit noted, “I never met with a single instance of adversity which I have not in the end seen was for my good. I have never heard of a Christian on (her) deathbed complaining of (her) afflictions.”
Come back tomorrow when we look at what happens when your prayers aren’t answered the way you want.
"Now let us thank the eternal power, convinced that Heaven but tries our virtue by affliction: That oft the cloud which wraps the present hour, serves but to brighten all our future days!”
“Broken in pieces all asunder,
Lord, hunt me not,
A thing forgot,
My thoughts are all a case of knives,
Wounding my heart
With scattered smart.
Oh help, my God! Let not their plot
Kill them and me,
And also thee,
Who art my life: dissolve the knot,
As the sun scatters by his light
All the rebellions of the night.
Then shall those powers, which work for grief,
Enter thy pay,
And day by day
Labour thy praise, and my relief;
With care and courage building me,
Till I reach heaven, and, much more, thee.”
Dorothy Valcấrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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