David and Nathan “You are the man!” 2 Samuel 12

We saw two weeks ago great King David himself sinking deeper and deeper in the swamp of sin. How neglecting his responsibilities, boredom and being in the wrong place at the wrong time led him into a temptation which ended in up in adultery with Bathsheba and murdering her husband Uriah. At the end of the story we read this.

2 Sam 11:26 When Uriah’s wife heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for him.
27 After the time of mourning was over, David had her brought to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing David had done displeased the LORD.

For most people for most of the time God leaves our sins unpunished in this life. We will only realise and face the Wrath of God at the last judgement. But God had more things He wanted to do through King David, and God had things He wanted to teach us from the fall and rise of Great King David. So this we read how God dealt with David and Bathsheba. We learn about God’s grace and mercy and in particular we learn from David about the nature of true repentance.

True repentance begins with
CONVICTION of sin
God in his mercy sends his prophet to confront David with his sin. The simple parable of the two men and the precious pet lamb which the rich man stole from the poor man.
4 “Now a traveller came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveller who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one
who had come to him.”
5 David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, “As surely as the LORD lives, the man who did this deserves to die! 6 He must pay for that lamb four
times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.” 7 Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man!

Have you ever had that kind of crushing experience. You’ve sinned, you’ve broken God’s commandments, you think you’ve got away with it and then… you find out you haven’t. Somebody knows. Or maybe it is not the voice of a prophet but the voice of the Holy Spirit who inspires every prophet, the Holy Spirit inside us doing his work in unbelievers as Jesus had promised.
John 16: 8 When the Counsellor comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin
and righteousness and judgment: 9 in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me;
10 in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.

The primary work of God the Holy Spirit in the lives of people who do not yet believe is to convict them of sin and bring them to true repentance. And the Spirit continues that work in the lives of believers, bringing us to true repentance as part of His work of purification, making us more like Jesus.

The first step in true repentance comes when we acknowledge from the depth of our hearts, “I am the man!”

It’s very easy for people (whether we are Christians or not) to acknowledge we are sinners. Prayers of confession are very easy to say, “We acknowledge and bewail our manifold sin and wickedness. We have sinned against you and against our fellow men, in thought and word and deed, through ignorance and weakness and our own deliberate fault.” Those words are easy to say, they are nice and general, and theologically correct without being particularly personal. But if somebody comes up to us and calls us a “miserable sinner” to our face we would be very tempted to punch them on the nose. And if they say, “You are a miserable sinner because you did, this and this and this,” we would be very very uncomfortable.

True repentance begins with “You are the man!” With recognising whether that challenge comes from another person or from the voice of the Holy Spirit deep within that, yes, I am a sinner because of this and that and the other specific sins. Yes God is angry with ME because of THESE things! Yes, I need to repent. Even me! Especially me! “I am the man!” Conviction of sin.

Conviction of sin lead on to
CONFESSION of sin
Did you hear how David responded when Nathan said to David, “You are the man!”? God’s prophet, Nathan, showed great courage in saying such a thing to the great King of Israel. But David didn’t lock Nathan in prison or have him executed, as many kings might have done? David didn’t try to justify or excuse his sins. He does not attempt to present his actions as if they were good, or within his rights as a king. He does not protest his innocence.
David realised the sinfulness of his own sin. Far worse than stealing a pet lamb, he had stolen another man’s wife. In his reaction to Nathan’s parable, David as King had already pronounced the death sentence on David the adulterer and murderer .
2 Sam 12: 5 David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, “As surely as the LORD lives, the man who did this deserves to die! 6 He must pay for that lamb four
times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.”
David knows he can’t escape God’s wrath. He does the only thing he can do. He judges himself and he repents. He takes responsibility for his sin. David doesn’t presume on God’s grace. He doesn’t say, “God is good, He he’s bound to forgive me because of all my good deeds. No! David simply says, “I have sinned against the Lord!”
2 Sam 12:13 Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” Nathan replied, “The LORD has taken away your sin. You are not going to die.
David confesses his sin. Very unusually we actually have the very text of David’s prayer of confession written for us in:- Psalm 51:
1 ¶ [For the director of music. A psalm of David. When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba.]

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.

3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. 4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right
when you speak and justified when you judge.

6 Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.

