The Set Up When Confronting

Continuing on in 2nd Samuel 12:1-6.  Yesterday we started looking at confrontation and specifically the confrontation of David by Nathan.  Let us look at how Nathan confronted David.

And he came to him and said, "There were two men in one city, the one rich and the other poor.2 "The rich man had a great many flocks and herds. 3 "But the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb Which he bought and nourished; And it grew up together with him and his children. It would eat of his bread and drink of his cup and lie in his bosom, And was like a daughter to him. 4 "Now a traveler came to the rich man, And he was unwilling to take from his own flock or his own herd, To prepare for the wayfarer who had come to him; Rather he took the poor man’s ewe lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him."

So we have Nathan tell David this story of two men. One was rich and had many flocks, many herds. There was also a poor man who had one little ewe lamb. It was part of his family. It slept with him, ate with him, it was like a son or daughter to him. And David, being a shepherd, must have felt the love that this man had for this little ewe lamb. God knew exactly what buttons to push on David in this story. Nathan emphasizes the fact that the poor man’s lamb was precious to him, and represented all that he had in this world. And so this rich man is about to entertain a guest, and he does not take a lamb from his own, but this poor man’s ewe lamb he takes to prepare for the meal. The rich man took what was not his and used it for his selfish purposes.

What a perfect set up. You can see how God lead Nathan to share just the right story. You can see how he came to confront David completely prepared. You can see that he is using images that speak to David being a shepherd. You can see how it is being done in a way that David will be able to see his own sinfulness in it. You can see Nathan is being a true friend to David. You can also see that God is about to nail David and break his hardened heart through this story. You can see when you look at it, the proper way to confront others.

Let us look on: 5 Then David’s anger burned greatly against the man, and he said to Nathan, "As the LORD lives, surely the man who has done this deserves to die. 6 "He must make restitution for the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing and had no compassion."

When David hears this story, he is livid, completely fired up! He demands that the rich man restore the poor man four-fold, and then says that the rich man in this case should be executed. Execution was not possible in this situation so David gave the maximum penalty which was fourfold restitution. Notice that Nathan did not ask even David for a judicial decision, and David naturally assumed the story was true. David immediately passed sentence on the guilty man of Nathan’s story. David shows that we often try to rid our guilty consciences by passing judgment on someone else.

Is not it amazing that David, the man who excuses so much sin in his own life throughout this story can be so harsh and so critical when dealing with sin in the lives of others? Is not that how we are? We do not want to give any grace to others who sin but the maximum penalty thrown at them. On the other hand we want all the grace in the world given to us when we sin. We often try to find refuge in excusing or minimizing or deflecting the blame of our sin. We do not simply condemn sin in ourselves but magnify the sin of others so that our sin will not be seen.

It always amazes me how our sins looks so horrible when someone else is doing them. We are ready to put others to death like David was, but when we are doing the same thing, it is not that bad and we call for God’s grace and mercy to be extended to us. But when someone else does them we call for hellfire and brimstone to come down upon them and destroy them. So much for grace and mercy for others, right! This is not the model we should be follow, but sadly it is what most of us do.

What sin are you excusing? Are you being critical of others and their sin and all the while being unwilling to look at your own sin? Are you desiring grace from everyone on your shortcoming and unwilling to offer any grace to others?

How do you deal with people who want grace but do not give it?

Confronting Others–The Tough Job!

This week we start the process of David getting confronted on his sin with Bathsheba.  What we have as we start off in chapter 12 is it has been nearly a year since the affair; David kept his sin hidden within his heart. There is no record of him telling anyone about what he had done, no record of repentance, no record of anything. Now without question David knew what he had done and the depths of how wrong it was but he did not confess it to anyone. Now when it comes to Bathsheba, she knew about the adultery and I do not believe she knew about the murder but I would guess she would have her suspicions as her husband was in town with David right after the affair then back to the battle and was immediately killed. Can you imagine how the relationship between her and David suffered? . Every time their eyes met guilt flashed back and forth between them. There was no joy, there was no peace, there was no anticipation over the birth of the baby; there was only pain and guilt. Others knew about David’s sin, Joab knew a good amount about what had happened and some of the servants knew what had happened. Worst of all David knew that God knew even though he tried to forget about God!

We may wonder why the Lord waited nearly a year to deal with David’s sin. One answer may lie in the fact that David probably was not ready to be confronted when the sin was first committed. He might have rebelled at that time, caught up as he was in pleasure and the cover-up. God confronted David at the perfect time to secure the right response.

God will use the same tactics in your life and mine! We may feel like we are getting a pass for a time, but we need to be aware that God is working behind the scenes. And, when the time is right, He will confront our sins and call us back to Him. By the way, people never get away with sin as we looked at last week and as the Bible tells us.

Let us look now at 2nd Samuel 12 beginning with just the first part of verse 1 for today: Then the LORD sent Nathan to David.   God sent Nathan the Prophet, a man David respected to confront his sin. He’s going to tell David a story. David doesn’t know that this story is being made up. In his role as king, David is constantly being asked to sit as judge over matters like the ones in this story. As far as David knows, he is being asked by Nathan to give a judgment in this matter.

David wouldn’t listen to the conviction of the Holy Spirit or to his conscience. Now God sends Nathan to speak for him. God mercifully kept speaking to David even when David wouldn’t listen. No one should ever presume that God would speak forever to the unrepentant sinner. God said in Genesis 6:3, "My Spirit shall not strive with man forever." When we hear or sense the conviction of the Holy Spirit we must respond to it immediately, because it might not always be there. You must respond before you harden yourself to God and his promptings.

