The Story: Day 17
2 Samuel 11–12
A lot has happened since David killed Goliath. Saul, Israel’s first king, has been replaced by David. The Lord makes a covenant with David that establishes his royal lineage forever. Israel enjoys several more military victories with him as king. He is clearly caught up in the responsibilities and privileges of being king. That dynamic faith that rushed to face Goliath has been squelched by the stifling beurocracy of being a king. David the underdog has become David the overlord.
The Bathsheba story is the low point of his life. The narrator of 2 Samuel makes the “National Enquirer” look like a middle school newsletter, as no embarrassing detail is spared. Kings were supposed to be at war, but David was chilling in the palace. Bathsheba wasn’t just taking a bath, she was purifying herself so that she could go to the Temple (She was on her way to Church). Uriah’s death was accompanied by several other deaths, as Joab purposefully mismanaged this battle in keeping with the King’s desires. These details and many more expose the depths of David’s sin.
God sends Nathan the prophet to David. What a compelling scene as Nathan tells David a parable about the abuse of power and injustice. Indignant and oblivious to his own sin, David is ready to punish the man to the fullest extent of the Law. Then Nathan lowers the boom:
“You are the man!”
2 Samuel 12:7
Don’t hear Nathan saying, “you ‘da MAN.” David had heard that many times in his life after his successes in battle. Joab, the captain of David’s army, was always saying, “you ‘da MAN, David.” He was the “yes man” that carried out the plan to kill Uriah and allowed King David to ride in and take credit for a victory he had not earned. What Nathan said was much different: “You are the man of injustice and the man of deceit.”
Had Nathan the prophet not been so bold, David would have continued to live a life of lies, futilely believing that he was above the law, even the laws of God. He spoke truth into David’s tangled mess of lies.
Who is the voice of truth in your life? Who is the person who is not afraid to say, “you are the man.” You may have to think a little on that. It will be easier to name the “Joabs” in your life than the “Nathans.” We like hanging out with Joab, but our soul desperately needs a conversation with Nathan. This story illustrates that truth produces repentance:
David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.”
2 Samuel 12:13
We need people who will deal truthfully and lovingly with us. When you surround yourself with “yes men” like Joab, you will continue to live a facade that will eventually be exposed for the emptiness that it is. Truth-tellers like Nathan love you enough to be honest with you so that you can change before it’s too late:
“You’re being rude…you’re acting like you know it all…you don’t really need that to be happy…this is selfish…you have a booger in your nose, something in your teeth, and your fly is down.”
Truth leads to repentance. David humbled himself, received the grace of God, and took steps toward reconciliation. Who is the truth-teller in your life? You may not always like them, but that doesn’t stop them from loving you.