How does a person correct a king? The best way, perhaps, is to get him to convict himself. In 2 Samuel 12:1, the prophet Nathan appears before David with little introduction. The Lord had sent him, and he told David a story about a rich man and a poor man. The image of the rich man slaughtering the poor man’s “one little ewe lamb” stirred empathy in the heart of the former shepherd. David exploded, “The man who did this must die!” (v. 5).

By condemning the rich man, David condemned himself. Nathan pointed out: “You are the man!” (v. 7). David had sinned against a less-fortunate man doing evil in God’s eyes (v. 9) The Lord had given David everything, but rather than be satisfied, he chased after more, even things that were not his.

The consequences were severe—for David, for Bathsheba, and for their child. Calamity would come from his own household. His wives would be given to another man. And his son would die, which raises questions for the reader regarding the Davidic Covenant (2 Samuel 7). How would David’s dynasty endure?

David’s response to the Lord’s rebuke is significant. He expresses immediate and complete remorse, in clear contrast to Saul, who had confessed (1 Sam. 15:24, 30), but only after deflection and argumentation. Nathan reassured David: “The LORD has taken away your sin.” The implication is positional. The sin was removed, taken far away.

But even though David’s repentance was genuine, and God’s forgiveness complete, David and Bathsheba’s first son still died (v. 18). This was a consequence of sin, not a punishment for it. David comforted “his wife Bathsheba”—she was notably no longer seen as Uriah’s wife. And they quickly had another son, Solomon, whom the Lord loved.

When we sin and confess our sin, we can experience God’s forgiveness and restoration. However, we must also live with the consequences of that sin. David’s story is a reminder to never take sin lightly

Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

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