“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland” – Isaiah 43:18-19 (NIV)
To say that King David was a remarkable man might sound like an understatement given his tumultuous life and ability to rise up again and again, then move past misfortunes with grace. One moment that can be singled out of his character was when he lost a son (2 (12:16 – 28).
After being rebuked by Prophet Nathan for causing the death of an innocent just for his pleasure and subsequently punished by God, “David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and spent the nights lying in sackcloth on the ground” (vv 16).
Yet in spite of all, “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” (vv 18).
As they debated how to pass on the bad news, David, sensed that the battle had been lost. Far from being crushed and losing it in a way they had feared his reaction startled them. After asking and confirming, “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” (vv 20).
There is an unmistakable truth here that should not escape us. While the child was still alive and there was hope, David prayed as hard as he would! Once, it was announced to him of his death, he did not linger in the past. He got up to move on. “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” (v 20).
The positive attitude of David rather than dwelling on a negative moment explains his ability to survive huge setbacks in his life and go on to experience God’s blessings much elsewhere. Sometime later he would be blessed with a son, Solomon, who would build the great temple, the dream of his life.
And just as David any of us can be affected with a huge setback. We might have done all that is in our power to conquer such but to no avail. From the life of David we learn to put the past behind and move on. The Apostle Paul could not have put it better: “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-15).
Prayer for today: Father God of creation, of heaven and earth, today, whatever set back I may have faced, like King David, I rise up to worship you, knowing and assured that the best days are yet ahead of me!