Nathan Spoke Truth

“Thou art the man.”1 It was Nathan’s signature line (always best delivered in King James English). Through a veiled parable of a rich man pitilessly robbing a poor man of his sole possession—a pet lamb—the prophet had raised David’s ire to the boiling point, pouring over in condemnation of such injustice. Then Nathan proclaimed, “Thou art the man,” confronting the prosperous king for his adulterous affair with another man’s wife. Nathan spoke truth, as prophets must, and Israel’s greatest king confessed his heartless sin to God. This was not the first time Nathan sowed God’s truth into David’s soul; there had been another such moment, arguably a larger one.

Settled into his newly-built palace, David contemplated the irony: “Here I am, living in a house of cedar, while the ark of God remains in a tent.”2 His yen to build a more suitable structure for God’s presence was, in a way, commendable, but it was just that: David’s idea, not God’s. Uncharacteristically, Nathan replied without consulting God, “Whatever you have in mind, go ahead and do it, for the Lord is with you.”3 There they were—Israel’s leaders presuming, without seeking, to know and pursue what they thought best for God. But “people’s lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps.”4 Said God to Nathan later that night, “Go and tell my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord says: Are you the one to build me a house to dwell in?’”5 It was neither the king’s place nor within his capability to decide what was best for God, whose plans have been established from before the creation of the world. Instead, God sent Nathan back to David bearing His covenantal plan—that the Messiah would come through the king’s lineage: “Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.”6 David listened in humility and responded in submission, “Who am I, Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?”7 adding, “Do as you promised, so that your name will be great forever.”8

Even God’s people can speak hastily without first seeking Him, so we do well to listen with discernment for God’s voice. For our God is the God of grace, and with words of strength, wisdom and truth He still speaks to and through those who hear Him, aligning us with his plans, purposes and will. We who live in Christ by faith are united in Him, and it delights God to work through each of us for the growth of all of us. So, with submitted and discerning hearts, let us speak truth, as Nathan did.

“Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.”9

1 2 Samuel 12:7 KJV
2 2 Samuel 7:2
3 2 Samuel 7:3
4 Jeremiah 10:23
5 2 Samuel 7:5
6 2 Samuel 7:16
7 2 Samuel 7:18
8 2 Samuel 7:25, 26
9 Psalm 25:5