Nathan: Prophet of Righteous Justice-part 3
Greetings in Jesus Name, it is good to be with everyone on this wonderful Friday afternoon, hope you’re having a blessed day today, as I mentioned on Wednesday that we will be picking up our third and last installment of the study on Nathan today at B. “David Sinned Again”, so lets get to the study now.
B. David Sinned Again
Approximately fifteen years after David sinned with Bathsheba, he sinned again and the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, which resulted in seventy thousand people being slain by an angel of the Lord. God’s anger was not against David personally as much as it was against Israel as His people. The correlation of the accounts from II Samuel 24 and II Chronicles 21, plus the solution to the sin, gives us probable insight to the real sin of David, which was not the actual numbering of the people. The mere taking of a census was hardly sinful. (See Numbers 1:2–3; 26:2–4.) There was no immediate external threat to prompt a military census. And since the solution to the slayings was in building an altar, it appears that the sin was attached to some spiritual deficit in the nation and possibly in King David himself.
Since there was no military reason for the census, Joab questioned the purpose of David’s numbering the people, except it be for the king’s delight (II Samuel 24:4). Joab’s question leads us to believe there may have been an element of pride rising within the people to glory in themselves because of their size. Or they could have begun to trust in themselves rather than the Lord for their victories. Perhaps it was both. This would explain why the anger of the Lord was against the people and not David alone.
Joab completed the survey in nine months and twenty days and presented it to David. David’s heart smote him when he realized his “foolishness” and he asked the Lord to take away his iniquity (II Samuel 24:10). That same morning, the Lord sent Gad, David’s seer, to David with a choice of three things as punishment for his actions: seven years of famine, three months before his enemies, or three days of pestilence in the land. David preferred to fall into the hands of the Lord, who is merciful, rather than the hands of man (II Samuel 24:14). So the Lord sent pestilence into the land, which caused seventy thousand people to die.
When the angel of death came to Jerusalem, the Lord stopped him at the threshing place of Araunah the Jebusite saying, “It is enough: stay now thine hand” (II Samuel 24:16). David spoke to the Lord when he saw the angel, and said, “Lo, I have sinned, and I have done wickedly: but these sheep, what have they done? let thine hand, I pray thee, be against me, and against my father’s house” (II Samuel 24:17). That same day Gad came to David with a solution: Go up and build an altar at the threshing floor where the angel stood. David did so, the Lord was entreated for the land, and the plague was stayed from Israel (II Samuel 24:18–25).
Pride is a subtle sin, but it is just as deadly as adultery and murder.
C. David’s Judgment
Righteousness has rewards and sin has consequences. When David did that which was right, God blessed him abundantly. When he did wrong, he was judged with righteous judgment to bring him back into the favor of the Lord. The judgments of God are for restoration, not destruction.
When David sinned with Bathsheba, his judgments were threefold, the same as his sins. He sinned against the Lord, against Uriah, and against Bathsheba. His sin against the Lord was forgiven; he did not die. Forgiveness from the Lord is not a long process. But his sins against Uriah and Bathsheba were lifelong. Uriah died by the sword of David; therefore the sword never left the house of David. Because Bathsheba was another man’s wife, David was to lose wives from his own house. As we sow, we reap; only we reap more than we sow.
4. THE SAVING OF A SOUL
A. An Erring Soul
Sin is no respecter of persons. Whether a king or a beggar, all are subject to failure and sin. In observing David’s life, we realize any of us can err from truth and righteousness. All are subject to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life. Sin is deceitful, the flesh is weak, and temptations are plentiful. Therefore, we must continually pray for the Lord to deliver us from evil and forgive our trespasses. (See Matthew 6:9–15.) The Lord is able to keep that which is committed into His hands if altars are maintained and His Word is hidden in the heart. The admonition of Hebrews 12 is the key to sustained faith without error.
B. A Friend’s Rebuke
Numerous verses in Proverbs speak of the role of friends, especially in times of adversity. A friendly man will have friends and a man of pure heart and gracious words will have the king as his friend (Proverbs 18:24; 22:11). But a true friend is one who loves us enough to tell us when we are wrong. A wise rebuke is sent of God through a caring friend (Ecclesiastes 7:5). It is not easy to tell a friend he is wrong, but the wounds of a friend are faithful expressions of love (Proverbs 27:6).
David had true friends in both Nathan and Gad. Both were loyal friends of David’s court, but more loyal to God. Nathan especially demonstrated wisdom and courage in approaching David concerning his adultery. His friendship through the years and his loyalty to God gave acceptance to his rebuke. David repented, accepted the consequences of his sin, and retained Nathan as his friend and counselor.
Later, Gad played a similar role in David’s sin of numbering the people. His friendship through the years as David’s seer allowed him to help David recover from his sin. And David kept Gad as his friend and seer until his death. A faithful friend who is near with godly counsel in times of trouble is better than a brother far away (Proverbs 27:10). David was wise in sustaining the friendships of Nathan and Gad throughout his reign for both good and bad times. A godly friend is a wonderful shield in the prevention of sin and error.
C. A Soul Saved
When Adam sinned in the Garden, all humanity became subject to sin’s dominion. Jesus Christ, the expressed love of God, came to save sinners. He gave His life to redeem mankind and offered salvation to all who would believe. The wonder of the gospel is carried by the voices of human beings, be they prophets or preachers, saints or friends, small or great, young or old. The voice of the believer proclaims the message of Christ on earth so the voice of the Lord Jesus can reclaim a soul in Heaven.
Internalizing the Message
Nathan was exemplary of all that prophets are supposed to be and do. He is the prophet’s pattern. What Samuel instituted, Nathan established as a model for all to follow. The prophet’s allegiance was always to God first. His friendships and normal functions of life were always subject to the high calling. The prophet’s voice was equated to that of the Lord.
The seer’s vision was that of divine revelation. He saw what was not available to human intelligence and proclaimed it to the hearers. The desired results were always to bring about change, to correct error and sin, and to establish truth and righteousness. In some cases, it was to pronounce judgment upon those who refused to change or had led others astray.
Nathan was a prophet of righteous justice. His influence reached into the reign of Solomon, who gave the conclusion to the whole matter:
“Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:13–14).
Jesus Christ is the new pattern of righteous justice. To be a Christian is to be like Christ. We hear His voice and keep His commandments. His righteousness becomes our righteousness; His grace, our strength. His justice is administered in mercy; His truth is given with love; His rebukes are expressed in gentleness with the intent to lift and heal.
So that will conclude our study for this week, when we get together on Monday we will begin our new study Elijah and Elisha: Two Sides of One Coin, looking forward to being with you then, and have a great weekend.