I wonder if Nathan checked his life insurance policy first
2 Samuel 12: You’re the man!
It’s through the prophet Nathan that God responds to David’s adultery with Bathsheba and his murder of her righteous husband, Uriah. We don’t know much about Nathan, but he carries on in the spirit of his predecessor, Samuel. In Nathan we see the same boldness we saw in Samuel when he stood up to Saul. A few pages back, when David wants to build a Temple, its Nathan who first agrees but then returns with the disappointing news that God doesn’t want David to build a Temple. Now, when David has fallen in sin, it’s Nathan who takes his life in his hands and confronts the king with what he’s done. The prophet is pretty smart in his approach. He comes to David with a made-up scenario about a farmer and a lamb. When David reacts with righteous indignation over what he thinks has happened Nathan responds with the famous words, “You’re the man!” David, who could have any available woman in Israel (it’s acceptable in this society for him to have multiple wives), instead wanted another man’s wife. David, who’s bravely fought God’s enemies all his life, has used God’s enemies to do his dirty work for him. It’s Nathan who stands up to David. It’s nice to be God’s spokesman and tell people about the story of God’s love for us, preaching sermons from John 3:16. However, there’s a place for confrontation too. We’d just better be sure it’s God who’s sending us with that strong message.
Take Away: No one is big enough, so valuable to God’s Kingdom, that they can get away with sin.
Walking with God against the flow
Jeremiah 1: You’re a one-man defense system against this culture.
Several times in my journeys I’ve had the misfortune of driving along the highway, minding my own business, and coming up on fresh skunk road kill. The stench lingers in the car even after the site of the demise of the skunk is behind me. In commissioning Jeremiah to his life’s work, the Lord says that the culture of his nation stinks. God’s sick of it and is going to bring in enemies of theirs from the north to do a thorough cleaning. Jeremiah’s job is to prepare the way for that event by mounting an offense against that rotten culture. From the beginning it’s made clear to him that he’ll operate counter to the prevailing culture of that day. He’s going to be the focal point of some big explosions and his only hope of surviving them is that God’s going to make him rough and tough, as “solid as a concrete wall.” Jeremiah’s ministry is to be one of confrontation. Frankly, I doubt that the culture of my nation is any better than was that of Jeremiah’s. If God was sick of the stench of that culture then he must be pretty tired of that of our day too. Who knows? Right now God might be rising up a new Jeremiah. Whether or not that’s so, I do understand this: we believers have to do more than just go with the flow and feel pleased that we’re keeping our heads above water. We need to take a stand for righteousness in our homes and in other places where we have influence. Can God count on me to be a “one-man defense system” at least in those areas?
Take Away: Sometimes Christians have to take a stand for righteousness, even if that stand isn’t well accepted.