In 2 Samuel 7, we read that the prophet Nathan is itching to give King David some good news. ‘Go ahead with your plans, O King. The Lord is with you!’ A prophet is to give God’s message. Not ‘tickle ears’, telling them what they want to hear. But that’s what Nathan does.
He has a lesson to learn: speak only what the Lord tells you to say. Here in 2 Samuel 11 we have an obedient Nathan. With a message no one would ever want to give anyone, let alone the king!
Chapters 11 and 12 tell the appalling story of David with Bathsheba, who is almost always referred to in the Bible as ‘the wife of Uriah the Hittite’. Years after Uriah has been murdered, years after David marries Bathsheba, God wants us to know the truth in this story. The King of Israel has committed murder and adultery. He’s lied, coveted and stolen. Nathan must now confront him.
God’s prophet tells King David a story, which takes courage for this may mean the end of his prophetic ministry or even his life. But tell it he must. No hiding. No shading the truth. Nothing to make it more palatable. Nathan is to wield a ‘velvet hammer’.
Nathan goes to the King with a story about the theft, from a poor man, of a precious lamb. The thief is wealthy but greedy, not satisfied to share one morsel of his abundant food with his guest. No. He steals, from this destitute man, a lamb that was more like his child than a mere animal.
King David is livid! Can’t believe what he’s hearing. The cruel heavy-handedness of this act of mercenary selfishness overwhelms him. He wants that thief to pay with his life. ‘Who is he? Tell me!’
That’s when Nathan utters those immortal words– ‘You are the man!’ (12:7). King David, you are the thief… you are the liar… you are the murderer! You!
David collapses, as if to his knees, in confession and repentance. The outcome could have been rather bleak for Nathan. It wasn’t.
There’s no guarantee, from the Lord or anyone else, that if we receive this gift of courage, and speak out for Him, that the outcome will always be good. May not be. May be laughed at and derided. Lose our jobs and business. Ostracized from ‘good company’. Neighbors and family turn their backs on us. Or much worse. Could be.
To obey our Lord requires His gift of courage. Are you happy with your gift this Christmas?
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for your gift of courage. For Jesus’ sake. Amen.