Day 17 2 Samuel 12:1-25 ... Caught In The Act

In a society where the ruler makes the laws, who can hold the ruler accountable? All over the globe today, people who live under the thumb of tyrants ask that same question. But from the beginning, God had established Israel as his kingdom, with its ruler as his representative, not the final authority. And after David's great sin, God sent the prophet Nathan to confront the king.

It was Nathan who had conveyed to the king God's lavish promise to establish David's "house" (1 Chronicles). This time he, a welcome guest of the palace, came with a heartrending tale of poverty, greed, and injustice. He presented the case to David, the highest judge in Israel, for a verdict. David knew exactly how to decide such a case: The man deserved to die! When he said so, Nathan delivered his own devastating verdict, "You are the man!"

In this dramatic scene David's greatness shows itself. There was nothing novel in his saga of lust, greed, adultery, and murder, but very much was novel in his response to Nathan. He could have had Nathan killed. Or he could have laughed and thrown him out of the palace. Instead, David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the Lord." Immediately, he admitted his guilt, acknowledging God as the true ruler of the land.

To appreciate David's confession, you only have to think of the response of leaders "caught in the act" in our own time: a president squirming before the cameras during Watergate and reluctantly conceding, "Wrongs were committed"; a parade of officials marching before the Senate during the Irangate hearing with alibis, excuses, and rationalizations; a presidential candidate denying well-substantiated charges of habitual womanizing. In contrast to these accused leaders, King David saw at once the heart of the issue. He had sinned not just against Uriah and his country, but against the Lord.

David was a great king partly because he did not act with the normal pride of a great king. Confronted with the truth, he repented. Forgiveness came in an instant, but the consequences of David's actions would plague the kingdom for a generation. For one thing, he had lost moral authority within his own family. Over the next few years, one of David's sons would rape his sister, and another would kill his brother and launch a coup against David himself. King David had left a legacy of abuse of power, and not all his successors would be so quick to repent.

Point to Ponder: : How do you react instinctively when someone confronts you over wrongdoing?