My son’s name is Nathan… but that’s not the Nathan this blog-post is about.
Nathan (“Gift”) was the prophet to King David that Samuel was to King Saul… except David listened to Nathan.
Nathan was present in 3 particular episodes of David’s life:
2Samuel 7:1-17… David confided in Nathan his desire to build a permanent house for God to replace the portable tabernacle that had been used since the Israelites had left Egypt.
– David’s Request (v.1-7)
– God’s Response (v.8-17)
* The Promise to David (v.8-11)
* The Promise to David’s Descendant (v.12-15)
* The Promise to David’s Descendants (v.16,17)
Nathan delivered God’s answer – a refusal mixed with big blessing. God did not want David to build Him a temple (a responsibility that would fall to his son, Solomon), but He promised David would have rest from his enemies and would have an eternal dynasty.
How did David respond to this disappointment? He submitted to the will of God, he listened to the Word of God, and he stuck with the worship of God.
– David the Sinner (11:1-27)
* His Sin of Adultery (v.1-5)
* His Sin of Deceit (v.6-13)
* His Sin of Murder (v.14-27)
David had seduced Bathsheba, had an affair with her, and found out she was pregnant. He arranged to try to have Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah, killed so he could “heroically” take Bathsheba as his own… and, hopefully, fool people into thinking the baby was conceived after their marriage.
– David the Sorrowful (12:1-13)
* The Confrontation (v.1-12)
Nathan confronted David, using the first parable recorded in the Bible… comparing David to a rich man who stole a poor man’s one lamb. David said, “The man who did this deserves to die!” Nathan said, “You are that man!”
* The Confession (v.13)
David acknowledged his sin, but the damage could not be undone.
This chapter from David’s life is the perfect example of why David was a “man after God’s own heart”. Not because he never sinned; he did… sometimes in a BIG way! It wasn’t because he never sinned, but that he was quick to confess… BIG!
* David the Submissive (12:14-25)
Nathan told David that his son by Bathsheba would die, and that David and his heirs would forever be plagued by violence.
1Kings 1:5-53… Nathan & David were now old. Nathan was working to install one of David’s & Bathsheba’s surviving sons, Solomon, on Israel’s throne. God had always seemed to be with Solomon (2Sam. 12:24,25), so, when another of David’s sons tried to take the throne, Nathan acted quickly… showing he had political skill as well as prophetic wisdom. Together, with Bathsheba, he convinced the dying King David to name Solomon his heir to the throne.
Think of the tact this must have taken. David had already given up the sword, but it was now his time to give up the scepter.
A wise leader knows when it is time to step aside; but, sometimes it takes a Nathan to convince us to do what’s right.
A Nathan friend is the best kind of friend… someone who is close enough, and loves you enough, to shoot straight with you when he/she needs to.
A Nathan friend helps to hold us accountable… asks the tough questions… and loves enough to tell the truth, even when it might hurt.
Everyone ought to have a Nathan friend.
You can read Nathan’s story throughout King David’s reign, but, particularly, in 2Samuel 7;11;12; and 1Kings 1.