It was my wild imagination that made me write about Capernaum as if I had walked its streets and picked up the sights and sounds personally. Ending on the note of kingly dynasty and royal heir, David and his baby came to mind, and I couldn’t resist sharing it here. If someone else had written the piece, I would call it “hauntingly beautiful.”
What is this thing that you have done? You fasted and wept for the child while it was alive; but when the child died, you arose and ate food. 2 Samuel 12:21
The vigil in the royal nursery has become unbearable. The sick baby is too feeble now to squirm or whimper. He looks oddly like a wizened old man with a waxy cast to his yellowish skin. The worn-out attendants notice that the doomed little boy’s chest barely rises, while his desperate father’s lips barely move now. David has exhausted the strength that fueled his early passionate prayers for “the child that Uriah’s wife bore” to him. Israel’s handsome king resembles a haggard old man with alarmingly disheveled looks. Prostrating himself on the ground again and again, he has not eaten or washed in days. His eyes, dull with grief, no longer rest on the small bundle of suffering in the royal cradle. They seem to be fixed on something deep within himself – or far off in the distance. A faintly murmured word escapes his lips now and then. Is David still willing Bathsheba’s son to “live”?
“Live!” cries out the king with a gut-wrenching sob as he is escorted from the chamber where death will shortly claim the innocent victim of his adultery and murder. David is put under suicide watch. Awaking from his stupor of exhaustion, he senses that something is amiss. A chorus of whispers is drowning out the normal humming sounds of the bustling royal household. “Is the child dead?” he abruptly inquires of his elders. Taken aback, they reply somberly, “He is dead.” Then they brace for the worst.
The “suicidal” king jumps to his feet and hurries to get washed, groomed, and dressed. He proceeds to “the house of the LORD” where he worships. David then returns to his own and sits down to a meal fit for a king who has everything to live for! If there is such a thing as “deafening whispering,” now is the time to listen for that unnerving sound… Consternation reigns in the royal quarters. Is this “The Madness of King David” (not King George III)? What if this “insanity” is catching? Is it called infectious living?
God sent the prophet Nathan to David to drive home what it means “to be deeply or completely involved; to welter in sin” – and to spell out the tragic consequences that would lead to the death of three royal sons. Yet he said to David in his blood, ‘Live!’ “The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die.”
Comment: Please look for next week’s devotion from Ezekiel 16:6, which actually preceded this one by a day. The last paragraph will then make more sense