Summary: This message focus on the intended meaning of the revelation of God's judgment and grace to David after committing adultery and murder. It focus also on the intended response to all audience including all of us after God's revelation of judgment and grace
God's Judgment and Grace for David
The last sentence of chapter 11 tells us that God is displeased with what David had done. On the other hand chapter 12 reveals God's action towards the sin of David. If we can observe the text starts by telling us that God sends prophet Nathan. Then prophet Nathan narrates a story through a comedic parable. Then later on, David responded to the message of God through Nathan with conviction and repentance. Then God executes his judgment to David but with grace. Then we can see further that life continues with David and he was given honor for winning a battle instead of Joab. My goal today is to let you see the intended meaning of the narrative and the impact it has for David and its readers. Then to draw its relevant meaning to us presently.
So in our first observation God sends prophet Nathan. Prophets are very significant in the OT. Prophets are “God’s spokesperson, covenant enforcement mediators, deliverers of God’s message not of their own and delivers God’s coming immediate judgment.” (Fee and Stuart 1993, 182-191.) The purpose of Prophet Nathan is to tell David that he breach covenant with God/sinned against the Lord. And with that is to tell him also that God is implementing judgment on him in these forms: He will bring calamity against you from your own household. He will take your wives before your eyes and give them to you companion and he will lie with your wives in broad daylight. In ancient times "When stipulations were violated, the suzerain was required by the covenant to take action to punish the vassal." (Fee and Stuart 1993, 165.) This is what God does through Prophet Nathan.
The second observation we have is that Nathan delivers his message through comedic parable. A parable is a short story made to be known for the intended hearer but unknown for others. It’s purpose is “To call forth a response.” (Fee and Stuart 1993, 152.) On the other hand a comedy genre is an Ironic story. Klein and others define comedy as, "A narrative whose plot has a happy ending, in some cases through a dramatic reversal." (Klein, Blomberg and Hubbard 2004, 334.) In here the irony is on how David was indignant to the rich man in the parable and quickly gave judgment upon him. But in reality, Nathan reveals that it was David. So we can see that the judgment of David returned to him. The readers would be happy to see how God gave justice to the innocent people who are victims of David's abuse of authority in the cover up of his sins in chapter 11. This is a slap on David’s face. The intention of the parable is to convict arrogant David of his sins. Nathan said, he gave the enemy an occasion to blaspheme the Lord because of his deed. He recognize the sins of others but not of himself. He is quick to judge others but failed to make judgment upon himself. The second purpose is to reveal the real condition of David. As God said, He could have given David more if he felt he still lacks the blessings of God but God saw him greedy to take Bathsheba his wife. Also though he taught no one saw his sins, yet God makes it clear that God saw his hidden sins. So by his words he was giving judgment to himself.
The third observation we have is that as a result, David responded with conviction and repentance. He recognize that he was guilty of taking the wife of Uriah and killing Uriah through the sword of the Ammonites. We see that he mourned and fasted and even interceded for the child. This is a sign of conviction and repentance.
The fourth observation we have is that God executes his judgment but at the same time extended grace on David. The punishment for adultery is death. But God forgives the David’s sins but took the life of the child as a substitute for his punishment. God extended his life because God showed grace and mercy. We can therefore see that David’s life is at the mercy of God’s hand. His life now that he enjoys is already a second chance given by God. it is just an extension because God choose to be gracious for him. This is the same for us. Jesus Christ is the substitute for the penalty of our sins once and for all.
The fifth observation we have is, Joab has given David the honor in winning the battle. I see it as the visible extension of grace. I think the point of the author here is to tell us that David receive an honor through Joab who giveth it to him instead of making an honor in his name for winning a battle. Thus the ending of the chapter mirrors the grace of God which was given to him. He did not deserve it yet God was gracious.