Summary: God used Nathan to call David to repentance. God uses faithful pastors today to do the same for us.
What’s your reaction when you come flying over a hill on the QEII and find a patrol car sitting in the median? Does your foot immediately go for the brake pedal? Do the palms of your hands get sweaty and your stomach churn? If the patrol car turns on its lights and swings into your lane, those feelings only intensify don’t they? Why do police officers have to put us through such angst! Why don’t they busy themselves tracking down real criminals? You know the answer of course. If no one patrolled the highways, half of us would already be in heaven due to our crazy driving or someone else’s! Police officers patrol the highways to keep us safe.
In today’s Agents of Grace sermon we’re going to learn how David’s pastor, the prophet Nathan, was like a highway patrol officer. He pulled David over because the king was living recklessly in the fast lane. God used Nathan to keep David from throwing away his eternal future in heaven. That’s how God still uses pastors today. To tell you more, let me continue this sermon from the perspective of Nathan.
So you want to know what it was like to be King David’s pastor, do you? For the most part it was a delightful experience. David was not only an eager student of God’s Word, he was also eager to do God’s will. For example it bothered David that while he lived in a palace, the Ark of the Covenant was still in a tent. So he told me about his plans to build a temple, and I encouraged him to do it. But then God told me that David was not to be the one to build the temple, his son Solomon would do that. David didn’t pout about the matter, instead he just poured himself in getting everything ready for his son to build the temple. That’s the kind of believer David was: focused on doing God’s will...most of the time. There was of course that thing with Bathsheba. Let me tell you about it.
After David had solidified his position as king, he decided to take it easy. He sent his army out to fight while he himself stayed home. That down time got David into trouble. That’s usually the way it works, doesn’t it? When things are going well and life is easy, we sinners forget that we need the Lord just as much as when things aren’t going well!
One night when David went outside on his balcony to enjoy the fresh spring air, he noticed a young woman bathing. David should have turned away immediately, but he let his eyes linger, and then his mind filled with impure thoughts. When David asked a servant to find out who the woman was he replied: “That’s Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” God was trying to hold David back from sinning even more, for the servant might as well have said: “Oh King, she is a married woman, and married to one of your most faithful soldiers!” You see, Uriah was one of David’s 30 most valiant men. But inflamed by passion, David could care less about that. And so he rushed further into sin heedless of the consequences, like a drunk man running barefoot through a bonfire. David called for Bathsheba and spent the night.
Why did David do such a thing? Not because God hadn’t already blessed him with much. Not because he didn’t have a good upbringing. But because even in the man after God’s own heart, evil lurked and when given the opportunity it struck hard! Evil also lurks in your heart dear friends. Don’t give it the opportunity to take control of you as it did David for a time.
In his mercy, God made it impossible for David to cover up his sin, though he tried. When David found out that Bathsheba was pregnant, he called Uriah home from the battle front and tried to get him to spend a night with his wife so that when the baby was born, he would think that it was his. David even got Uriah drunk to accomplish his wicked plan. But a drunk Uriah displayed more integrity than a sober David, for he refused to enjoy the luxuries of home while his fellow soldiers were still toughing it out on the battlefield.
So David thought up another plan. It was the despicable plan of putting Uriah in the thick of the fight so that he would be sure to die. Uriah did die, and David, thinking he was in the clear, took Bathsheba home to be his wife. But God knew what David had done. And so David’s life was far from peaceful. Over a year later David would write about this time: “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. 4 For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer” (Psalm 32:3, 4).