“David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the Lord.’”
2 SAMUEL 12:13
Read 2 Samuel 12:1-14; Psalm 32; Psalm 51
In 2 Samuel 12: 1-14, we have the account of God sending the prophet, Nathan, to speak to King David. Nathan paints a shocking picture of wrongdoing. The story is of two men in a city; one extremely wealthy with everything money can buy and a poor man with nothing but a lamb - the most precious and only thing he owns. The story tells how the rich man steals the one thing that was most precious to this poor man. The sense of injustice is palpable and David is outraged. David's response is, surely, he “must die!”. Then Nathan confronts him with the truth: “David, you are the man!”
How would you feel if you were David? How would you respond? David responds by saying, “I have sinned against the Lord”. What’s interesting is that David doesn't defend his actions, he doesn't try to excuse or to justify his behaviour; he immediately takes responsibility for his actions. With that one decision, begins the road to restoration. Nathan in 2 Samuel 12:13 goes on to say, “The Lord also has put away your sin: you shall not die”.
When we sin, mess up, step out of God's will (which we all do), our natural default, so often, is to defend our actions and make excuses. One step to restoration is confession. To own up and to be honest with God is an important step but we also need to move from confession to repentance, which is action. In essence, saying, “I turn from that way of living and that behaviour and I receive forgiveness”. Repentance is more than a feeling. Emotion can be fleeting, but true repentance bears fruit of change.
1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness”. What is the result of repentance and confession? The greatest blessing of all: forgiveness! “Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven” Psalm 32:1.
Understand that it was the Holy Spirit's work to send Nathan to speak to David. How does God speak to us today? He will use whatever means possible and because He does speak, the challenge is as relevant for us today as it was for David. How will we respond when the Holy Spirit speaks and God challenges us about things and attitudes in our lives? Will we respond with instant confession or resistance? May David’s prayer be our prayer, as well. It’s a prayer of humility, passionate devotion and dependence on God.
Psalm 51:10-12: “Create in me a clean heart, O God.”
Let’s be quick to confess and live every day in the wonder of forgiveness.
Author: Steve Fishpool - Lead Elder, CLC, Horsham