“The child who is born to you shall die”

The sermon last Sunday was about Nathan’s preaching to King David about his sin with Bathsheba in 2 Samuel 12.  Some striking insights about the role of the “sword” never departing from his house in keeping David (and us) faithful and about David’s other child, likewise descended from this sinful relationship (through Bathsheba’s child Solomon), who had to die.From Rev. James Douthwaite:

In mercy, God not only sent Nathan to expose the sin, bring David to his knees, and give forgiveness, but to mercifullyDavid in His mercy. For if David fell so deeply into sin when things were good, then God, in mercy, sends strife to keep David in His mercy. The sword shall not depart from David’s house, and the son born to him shall die. Those are punishments for David’s sin. When Nathan spoke the Word of the Lord to David and said, “God has put away your sin” – he meant it. David’s sin is forgiven. Done. Gone. The rest is mercy. To keep David from sin. To keep David in repentance. To keep David relying on God. To keep David in God. Earthly hardship for eternal gain. A trade worth making.

But not only that. For in these words to David, we hear of an even bigger mercy of God. Because the son of David who would die for David’s sin was ultimately the son of David born to Bathsheba, but the Son of David born to Mary. For remember all those folks we hear about in the Bible crying out to Jesus for help – what did they often cry out? Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on us (Luke 18:38). For Jesus is not only the promised Son of David who will rule His people and help His people and sit on the throne forever. Jesus is also the promised Son of David who would die not just for David’s sin, but for the sin of the world. For sinful men and sinful women of times and places. For your sin and mine.

So while Nathan spoke the Word of God to David which said: You are the man, the sinner, the one deserving death . . . Jesus speaks the Word of God to all which says: I am the man. I am the man who came down from Heaven and became the man. I am the man who takes your sin off of you and puts it on myself. I am the man who came to be broken and die in your place. To take the curse of sin for you on the cross. To die for you, that you rise with Me. That you be not just an improved sinner but a new creation. That you not just be stronger but set free from sin and death and devil. That you be set free to live, and to love.

And in your baptism, that’s exactly what happened. All that Jesus did for you became yours, given to you. God put away your sin by putting it on the Son of David on the cross. And those words spoken to David, and those words spoken to the sinful woman are spoken to you: Your sin is put away . . . Your sins are forgiven . . . go in peace. And we go – mercied, forgiven, new. To live a new life.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.


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