So the Lord sent Nathan, the prophet to tell David… – 2 Samuel 12:1a
Throughout my life, I lived a fragmented existence. I had a separate compartment for each of my identities. I put on my father and husband identity while home with my family. When I left for work, I put that persona away and donned my ambitious and cutthroat corporate climber appearance. At church and with family, I became a devout Christ follower and judgmental Pharisee. In isolation and shame, my addict ruled them all. That was my story. Isolated. Alone. Transparent to no one. Accountable to myself.
King David, yes that King David, had it all. His story was the basis for all rags to riches stories. He was a shepherd. The youngest son. The least of these. And who Samuel described as “a man after God’s own heart” when revealing to Saul that he would lose his kingdom. David ascended to the throne, united the Israelites, and dominated his enemies. He lived in community with God, transparent. Until he didn’t.
The Israelites had engaged in battle with their enemy, the Ammonites and had routed their forces. David sent his army to lay siege to their capital city. It was spring time, the time when kings went out to battle with their armies. But David stayed behind. He stayed home. Alone. Away from where he was supposed to be. Unaccountable. He went for a walk in the evening time. He saw Bathsheba. He wasn’t where he was supposed to be and had no one around to hold him accountable.
You know the story. He had Bathsheba brought to him. He slept with her and sent her away, thinking he was safe. His secret would remain that way. Only, she sent word to him that she was pregnant. So he tried to hide it. He had her husband brought in from the battlefield to spend time with his wife and sleep with her, thus hiding that David was actually the father. When that didn’t work, he orchestrated her husband Uriah’s death on the battle field. And promptly compartmentalized that and went on being king.
So the Lord sent Nathan, the prophet.
I have read that passage many times. I assumed that Nathan was sent to confront David because he was a prophet. Only, Nathan was much more than that to David. Nathan advised David earlier in his life to not focus on building a temple, that God had a different plan for his life. Nathan would later name David’s second son. Nathan would support David when one of David’s son would try to overthrow his kingdom. Nathan wasn’t just a prophet. He was a friend, a confidant, a brother. Someone who loved David enough to risk telling him the truth and hold him accountable.
The Lord sent Nathan to tell David a story of a rich man taking a poor man’s lamb, to illustrate power and influence unchecked, and to confront David for his hidden sin. Nathan obeyed God and called out his king and friend. When I read this story so many times before, I thought that was it. It wasn’t. Nathan remained loyal to David. God showed David mercy in judgment but also consequences in his sin. Nathan didn’t point a finger at David. He walked along side him through those consequences. He loved David and supported him as a friend the rest of his life.
Dan and Jay are my Nathans. So are Corey, Sean, Josh, Hayden, Jeff, Jeff, John, Doug, and so many others. Guys who love me, know me, and will absolutely hold me accountable in Christ. Surround yourself with people who know all of you and who love you enough to walk with you through your own celebrations and trials.