Revisiting Bathsheba - One Spring part eight
Sin has a way of eating at us. David discovered that phenomenon during the year of his affair and subsequent cover-up. While he tried to keep the adultery and murder secret, God knew. “But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord.” Psalm 32 records David’s feelings during this time. He mentions how old he felt and that his vitality drained away. He groaned throughout the day, feeling God’s hand heavy on him.
But despite all of this, it took a story told by a Godly man to bring King David to his senses and to his knees.
The prophet Nathan strode into the palace one day after the birth of David and Bathsheba’s son, and requested an audience with the king. David granted the request. One wonders whether Nathan’s presence sent any hint of worry into David’s soul. Chances are good that David’s defenses were up. After all, he’d been ignoring God’s promptings for nearly a year. As far as he could tell, no one knew his dirty little secret, and he wasn’t about to tell them.
Of course, God knew of the wall David had built around his heart. He knew of David’s deception and self-dential and his unbearable guilt. In His tender mercy, God did not allow David to continue in his sin any longer. So He told His faithful prophet, Nathan, to pay David that visit. And He gave Nathan the wisdom needed on how best to approach the moody king.
Nathan used the power of story to get David’s attention: “There were two men in one city, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had exceedingly many flocks and herds. But the poor man had nothing, except one little ewe lamb which he had bought and nourished; and it grew up together with him and with his children. It ate of his own food and drank from his own cup and lay in his bosom; and it was like a daughter to him. And a traveler came to the rich man, who refused to take from his own flock and from his own herd to prepare one for the wayfaring man who had come to him; but he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.”
David’s anger flared, probably fueled by the memories of his life as a shepherd. He pronounced swift and heavy judgment on the rich man. The story allowed David to see the evil of his own actions without realizing that he was that rich man.
Until Nathan pointed his finger in David’s face and said so.
Anger melted to guilt and immediate repentance. “I have sinned against the Lord,” David said.
“The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die,” Nathan assured him.
Admission of his sin was David’s first step in the right direction. But Nathan had more to tell him. David had a long way to go to climb out of that pit.