Have you ever prayed desperately for something you cared deeply about and received a resounding “no” as your answer? If so, you are in good company. The Apostle Paul prayed for a “thorn in my flesh” to be removed (2 Cor. 12:8–11). Even Jesus prayed, “Take this cup from me” (Mark 14:36).
David understood there would be consequences for his sin. The prophet Nathan had told him that his son would die (2 Sam. 12:14). But David “pleaded with God for the child” (v. 16). He fasted and prayed for seven nights. David’s concern for his child contrasts sharply with his indifference at the death of Uriah (2 Sam. 11:25).
Even though David had changed, his request was not granted. David overheard his attendants whispering and discovered the truth that his son had died. Children in ancient Israel were named on the eighth day, which is likely why the child is not named in this passage (Lev. 12:3). David joined the ranks of the many parents who have suffered the indescribable pain of losing a child.
David’s response surprised everyone. He “went into the house of the Lord and worshiped” and then ended his fast (v. 29). His reason for this was that he now had the answer to his request. He knew he would not be reunited with his child until his own death (v. 23). It can be hard at times to understand why our requests are not granted. David accepted God’s authority over life and death.
This passage ends with the birth of another son, Solomon. One child cannot replace another, but the birth of Solomon served as a reminder of God’s love and grace (vv. 24–25). It demonstrated there was still hope for the future.
>> God is worthy of our worship even when His answer to our prayers is no. While we may not understand why, we can be certain that God understands our pain. In Christ, God has entered into our pain and can empathize with us (Heb. 4:15).
Father, You denied the fervent prayer of Your own Son when He asked to be spared from the cross. We believers enjoy the indescribable good procured by that resounding no. We trust You, even when You deny our own requests.