Nathan Rebukes David

Key Verse: “David said to Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord. And Nathan said to David, The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die.”
—II Samuel 12:13, New King James Version

Selected Scripture:
II Samuel 12:1-14

OUR KEY VERSE BRINGS into focus the climactic moment of Nathan’s confrontation with David. In all of the Bible’s rich narratives, few have the deep pathos and poignancy of David’s heinous deed. The story is powerfully instructive to all those who seek to walk in Jesus’ footsteps.

King David had transgressed the law of God on multiple levels. God specifically commanded, “You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. … You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, … nor anything that is your neighbor’s.” (Exod. 20:13-17, NKJV) David coveted Uriah’s wife, committed adultery with her, stole her from Uriah and arranged for Uriah’s murder to cover up the sin he had committed.

Perhaps, as king of Israel, David was intoxicated by the power of his office. He may have had the feeling that he was so favored of God that he was above the law. We are cautioned against having such mistaken perceptions of ourselves. Jesus powerfully warned us along this line: “Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, Brother, let me remove the speck that is in your eye, when you yourself do not see the plank that is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brother’s eye.”—Luke 6:41,42, NKJV

David’s anger seethed against the perpetrator in Nathan’s allegorical tale recorded in our Selected Scripture passage. “The man who has done this shall surely die,” David said. Then came Nathan’s revelation, “You are the man!” (II Sam. 12:5,7, NKJV) Hearing the truth hit David with devastating impact. His errors became fully apparent to him. With deep remorse, King David acknowledged, “I have sinned against the Lord.” (vs. 13) Although he would suffer adversity for the remainder of his life as punishment for his sins, including subversion by his own sons, the mercy of God would endure upon him. The iniquity of David’s transgression was forgiven.

One benefit of God’s mercy to David was that, because he continued to live, he authored some of the most wonderful and reassuring portions of Scripture. The principle set before us in these words of the psalmist resonates with all God’s true children: “If You, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with You, that You may be feared [reverenced].” (Ps. 130:3,4, NKJV) What a blessed thought to know that there is forgiveness with God, and that we may continue to revere and worship him. “Having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”—Rom. 5:1,2, NKJV

David’s heartfelt repentance, and his desire to continue serving God, is captured in Psalm 51. “Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.” (Ps. 51:10,11, NKJV) May we daily seek God’s mercy, repenting of our inevitable sins and pursuing our service to him.