Pleasing God, Making Disciples of Jesus Christ

The Challenge Of Submission

2 SAMUEL 12:13-23 – David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die. Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the Lord, the child who is born to you shall die.” Then Nathan went to his house. And the Lord afflicted the child that Uriah’s wife bore to David, and he became sick. David therefore sought God on behalf of the child. And David fasted and went in and lay all night on the ground. And the elders of his house stood beside him, to raise him from the ground, but he would not, nor did he eat food with them. On the seventh day the child died. And the servants of David were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they said, “Behold, while the child was yet alive, we spoke to him, and he did not listen to us. How then can we say to him the child is dead? He may do himself some harm.” But when David saw that his servants were whispering together, David understood that the child was dead. And David said to his servants, “Is the child dead?” They said, “He is dead.” Then David arose from the earth and washed and anointed himself and changed his clothes. And he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. He then went to his own house. And when he asked, they set food before him, and he ate. Then his servants said to him, “What is this thing that you have done? You fasted and wept for the child while he was alive; but when the child died, you arose and ate food.” He said, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept, for I said, ‘Who knows whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’ But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.”

THEME OF THE DAY. THE CHALLENGE OF SUBMISSION. Submission in life is hard. Sin did that to us. Whether it be in a marriage where mutual submission is commanded by the Lord or in difficult circumstances in life that are extremely painful that we cannot control or change. And submission will always be hard this side of heaven, even for Christians, for the remaining sin in us always raises its ugly fist of rebellion against God. Yet, submission is exactly God’s will for us. The illustration the Apostle Paul uses shows us the proper perspective and position we are to assume in our walks with the Lord when it comes to submission – But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? (Romans 9:20-21). Granted, this is extremely difficult when a life’s circumstance comes our way with an avalanche of pain or a flood of suffering. But we cannot be selective in our submission to the sovereignty of God. God wills to do with us according to His good pleasure and purposes (Ephesians 1:11; Philippians 2:12-13). And His will, pleasure, and purposes are always right, always good, and always for His glory. Even when it is hard for us. Even when it feels so unbearable. Like in today’s scripture with David.

Please spend time pondering this account of David wrestling with God over one of the hardest things in life – submission to God’s will when much pain and sorrow are all around. David pleaded for the life of his child and God said, “No”. And David, yes through many tears, submitted to God’s will. Did he understand it? Not fully. Neither do we, but like David, we may submit to God’s sovereignty despite the misty cloud of our lack of understanding and veil of many tears. How? Notice how the account ends – David’s hope of our reunion in a place of no more tears – Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me. Rest in this hope when God calls us to submit to His mysterious and painful, but always good will in our lives.

PRAYER: “Father, let me know Your empowering grace when I am called to submit to You when life is hard.”

QUOTE: “God’s ways will always challenge us to submit to His ways without fully understanding His ways.”