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Starting with a side note: I haven't read a word of Wiersbe's commentary yet and I'm already annoyed. As mentioned in previous posts, I am a huge fan of Wiersbe and his ability to bring the Old Testament to life in a way applicable to the our lives under the New Testament. But this particular book in his "Be" series has been repeatedly disappointing. First with some of the awkward "bolt on" references to Jesus (which is usually his strength), then with his treatment of Bathsheba. And now, I'm starting the chapter on the rape of Tamar and what does he title it, David's Unruly Sons. Not Tamar's Violation or even Amnon's Sins. But "unruly", like it was graffiti or something, not rape and murder. I swear this book is trying to turn me into a feminist.

OK, enough of that. Let's hope he does better with the actual scripture.

We're not off to a good start. He says this section is mostly about Absalom because he turns a drama into a tragedy. My guess is Tamar would disagree. I imagine she sees the tragedy start when she was defiled and raped.

Wiersbe points out that here are multiple laws in Leviticus and Deuteronomy that prohibit uncovering your half sister's nakedness. As heir to the throne, undoubtedly, Amnon knew this and should have dealt with his sinful thoughts; not pursued them.

There were separate quarters for the virgin princesses and they were kept separate, even from male relatives.

Oh, my. Wiersbe points out that the creepy cousin who helped push Amnon to his creepy plan to lure in Tamar, is the same person who was by David's side when David erroneously heard that ALL of his sons were murdered by Absalom. He even says, it's probably not all of them, Absalom has wanted to kill Amnon since "he violated his sister Tamar." That's awful. He knew it was a violation and yet he designed the whole rape. And has the nerve to distance himself from it.

Twice so far, Wiersbe is saying Amnon committed the rape out of lust. I don't buy that. Lust is burning desire. But it is not rape. Rape comes from wanting to own and damage someone else. He wasn't satisfying a desire or he wouldn't have hated her and kicked her out in humiliation after. Having sex with her was just his method of accomplishing his even more evil desires.

Wiersbe points out that Absalom's plan may not have helped Tamar, but did give him reason to kill his rival for the throne. With Amnon the first born out of the way, Absalom had a clear shot at the throne. It left his sister devastated and unavenged, but that didn't seem to be a concern.

Tamar couldn't go back to the home for the virgin princesses and she now had few prospects for marriage. So she had to go to Absalom, whose job it was to avenge her.

The topic of my previous post was the first half of the Amnon's rape of Tamar and Absalom's horrible initial response.

As we rejoin the story in verse 21, David is made aware of the whole situation. "And he was very angry."

For two years, Absalom was in a silent rage and did not speak to Amnon.

Then Absalom had a sheepshearing party and invited all the king's sons. Absalom tried to get King David to come, but David said no. So then Absalom asked if Amnon could come. David asked why (which is more than he asked about why Tamar should cook and feed Amnon), but it sounds like Absalom just kept urging and David said ok.

Why hadn't anyone done anything to Amnon prior to this? If David had heard about it and was angry, why is Amnon still alive and breathing? Ryrie has a note that Amnon was David's firstborn and was in line for the throne. This doesn't seem like an excuse for violating Mosaic law and violating one's daughter, but apparently David didn't see it that way.

So Absalom planned with his servants to get Amnon drunk and then slay him. And then they did. This caused all of the other sons of David to flee.

But when word got back to David it was wrong. He was told that all of David's sons were slain. So David and all of his servant tore their clothes in grief. But David's brother brought him the real update. The kings sons came home and everyone grieved.

Absalom fled and lived for three years in exile of the family.

Eventually. David's heart was comforted regrading Amnon and began to long to see his son, Absalom.

No mention of Tamar. I guess we have to assume she's still sitting in Absalom's house disgraced. And this action wasn't on her behalf, so it seems unlikely it was very much a comfort to her, seeing how Absalom framed it to her immediately following the rape.

I'm not much of a feminist, if anything I am, generally, in disagreement with what they stand for and believe. But this chapter is deeply unsatisfying and frustrating. Ultimately, I trust the Lord and His Word.

Tamar

So...this is one of those stories sprinkled through the Bible that show the daily horror of man. You don't expect a rape story; a family sexual abuse story in the Bible. At least I don't. But it shows God's intention for this book. It's meant to be a field manual from our leader, showing us where and how to go. A field manual that only mentions the best case scenarios is useless.

