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  Sin and sin offering being combined in the principal Hebrew word for SIN;“chatta’ah”, meaning ‘to miss the mark’,God has provided us, sinners, with a wonderful provision - that He will forgive man’s root problem, “sin” through an ultimate divine offering, JESUS CHRIST and to set us free from Satan’s curse.

The LORD sent Nathan to David. When he came to him, he said, ‘There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb that he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him. ‘Now a traveller came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveller who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him.’ David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, ‘As surely as the LORD lives, the man who did this must die! He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.’
 Then Nathan said to David, ‘You are the man! This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: “I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you all Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more. Why did you despise the word of the LORD by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. Now, therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.” ‘This is what the LORD says: “Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity on you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will sleep with your wives in broad daylight. You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.”’ Then David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the LORD.’ Nathan replied, ‘The LORD has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. But because by doing this you have shown utter contempt for the LORD, the son born to you will die.’
 After Nathan had gone home, the LORD struck the child that Uriah’s wife had borne to David, and he became ill. David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and spent the nights lying in sackcloth on the ground. The elders of his household stood beside him to get him up from the ground, but he refused, and he would not eat any food with them. 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.’ David noticed that his attendants were whispering among themselves, and he realised that the child was dead. ‘Is the child dead?’ he asked. ‘Yes,’ they replied, ‘he is dead.’ Then 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 worshipped. Then he went to his own house, and at his request they served him food, and he ate. His attendants asked him, ‘Why are you acting in this way? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept, but now that the child is dead, you get up and eat!’ He answered, ‘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.’                                                  2SAMUEL 12:1-23.
The prophet Isaiah cried out in despair, ‘“Woe to me! I am ruined!” For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips’ (Is.6:5), in acknowledgement of his uncleanness, and in identification with the sinful people around him, whose sins he had denounced in the previous chapters of his book. Paradoxically, Isaiah was divinely set apart from his fellow Israelites as a prophet, God’s spokesman, because of his willingness to admit his real state of sin (contrite heart) in the presence of the Lord.
The above passage from 2 Samuel gives insight into a life of faith in this sin-afflicted world. In the previous chapter of the Book, David committed terrible sins: adultery, murder and the abuse of royal power before the Lord, and ultimately his marriage to Bathsheba, who bore him a son. Sometime passed before David was made aware of the condemnation and punishment he had brought upon himself and his household. One day, Nathan the prophet suddenly showed up and told David a striking story in parables. David, as a king of justice, who had always been in a position of pronouncing judgment on his people, reacted to Nathan’s story with anger. David immediately pointed at the cruelty of the rich man against the poor man in the story. He rightly thought that such behaviour of the rich was totally unacceptable in God’s sight, and whoever behaved in such a way deserves the severest punishment. So, he instantly pronounced the death penalty and also added a fine of four times of the value of the ‘ewe lamb’ according to the law in Exodus 22:1. In the light of the law in Exodus 21:16, David seems to have judged the offence of the rich, not simply as the theft of property, but as the kidnap of the poor’s pet. David’s own sentence of judgment unexpectedly proved his acknowledgement of how serious and unacceptable such offences were in God’s sight, and in his conscience.

   When Nathan convicted David of his sins of adultery and murder with these simple words: ‘You are the man!,’ and subsequently delivered the message from the Lord, David was immediate to confess his guilt and accept His righteous judgment with repentance, and so, he was forgiven. In the Lord’s grace, David was released from the customary death penalty for both sins. He expressed his joy of the Lord’s forgiveness and cleansing through his penitential prayers in Psalm 51. Sin leads to two things: separation of a sinner from the Lord and negative consequences in the world. The former will be restored by God’s forgiveness with genuine and contrite repentance, but the latter tragically remains and will subsequently affect not just one’s own life, but also others’ lives. David was restored to a previous fellowship with the Lord but the impact of sin would remain and the first resultant event was predicted to be a child’s death.

   There are several different translations of verse 14: ‘ But because by doing this you have shown utter contempt for the LORD, the son born to you will die’ (NIV, an ancient Hebrew scribal tradition, Line added): the Masoretic Text reads: ‘for the enemies of the LORD’, and a former edition of NIV also reads: ‘you have made the enemies of the LORD show utter contempt’. Two facts are described here. David has despised the Lord, or caused the enemies of the Lord to despise the Lord, and David’s son would die. Scripture makes it clear that God allows the consequences of man’s actions to stand, even if other people get involved in, and get hurt in the process. Man is required to be responsible for his/her actions. Accordingly, in some senses, in David’s case, living with those consequences might have seemed like a greater punishment than facing death penalty. Although the latest version of NIV has replaced the Masoretic interpretation with an ancient Hebrew scribal tradition, the reading of Masoretic Text might be more meaningful if the verse is examined from a different viewpoint. I would like to explore this further, by introducing a book entitled “Unbroken Curses” by Rebecca Brown and David Yoder. They argue that there are three types of curses: (1) Curses from God, (2) Curses from Satan and /or his servants with the legal right to curse, (3) Curses from Satan and /or his servants without the legal right to curse. The first and the second types of curses can be broken only after repentance for the sins responsible for bringing them about, while the third type can easily be broken in the name of Jesus Christ.

