Summary: Pray passionately. Submit ultimately. Trust completely.
What do we do when our world falls apart?
• We pray for God’s help, and submit to God’s will. We keep faith with God and believes that He is good and He knows what He is doing.
• Let’s learn this from David in 2 Sam 12:13-23.
Nathan said to David: “The Lord has forgiven you and you are not going to die.”
• Verse 14: “But because by doing this you have made the enemies of the Lord show utter contempt (for the Lord), therefore the son born to you will die.”
• Because by this deed you have given occasion to the nations around to blaspheme the Name of God, to scorn Jehovah.
• Therefore this consequence will come upon David – the child from the adultery will die. And the nations will see and understand God’s justice.
This is not a punishment for David’s sin.
• The rightful punishment for adultery is death, according to the Law (Lev 20:10, Deut 22:22).
• And the rightful penalty for murder is also death (Exo 21:12-14, Lev 24:17, 21).
• David deserves to die on TWO COUNTS, actually. That is rightful sentence.
But Nathan has made it very clear that God has forgiven him and “taken away” his sin.
• Jesus will pay the penalty of his sin and grant him forgiveness.
• But this consequence has to come to uphold God’s Name and show the nations the justice and discipline of God against sin.
“The son born to you will die,” Nathan declared (12:14). The child was stricken with a disease, and David pleaded with God.
• Not in one prayer, not for one day, but for SIX days. He fasted and prayed, spending the nights lying on the ground (12:16).
What do you do when your world crumbles?
• David PRAYS PASSIONATELY for God to relent, for God to show mercy.
Was he trying to fight God? Was he going against God’s will, when Nathan has already said that this child will die?
• NO, most likely not, because we read to the end of the story and we know his reaction to the death of the child. David wasn’t fighting God. He was pleading with God.
• David was praying passionately for mercy, asking God to relent, if that’s even possible.
He was praying the “Gethsemane” prayer. “Lord, if it is possible, let this child lives. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” (cf. Matt 26:39).
• Jesus knew God’s will too. He has come to the point at Gethsemane precisely because of God’s will. He was heading towards the cross and that’s how it would end.
• Yet he prayed, passionately, and overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death, the Gospel writers tell us.
• Finally Jesus said, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” (Matt 26:42)
PRAY PASSIONATELY for the need of the moment! Plead for God’s grace and mercy.
• For how long? For as long as it takes. For as long as God’s answer is pending.
• David prayed every day for six days, until the seventh day and he stopped. He stopped because the child died.
• He prayed when there was still this opportunity. He prayed when there was still a chance that God might relent.
David said to the servants (12:22): “While the child was still live, I fasted and wept. I thought, ‘Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me and let the child live.’”
• That’s right, WHO KNOWS? This is a sentiment that we can all identify with. “WHO KNOWS for sure? God might just be gracious to me and turn things around!”
• So if there is still a chance, we pray. We pray without ceasing (1 Thess 5:17) and we persevere in prayer (Luke 18 parable of the persistent widow).
Until? Until God’s answer comes. For David, that answer was a NO. The child died.
• It wasn’t an unanswered prayer. After six days of praying, God took the child.
• There are no unanswered prayers. All prayers are answered, with a Yes, No, or Wait (or silence). Even a NO may not be forever.
• Wait/silence means there’s nothing that you can do, remain status quo, and hang in there. You will understand later on. It is still an answer from God, just not in the way we want.
• So when people says, ‘God did not answer my prayer’ what it really means is, ‘God did not answer my prayer according to what I want, or how I want it.’
• It is not an unanswered prayer; it’s an answered prayer but not in the way I want.
When David got to know that the child has died, 12:20 he “got up from the ground. After he had washed, put on lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the LORD and worshiped. Then he went to his own house, and at his request they served him food, and he ate.”