Following the multiplied sins related to Bathsheba, God sent the prophet Nathan to the king (David) who seemed to have succeeded in covering up his sin and eliminating the loose ends that could trip him up later. David seems to be in the clear, at least on the surface, then God sends the prophet who tells David a story about a man who has everything and takes the sole possession of a poor neighbor. David’s response:
“The David’s anger burned greatly against the man, and he said to Nathan, ‘As the Lord lives, surely the man who has done this deserves to die. He must make restitution for the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing and had no compassion.’ Nathan then said to David, ‘You are the man!’…” 2 Samuel 12:5-7a, NASB.
We don’t often think of God as gracious as He is exposing our sin. Take Chuck Colson for example. One of the hatchet men for Nixon during Watergate who was exposed. He came to faith in Christ and admitted his wrongdoing. God used him powerfully as the founder of Prison Fellowship. Neither his salvation (arguably) nor the fruits of his ministry would have occurred without the exposure of his sin.
Sin breaks our fellowship with God. Unrepentant sinners live disfellowshipped…having no active relationship with Him except as a rebellious child toward a judging parent. This break in fellowship persists until we have confessed our sin and responded to God in repentance. This does not occur until the sin is first EXPOSED!
Nathan calls David out. Notice that David’s response to the fable about the “ewe lamb” is a response of anger. It has been my experience that we get the most angry about other peoples’ sins that mirror our own. I have a few guys who accuse me of being a “controlling dictator” at times. I imagine every leader has borne that weighty criticism from time to time and don’t argue that I am immune from the allure of power…but the reason that this “control” issue is so prevalent with these brothers…is that they are controlling guys. They are used to being in charge and think they know best…so when they are not driving, they are critical of the driver. They are angered because the sins of others illuminate the sins in their own makeup. [Consequently, I know a lot of preachers who preach the hardest and the loudest against the sins that have the deepest roots in their own hearts.]
Nathan’s exposure of David’s sin is not comfortable…for Nathan or David, but it is necessary to start the process of reconciliation (v.13).
It is important to note that while David confessed his sin (see also Psalm 51 which is written because of this incident), the consequences of the sin are not removed. Ultimately, David will not die because of His sin. One died in His place (that is Jesus). However, the consequences and fallout from the sin persist. [This is a shocker for those with a Sunday School faith in the modern church]. Yet, the consequences are bearable because God traverses the road back to restoration with us. While we have consequences, following repentance, we also have fellowship. That changes everything.
A wise reader will meditate on the fact that God may be at work exposing sin and sinful tendencies in his own life. What is God saying? Rather than hating the exposure…yield to it and allow the flood of God’s redemptive and restorative love wash over you. There is a path back but it only begins as you acknowledge the sin that God is exposing.