1 and he sent Nathan the prophet to tell this story to David:
A rich man and a poor man lived in the same town. 2The rich man owned a lot of sheep and cattle, 3but the poor man had only one little lamb that he had bought and raised. The lamb became a pet for him and his children. He even let it eat from his plate and drink from his cup and sleep on his lap. The lamb was like one of his own children.
4One day someone came to visit the rich man, but the rich man didn't want to kill any of his own sheep or cattle and serve it to the visitor. So he stole the poor man's lamb and served it instead.
5David was furious with the rich man and said to Nathan, “I swear by the living Lord that the man who did this deserves to die! 6And because he didn't have pity on the poor man, he will have to pay four times what the lamb was worth.”
7Then Nathan told David:
You are that rich man! Now listen to what the Lord God of Israel says to you: “I chose you to be the king of Israel. I kept you safe from Saul 8and even gave you his house and his wives. I let you rule Israel and Judah, and if that had not been enough, I would have given you much more. 9Why did you disobey me and do such a horrible thing? You murdered Uriah the Hittite by letting the Ammonites kill him, so you could take his wife.
10“Because you wouldn't obey me and took Uriah's wife for yourself, your family will never live in peace. 11 Someone from your own family will cause you a lot of trouble, and I will take your wives and give them to another man before your very eyes. He will go to bed with them while everyone looks on. 12What you did was in secret, but I will do this in the open for everyone in Israel to see.”
13-14David said, “I have disobeyed the Lord.”
“Yes, you have!” Nathan answered. “You showed you didn't care what the Lord wanted. He has forgiven you, and you won't die. But your newborn son will.” 15Then Nathan went back home.
David's Young Son Dies
The Lord made David's young son very sick.
16So David went without eating to show his sorrow, and he begged God to make the boy well. David would not sleep on his bed, but spent each night lying on the floor. 17His officials stood beside him and tried to talk him into getting up. But he would not get up or eat with them.
18After the child had been sick for seven days, he died, but the officials were afraid to tell David. They said to each other, “Even when the boy was alive, David wouldn't listen to us. How can we tell him his son is dead? He might do something terrible!”
19David noticed his servants whispering, and he knew the boy was dead. “Did my son die?” he asked his servants.
“Yes, he did,” they answered.
20David got up off the floor; he took a bath, combed his hair, and dressed. He went into the Lord's tent and worshiped, then he went back home. David asked for something to eat, and when his servants brought him some food, he ate it.
21His officials said, “What are you doing? You went without eating and cried for your son while he was alive! But now that he's dead, you're up and eating.”
While he was still alive, I went without food and cried because there was still hope. I said to myself, “Who knows? Maybe the Lord will have pity on me and let the child live.” 23But now that he's dead, why should I go without eating? I can't bring him back! Someday I will join him in death, but he can't return to me.
Solomon Is Born
24David comforted his wife Bathsheba and slept with her. Later on, she gave birth to another son and named him Solomon. The Lord loved Solomon 25and sent Nathan the prophet to tell David, “The Lord will call him Jedidiah.”
It seems incredible that David could remain blind to his complicity in a terrible crime, oblivious to the grievous injuries he inflicted. Yet he did, and he’s not the only one with a problem coming to terms with his own misdeeds.
How telling that it took a storyteller to get him to see things through a proper moral lens.
The story came from the mouth of Nathan, a prophet who quelled any fears he might have had for his own safety and dared to bring bad news to a murderous king.
Nathan appealed to the king’s sense of justice with a story about a rich man who stole from a poor man’s flock. David was predictably outraged and rendered a harsh judgment against the rich man.
That’s when Nathan lowered the boom, declaring to David, “You are the man.” He went on to condemn David’s actions in the harshest of terms and predicted that the rest of David’s days would be rife with conflict and discord.
David could have responded as a king and tossed the storyteller from his court. But truth has a way of cutting through the defenses of the heart. Despite his terrible judgment and egregious behaviour, David did know what it was like to be in accord with God. He did want to be a righteous king. He desired to be in God’s good books. He acknowledged his sin.
How could David have been so blind to his folly? After all, adultery and murder are big-ticket sins. They ought to be easy to recognize. Perhaps. But sins of all sizes can be rationalized and covered up. And another person’s sin is almost always easier to see.
Are you open to receiving the well-aimed words of a righteous friend who points to something in your blind spot?
O God, David had a huge blind spot until he was blindsided by a fearless word from a faithful messenger. I have blind spots too. Help me to be willing to face the dark truths about myself, and remind me of your wonderful grace. Put a new and right spirit within me.