Nathan said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you out of the hand of Saul. And I gave you your master's house and your master's wives into your arms and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah. And if this were too little, I would add to you as much more. Why have you despised the word of the Lord, to do what is evil in his sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and have taken his wife to be your wife and have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. 2 Samuel 12:7-9
David, newly married to Bathsheba who is carrying their child, is steeped in unrepentant sin. He has his bride, but with her, the blood of Bathsheba’s husband leaving its stain. This man after God’s heart has allowed temptation and circumstances to tarnish his relationship with God. He can’t – or won’t – face his sin.
God sends the prophet Nathan (also a trusted friend) to visit David with a little story. There was a rich man with many flocks and herds in a city. Also in the city was a poor man with nothing but a little lamb he bought and raised. The lamb drank from his cup and slept in his arms; it was like a child to him. A visitor came to see the rich man, but he was unwilling to take one of his own vast flock to prepare for the guest. Instead, he takes the beloved lamb from the poor man and prepared it for his visitor. David, outraged by this story, demands the rich man die and restore the poor man’s lamb fourfold for what he had done with no remorse.
Nathan turns to David and declares, “You are that man.” Ouch. God had protected and provided for David. He had all he needed. But he took the wife of another and had him killed with no remorse. Sometimes we can’t see the destruction of sin in our lives. We refuse to listen to the nudges of the Spirit. But hearing the words of Nathan sent by God softened David’s heart and resulted in genuine sorrow and repentance.
Nathan was a trusted friend of David and also a faithful man of God. He spoke truth to David, though difficult to hear. Because of Nathan’s loyalty to God and his friend, David is brought to a place of restoration.
Questions: Do you have a Nathan in your life who will speak truth that is hard but necessary? Are you a Nathan to anyone?