So we here have Nathan coming speaking for God and he comes to confront David. We can learn something in the way Nathan is going to confront David. You will see that when Nathan comes to David, he comes prepared. Under divine inspiration, Nathan comes to David well prepared. He is not going to be just telling a story but Nathan is telling a well prepared story with a very important message for David. When you have to confront someone, it should never be done without preparing in advance which certainly includes much prayer and well as thought as to how to do it. Never confront a situation without planning when it can be helped

We will see that Nathan did use a story to confront David. Why a story? Why not just let David have it head-on, with both barrels? I think that generally is a wrong tactic anytime you have to confront someone because people get defensive and that is what Nathan was avoiding. I also see it would be a wrong tactic here because with the story Nathan gets David to pronounce judgment on the crime before he realizes who the criminal is. Nathan is confronting him in a way that touches a nerve which we see in the response of David. When you have to confront someone, do it in a manner that they will understand, not in a manner that is going to make you feel good, but one that will get the point across.

Another reason Nathan told David this story is that it was meant to expose David’s sin in principle, in a way that cannot be denied. We will see that here this very well, Nathan then presses on to deal with David’s sin specifically. When confronting someone, you want to do so clearly that they see it and that they cannot deny what it is they have done.

What we will see here is that Nathan used wisdom, courage, and a story about a lamb to get the message through to David. It was common in those days to have a lamb as a pet, and Nathan used this story of the pet lamb to speak to his friend David. David listened to Nathan because he was not a negative person who was always whining and complaining to David about everything and everyone else but he was a trust friend. True friends are willing to confront their friends on behaviors that are wrong and are willing to have the friend walk away from the friendship because they are doing the going to do the right thing and confront the wrong behaviors.

Is confronting others something you are comfortable doing or is it a real challenge for you?

Death of a Dream (Part 2)

Continuing on with where we left off yesterday in looking at the death of David’s dream of building a temple for God. Yesterday we saw that when God says no to something that you want to do for him that He will do something even more amazing.

2nd Samuel 7:10 And I have provided a permanent homeland for my people Israel, a secure place where they will never be disturbed. It will be their own land where wicked nations won’t oppress them as they did in the past, 11 from the time I appointed judges to rule my people. And I will keep you safe from all your enemies. ‘And now the LORD declares that he will build a house for you—a dynasty of kings! 12 For when you die, I will raise up one of your descendants, and I will make his kingdom strong. 13 He is the one who will build a house—a temple—for my name. And I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be his father, and he will be my son. If he sins, I will use other nations to punish him. 15 But my unfailing love will not be taken from him as I took it from Saul, whom I removed before you. 16 Your dynasty and your kingdom will continue for all time before me, and your throne will be secure forever.’" 17So Nathan went back to David and told him everything the LORD had said.

What we have here in this portion of Scripture is something called the Davidic Covenant. What is it? This is an unconditional covenant made between God and David through which God promises David and Israel that the Messiah would come from the lineage of David and the tribe of Judah and would establish a kingdom that would endure forever as seen in verses 10-13. The Davidic Covenant is unconditional because God does not place any conditions of obedience upon its fulfillment. The surety of the promises made rests solely on God’s faithfulness and does not depend at all on David or Israel’s obedience.

The Davidic Covenant centers on several key promises that are made to David.

1) God reaffirms the promise of the land that He made in the first two covenants with Israel which are the Abrahamic and Mosaic Covenants. This promise is seen in 2 Samuel 7:10, “Moreover I will appoint a place for My people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own and move no more; nor shall the sons of wickedness oppress them anymore, as previously.”

2) God promises that David’s descendant or “seed” will succeed him as king of Israel and that David’s throne will be established forever. This promise is seen in verses 12-13, "I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.” This is a reference to the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ.

The provisions of the covenant are summarized in 2 Samuel 7:16, “And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever.” The promise that David’s “house,” “kingdom” and “throne” will be established forever is significant because it shows that the Messiah will come from the lineage of David and that He will establish a kingdom from which He will reign. The covenant is summarized by the words “house,” promising a dynasty in the lineage of David; “kingdom,” referring to a people who are governed by a king; “throne,” emphasizing the authority of the king’s rule; and “forever,” emphasizing the eternal and unconditional nature of this promise to David and Israel.

So again there are two promises for David:

1) God will provide a permanent place for the Israelites to live.

2) God will build David a house or in other words a dynasty will come from David’s line. What this is saying is that David would live on long after his death. Funny how David wanted to build God a house but God said no thank you but I will build you a house! What we see here is God honored David’s sincere intentions.

Each of these great promises was partially fulfilled in Solomon, David’s son and successor to his throne.

· Solomon ruled on David’s throne

· God’s mercies never departed from Solomon, though he sinned

· Solomon built God a magnificent house

God’s promises to David are completely fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

· Jesus does reign, and will reign on David’s throne forever

· The Father’s mercies never departed from Jesus, even when He was made sin for us

· Jesus is building the Father a magnificent house as we read in 1 Corinthians 6:19 and we are God’s temples as read in 1 Peter 2:5 and the church is God’s new house. We also see Christ fitting in to these as well as the prophets foretold of fulfillment of these promises that are seen in the life of Christ. This covenant here had a double meaning; all these things fit Christ as well as Solomon. God promised that the Christ would come through the line of David and He did. God truly blessed David in the middle of saying no to his dream!

Have you ever had God say no to a dream of yours?  If so, what was it and did God give you something even better?