Then Nathan said to David, “You are that man!
You did it secretly, but I will make this happen to you openly in the sight of all Israel.”
(2 Samuel 12:7,12)
Relate: Nathan the prophet comes to David to tell him a story. He shares how there were two neighbors: one was rich and the other poor. The rich man had many animals but the poor man only one sheep that he treated as his own family. Someone came over to visit the rich man and instead of slaughtering one of his own animals to use as a feast for the distinguished guest, he takes his poor neighbors only sheep by force and uses that instead.
When he hears this story, David is outraged. That rich man deserves to die! Really, David? Really? Don’t you think you are overreacting a bit? Has anyone else ever thought that when reading this story? I mean, seriously, Make the rich guy give the poor man his best sheep and cow and also a few chickens. Force him to offer a formal public apology at the town’s gates. Give the man one of his fields or at least the profit from it for a year. There are lots of things you can do to make restitution. But kill the man? Doesn’t that seem a bit too harsh?
React: This overreaction tells me that David was already dealing with a guilty conscience. Nathan immediately pointed his finger at David and said, “You are that man!” David, in spite of his many wives, had committed adultery with the wife of a faithful friend. When she told him he had gotten her pregnant, he tried to cover it up. Then when that failed he ordered the assassination of the man he had wronged. That is a pretty heinous list of crimes and I have no doubt that it was eating David up inside. He was a man after God’s heart and he knew exactly how wrong this chain of sins had been.
If David was anything like you and me, then he would have been very quick to outwardly condemn in others the same sins he is inwardly struggling with. When God is dealing with an issue in my life, I will be quick to spot and condemn the same struggle in others. If I find myself falling deeper into a web of lies, I will be quick to spot the dishonesty of others. If I am struggling with jealousy, I will be the one loudest in telling others they need to be content. That is why I need people like Nathan in my life. I need people who can turn and point to me and say “You are that man!” As desperately as I might try to cover up my sin, there is nothing more beautiful than experiencing the embarrassing humility that leads to repentance and reconciliation.
What about you? As I am writing this, is there an issue that God is pointing to in your life and saying, “You are that man!” Is there an aspect of your life that needs to step out of the shadows and into the light? Don’t wait. Don’t leave this page before you have gotten on your knees before God and then communicated with someone you need to reconcile with, or with someone who can hold you accountable.
I am so grateful that You do not allow me to wallow in my sin. I am thankful that You do not beat me when I am down but rather find ways to draw me back to Yourself. God, I pray that You might expose each area of my life that I might see Your amazing grace and flee from the shadows of guilt and self-condemnation. I am that man. So create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me.