So here's the gist of it:

  • As mentioned previously, David had many wives. His son, Amnon.
  • From another mother, he had a brother and sister Tamar, and her brother Absalom.
  • Amnon lusted after Tamar. And he couldn't think of a way to "do anything to her". He was so obsessed with her, he made himself ill.
  • Amnon's creepy friend (also David's nephew) he use his father to force Tamar into serving him in his bedroom by deception.
  • Amnon thought this an excellent idea, pretended to be sick, requested that Tama serve him and his father obliged. Which is so gross. Why? David knew the truth about men's urges and such, why would he force the daughter of one wife to serve a sick son of another wife in his bedroom?
  • Tamar obediently obliges and cooks the food, but Amnon says, I want you to feed me by hand in my bed.
  • Amnon tries to force her and she replies with several things that caught my eye:
    • v. 12
    • She clearly starts with "no". She did not want this act.
    • Then she calls him "my brother". trying to highlight why it was wrong.
    • Then she says, "do not violate me". emphasizing it would not be sex, but a violation
    • "such a thing is not done in Israel" reminding him that the were a nation set apart and they did not abide in these perversions.
    • v. 13
    • The she points out that she would have no way to remove her reproach.
    • And he would be a fool among his nation.
    • And finally, she offers to marry him and make it legitimate by going to the king and asking for her.
  • v. 14 Amnon overpowers her and rapes and violates her.
  • v. 15 And then he despises her. He hated more intensely than he had been obsessed with her. I think this is a common response for abusers and predators. There are probably some basic psychological explanations, such as resenting that he wanted her and she didn't reciprocate, so when he had her, he could return the rejection. Or many they hate themselves, but are so narcissistic, they have to turn their hate on others. Whatever the reasoning, it is simple and plain evil. You have to harden your heart to allow yourself to do that to another human being and that means choosing evil over good. You invite in a cancer that you cannot contain to that one act.
  • And his creepy buddy, David's nephew, is complicit. Yes, Amnon is responsible for his own criminal behavior; but the devil successfully tempted the nephew to successfully tempt Amnon. Verse 2 says it was hard for Amnon to think of anyway to do anything to her. The nephew made a way.
  • Also in v. 15, he has her kicked out.
  • In v. 16, she begs him to do the only remaining right thing and marry her- pointing out that sending her away to spend the rest of her life carrying the shame and reproach is worse than the rape itself. It hurts my heart that many cultures make it so hard on rape victims. That they should be anything but victims who should be able to confidently bring charges to the abuser is so sad and infuriating. It doesn't help that some women cry 'rape', making it harder to automatically believe every woman.
  • Tamar would rather marry her rapist than to leave there in permanent shame. That just shocks the conscious.
  • v 17, this cowardly weasel has an attendant throw her out and lock the door. Again, this image is so callous and cowardly, it's tough not to hate this man.
  • In Verses 17 and 18, Tamar is left to respond in grief and shame, tearing her "virginal clothing" and covering herself in ashes, she leaves sobbing aloud. (Ryrie points out that she took the specific actions of a widow mourning her husband.)

The Fallout

The next scene in this gristly story gets progressively worse.

In v. 20, Tamar's brother discovers what happens and does a thing men are often inclined to do and that to simultaneously dismiss the woman's feels about the issue; and then take the issue, personally, to heart and go act on his own anger.

  • He confirms what happened with her.
  • Then he tells the rape victim to keep silent.
  • Then seems to say to keep quiet because it was her brother, as if that's better?
  • Then tells her not to take the matter to heart.

It's difficult to imagine how he could have handled this worse. What a horrible, horrible response.

  • Telling a rape victim to keep quiet is truly another violation. She has already lost control of her body once and now she's not allowed to speak of it? Horrible response #1. And I know some might say that he wanted her to keep quiet to help his revenge plan work better; but that's not a valid reason. She's supposed to do something so he can more easily do what it takes to make himself feel better? No. No. No. No. No. If talking about is what she needed; his revenge plot should be what suffers; not Tamar.
  • Then, I can't even describe how awful it sounds that he tells her to quiet down because it was her brother who did this thing. I hope there is something lost in translation because that is too horrible to consider.
  • And then Absalom has the nerve to tell her to not take it to heart. HE TAKES IT TO HEART. He gets to act on his anger; but she's supposed to not take it to heart. What a selfish, knuckle-dragging, asinine thing to say to someone who is hurting from such a personal violation. Because of her culture, her whole life has now changed. She can never be a virgin again, with all that entails. And he pats her on the head and dismisses her feelings-- all the while planning to exercise his own feelings on the matter.

