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Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit
We have been studying David’s fall into fornication and its consequences. This issue will show an early consequence of David’s fall into immorality. Previously, we saw how God had emboldened Nathan the prophet to confront David. Then, upon David’s confession, we considered why, despite God’s stipulation of capital punishment for such an offense, that God had Nathan deliver this message.
2 Samuel 12:13b ...YHWH also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.
God through Nathan had already pronounced some severe and long-range judgments (verses 10 & 11), but there was more to come and sooner rather than later. God had spared David and Bathsheba’s own lives by the merciful application of His law of two witnesses, but we Christians must recognize that although we confess and repent of our sins, there are consequences which inevitably follow. It is the law of sowing and reaping. David was weak in the area of sex. His weakness was on display in his household. Consequently, members of his family will follow in his footsteps and do even worse, as we will see in the next several chapters. Meanwhile, Nathan announces the first judgment which will befall David and Bathsheba.
2 Samuel 12:14 Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of YHWH to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.
In other words, because David was not only the political and civil leader of Israel, he was undoubtedly the most prominent believer and proclaimer of the great God of Israel. Of course, there were the two high priests who had charge of the religious affairs, the sacrifices and so forth, but it was David who had established and re-organized the whole religious system of Israel.
It was David who had composed numerous songs for the choirs of Israel. He was the most prominent Christian of his day, as it were. So that when he fell, it gave occasion for the heathen to mock the God of Israel. Remember the Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker PTL scandal in 1987? …followed immediately by the Jimmy Swaggart scandal? The heathen, mainstream media had a field day, mocking and gloating at the fallen Christians. Thus, as it says, … by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of YHWH to blaspheme.
15 And Nathan departed unto his house. And YHWH struck the child that Uriah’s wife bare unto David, and it was very sick.
The child is going to die. Did the child die as a punishment for what David did? Obviously. Second simple question: Did God strike the infant with some kind of sickness so that it died? Yes, indeed. With that in mind, would you be as dismayed as I am when I read this in a standard Bible commentary on this passage?
That the child should be punished for what David did seems wrong. We need to remind ourselves, however, that even today innocent children suffer from the things their parents do.
The last statement is true, isn’t it? So-called crack-babies are born addicted to cocaine because their mother is addicted. Some babies are born with AIDS because their mother is infected. Some babies are born with spina bifida and usually die within a few weeks because their mother had a deficiency of a Bvitamin called folic acid. We could go on giving examples of how children suffer because of what their parents do or did. So we agree with the commentator’s statement in that regard, but now listen as he goes on.
The more pointed question deals with whether God should be credited with the cause of the suffering. I sat once at the funeral of a child who had been accidentally killed by a drunk man riding through the community on a motorcycle. In the funeral message the minister tried to convince those of us present that God had a purpose in the child’s death as though it were something God had planned. I was revolted by what he said because he took an evil event and made God the cause. [All emphases mine—JWB]
We beg to differ. The minister did not make God the cause. God Himself claims credit for creating evil. This commentator could have been speaking about me giving a funeral service. Many in our fellowships in the Carolinas, Tennessee and Georgia over the years have been at funerals where I officiated for their loved ones, who were also my friends, and that is exactly what I tell those who grieve.
God does have a purpose in the death, whether the deceased is a grandfather or a child. What kind of perverted theology would lead a person—let alone a minister-commentator—to conclude that there is no purpose in their death?! My heavens! That is precisely the philosophy of atheistic nihilism. No, my misguided brother commentator, whenever a death or any other event which we call evil occurs, God has a purpose in it. It was something God had planned. Furthermore, I am not revolted, I am comforted by the knowledge that God is the ultimate cause of all events, both good and evil. For those who may be new to our work, if this is a strange, new teaching to you, then I would strongly suggest you obtain our album of tapes or CDs called The Sovereignty of God, wherein I go into great detail laying out the Scriptures line-by-line to demonstrate the truth of what I am saying. (Ten tape album: $33 ppd.; 10-CD album: $43 ppd.)
Yes, by his sins, David was the immediate cause of the child’s death, but God was the ultimate cause.
