Guilty of adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband Uriah, King David’s sin has separated him from God. Instead of ignoring these sins or even quickly putting David to death, God sends Nathan, the prophet, to confront the king (2 Samuel 12:1). Ultimately, David is repentant and responds, “I have sinned against the Lord” (2 Samuel 12:13); as disgusting as his sin was, God forgives. We can learn several powerful and important lessons from David’s interactions with Nathan.
Nathan reminds us that even secret sins will eventually be exposed. Nathan assured David that God was well aware of everything he had done. Nathan asked, “Why have you despised the word of the Lord by doing evil in His sight?” (2 Samuel 12:9). He then declared, “Indeed you did it secretly…” (2 Samuel 12:12). There is no good or evil thing that happens without the knowledge of God.
Nathan reminds us of God’s mercy. The encounter between these two men only happened because God was merciful. The first verse of the chapter tells us that “the Lord sent Nathan to David (2 Samuel 12:1). Twice, as Nathan points out David’s sins, he says, “Thus says the Lord” (2 Samuel 12:7, 11). God proactively chose to address David’s sin, seek David’s repentance, and ultimately forgive him because God is merciful.
Nathan also reminds us how we must respond when confronted with our sins. David’s repentance was not prideful, indifferent, or angry but humble, faithful, and obedient. God mercifully sent His Son to die on the cross and revealed to us, through His word, how our sins can also be forgiven. Our response to God’s needs to be humble, faithful, and obedient as David’s.