And the proof he handled it completely wrong? The last sentence in Verse 20: "So Tamar remained was DESOLATE in her brother Absalom's house.

David confessed.

Nathan immediately informed him that the Lord had forgiven his sin.

"However"

Uh oh. The amazing, grateful blanket of relief of being forgiven by God. Followed by, "However".

Forgiven of sin is not the same as released from consequences. Particularly those natural consequences that match the action. (Just like we learned in Love and Logic teaching and parenting.)

The Lord had made a covenant with David and the next baby was going to be his 8th, which is the number of new beginnings. We learn that the baby Bathsheba and David do have (Solomon) became identified as the one to carry on the crown. This baby, the one conceived in utter base sin and covered up by murder, could not be the beginning of the Lord's bloodline. Nathan frames it this way, "You have given occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme."

The baby lived only a week, so he was unable to be circumcised and named.

Solomon was born and was living evidence of God's forgiveness; God's provision of a new start; and God's promise of a redeemed future for us all.

This scene with Bathsheba, although fundamental and foundation to the future of mankind, was only a side story as David was still in the era of conquest and had to go complete the battle against Rabbah, so that the victory would count for his name-although Joab had done the lion's share of the work. At least Joab (probably by God's prompting) recognized the need to support is king and bring him the victory.

I think I need to meditate on that. How often do I claim the victory for myself, so that my name may be lifted up. Even corrupt Joab knew to save the victory for the king, so that the king's name be praised and the nation stronger for having a strong king. If Joab had kept the victory for himself, it would have split the names of those strong military leaders, leaving the kingdom vulnerable to factions-just like the ones they were just now coming out from. But Joab saved the victory for the king.

I can and should do the same. Put the victory under the name of our one true, strong king. Never touching the glory of God for myself.

Lord- please give me the words to do that correctly. Sometimes it sounds so awkward to try and give you the glory for work tasks and such. But I know there is a way to make it a natural part of who I am. A reflex to extend the victory to the real victor. I submit myself to you and ask that you renew my mind in Christ Jesus; and change me in this way.

I've camped on these two chapters, 11 and 12, for weeks. I've had various other studies and such, but I really was camping on these chapters when I had my own reading time. I found them deeply compelling and rich in lessons. And at the end of all of the tumult, God gives the Israelites (and their leader) a huge victory. That's how God chose to end this scene. I know we get into the consequences of David's sin next, and that comes soon enough. But before God picks up with the rest of the story, he gives David a significant victory with a 75 pound crown to symbolize that he was still King, reigning under the grace of a God with a plan and a God that forgives.

That's a pretty cool way to top off such a disappointing detour in David's journey. What astounding hope that gives to the rest of us.

Oh You Hypocrite! (and me too)

Nathan's approach to David was inspired. Maybe God scripted it for him. Maybe his time under Saul's reign made him wary of a direct approach with a king; but he used storytelling to bring the King's own crime against him. and he made a lamb at the center of the story, probably because of David's time as a shepherd.

Stealing a domestic animal wasn't a capital offense. At yet, David pronounced death on the rich man in the story.

Think about that.

He was so shocked at the injustice in the story, he proclaimed the rich man should die.

Wile he was carrying around the sins he had done to Bathsheba and to Uriah without, seemingly, an ounce of remorse.

It's so easy to see the smallest sin in others. I know that I have been more mad at a driver that I perceive to be rude than remorseful for significant sins of my own. I attribute rationalizations to my sins, no matter how big, because I perceive myself as a, generally, good person. But other demonstrating what I perceive to be selfishness or thoughtlessness are showing that they are, generally, bad people. Not that I have that thought consciously at the time; but upon closer examination, that seems to be my thinking.

And God watches it with the same clarity that he watched David outraged at the rich man while being unmoved by his own evil.

Psalm 51

Wiersbe points to two Psalms attributed to David after Nathan's exhortation, Pslams 51 and 32. My Ryrie bible assumes that 32 is the sequel.

