THE HUMPTY-DUMPTY PRINCIPLE
Humpty-Dumpty sat on a wall;
Humpty-Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
Couldn’t put Humpty-Dumpty together again!
If degree of sorrow could change the consequences of a sin, I have no doubt that the son of King David would have lived. There is perhaps no story in all the Bible which touches us like the story of David’s sin with Bathsheba (2 Sam. 11 & 12). But the part of the story which truly grips our hearts is not the part about David and Bathsheba, but the events of the following year when the prophet Nathan confronted David about his sin.
That sin was committed is not difficult to ascertain. It rarely is. Even David could quickly and passionately burn with righteous indignation against the man of whom Nathan spoke. When the divine gavel pounded the bench and Nathan declared, “Guilty! Thou art the man!” Months of anxiety and genuine grief poured forth as David sobbed, “I have sinned against the Lord!”
By the grace of God, David’s sin was forgiven. But you well know, that is not the end of the story. There were consequences for the sin with which David had to live for the remainder of his life. First of all, David had given great occasion to the enemies of God to blaspheme the holy name of God. As much as he loved God (a man after God’s own heart), and as sorry as he was for this sin, he could not stop the blasphemy which he had caused!
Furthermore, God said, this child conceived in sin would die. For seven days, David lay night and day upon the ground, fasting and praying (no doubt, some crying and pleading). He was not begging for forgiveness; he had already received that. His desire was that God would set aside the consequences of his sin; but God, though He mercifully took away the guilt, never promised to remove the consequences.
One cannot read Psalm 32 or 51 and not realize how deeply this sin scarred the life of David. I am confident that until the day he died, David never forgot the blasphemy, the dead child and the sin that caused it all. The way of the transgressor is hard (Prov. 13:15). The broken heart, the tears, the face in the earth notwithstanding, once the sin was committed…all the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty-Dumpty together again.