A Severe Mercy

Read: 2 Samuel 12:15-25

The LORD loved him and sent a message by Nathan the prophet. So he called his name Jedidiah. (vv. 24-25)

In his autobiography, A Severe Mercy, Sheldon Vanauken reflects on the death of his wife with these words: “That death, so full of suffering for us both . . . was yet a severe mercy. A mercy as severe as death, a severity as merciful as love.” Vanauken realized, even as he grieved, that God was drawing him closer to comfort him with his love; the grief and the comfort went hand in hand.

Today’s passage highlights David’s grief and repentance as he pled for God to spare his son. When the child died, he was comforted knowing that he would one day “go to him” (v. 23). Did Bathsheba experience a similar repentance? Whatever blame she shared for the adultery and death of her husband Uriah, she certainly shared in the judgment. Her mother’s heart was surely broken by the loss of her son. Still, even in this grief we see grace extended to her; three times this chapter references Bathsheba as Uriah’s wife, but in verse 24 we read “David comforted his wife, Bathsheba.” David and Bathsheba had a new beginning, together and with God.

This new beginning was marked by the birth of another son—Solomon, David’s heir to the throne. God reassured them of his love, calling the boy “Jedidiah”—beloved of the Lord (Yahweh) (v. 25). His severe mercy had led them through to forgiveness and restoration.

As you pray, thank God for even his severe mercies, which comfort us in grief.

About the Author

Laura Sweet

Laura N. Sweet is a wife, mother, grandmother, and former Christian schoolteacher from Midland, Michigan. She writes devotional material for both adults and children, and her work has appeared in more than a dozen publications.

This entry is part 14 of 16 in the series The Wives of David