51:1 Starts off with a plea for grace, based in the characteristic of God, lovingkindness.

In verses 1-2 he actually asks to be washed and cleansed.

In verse 3, he acknowledges that, although he seemed to be unphased or unconcerned about his own sin, he knew. And it was always before him. That's how it is, often, with me. My conscious thoughts I can keep occupied and busy--distracted. But In the back of my mind, I know. It's there and it's clear, just quieted enough to be temporarily drowned out.

Verse 4 he acknowledges what I spoke of at length in a previous post-- his sin was, first and foremost, against God and in God's sight. He admits that God has every right to speak against and judge him.

I have verse 5 highlighted in my Bible yet struggle to completely understand it. Then The rest of the Psalm are his hopeful requests to God, again, based in God's character of justice, but also mercy and grace.

  • Purify me; wash me
  • Let my broken bones know joy
  • Blot out my sin
  • Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me
  • Do not take away you Holy Spirit (as you did with Saul)
  • Restore to me the joy of my salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors your ways and sinners will be converted to you.
  • Deliver me from blood-guiltiness
  • I will praise and worship you, not with burnt offerings, but with a broken and contrite spirit and heart.

In the final verses, 18-19, he extends his prayer to his nation.

Psalm 32

This is a Psalm looking back. His experience is fresh in his mind; but the crisis is behind him and he is reflecting.

In 32:1-2 David celebrates being forgiven and what a blessing it is. It is a blessing. Christians talk about forgiveness so much and place so much emphasis on it, that we forget it's a gift. Not to be taken for granted and expected. Even more, some parts of Christianity make it transaction. We use God's promise that if we confess and repent, we'll be forgiven as a mechanism. 'Ok, I confessed, now You forgive.' Forgetting that Jesus was beaten, humiliated, crucified, and faced down death to provide that forgiveness for you. He doesn't owe it to you because you said a magic phrase.

Lord- please forgive me for all of the time I took your forgiveness for granted and took it lightly. David is right to be amazed and proclaim us blessed if we know our sins are covered.

Even though David never seemed to be bothered by his sin until Nathan confronts him, it sounds like God was afflicting him physically and emotionally. (v 3-4)

And then, when David did confess, God forgave his guilt. (v 5)

In verse 6, David makes an excellent point- pray to God WHILE HE MAY BE FOUND. Again, God isn't bound by our wants and needs. We can't take for granted that He will be there when we decide to reach out. He is faithful. He is patient. He is loving. But He IS NOT beholden to us.

V 7. Then David praises God for being David's safety, security, and deliverance.

V 8-11 he brings the message to his people, his nation. Encouraging them to be obedient voluntarily, not as a beast of burden, who requires a bit and bridle to obey.

Wiersbe points out that Nathan had the privilege of being God's choice to present the covenant with David and now has the heavy responsibility of dealing with David's sin.

What this brings to mind for me is that God is the I am. All time is the same for Him. He knew when He sent Nathan with the covenant that He would be sending Nathan back with the judgement. And yet He still sent Him with the covenant. That blows my mind. As He is lifting David up he was experiencing the disappointment of the ultimate and permanent state of spoiler alert. He knows we are going to blow it and blow it big, even on our worst day. It's mind blowing; but it is comforting. He knew Jesus was going to pay for all of those sins so that we can return to and remain in communion with our Lord.

Praise the living God. Grace and mercy in one painful scene.

God Restores

There is something so compelling, not just the image of a man on his face fasting and pleading with the Lord, but when told no, calming getting up, cleaning up and anointing himself and then worshiping the Lord. And then, and only then, breaking his fast. The servants who observed it firsthand marveled.

We just don't see that much today. It all could happen in private; so maybe it does happen. But we don't hear much about God from our public figures. If they don't do much to emphasize Him, it's hard to imagine the rest. I guess that's why David would get such a honored moniker of "man after God's own heart", despite his horrific sin- this side of him was such a positive example.

v. 24 A lot happens in this verse.

  • David comforts Bathsheba. That seems significant. It shows he was compassionate and recognized her need. It sees very pro-woman for the time. Giving time and attention to her need after the loss. Many cultures dismiss woman as second class citizens and yet God included this in His Holy book.
  • Then they tried again within the confines of a legal marriage and she conceived, and gave birth to Solomon.
  • "Now the Lord loved him." I assume this means Solomon, since that's the last male name in the story; but I wonder if it also means David- having restored the situation.

