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?
In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel. And they ravaged the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem. It happened, late one afternoon, when David arose from his couch and was walking on the roof of the king's house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful. And David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, “Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” So David sent messengers and took her, and she came to him, and he lay with her. (Now she had been purifying herself from her uncleanness.) Then she returned to her house. And the woman conceived, and she sent and told David, “I am pregnant.” 2 Samuel 11:1-5
David ultimately became a mighty king. The most famous and beloved among the many kings of the Israelites. He wins great battles and establishes Jerusalem as the capital. But he isn’t perfect. Only Jesus – the king to come – is perfect. Like all of us, David is flawed.
The devil is always prowling around, desiring to get God’s people – especially those dedicated to His cause – off track. Sadly, even the man after God’s own heart slips and loses the battle against temptation.
Notice the setting at the beginning of the passage. It was the time of year when the kings – that’s David – go out to battle. But David stays home. He is complacent. And this idle time becomes a huge stain on his legacy. He tries to cover it up and eventually has Bathsheba’s husband killed in battle. It is such a low point amid such a beautiful life. We look to the Bible for heroes, but no matter how brave and valiant those who have gone before us are, only Jesus is the true and perfect hero of the Bible. But stick with it, God is still working in David’s life. Unlike other religions, our God’s plans and our salvation is not dependent on our perfection...only our submission and surrender to the perfect One sent to save us.
Questions: What do you typically do with your free time? Has idle time -- when you should have been doing something else -- ever gotten you into trouble?