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    David Punished for His Sin

    David trembled, lest, guilty and unforgiven, he should be cut down by the swift judgment of God. But the message was sent him by the prophet, “The Lord also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.” Yet justice must be maintained. The sentence of death was transferred from David to the child of his sin. Thus the king was given opportunity for repentance, while the suffering and death of the child, as a part of his punishment, was far more bitter than his own death could have been.EP 524.2

    When his child was stricken, David, with fasting and deep humiliation, pleaded for its life. Night after night he lay in heartbroken grief interceding for the innocent one suffering for his guilt. Upon hearing that the child was dead, he quietly submitted to the decree of God. The first stroke had fallen of that retribution which he himself had declared just.EP 524.3

    Many, reading the history of David's fall, have inquired, “Why did God see fit to throw open to the world this dark passage in the life of one so highly honored of Heaven?” Infidels have pointed to the character of David and have exclaimed in derision, “This is the man after God's own heart!” Thus God and His word have been blasphemed, and many, under a cloak of piety, have become bold in sin.EP 524.4

    But the history of David furnishes no countenance to sin. It was when he was walking in the counsel of God that he was called a man after God's own heart. When he sinned, this ceased to be true of him until by repentance he had returned to the Lord. “The thing that David had done was evil in the eyes of the Lord.” Though David repented of his sin, he reaped the baleful harvest of the seed he had sown. The judgments upon him testify to God's abhorrence of sin.EP 524.5

    David himself was broken in spirit by the consciousness of his sin and its far-reaching results. He felt humbled in the eyes of his subjects. His influence was weakened. Now his subjects, having a knowledge of his sin, would be led to sin more freely. His authority in his own household was weakened. His guilt kept him silent when he should have condemned sin. His evil example exerted its influence upon his sons, and God would not interpose to prevent the result. Thus David was severely chastised. Retribution which no repentance could avert, agony, and shame would darken his whole earthly life.EP 525.1

    Those who, by pointing to the example of David, try to lessen the guilt of their own sins should learn from the Bible record that the way of transgression is hard. The results of sin, even in this life, will be found bitter and hard to bear.EP 525.2

    God intended the history of David's fall to serve as a warning that even those whom He has greatly blessed are not to feel secure. And thus it has proved to those who in humility have sought to learn the lesson He designed to teach. The fall of David, one so honored by the Lord, has awakened in them distrust of self. Knowing that in God alone was their strength and safety, they have feared to take the first step on Satan's ground.EP 525.3

    Even before the divine sentence was pronounced against David, he had begun to reap the fruit of transgression. The agony of spirit he then endured is brought to view in the thirty-second psalm:EP 525.4

    When I kept silence, my bones waxed old
    Through my roaring all the day long.
    For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me:
    My moisture was changed as with the drought of
    Psalm 32:3, 4
    EP 525.5

    And the fifty-first psalm is an expression of David's repentance, when the message of reproof came to him from God:EP 526.1

    Create in me a clean heart, O God;
    And renew a right spirit within me.
    Cast me not away from Thy presence;
    And take not Thy Holy Spirit from me... .
    Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,
    Thou God of my salvation;
    And my tongue shall sing aloud of Thy
    Psalm 51:10, 11, 14
    EP 526.2

    Thus the king of Israel recounted his sin, his repentance, and his hope of pardon through the mercy of God. He desired that others might be instructed by the sad history of his fall.EP 526.3

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