2 Samuel 12:1-13
12:1 Then the LORD sent Nathan to David. And he came to him and said, “There were two men in one city, the one rich and the other poor. 2 “The rich man had a great many flocks and herds. 3 “But the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb Which he bought and nourished; And it grew up together with him and his children. It would eat of his bread and drink of his cup and lie in his bosom, And was like a daughter to him. 4 “Now a traveler came to the rich man, And he was unwilling to take from his own flock or his own herd, To prepare for the wayfarer who had come to him; Rather he took the poor man’s ewe lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.” 5 Then David’s anger burned greatly against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the LORD lives, surely the man who has done this deserves to die. 6 “He must make restitution for the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing and had no compassion.” 7 Nathan then said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the LORD God of Israel, ‘It is I who anointed you king over Israel and it is I who delivered you from the hand of Saul. 8 ‘I also gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your care, and I gave you the house of Israel and Judah; and if that had been too little, I would have added to you many more things like these! 9 ‘Why have you despised the word of the LORD by doing evil in His sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword, have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the sons of Ammon. 10 ‘Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’ 11 “Thus says the LORD, ‘Behold, I will raise up evil against you from your own household; I will even take your wives before your eyes and give them to your companion, and he will lie with your wives in broad daylight. 12 ‘Indeed you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, and under the sun.’” 13 Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” Nathan replied, “Yes, but the Lord has forgiven you, and you won’t die for this sin.
David had sinned, he thought he had built an effective cover-up plan to hide his sin, he had only overlooked one small detail you can’t hide your heart from God. God is going to deal with David’s heart of hidden sin first by confronting David with the Truth. It is always the Truth that sets us free and people that are hiding need to be set free.
The truth is that God is going to confront us when we sin and try to cover it up. He confronted Adam and Eve as they hid in their sin, He confronted their son Cain when he killed Abel, and He confronted Ananias and Sapphira in their deceit. Why does God confront our sin? Because He loves us. God confronts David by sending Nathan to speak His truth, notice Nathan is obedient and responds to God’s call. There are many things that God calls us to do that are not easy or fun and for Nathan, this is one of those calls. This is a step of Faith, confronting the King doesn’t always go well, but Nathan knows who he works for, who his King is, and he responds in faith verses fear or feeling. What is motivating you to respond to God? Fear, how you feel about what He has called you to do or Faith? David’s first reaction to this is:
David’s anger over Nathan’s story is a very telling reaction, David still had a moral compass, even though he had ignored it in his own situation, and that moral compass screamed for justice. David, as king, had authority to pronounce judgment on such criminals, and that’s exactly what he did, not realizing that he was pronouncing his own judgment, the death penalty. Don’t be surprised when people who are confronted with the truth often respond in anger. God now moves from confront to:
It was then, in verse 7, that Nathan “dropped the bomb.” David was reminded, as I often need to be, that God knows what is going on. Nathan, who hadn’t been a party to any of this incident, recited back to David EXACTLY what he had done, in painful detail. To convict is to declare someone guilty, David is now backed into the uncomfortable corner of conviction. David’s reaction to this is:
It’s important to understand the dynamic of this situation. Nathan literally risked his life bringing this accusation before the king. The king was the sole power-broker of government; he could have told one of the guards to kill Nathan on the spot. He could have denied his sin, and argued with Nathan, ultimately with God. He could have defied them and continued in his denial. The choice was David’s to make. Nathan understood the risk, yet also understood that obedience to God, even to the point of death, is better than a long life of rebellion and disobedience. When we sin we need to be convicted but we also need to remember there are:
God is not only the one who convicts but He is also the one who pronounces judgment. David earlier had declared that justice in this situation would be the death sentence. David’s response to God is:
verse 13 “Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” And it’s in David’s third response, confession that we see the:
David had to come face-to-face with himself, and it’s at this moment that he confesses. There is no blame-shifting or “but” phrases, no excuses, no spin, no double-talk, David saw his situation clearly. With his admission of guilt, it would have been fully justified if God had carried out the sentence pronounced upon him by his own judgment and struck him dead on the spot. It is in this moment when he expected to that he experiences God’s mercy and grace:
And Nathan said to David, “The LORD also has taken away your sin; you shall not die.” (2 Samuel 12:13b)
This was an important defining moment in David’s life, instead of death God showed His grace by forgiving David, and allowing him to live. For the rest of his days when David opened his eyes in the morning, he knew that he was alive for one reason and one reason only, the sheer grace of God. God’s mercy and grace is the turning point that will change the direction of your life and deepened your relationship with God. Psalm 51 is David’s prayer of repentance, it illustrates that David’s repentance was not just a “sorry, I’ll try to do better” but a deep, heartfelt plea to God for forgiveness, healing and restoration. Genuine repentance always brings forgiveness, restoration and healing but it only comes through confrontation, conviction and confession. There is something in every one of us that wants to short circuit the process and skip the confrontation, conviction and confession and arrive at the forgiveness, restoration and healing. Yet if we, like David, ever want to fully recover from our fall into sin, we must experience the confrontation, conviction and confession. Are you willing to allow God to convict you? It’s much easier to do as David did, and see sin worse in others than you do in yourself. It’s amazing at how angry you can get at someone else’s wickedness, but how patient and forgiving you can be with yours. But God is merciful, He will send a Nathan to help us face up to our own wickedness, then we must decide: will we keep living in denial, or will we confess as David did? Is it time to get alone with God?