David’s judgement and the difficult matter of a child’s death

When David committed adultery with Bathsheba and had her husband murdered, he thought he had got away with it but God saw and God was not pleased. In 2 Samuel 12, God sends the prophet Nathan to pronounce judgement. David repents (you can read his confession in Psalm 51).  God forgives David, his life is spared. However, he is told:

“You won’t die for this sin.  Nevertheless, because you have shown utter contempt for the word of the Lord by doing this, your child will die.”[1] Continue reading

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Did they believe?

One of the hardest situations is when an elderly relative dies and we don’t know if they put their trust in the Lord. A question came up at our youth version of #FirstLook this week. Here’s some quick thoughts. Continue reading

Why did we end up talking about grief in our Sunday sermon?

Last Sunday morning, I was preaching on 2 Samuel 1. One of the key themes that came through during the sermon was “grief and mourning.” How and why did we end up talking about grief?  For me, this highlights the beauty of sequential, expository preaching. Would I have chosen to preach this passage if I was just choosing my own passage each week or selecting a series of topics to look at? Probably not, and we would have missed so much. However, we were constrained by an expository approach to look at a passage together and that’s how the application came out.  So, here are three things we might have missed if we didn’t have expository preaching. Continue reading

Reflections on grief

“Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4)

In our sermon notes on 2 Samuel 1, we started with a few examples of “fallen heroes.” This got me thinking about the different ways that we grieve.  I want to highlight 4 ways here. Continue reading

Lament for fallen heroes (2 Samuel 1

Three scenarios

  1. Earlier this year we got the news that Mike Ovey, the principal at Oak Hill had died suddenly. Someone we owed a lot to, someone who had been a great champion of the Gospel. There was a massive sense of grief and loss -an untimely death.
  2. Roy Clements -a prominent Christian preacher left his wife for a same-sex affair in the 1990s.  It was huge. Someone who had a big impact on the lives and testimonies of many. Similarly earlier this year one of the leaders in the Christian summer-camps movement was exposed as having physically abused boys who attended the camps.  This had an outside impact too. The media ran stories. Many seemed to delight in it. Actually, some of those who seemed to take greatest joy in it were those who claimed to be Christians if from other traditions.
  3. Another death earlier this year.  A prominent Scottish church leader among the “Wee Frees.” At first it seemed like a tragic suicide but then stories emerged of marital unfaithfulness.

How do we respond to those situations? In a sense, all three describe “Fallen heroes.” Continue reading

#TheDifference Grief and suffering make

I doubt I’ll ever forget the moment I got that phone call. “Your great aunt has been mugged and knocked out. She’s in intensive care.” I was living the nearest to the hospital so I got my boss’s permission and headed off knowing others would be getting there as quickly as they could. It was a strange day and night. We were allowed to sit with her. She was unresponsive. We tried to keep a conversation going and to talk to her hoping that she might be hearing something. We reminisced about the past. We talked about what we were doing. But mainly we just waited as the hospital monitors showed us that her life was slipping away. Continue reading