God (via Nathan) named Solomon Jedidiah, for the Lord's sake. This means beloved of the Lord. Ryrie says this name marked him as successor for the throne.

One final thing that struck me from this whole passage. This seems to be a model of how to be restored after sin. You confess, repent, ask for forgiveness, worship God, and then you accept forgiveness and return to walking in faith, understanding that, although there still may be consequences to come, your sin itself has been forgiven. David didn't walk around letting the devil tell him what a bad person he was. He didn't walk away from God and go his own way. He didn't stay at the castle, hidden in shame. He went on with life, as God had granted to him; letting God's forgiveness be enough. Because it is enough and it is all that can be. Nothing David did could have added to what God granted.

We cannot let the enemy chase us around waving our past at us, 'for shame, for shame'. Accept the unearned gifts of grace and mercy, worship the Lord, and move on with life.

Back to the Battle

Verve 26 takes up back to the battle against the Ammon battle. Joab had, basically, won the battle and told David to come and claim the victory. So David arrived with the rest of the troops and took the crown from the king (75 pound crown!)

vs. 31 is a grim ending to this chapter. After David defeats Ammon, takes their spoils, and then, depending on the interpretation, he either puts them all to hard labor or kills them all in gruesome manners similar o how they killed prisoners.

I really slowed down in this chapter. There just seemed to be so much there. I look forward to comparing what struck me with what I find in the Wiersbe commentary.

v 15b ..."Then the Lord struck the child that Uriah's widow bore to David, so that he was very sick."

A couple of items to contemplate from this verse:

  • It is specific that the Lord struck the child sick.
  • The child was male.
  • The author phrases it as Uriah's widow, not Bathsheba, keeping the cause of the issue in the forefront. She bore another man's child.
  • And, the Lord struck the child sick, not dead.

Why sick and not dead? As always, I do not presume to speak for God; but the next verse is my clue:

v. 16 "Davis, therefore, inquired of God for the child; and David fasted and went and lay all night on the ground." For seven days, he denied himself to intercede for the child. Even when his elders were pressuring him to eat and take care of himself. To the point they thought he might harm himself when the baby actually died.

David got himself (and the baby and Bathsheba, and everyone else) into this when he refused to deny himself everything he wanted- even when what he wanted wasn't his to have.

And even more importantly, David still had hope for the child and went seeking God's face. Something else he wasn't doing before Nathan came to him.

In other words, David was genuinely repenting and his behavior (at cost to himself) was demonstrating that he really got the point. When we babysit our nieces and nephew and catch them doing something wrong, we correct them. And if we get a smirk or a grin in return, we try again to show them why what they did was wrong. We make an effort to explain it and we look for signs that they "got it". Otherwise, the second we left the room they would resume. We didn't want external pressure to be the only thing mitigating the behavior; but an internal understanding. A smirk does not denote internal understanding. So I used to joke that I wasn't done with the correction until I saw them cry. I did not want them to cry, but I was looking for a sign that they understood, in a real way, that what they had done was unsafe or mean, or whatever. Sometimes, it meant when they did get it, they would tear up.

That's what I perceive as happening with David. Suddenly, the life of his child was on the line and he understood that it was his choices that led to this. Personal responsibility before the Lord.

He also understood that the Lord was his only help. What his elders had to say was useless in light of the circumstances. God and God along could decide how the story would end.

And then this chapter of the story did end tragically. The baby died.

In response, David ended his vigil and went to worship the Lord. Only then did he end his fast and return to his normal life. This was very confusing to the elders, who understood the world, but not necessarily, the Lord. So they asked David about his surprising behavior. Here's his reply: (my paraphrase)

v. 22-23 While the baby was alive, I had hope that God would intervene by His graciousness and answer my prayer. But His answer was 'no', so now it is out of my control. God has decided and it is final.

I want to burn this scene into my mind. I think there are so many lessons for living.

