Jump Start # 2095
2 Samuel 12:7 “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.’”
Our passage today is part of the long dark section of Scriptures that shows a mighty man of God who had feet of clay. David, the man after the heart of God, failed. He had a moral weakness that led to multiple sins, deception, cover-up and hurt the nation. It is during this period of David’s life that we find few prayers uttered, few Psalms glorifying God and praising His word, and little attention upon goodness.
Nationally, things were the best that they had been. There were still wars going on, but Israel was strong. Israel was large. And, possibly, at this time, David took his foot off the accelerator spiritually. When we are in valleys, God seems so close to us. But when we are on top of the mountain, we tend to forget about God. Prosperity, peace and good times can be all it takes to shelve our faith and to put our spiritual walk into idle. We want prosperity, peace and good times. We enjoy those things. But it may well be that those are the things that cover our eyes to our dependence and need for the Lord.
David lusted after Bathsheba, a neighbor’s wife. The wife of one of his mighty men. He did more than just look. He sent for her. He took her. He sinned. His sin involved leading her to sin. David had opportunity to stop this. He didn’t. Then the consequences came. She’s with child, his child. Today, it could be an arrest or a sexual disease. David dips lower into sin. He tries to deceive Bathsheba’s husband. Called from the front lines, he tries to get him drunk. He does all he can to send him home so no one would know. However, Bathsheba would know. David would know. And, of course, God knew. When none of David’s schemes worked, he sent Bathsheba’s husband back to the front lines, carrying his own death certificate. Troops were pulled back in retreat, which David’s armies never did. Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband, along with others, was killed. Months pass. David sits on this sin. The baby is born. Still nothing.
Finally, the prophet Nathan is sent. It is here that our verse is found. A story is told about a wealthy land owner who had hundreds of sheep but steals the one and only sheep that a neighbor has. David is furious. The rich guy deserves to pay and pay big for what he has done. This is when Nathan says, “You are the man.” It’s you.
Identified. Exposed. Known. Revealed. David, you are the man. You are the man who stole his neighbor’s only wife. You have many wives. She did not belong to you. She was not yours for the taking. You cannot do whatever you want. You cannot be above the Law. It is God who put you in this position. It is God who has spared you, blessed you and taken care of you. And, now what have you done to God? You have trashed His commandments. You have violated most of the Ten Commandments. You have done this, without any movement back to God. You have done this without any sorrow, apology or attempts to make things right. There has been a long, long journey between God and David. Even before Goliath, there was the lion and the bear that God delivered into David’s hands.
Lessons, there are many here.
First, leaders can disappoint. The best among us are not, and will never be Jesus. There are promises not kept. There are promises that are broken. Our faith and our hope is not in the church, our family or in one among us. It is in the Lord. It hurts when spiritual leaders let us down. It hurts when those we have trusted have broken that trust. Leaders who fall into moral problems. Leaders who divorce. Leaders who are found to be dishonest. Leaders who are self serving. All of that can shatter a person and a church.
We must remember that the Lord has never treated us wrong. The Lord has never let us down. The Lord has never been unkind to us. We serve the Lord.
Second, leaders need help. David was the king. David was the giant killer. David had songs sung about him. David wrote many Psalms. David is the man, it seems. However, David needed help. Shepherds need to be shepherded. Preachers need help. We all do. Sometimes we assume that those who lead always have it together, always have the answers and are always upbeat. Not true. Discouragement can get the best of us. Temptation never leaves us. Being strong takes a price and sometimes helping others leaves one weary. How is your preacher doing? Do you know? How are the elders in your church? Do you know? Do you ever just ask them? Do you ever just take them out to show your appreciation? Are you close enough to them that they could talk to you?
Third, God wasn’t through with David. That’s a powerful lesson about forgiveness, hope and future. Someone like David makes sinful choices, and immediately some are ready to throw them under the bus, write them off and be done with them. For good. Forever. God wasn’t. God forgave David. God wasn’t through with David. David needed to solidify who the next king would be. David needed to make plans and arrangements for the future temple. David needed to hold down the fort.
Sometimes a person in leadership position needs to take some time off. Sometimes they need to regroup, rethink and get stronger, especially when they have made moral mistakes. Sometimes they need to get their priorities rearranged. Time, patience, trust, grace, love are all the necessary ingredients that not only can save a soul, but can restore one back to a better positon than before.
David made some serious mistakes. David sinned. Haven’t we all. We must learn. We must make better choices. We must keep our foot on the spiritual accelerator. We must not quit on God, for He has never given up on us.
Tomorrow, we will take a look at the role of Nathan, the prophet.