Uriah is dead, Bathseba is pregnant through adultery and the baby will die. It’s a mess. Nathan is sent by the Lord to David to bring revelation that will lead to repentance.
Nathan tells a story of a two men, one rich with a large flock and one poor with just one lamb. The rich man steals the poor man’s lamb for a dinner. David is angry. It’s a nasty story of social injustice and theft. David wants the man put to death and the poor man repaid four fold.
Exodus 22:1 shows us that a thief is inded required to pay back four fold. David wants to go further, having him put to death. The law’s requirement though is that the adulterer is put to death (Lev 20:10) along with the murderer (Lev 35:31). An over the top reaction is a sign of insecurity or as in this situation secret sin. Paul points this out in Rom 2:1, where the Jews of his time were doing the very things they were condemning in others.
David is sucked in to the story, over reacts and then is told “You are the man!” You are the man with everything who stole another man’s wife and had him killed. There are consequences – the sword will always be around your house v11, your wives will be taken by others and it will be done not in secret but in public.
The conviction of the Spirit hits David. He is in touble. The sacrificial system in the Law only provides for sins done in ignorance and weakness. His adultery and murder were done with eyes open wide. David deserves death. Now he finds grace not law. Nathan declares “The Lord has put away your sin”.
David pens the breathtaking Psalm 51 as part of his confession and repentance…
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 you are right in your verdict
and justified when you judge.
5 Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
you taught me wisdom in that secret place.
7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
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.
13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
so that sinners will turn back to you.
14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
you who are God my Savior,
and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
15 Open my lips, Lord,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
17 My sacrifice, O God, is[b] a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart
you, God, will not despise.
18 May it please you to prosper Zion,
to build up the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous,
in burnt offerings offered whole;
then bulls will be offered on your altar.
The key verse for me is where David begs God not to take the Holy Spirit away from him. The Spirit has convicted David of sin, and David is conscious of his ongoing need for God’s presence in his life.
Forgiveness is total, grace is reigning and triumphing over what the Lord could not achieve. There are still consequences though – the child dies, Amnon rapes his half sister Tamar. Absolom then kilss Amnon and sleeps with one of David’s concubines on the roof. The sons follow their dad’s poor leadership.
Sin makes a lot of mess – Lord do not take your Holy Spirit from us, help us to stay clear of sin and close to you.