David understood this, and he also understood that sometimes God’s overall Plan calls for a person to pray and intercede because through that means God will be entreated and might not bring about the judgment. However, in the case before us, despite David’s self-abasement and heartfelt prayers, the child will still die. That, too, was God’s Plan.
16 David therefore besought God for the child; and David fasted, and went in, and lay all night upon the earth.
18 And it came to pass on the seventh day, that the child died. And the servants of David feared to tell him that the child was dead: for they said, Behold, while the child was yet alive, we spake unto him, and he would not hearken unto our voice: how will he then vex himself, if we tell him that the child is dead?
In other words, the servants were very concerned that David might be so distraught that he might actually commit suicide.
19 But when David saw that his servants whispered, David perceived that the child was dead: therefore David said unto his servants, Is the child dead? And they said, He is dead.
20 Then David arose from the earth, and washed, and anointed himself, and changed his apparel, and came into the house of YHWH, and worshipped: then he came to his own house; and when he required [requested], they set bread before him, and he did eat.
21 Then said his servants unto him, What thing is this that thou hast done? thou didst fast and weep for the child, while it was alive; but when the child was dead, thou didst rise and eat bread.
22 And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether YHWH will be gracious to me, that the child may live?
23 But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.
24 And David comforted Bathsheba his wife, and went in unto her, and lay with her: and she bare a son, and he called his name Solomon: and YHWH loved him.
25 And he sent by the hand of Nathan the prophet; and he [Nathan] called his name Jedidiah, because of YHWH.
That concludes the story of David and Bathsheba. The historian now comes full circle to conclude the story as he began it. He commenced chapter 11 with a single verse telling us that David sent General Joab out to war against the Ammonites. It is a kind of literary device to bracket the story of David and Bathsheba with the war against the Ammonites. Now at the end of the story, the historian comes back again to the war against the Ammonites. It is quite possible, and I think likely, that the following events occurred after David slept with Bathsheba, but before he repented. Remember, it was likely a year between the two. I will explain my reasoning on the rest of this page.
26 And Joab fought against Rabbah of the children of Ammon, and took the royal city.
27 And Joab sent messengers to David, and said, I have fought against Rabbah, and have taken the city of waters.
28 Now therefore gather the rest of the people together, and encamp against the city, and take it: lest I take the city, and it be called after my name.
Most of the war was over, all that remained was to take the final stronghold. I wonder if Joab might have learned a lesson from David’s relationship with Saul. In other words, we have no record that David ever stopped short of complete victory and called for Saul to come out and get all the credit for winning the war. Since that never happened, all the people sang: Saul has slain his thousands, but David has slain his tens of thousands. Therefore, Saul got jealous and envious. Maybe Joab is figuring he won’t risk making the same mistake. But again, if that is the case, Joab, like the two assassins of Ishbosheth, are greatly misjudging David’s character in that area. David was weak in the flesh against sexual temptation but he never seemed to be troubled by envy and jealousy of others. In any event, David did come out to lead the final victory over the Ammonites.
29 And David gathered all the people together, and went to Rabbah, and fought against it, and took it.
30 And he took their king’s crown from off his head, the weight whereof was a talent of gold with the precious stones: and it was set on David’s head. And he brought forth the spoil of the city in great abundance.
31 And he brought forth the people that were therein, and put them under saws, and under harrows of iron, and under axes of iron, and made them pass through the brickkiln: and thus did he unto all the cities of the children of Ammon. So David and all the people returned unto Jerusalem.
This last verse is one of controversy because of the way the parallel account reads over in...
1 Chronicles 20:3 And he brought out the people that were in it, and cut them with saws, and with harrows of iron, and with axes. Even so dealt David with all the cities of the children of Ammon. And David and all the people returned to Jerusalem.
Some hold to the idea that David merely put the captives to hard labor, cutting and chopping wood, and plowing the fields, but we get a different picture here. It appears that David had them executed by very cruel methods. Turning back to 2 Samuel 12:31 again, those who think it was only hard labor also believe that the phrase where it says David made them pass through the brick kiln is merely a reference to the idolatry of the Ammonites.
