Summary: Second Samuel 12:1-15 shows us three steps God uses to restore sinners back into fellowship with himself.
Second Samuel chapters 10 to 12 describe David’s battle with the Ammonites. Sandwiched in the middle of these chapters is the shocking account of David’s dreadful sin against Bathsheba and Uriah, which we examined last time. Months later, the Lord sent his prophet Nathan to confront David about his sin.
Let’s read Nathan’s rebuke of David in 2 Samuel 12:1-15:
1 And the Lord sent Nathan to David. He came to him and said to him, “There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor. 2 The rich man had very many flocks and herds, 3 but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. And he brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children. It used to eat of his morsel and drink from his cup and lie in his arms, and it was like a daughter to him. 4 Now there came a traveler to the rich man, and he was unwilling to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the guest who had come to him, but he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.” 5 Then David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the Lord lives, the man who has done this deserves to die, 6 and he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.”
7 Nathan said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you out of the hand of Saul. 8 And I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your arms and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah. And if this were too little, I would add to you as much more. 9 Why have you despised the word of the Lord, to do what is evil in his sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and have taken his wife to be your wife and have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. 10 Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’ 11 Thus says the Lord, ‘Behold, I will raise up evil against you out of your own house. And I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun. 12 For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel and before the sun.’ ” 13 David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die. 14 Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the Lord, the child who is born to you shall die.” 15 Then Nathan went to his house. (2 Samuel 12:1-15)
Many months passed by after King David’s sin against Bathsheba and Uriah. Bathsheba became pregnant and David was confronted by Nathan after the birth of that child. So, at least nine months had gone by before Nathan spoke to David. Some commentators believe that it was as many as eighteen months after David’s illicit liaison with Bathsheba that Nathan confronted him. The point is that for many months David tried to forget what he had done. He had suppressed any pangs of conscience he might have felt about his sins against Bathsheba and Uriah.
Someone once wrote, “Most of us find peace over past sins by trying to forget and move on. We find comfort in the distance that comes with the passing of time. The further we are from our sins, the less we feel they mark our lives and the less guilty we feel…. Do I even remember half of the wrongs I’ve done? The truth is that I’ve conveniently forgotten most of my violations.” Does that resonate with you? I know it does with me. The author goes on to tell the following story:
I read a newspaper story about a woman named Jill Price who has a rare condition doctors call “superior autobiographical memory.” Jill can recall in vivid detail every day of her life since age fourteen. Experts at the University of California studied her for six years to confirm her ability. If you’ve ever wished you had a better memory, you might want to reconsider. Jill views it as a blessing and a curse. She has warm memories that comfort her in difficult times, but there’s also a dark side. She recalls every bad decision, every insult, and every excruciating embarrassment. Over the years, Jill said, the memories have eaten her up. She feels paralyzed and assaulted by them. Peaceful sleep is rare.