Jump Start # 2096
2 Samuel 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.’”
Yesterday in our Jump Start we took a look at when leaders disappoint. Today, we look at the role of Nathan confronting David. This is difficult. We don’t like having to do this. For that very reason, some don’t. It’s easy to talk to others about this than to talk to the person who has done wrong. The role of Nathan is important. In David’s story, God sent Nathan. Today, we are compelled by the sense of what is right and the obligation to try to save a soul that has turned from God.
There are some necessary things that we must keep before us.
First, make sure you have all the facts and the facts are facts. Hearsay, assumptions and rumors are just enough to make things even worse than what they are. This means there is some necessary time to look into matters, think things out and especially pray for wisdom and understanding. Don’t shoot the innocent. And, don’t go in with the spirit of shooting the guilty. The goal is to save a soul.
Second, be kind in your words. Throughout the N.T. correcting and kindness or correcting and gentleness are woven together. Remember the golden rule. Even though what you say may be true, the way in which you package it can be enough to destroy a person.
Third, stick with God’s word. This isn’t you verse them. It’s not about the church verse them. This is about what God says. Don’t jump from topic to topic. Don’t be evasive or generic. Be clear about what the problem is. Use the Bible. Show the person what God says. Build bridges for them to return and do not cut them off to never return again.
Fourth, the person that is wrong may be defensive. He might want to know how you know. He might switch subjects and talk about what’s wrong with others. He might accuse you of things. Stick with the topic and the Bible. After Nathan the prophet declared all the ways that God had blessed David and now how God was going to punish David, the words come from David’s mouth, “I have sinned against the Lord.” He admitted wrong. He confessed for the first time what has been in his heart for months.
Having confessed his sins, the consequences and the punishment remained. A baby would die. David’s household would turn on each other and jealously and violence would follow them all of their days. The sin was gone, but the damage and the consequences remained.
This is something that many young people don’t seem to appreciate. Saying, “I’m sorry,” doesn’t magically make everything right again. Saying, “I’m sorry,” and meaning that is important, but the damage and the consequences remain. An unwed pregnancy, an arrest, expelled from school, fired from a job, an addiction, a disease, a totaled car, the death of a friend—these are the destructive path that often follows sin. The sin can be forgiven, but the consequences remain.
In David’s story, what drove Nathan the prophet was God sending him. Today, it is our love for both the Lord and his church and our love for the person who is doing wrong that compels us. The guilty wants to be left alone. They feel that your intrusion into their world is unloving. It’s just the opposite. If we didn’t care, we’d let them drive their life off the cliff. The very reason we care puts us on the front lines of trying to turn them around. It makes us the punching bag of ridicule, anger and wrath from a guilty heart that has been exposed.
Why do we do this? Because it’s the right thing to do. The one lost sheep was sought after. The lost coin was looked for. This is what God does and this is what God’s people do. Also, this is what we’d want others to do for us. We’d hope that no one gave up on us. We’d hope for second chances. We’d hope that someone would lovingly confront us and get us to see the sin in our heart.
Who stands in the shadows of Nathan today? Godly parents do. You have a teenager? You’ll probably wear the shoes of Nathan as you try to get that teen to develop their own faith and make godly choices in their lives. Shepherds do, as well. The work of shepherds is binding up the broken and healing the sick. It’s going after the scattered and helping those who have made a mess of their lives. It means giving up evenings and Saturdays. It means phone calls and meeting with people. It’s many hours that the church never knows about. It’s pouring your heart into helping others. You do this because it’s the right thing.
The Galatians were told, “you who are spiritual, restore such a one…” You who are spiritual. That ought to be many of us. We want to be spiritual. We claim to be spiritual. Yet, when this tough task arises, suddenly, we don’t want to stand with the spiritual. The unspiritual shouldn’t be involved. They’d mess things up. They’d say the wrong things in the wrong way. They would threaten. They would destroy. Yet, it’s the spiritual who understand Jesus. It’s the spiritual who know grace and forgiveness.
David was smart, strong and seeking the heart of God. David wrote most of the Psalms. How easy it would be to assume, David knows. He’ll get it. He’ll figure this out. He didn’t. God sent Nathan to David. Leaders need Nathan’s in their lives to remind them, encourage them and help them.
Years later, David named one of his sons, Nathan. Interesting. David seemed to be thankful for the Nathan in his life. His problem wasn’t with Nathan and it wasn’t even with God. It was with his own heart. There was no one to blame but self. There was only one finger to point and it was at himself.
The story of David turns positive after this. He recovers strong. He becomes useful, godly and helpful once more. He becomes the David that we have fallen in love with. Named among the heroes in Hebrews 11, David’s life was saved because of God working through Nathan the prophet.
Throw out the life line—we need each other. We need honesty. We need compassion and love. We need folks who care enough to do the tough stuff. God bless the Nathan’s in our lives who help us get back to God. And, God bless the David’s who have the right heart to turn and follow the Lord.
In a perfect world, we’d never need Nathan. But the world isn’t perfect and we certainly are not.