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Summary: #3 of 4 sermons dealing with David’s sin with Bathsheba, its effects, and David’s ultimate restoration.

A Needed Rebuke

(2 Samuel 12:1-14)

I. Nathan

A. Confronting the king was risky

B. Confronting the king was necessary

II. David

A. God’s judgment

B. God’s warning

C. God’s grace


The British sent Brigadier General Ivan Simpson to Singapore in August 1941. His mission was to improve local defenses. However, Simpson had been met with complete indifference. He was shocked to see the northern beaches undefended, and had pled for resources to fortify them. In every case his superior, General Percival, had ignored him.

Finally, on December 26, 1941, almost three weeks after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Brigadier Simpson went to Percival’s house to plead his case one last time. When Percival again refused to listen, Simpson said, “General, I’ve raised the question time after time. You’ve always refused, and you’ve always failed to give me any reasons. At least tell me one thing—why are you taking this stand?”

Percival responded, “I believe that defenses of the sort you want to throw up are bad for the morale of the troops and civilians.” Simpson was stunned for a moment by the general’s response. Then he said, “Sir, it’s going to be much worse for morale if the Japanese start running all over the island.” Within two months, Singapore had surrendered (Noel Barber, “The Fall of Singapore,” Reader’s Digest Illustrated Story of World War II, p. 44).

Last week we took another look at the fall of David. In particular, we focused on the cycle of unrepentant sin. We saw how easy it is for us to get trapped in the quicksand of sin and find ourselves unable to get free from its downward pull. David’s first step into sin eventually led to a cover up attempt involving the murder of an innocent man.

When we left the story last week, it seemed that this would be the end of the repercussions for David. It appeared as though he had gotten away with his crimes. Yet, the final words of that account make it clear that David’s troubles were far from over. The writer of 2 Samuel records this conclusion to the matter, But the thing David had done displeased the Lord (11:27b).

This morning we will pick up the story where we left off and look at what transpired after David’s sin and attempted cover up. This is the account of the famous confrontation between a humble prophet and a haughty king. It gives us some practical insight into dealing with the problem of unrepentant sin.

The story of the confrontation between the prophet Nathan and king David teaches us about the importance of listening to the voice of God. God’s words are not always pleasant. His commands are not always easy. But when we heed His instructions, we discover that they always lead us to salvation. We need to listen to what the Lord is saying to us at all times, even today. Please turn with me in your Bibles to 2 Samuel 12:1-14.

This story deals with two main characters and exhibits the importance of their individual obedience to the voice of God with regard to dealing with sin.


The first person mentioned in this account is the prophet Nathan. The first time we read about Nathan is in 2 Samuel 7 in connection with David’s desire to build a house for God. Nathan was used of the Lord on that occasion to give David the promise that God would establish the house of David forever. He bought David the good news: “Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever” (7:16). From that time on, Nathan served as a prophet and royal advisor into the beginning of the reign of King Solomon.

It has been said of Nathan that he truly “lived up to the meaning of his name, ‘He [God] has given.’ He was a necessary and helpful gift from God to David. He served as God’s spokesman to David and proved himself a fearless friend and counselor, always willing to speak the truth, even when he knew great pain would result (LAB, Nathan, p. 515).

2 Samuel 12 is the account of one of those painful moments for Nathan. King David had committed a great sin and then had tried to cover it up with an even greater sin. V. 1 tells us, The Lord sent Nathan to David. Nathan had heard the voice of God calling him to confront the sins of the king. He had a choice to make: take the immediately easy way by ignoring God, or listen to God’s necessary command and face an uncertain reaction from a guilty king. Nathan’s decision teaches us the importance of listening to God even when what He asks us to do is not easy. I want to look at Nathan’s response from two perspectives.

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