  • There are consequences for sin. Sometimes we pay them, sometimes we are forgiven of the sin and the consequence, and sometimes we are forgiven of the sin, but still bear the natural consequence.
  • Genuine repentance bears witness through changed behavior. David didn't have his men fast, as Saul had done when he was trying to change outcomes. David fasted in a long and serious way.
  • David took personal responsibility. There's no evidence that anyone fasted with David or shared in this scene.
  • Faith is asking God for what you want and keep asking with confidence that He may say yes.
  • However, when God clearly says no, and a door is closed, faith is also accepting the no and still remembering that God is good and perfect and there is a reason for the no that is beyond what we can comprehend. (In this case, the salvation of the world and blaspheme of God was on the line, so He said no and the whole world was a better place for denying David's request to avoid the consequences of his sin.
  • Those around us may not understand the scene we are having with God. It may look mysterious, strange, or wrong to them; but if we're being led by the Holy Spirit and we're genuinely trying to love out our faith in the Lord, we keep on keeping on until we're on the other side and can better explain ourselves.
  • A child died. That is the most horrible thing many of us can imagine. While it would be unwise to casually throw out this story to someone in a trying situation; it is worth pointing out that God is in the trials of life with us. This story has a lot to say to those suffering.
  • Notice Nathan was gone at this point. God used Nathan to speak to David at first, but then it came down to God and David. When we try to minister to people, we should never forget that we only have a small part to play. The real change happens when that person gets alone with God.

Consequences of Sin

v10-12. You slayed by the sword; and now the sword will never leave your house. Consequences:

  • Rise up evil from your own household
  • Take your wives
  • Companion will lie with them in broad daylight
  • You did in secret, I will do before Israel and in the sunlight

Plot Twist

v 13 Just when it seems the Lord's anger is building and the consequences are increasing, an amazing thing happens.

  • First, David's response to Nathan's Word from God. He admits that he sinned, and specifically, sinned against God. This is good that he recognized and acknowledged his sin; but this isn't the amazing part.
  • In the same verse, Nathan responds to David's confession with, "The Lord also has taken away your sin; you shall not die."
  • Sadly, this is followed by, "However, because by this deed you have given occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also that is born to you shall surely die."

Then Nathan leaves.

There's a lot to unpack in these few verses.

Previously, God had reminded David of who God was and what He had done for David. Then He explained how David sinned against Him, the Lord. Then God recounts David's sin against Uriah. Now we come to the consequences.

It's not explicitly noted, but it seems like there are separate sins for the murder and then the adultery. And they seem to be a reflection of each sin itself. This is tragic and scary. However, we have often seen this in the Old Testament books. People sin. God delivers righteous judgement and consequences.

And David's response is within what we'd expect as well. Confession when faced with God's judgement. Even Saul did this (several times).

But then we immediately see God's mercy and grace in a moment.

He takes away David's sin, removing the well deserved death penalty.

The grace and mercy is not surprising. Every time Israel or one of her people sinned and God sent punishment, He always sent mercy and grace to allow them to go on. But it's never been so stark and immediate to me. This took my breath away. "The Lord also has taken away your sin; you shall not die."

Why?

Why would David receive such preferential treatment? I know. I know. He pays a HUGE price, beginning in the next sentence. And God doesn't free Him from the other natural consequences of his actions; just the legal requirement that he face death as punishment. So God didn't etch-a-sketch the whole thing away. But still, in the midst of His judgement, He also delivers immediate amnesty. It seems noteworthy. Shocking, really. So...why?

Of course, if God wanted us to know why, He would have added it to the text. So there might be a million reasons and they are all His own. We're not entitled to them (or anything else). But there is a substantial hint in the next verse, when David hears the bad news side of the commutation:

"However, because by this deed you have given occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also born to you shall surely die."

He gave us the the "because", so He gave us the "why". Lots of people commit adultery; but never once, that I know of, did God note that the adultery could give God's enemy a weapon.

What made David's adultery different? In chapter 7, God established an individual covenant with David and it included promises such as God establishing a forever kingdom in God's name.

God spared David for God and God's name, in my opinion. To our human ear, maybe that sounds like I'm calling God selfish. But God's forever kingdom comes through Jesus. And if that baby is born in the sins of adultery and murder, God's plan, as we now know it, is stained and imperfect. Stained and imperfect cannot redeem humanity and gets us back to a right relationship with God.

