2 Samuel 12:23
But now he is dead, why should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.
I shall go to him. David had at least a glimpse of the future life. The expectation of going to his child in the grave would have afforded him little comfort. But whatever meaning may be attached to the words as uttered by him, they may be profitably considered by us in the light of the gospel. Reason sheds only starlight on the future; the revelations of the Old Testament only twilight; but Jesus Christ, the Sun of Righteousness, illumines it with daylight. The Christian parent, bereaved of his little child, has -
I. THE PERSUASION OF THE CONTINUED EXISTENCE OF THE DEPARTED, in the unseen, spiritual, eternal world, "the Father's house;" where he:
1. Retains his conscious personality (neither ceasing to be, nor "swallowed up in the general sea of being").
2. Attains the highest perfection of which his nature is capable (his capacities of knowledge, holiness, and happiness being gradually developed).
3. Remains in permanent security (forever freed from the temptations and sorrows of this life). On what grounds does such a persuasion rest?
(1) The nature of a child - spiritual, immortal, blameless, "having no knowledge between good and evil" (Deuteronomy 1:39).
(2) The character of God; his justice and benevolence, and his fatherly relationship (Jeremiah 19:4; Ezekiel 16:21; Joel 2:16; Jonah 4:11), which, though consistent with the suffering of the innocent in this world (because of the beneficent purposes to which it is subservient), is not so with their final condemnation.
(3) The teachings and actions of Christ, and his redemptive work (Matthew 18:1-14; Matthew 19:13-15; Matthew 21:16; 1 Corinthians 15:22). "They belong to the kingdom of heaven." Whatever disadvantages they suffer from their relation to Adam are more than surpassed by the abounding grace of God in Christ. "He shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom" (Isaiah 40:11).
II. THE ANTICIPATION OF FUTURE REUNION WITH THE DEPARTED; implying:
1. Hope of personal salvation on the part of him who cherishes it.
2. Belief in the individual recognition of those who are known on earth.
"I have heard you say
That we shall see and know our friends in heaven
If that be true, I shall see my boy again."
(King John,' act 3. sc. 4.)
3. Expectancy of common participation in the heavenly fellowship, service, and joy of the Lord.
"Ah! thy merciless stern mercy hath chastised us,
Goading us along the narrow road;
Thy bird, who warmed and dazzled us a moment
Hath returned to thine abode.
Lord, when we are purged within the furnace,
May we have our little child again?
All thine anguish by the olives in the garden,
All thy life and death are vain,
If thou yield us not our own again!"
(Reden Noel, 'A Little Child's Monument.')
III. CONSOLATION IN THE PAINFUL LOSS OF THE DEPARTED; derived from what has been said, the fact that it comes from a Father's hand, and the benefits which it brings by
(1) teaching patience in the trials of life;
(2) moderating attachment to its blessings;
(3) spiritualizing affection for those who are left;
(4) intensifying desire for the heavenly home. Let us consider to whom they have gone, from what they have been taken, for what they have been taken, and how this bereavement will appear to us when we come to die ourselves (W.M. Taylor).
"'Tis sorrow builds the shining ladder up,
Whose golden rounds are our calamities." = - D.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.