Day 295- Death Is A One Way Door

The Lord sent Nathan to David. When he came to him, he said, “There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him.  “Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him.”  David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, “As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this must die! He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.”

Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you all Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more. Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.’  “This is what the Lord says: ‘Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity on you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will sleep with your wives in broad daylight. You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.’ ”  Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.”

Nathan replied, “The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. But because by doing this you have shown utter contempt fora the Lord, the son born to you will die.” After Nathan had gone home, the Lord struck the child that Uriah’s wife had borne to David, and he became ill. David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and spent the nights lying in sackclothb on the ground. The elders of his household stood beside him to get him up from the ground, but he refused, and he would not eat any food with them.

On the seventh day the child died. David’s attendants were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they thought, “While the child was still living, he wouldn’t listen to us when we spoke to him. How can we now tell him the child is dead? He may do something desperate.”
David noticed that his attendants were whispering among themselves, and he realized the child was dead. “Is the child dead?” he asked.
“Yes,” they replied, “he is dead.”  Then David 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.  His attendants asked him, “Why are you acting this way? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept, but now that the child is dead, you get up and eat!”

He answered, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, ‘Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me and let the child live.’ But now that he is dead, why should I go on fasting? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.” Then David comforted his wife Bathsheba, and he went to her and made love to her. She gave birth to a son, and they named him Solomon. The Lord loved him; and because the Lord loved him, he sent word through Nathan the prophet to name him Jedidiah.

I’ve read the Bible so much that verses sometimes just get stuck in my head. Since Shayna’s passing, I keep thinking of King David and his lament when his first son with Bathsheba died. David said “I will go to him, but he will not return to me.” I think this about Shayna all the time.  Death is a one way door.  Once we step through it, those here are on left on the other side of that door and cannot reach us anymore as long as they remain on this side of the door. There was a television show called Being Human where they represented crossing over with a literal door. Spirits after they died would hang around Earth and their loved ones until the time they were ready at which time a unique door designed just for them would appear and they’d step across the threshold to the other side.  This line from David is one of the few indications in the Old Testament of the belief in an afterlife. As such it’s one that has brought me hope and comfort knowing I will go to Shayna one day. So, the other day I looked it up to put it into context. I just wanted to read the whole story again.

There is so much wrong here I hardly know where to start. I can’t believe this is one of the stories they used to teach us in Sunday school.  If you have little kids, don’t let them read the “Old Testament”.  I’m not kidding. That whole thing should be rated PG-13.  In case you don’t know the background, King David saw Bathsheba bathing and desired her for himself. She was married to another man, so David had him sent into battle and put into a situation where he would surely be killed.  Bathsheba got pregnant and God wasn’t happy with the whole thing.  So, the lesson here is supposed to be don’t take another man’s wife- particularly a poor man. Good lesson. Got it. But, wait, there’s more. There’s some seriously messed up theology here.  

We have to keep in mind at this time, a man’s wife and children were property more than they were relations.  Adultery was considered to be theft. The loss of a child was the loss of property. God “forgave” David, but since the fruit of his theft was the child, God took the child.  Wait.  What?  What about the kid? What did he do wrong?  And he was Bathsheba’s son, too. Since adultery was about David stealing her (she was the lamb in Nathan’s parable), why was Bathsheba punished with the loss of her son? And then God turns right around and grants the two of them another son?  Was that to make up for the one he took?  They could have a son, just not that son.  Was he tainted?  

There’s so much bad theology in the Bible. God is forgiving yet cruel.  He punishes one person by taking the life of another. I had to have this little rant because if you’re a parent who has lost a child reading this and wonder if maybe you did something wrong and God is punishing you. I have one word for you. STOP.  That’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works. God doesn’t act like this. God doesn’t take any life to punish anyone and He certainly doesn’t take the life of the innocent to punish the guilty (or to forgive the guilty).  Many of us wonder when a loved one died if we did something wrong and reading crap like this can make you think maybe you did.  Job’s friends kept trying to get him to confess to some hidden sin. Surely Job must have done something wrong for God to have taken everything from him. That’s another messed up story, especially if you’re unfortunate enough to believe it’s supposed to be literal and the Bible is inerrant.

David was right about this though. Once they are gone, they can’t come to us. We do have mediums and after death communications (ADCs) and we can sometimes make some contact through the veil, but it’s not the same as having them back here. David was also right about us going to see them. In a rare glimpse in the “Old Testament”, we see that David does have hope of seeing his son again. And he did when it was his time. And we will when it is ours.

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