The book also argues that curses sent by God are for the purpose of gaining the person’s attention and causing him/her to turn from his/her evil ways towards God for purification. However, if the person does not respond to Him, he/she will be destroyed and eventually put to death. On the other hand, curses sent by Satan and /or his servants are always for the purpose of causing injury, loss, destruction, and often death. The authors put it: ‘Often we give Satan the legal right to attack us because we, knowingly or unknowingly, become involved in situations that open the door just enough for him to gain entrance. Most curses come from this source. It is only as that legal right is removed through repentance and cleansing that we can then break a curse’ (p.19). According to their theory, sin gives Satan and his servants the legal right to attack and defeat the sinner, and so, when we give Satan the right to assail us as a result of our disobedience to God, He won’t intervene and afflictions would continue. If this is the case, we should confess and acknowledge the sin, and through repentance we should ask the Lord for forgiveness and cleansing. However, if Satan has cursed us without any legitimate right, their theory encourages us to follow the following steps: ‘Speaking out loud, take authority over the curse in the name of Jesus Christ, and command it to be broken at once…Command all the demon spirits associated with the curse to leave you immediately’ ,‘With authority comes responsibility. It is our responsibility to break any curses sent onto us. Jesus Christ gave us the power to do so, and He expects us to use the authority given to us in His name’ (p.24-25).

   In David’s case, his sin apparently gave Satan to take the legal right to cause a curse, i.e., death to the child, which the Lord allowed, because David had ‘made the enemies of the LORD show utter contempt’, but his repentance broke Satan to do anything more than that. However, the impact of any committed sin remains and affects others. Therefore, as announced by Nathan: 
‘the sword shall never depart from your house…Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity on you… I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you… You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel’, 
later, all predictions came true: Three of David’s sons died violent deaths and David himself was driven from Jerusalem by Absalom’s rebellion, who seized Jerusalem, thereby fulfilling the prophetic words.

   David’s firstborn with Bathsheba became terminally ill and died despite David’s intense pleas of mercy to the Lord. David’s behaviour before and after the child’s death and its dramatic change is described in detail in the passage. Once he was informed of his child’s death, he decisively stopped mourning and got straight back to normal life, which made his household utterly dumbfounded. His unexpected behavior, which was contrary to custom, was a result of his understanding of God and His character. David knew through his experience and faith how faithful and responding the Lord is to His people’s earnest prayers and actions and that He could do whatever seemed to be impossible. Accordingly while the child was alive, the petition with fasting, praying, weeping, and pleading was worth doing. However, when his child died, David simply accepted the irrevocability of death under divine order in this world. Further petition was no longer appropriate. For David, prayer was a way to communicate with Him, to express his own feeling, and most importantly, to seek out His will. Thinking that his prayer might cause God’s decision to change, David did all his best, but after the child’s death, he simply accepted God’s sovereign decision.

   His last statement in this passage: ‘I will go to him, but he will not return to me’ is quite profound. This verse is understood by many as one of the proof texts to believe that a child before the age of accountability is saved. One of Paul’s remarks in the passage of his “struggle with sin” might support this concept:
‘I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law…Once I was alive apart from the law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died’ (Romans 7:7-9, Line added). 
Each man is accountable for his action on the basis of what he knows. Thus, if he/she lives without knowledge of the law, like an infant, he/she will not be required to be accountable, and will be accepted by the Lord and be saved without exception. Through this statement, David must also have had a firm belief in the afterlife; he is implying that there will be a reunion of the dead on the other side of this world by maintaining faith to the end. While there are many passages in the Hebrew Bible, which indicate the reality of life after death, David’s statement may be regarded as a prophetic indication of a future resurrection. In this side of the world, sinful actions that once happened are irrevocable and there is no going back from their consequences while a sinner can be graciously forgiven and restored to fellowship with the Lord. However, man can restart again from the present restored point as David’s case. In this sense, David’s account would be a great encouragement for those who want to restart their lives after facing the consequences of their own sinful actions. As the result of moving on to a renewed life, the Lord blessed David and Bathsheba with another son, Solomon.

   This passage teaches us God’s grace, with which and by means of forgiveness God deals with sin. It also teaches about the greatness of David, in his willingness to face his sin and to return to God with wholehearted repentance. Psalm 51 itself is a proof of his genuine repentance, in which David openly admitted his sinfulness, enough to share his inner anguish that was caused by separation from the Lord and a loss of fellowship with Him. This Psalm, David’s prayer of confession, has later come to be used in public worship. Incidentally, among the three major Hebrew word groups communicating the concept of sin in the Hebrew Bible, the principal word for sin is said to be “chatta’ah”, meaning ‘to miss the mark’. A striking fact is that this word also means “sin offering”. Sin and sin offering being combined in this one word, God has provided us, sinners, with a wonderful provision - that He will forgive man’s root problem, “sin” through an ultimate divine offering, JESUS CHRIST and to set us free from Satan’s curse.


This month, a money gift of£**** has been sent to Frederic in Burundi to fully support his new project of helping the poor and vulnerable widows, by providing them with secure social cohesion, sustainable livelihoods and proper job training. Concerned of their well-being, the majority of whom are illiterate widows, single mothers, and HIV/AIDS, Pastor Frederic and his team have launched this challenging project to demonstrate their love in Christ, through teaching, training, and management of time, body and environment. Some people already in this program are reported to have made good progress. Also,£**** has been sent to Mary Jane in the Philippines to support her ministry of reaching out to minority tribes and to the impoverished children with the sustenance of livelihoods and the Word, including the personnel cost of labour for an establishment of organic vegetable gardens.
Pray for Frederic’s and Mary Jane’s ministries being blessed by the Lord.