We described this cruel Ammonite worship ritual in more detail in a lecture we presented about a dozen years ago entitled Abortion at Jericho. In short, the Ammonites would burn their infants alive in the fiery brick kilns which had been fashioned in the shape of idols to their god, Milcom. The possibility exists that David was repaying them for their own cruelty— cruelty not only to Israel, but to their own children. Did this really happen? Could David have been so cruel? Well, if this final victory occurred before David repented, then it would be in keeping with statements I made earlier to the effect that sin perverts judgment. A person who is lacking in a realistic sense of his own sinfulness is apt to be a severe, harsh or cruel judge of others. Do you witness that among people you know? A guilty conscience sometimes finds temporary relief in the inflicting of cruel vengeance on others. I am not saying this is absolutely what happened here, but it is a strong possibility.
What we have done in the past several issues of FMS is really just an introduction to the story of David and Bathsheba. What I mean by that is that we simply did not have time to get beyond the literal story and its applications for our lives. We could take the very same texts we have used and write another four issues of teaching looking at it from the types and shadows perspective. There is that much in this story. For example, what is hidden in the names: Solomon, Jedidiah, Eliam, Bathsheba (who is also called Bathshua…like Yah-shua…), and Uriah the Hittite? Hittite comes from Heth which means “terror.” Has anyone heard the word “terrorism” recently?
Moreover, Bathsheba is the little ewe lamb in Nathan’s parable. Jacob’s beloved wife was Rachel and the name Rachel (or Raquel) means “a ewe lamb or sheep.” But alas, we will not park on this particular story of David and Bathsheba. We will move on next time to study the events which occurred in David’s family subsequent to this dark blotch on the otherwise sterling character of David…. Yet I cannot resist. Since we will not spend any further time on this story for the foreseeable future, let me give just one thought concerning verse 7b—a verse which bears much more investigation from a types perspective. This is Nathan speaking to David:
7b Thus saith YHWH God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul;
David is a type of the overcomer Christian. David fell and yet remained a ruler. Revelation 5:10 says that the overcomers are those who have been anointed to rule as kings on the earth. Therefore, if you are an aspiring overcomer and you have stumbled and fallen into great sin, do not despair! There is only one unpardonable sin and that is the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. Many are puzzled and many are rocksolid wrong concerning what the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is and why it is unpardonable?
The blasphemy is when we think that whatever sin we have committed—be it fornication, murder or whatever—the blasphemy is when we think that our sin is beyond God’s ability or willingness to forgive. That is a false accusation against God! It besmirches His Divine character. It makes Him out to be a vengeful ogre. That is blasphemy against His Holy Spirit. Our sin is then unpardonable because we think He cannot or will not forgive; and therefore we stubbornly refuse to confess it. If we won’t confess it, then it remains unpardonable? Do you understand that?
There is no sin so vile that God will not forgive. And if you’re saying: “Well, I don’t feel worthy to be forgiven.” Hey! You’re right about that. We are not worthy, but that is why salvation is such a marvelous
free gift. Or if you are saying: “But deep inside a strong part of me is still resisting repentance.” Well, don’t you think David was too? If that’s the case, here’s a suggestion: when in turmoil and strife in your conscience, and you know you’ve done wrong or are still doing wrong, but you are struggling with having a desire to do right, simply give up. Surrender to the Father.
Tell Him of your struggle and then tell Him that you are totally incapable of even desiring to be obedient continuously. And then, here’s the final key: just humbly ask Him to put that right desire in your heart. It sounds so simple, and it is, but it is one of those things that is so simple, that many of us have never thought of it. Simply ask Him to give you loathing for your sin and the desire to do right. The apostle Paul tells us that the stories in the Old Testament (like David and Bathsheba) are written there so that we can learn from them and not make the same mistakes they did.
1 Corinthians 10: 11 Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world [age] are come.
12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.
If such a great and towering believer such as David could fall so fast and so hard and so perilously, let all of us weaker Christians beg our Father that He would preserve us in our times of temptation. Because in the entire course of human history, only one man has been tempted like us all and He overcame in every instance. And by His sacrifice of Himself for our sins, and by His resurrection from the grave, Jesus the Christ has become the only immortal one who is always present as our helper in our times of temptation. May God store the truths of this teaching deep in your soul, and may He bring it to your remembrance when you are tempted like David and Bathsheba or in any other way. Amen.