God spared David for us. All of us. BUT...THROUGH HIS PLAN. And since we don't know His thoughts or His plans, all we can do is pray and have faith and be grateful that we know He is good and He is for us. A baby was born and then died for all of us. Seems to have some parallels to another story we hear much later in this book.

It's worth remembering, God has a plan and his plan will not be denied. And even if we fail our part of the plan, we can either be Peter, failing and being redeemed by Christ, or Judas, failing and paying with his life for eternity. We learn in upcoming verses that David fails and God's plan proceeds anyway; AND David is redeemed by His faith in God.

One final question I pondered from this short set of verses. When Nathan finished giving his original message from the Lord, the first words out of David's mouth was a confession that he had sinned against God. He got it. He wasn't apologizing for getting caught; or for the sins themselves. He was confessing that those sins had actually been against God. It was immediately after that confession, in the same verse, in the next sentence, Nathan spoke forgiveness to David from God.

So here's my pondering...what if David hadn't? What if, instead, he had blamed Bathsheba, or God himself, like Adam did? Or if he blamed his men, like Saul did? Or some other rationale or defense?

I think God would have found a way to move His plan forward, regardless. But I wonder what would have happened to David? Things get really bad as it is...I have to wonder what God would have done if David had acted like the other men who sinned before God in previous books? I don't have a theory, so I didn't explore it very far. But I suspect. The answer would be sobering.

It's worth remembering that, it seems, God takes it quite seriously when one confesses immediately, taking personal responsibility, and most importantly, recognizing that sin itself is less important than recognizing that the sin, any sin, is directly against God.

The Lord sent Nathan to David

Nathan tells the story of the rich man who takes a poor man's only lamb to provide for a traveler. David is enraged by the lack of compassion and points out that the rich man deserves to die, demanding four-fold restitution.

The wording seems purposeful. Deserves to die. David did deserve to die. He did horrible things. We all deserve to die. We've done horrible things in rebellion of the everlasting Lord.

Also of interest in this opening section is that the mere parable made David's "anger burn greatly". However, his actual actions didn't shock his conscience. There is something about our sin that makes us blind, even the biggest sin we can rationalize or just put out of mind. But the smallest sin of others we can see so clearly. I judge the moral character of a driver who dose some thoughtless driving mistake; but excuse myself for much worse sin because...well, because of whatever rationalization I have in the moment. But God sees it clearly and in proportion. Whenever I am able to consciously catch myself judging another, I try to see if I have a parallel weakness. Unsurprisingly, when I examine myself, I always find it. Just another sinner dependent on grace and mercy that I don't deserve.

"You are the man!"

Nathan brings the words of the Lord to David, and doesn't start with David's sin; but instead, David's God.

God starts with Himself and who He is. Which is what sinners forget when they sin. It's not about us. Sin is about God. If you are sinning, you're telling God you're not happy with the provision He has provided. And that's the exact message the Lord brings: (verses 7-8)

  • I made you King.
  • I spared you from Saul
  • I gave you your house and all that you have
  • I gave you the entire nation of Israel and Judah
  • If this hadn't been enough; I would have happily given you more

Then the Lord focuses on David (verse 9)

  • You despised the word of the Lord
  • by doing evil in His sight

When we sin, we are despising His Word. I hadn't really meditated on what that really means. God had the Lord written down, and as King, David was required to know it and even had his own copy. This wasn't some obscure passage of text, this was murder and adultery and probably many more in the process. Even though he may not have consciously despised God's law when he sinned; he had the law in his head and disregarded it-trusting his own lusts over God's Word.

I do that every time I sin as well. It's even more egregious when I do it because I have the blessing of the Holy Spirit living inside me. I'm denying God directly, not just the written version of His Word. (Just as an aside, David had the Spirit, but I don't know the theology of how that experience compare to the New testament believer.)

Also in this verse, our sin is always in His sight. It's never hidden. It's never unknown. We are despising His word IN HIS SIGHT. We don't think of that way, so we're never dealing with how offensive it is to Him. So blatant and disrespectful.

Then, and only then, after God lists His provision and then explains how David sinned against Him, personally, does God actually list the sin themselves. I used to say that it hurt me most when someone I loved used a weakness against me, not just because of the weakness, but because of the choice to use it against me. The sin was bad enough; but buried under the layers of David's personal betrayal to God.

I feel so convicted right now.