Have you ever been caught red-handed? You know you did something terribly wrong and suddenly were exposed? All the darkness, the secrets, the lies, all laid out on the table in public view? Has your heart ever been so hard as not to care? A relationship with Jesus is based upon the concept of brokenness, willing to be exposed and surrendered in every area of life. A hard heart is NOT the heart of a believer. Yet sadly, there can be times when our hearts become stiff and crusted where only God Himself can soften and cleanse. Such was the case with David.
The Sending of David
Twenty-three times through 2 Samuel chapters 10-12 the word “sent” is used. In Bible study, any time a word is used multiple times in a condensed space, it is often for emphasis and importance. In 2 Samuel 10-12, the majority of times the word is used, it is done by David as a way to exert his authority, power, and control. For example in chapter ten, David corresponds with another nation, sending and receiving correspondence – but in doing so, David was “flexing his kingly muscles” to show he was the one with the power and authority. In chapter eleven, David sends someone to find out who the woman bathing was. Once he finds out, he sends for and takes her. Soon thereafter, Bathsheba sends a message to David informing him of the pregnancy and David responds by sending for Uriah to attempt a cover up. Sending, sending, sending – power, control, and authority.
What is interesting to note, as chapter twelve begins, David never again is associated with the word “sent” in 2 Samuel. 12:1 says “Then the LORD sent Nathan to David.” Throughout chapters 10-11 David exerts his authority and power, but come chapter twelve, God looks at David and says, “No longer will you exert your power and control, I am the one who is going to be sending now.”
It is important to emphasize what Nathan the prophet did was not a casual conversation with David. In that day, the king had absolute authority; if he wasn’t happy with you, he could merely say the word and your head would be rolling, literally. For at least a year, David has been living with a hard heart. We learn in 11.27 that the baby has been born (so at least nine months), but some scholars suggest that it could have been up to two years. For nearly two years, David was living under sin and death. No Psalms were written. No peace felt. No freedom experienced. And in such a hard-heart state, bringing up the king’s sin was a dangerous matter.
God forcefully moves upon the life of Nathan the prophet and SENDS him to David. Nathan, in obedience and dependence on God, walks up to David and allows God to speak through his lips. But how does God get the attention of a man whose heart is rock solid? We find God speaks in the language of the individual.
One of the things that I have come to realize throughout Scripture is that God speaks in my language. He only speaks Truth, but He speaks it in such a way that I understand it. He knows me intimately and knows “my language.” Yes, I have a language – but so do you. And God knows you so well that He knows exactly how to speak in order that you understand and “get it.” Such is the case here with David.
David grew up as a shepherd. He lived in the fields with his sheep and knew the lifestyle of shepherds intimately, in other words, he knew its “language.” In 12.1-4, Nathan tells the story of a rich and poor man:
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.
God was speaking in David’s language. The story arouses such anger in David that he bursts out “As the LORD lives, the man who has done this shall surely die! And he shall restore fourfold for the lamb, because he did this thing and because he had no pity.” God spoke in David’s language to pierce his heart and allow David’s own words to condemn himself. Nathan then speaks some chilling words to David: “You are the man!” The pronouncement of judgment David had given has now fallen upon himself. Like a spotlight upon his soul, David is awakened and is suddenly aware of the sin in his life: “I have sinned against the LORD” he declares in 12.13.
Two distinct thoughts can be gleaned from this passage. First, we are the man! Any sin within our lives keeps us from deep intimacy with Jesus. 1 John says “God is light and in Him there is no darkness.” We must allow the light of God to probe and penetrate our lives, exposing us before His righteous and perfect standard – and allow HIM to cleanse, renew, transform, and shape us into men and women after His own heart – a perfect reflection of Himself. Is your life ONLY full of light or is there darkness hiding in some recess of your soul? Allow the Spirit to search and expose anything and everything that does not bear the exact nature of Christ.
One other thought that is interesting from the passage, is that we are often, like Nathan, called to go and speak Truth to an individual – even at the possible cost of our very lives. We may not be sent to the guillotine but perhaps it will result in the loss of friendship, money, a job, or some other “costly” aspect of our lives. But like Nathan, are we so focused upon Jesus that when He presses our soul to move forward, opens our lips to speak, are we surrendered and willing to be made a vessel for His glory?
If God is light and there is no darkness at all within Him, and we are IN Him, we too become light bearers within a dark world. One characteristic of light is that it always exposes truth wherever it goes and it is always offensive to the darkness. If we are full of light, walking about a dark world, even without a word spoken, the Truth and light pouring out of our lives is pressing and convicting those within darkness. So note, yes God often uses our lips to speak His truth and light into someone’s life, but even if He never opens our mouth, our lives of light are continually exposing the darkness in others’ lives.
Would you allow Jesus to examine your heart and remove any filth, darkness, corruption, and sin within? Afterwards, allow Him to fill you with His very presence (light and love – according to 1 John), using you as a vessel for His glory to speak Truth and light into this dark world.
Read the other Bible Studies in this series: