You Are the Man
2 Samuel 11:27b-12:12
But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD, and the LORD sent Nathan to David. He came to him, and said to him, “There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor. The rich man had very many flocks and herds; but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. He brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children; it used to eat of his meager fare, and drink from his cup, and lie in his bosom, and it was like a daughter to him. Now there came a traveler to the rich man, and he was loath to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the wayfarer who had come to him, but he took the poor man’s lamb, and prepared that for the guest who had come to him.” Then David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man. He said to Nathan, “As the LORD lives, the man who has done this deserves to die; he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.”
Nathan said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: I anointed you king over Israel, and I rescued you from the hand of Saul; I gave you your master’s house, and your master’s wives into your bosom, and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would have added as much more. Why have you despised the word of the LORD, to do what is evil in his sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, for you have despised me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife. Thus says the LORD: I will raise up trouble against you from within your own house; and I will take your wives before your eyes, and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this very sun. For you did it secretly; but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.” David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.”
The chilling story of David orchestrating the death of his friend Uriah shows us the lengths we can go to avoid being confronted by our sin/bad behavior etc. It also exposes how one sin pushes us to another and another and another. (Read the 1 Kings 11 to hear the whole sordid story). Scripture does not tell us what David’s interior dialogue was. It simply focuses on what he does how he tries to cover up his misdeeds by more misdeeds. Guilt drives David in this story. He did not control his sexual desire towards his friend’s wife. He tried to hide it and wound up arranging his friend’s death. He thinks he is unseen. He thinks he is untouchable.
He is not.
None of us are. When we begin to wrestle with the guilt of our actions, we have to own what we have done. I do not give David much credit, but at least he is able to say, “I have sinned,” when it is thrust in his face. It takes a lot to get him there, but he doesn’t pass the blame; he doesn’t equivocate. He sinned against God. (He also sinned against Bathsheba, Uriah, and a whole host of other people, but we’ll pass over that for now.) Confession of sin is the first step toward reconciliation, forgiveness, and healing. It is about looking at our actions and beliefs in light of God’s commitments to love, justice, and mercy and judging them according to God’s standards, not anyone else’s.