7 ¶ Cleanse me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

9 Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

11 Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

Those are the very words David used when he confessed his sin to God. David mourned greatly because of his sin. He had a broken and crushed heart before God. David ‘s faith was not superficial but sincere. He had sunk into the swamp of sin - but he didn’t want to stay there. He begged God to get him out! That is true confession!!

And David showed God he was sincere in his repentance. David showed God and everybody else he meant business by praying and fasting. True confession is not always public. But if we mean business with God then our confession will sometimes be public. Certainly there would be greater blessing if we were to “confess our sins to one another and pray for one another” more often, as James 5:16 commands us.

Conviction and confession lead on to
CLEANSING from sin
So then, after David repented, what did God say to him through the mouth of the prophet Nathan? God did not tell him, “Go and do some more good works and I will erase your sins!”? No, God never says that!

2 Sam 12:13 Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” Nathan replied, “The LORD has taken away your sin. You are not going to die.

What amazing grace! What love! What mercy! We serve and worship a God who is not only a Holy God, a God of justice, but also a God of mercy and forgiveness and loving kindness. Praise the Lord!

Looking back on the whole experience, David could write the words of Psalm 32:
1 Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.
2 Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit.
3 When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.
5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD”- and you forgave the guilt of my sin.

Conviction. Confession. Cleansing. Now, there are many who want the story to end here, with 2 Samuel 12:13: “The Lord has taken away your sin!” We love stories with perfect, happy endings. But this story also reminds us, sin has

Sin has CONSEQUENCES

In real life, we can be forgiven for breaking the window, but we still have to sweep up the broken glass and repair the window. There are always consequences to our actions, and like it or not, we have to live on with those consequences, just as David did.

14 But because by doing this you have made the enemies of the LORD show utter contempt, the son born to you will die.”
The tragic death of this innocent child points us to an important truth; our sin affects not only ourselves, but also the people around us. The long-reaching effects of one moment of sinful self-indulgence can be disastrous. In the moments of temptation, we seldom pause to take that fact into account. If only we could see the results of our actions in advance, we would say “no” to sin much more often. You may feel that it is unfair that David got away with his sin but that this child died. You are right. It is unfair. But sadly that is often how sin works. When people lie or steal, or do much worse, it is often the people around them who end up being hurt. Even when there is conviction and confession and cleansing, sin still has consequences.
But at the same time God’s grace is at work. He had plans for both David and Bathsheba. In God’s grace there is always hope of restoration.

2 Sam 12:24 Then David comforted his wife Bathsheba, and he went to her and lay with her. She gave birth to a son, and they named him Solomon. The LORD loved him; 25 and because the LORD loved him, he sent word through Nathan the prophet to name him Jedidiah.
Who would think that a relationship build on such a sin spoiled foundation could even survive, much less prosper? But God demonstrates His grace in the transformation of a relationship that had once brought even the condemnation of death. This relationship was not to become “healed but always deficient”. Through God’s grace they would become a “healed and holy household”. That marriage produced Solomon, the wisest man ever born. He succeeded his father as King, and Solomon, David and Bathsheba are named as ancestors of the Lord Jesus Christ. This restored, healed, sanctified marriage of David and Bathsheba bears both God’s hand and His blessing.
God never brings us condemnation without offering us grace and healing. Time and again the Bible says this - God wants to have an intimate relationship with each of us, and goes out of His way to invite us into that relationship. The whole point of Nathan’s parable was not to punish, David but to restore him, to bring him to repentance.
It doesn’t matter what you’ve done, or where you’ve been — God’s healing, restoring grace is available for you, just like it was for David. All we have to do is be willing to face God — and ourselves — with the same painful honesty that was David’s first step toward rebuilding his life. Our lives can be healed, restored, and rebuilt, just like David’s was. It all began with Nathan’s words, “You are that man!” When we get to the point of admitting before God, “I am that man. I am that woman”, then God’s forgiveness and cleansing and restoration can be ours.
Conviction of sin – confession of sin – cleansing from sin. This is God’s grace. This is God’s mercy. If God can forgive David, he can forgive you and me. Deception. Adultery. Murder. However great the sin, God’s mercy is greater! IF we truly repent. When God convicts us of sin, if we confess our sin then God if faithful and just to forgive us our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
“Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered! Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit!” (Psa. 32:1,2)

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