The Joy of Forgiveness.

Then David comforted his wife, Bathsheba, and went in to her and lay with her, and she bore a son, and he called his name Solomon. And the Lord loved him and sent a message by Nathan the prophet. So he called his name Jedidiah, because of the Lord.

Now Joab fought against Rabbah of the Ammonites and took the royal city. And Joab sent messengers to David and said, “I have fought against Rabbah; moreover, I have taken the city of waters. Now then gather the rest of the people together and encamp against the city and take it, lest I take the city and it be called by my name.” So David gathered all the people together and went to Rabbah and fought against it and took it. And he took the crown of their king from his head. The weight of it was a talent of gold, and in it was a precious stone, and it was placed on David’s head. And he brought out the spoil of the city, a very great amount. And he brought out the people who were in it and set them to labor with saws and iron picks and iron axes and made them toil at the brick kilns. And thus he did to all the cities of the Ammonites. Then David and all the people returned to Jerusalem. – 2 Samuel 12:24-31 ESV

Because of his sin, David lost a son. Because of his repentance, David was given a son. And he named him Solomon (Shĕlomoh). The name David gave this second son born to he and Bathsheba is a derivative of the Hebrew word for peace – shalowm. There is little doubt that, after having received his punishment from God, David was grateful to have been restored back to a right relationship with God. Psalm 51, written by David as a result of his sin with Bathsheba and the forgiveness he received from God, reflects David’s heart at this most difficult period of his life. First of all, he knew his sin.

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
    and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
    and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. – Psalm 51:5-6 ESV

But he wanted to be made right with God. He wanted to enjoy God’s presence and pleasure again.

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
    and renew a right 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. – Psalm 51:10-12 ESV

And David pledged that if God would restore him fully, he would praise him.

Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,
    O God of my salvation,
    and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.
O Lord, open my lips,
    and my mouth will declare your praise. – Psalm 51:14-15 ESV

So, with the birth of Solomon, David was obviously feeling a sense of restored peace with God and that most likely explains the name given to his newborn son. But he also gave his son another name, Jedidiah, which means “loved by the Lord”. This name too, reflects David’s understanding of God. Yes, God had punished David for his sins. But He had also forgiven and restored David. David had been broken by God. He had been disciplined for his sins and brought to a point of repentance, which resulted in his restoration. And he had learned a valuable lesson.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. – Psalm 51:17 ESV

David had experienced the truth found in 1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” In another one of his psalms, David penned these encouraging words:

Finally, I confessed all my sins to you
    and stopped trying to hide my guilt.
I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.”
    And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone. – Psalm 32:5 NLT

The apostle Paul reminds us: “Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?” (Romans 2:4 NLT). He wrote a similar thing to the believers in Corinth: “For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death” (2 Corinthians 7:10 NLT). God loved David, so much so that He was not willing to allow David to remain in his sin. He disciplined him because He loved him. He sent Nathan the prophet to confront him. He brought David to a point of brokenness, because He loved him. And when David confessed, God restored him. In spite of all he had done, David once again enjoyed peace with God and knew that he was loved by God.

David was given a second chance. He was provided with a second son, whose name was Solomon. And it should not escape our attention that, even though Bathsheba had become David’s wife through sinful, deceptive means, God gave David a son through this very same woman. And that son would become the heir to the throne and enjoy the pleasure of God and know what it means to have the hand of God on his life.

It should not escape our attention that Bathsheba is mentioned in the lineage of Jesus found in Matthew 1.

…and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David the king.

And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah… – Matthew 1:5-7 ESV

In fact, there are three women mentioned: Rahab, who had been a pagan prostitute; Ruth, a Moabitess; and Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah. God used these seemingly unfit, unqualified women to bring about the birth of His Son, Jesus Christ. What a timely reminder that our sins cannot derail God’s plans. His providence can overcome our proclivity to sin. Even our greatest periods of unfaithfulness are always met by His faithfulness.

The rest of the chapter reflects this fact. God gave David victory over his enemies. And David had learned an invaluable lesson.  Once again, we see Joab going to war against the enemies of Israel, but this time, David took part. No more staying back in Jerusalem while his troops did all the work. Joab effectively captured the Ammonite city of Rabbah, but called for David to bring the rest of the troops so that he might receive the glory of taking the city. He jokingly chided David, saying, I have fought against Rabbah and captured its water supply. Now bring the rest of the army and capture the city. Otherwise, I will capture it and get credit for the victory” (2 Samuel 12:27-28 NLT). And David took the city and captured the king, his crown, and all the people. And the text tells us, “thus he did to all the cities of the Ammonites” (2 Samuel 12:31 ESV). David had returned to his primary role as the warrior-king of Israel. He went back to doing what God had chosen him to do, and God gave him success. David had sinned. God had brought discipline. As a result, David repented and God restored him. This amazing reality didn’t escape David. He would later write a psalm that reflects his understanding of and appreciation for God’s love and forgiveness:

The Lord is merciful and gracious,
    slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
He will not always chide,
    nor will he keep his anger forever.
He does not deal with us according to our sins,
    nor repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
    so far does he remove our transgressions from us. – Psalm 103:8-12 ESV

Nothing can separate us from the love of God. Even our greatest sins, when confessed and repented of, bring God’s forgiveness and complete restoration.

English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
New Living Translation (NLT)
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

The Message (MSG)Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

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