30 June, 2009

Am I the man? I AM the man. Part II

OK, so in part II of this short series about King David, we are going to look specifically at the story that the Prophet Nathan used to confront David with his sin in II Samuel chapter 12.

And the LORD sent Nathan unto David. And he came unto him, and said unto him, There were two men in one city; the one rich, and the other poor. The rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds: But the poor man had nothing, save one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up: and it grew up together with him, and with his children; it did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter. And there came a traveller unto the rich man, and he spared to take of his own flock and of his own herd, to dress for the wayfaring man that was come unto him; but took the poor man's lamb, and dressed it for the man that was come to him.
2 Samuel 12:1-4

Let’s begin by breaking down the story into its main characters:

  1. The Rich Man
  2. The Poor Man
  3. The Cherished Lamb

These are the characters in the story that always receive the attention in every sermon I have ever heard about this story.  Their parallels in real life are easily identifiable as David (Rich Man), Uriah (Poor Man), and Bathsheba (Cherished Lamb).

But there is another character in the story that doesn’t seem to get much attention.  A character whose parallel in real life is a little less obvious than the rest.

Look with me again in verse 4:

And there came a traveller unto the rich man, 2 Samuel 12:4a

We find here our fourth character in this story:

4. The Traveller

Who is this traveller?  We aren’t given very much information about him in the story, he just arrives at the home of the Rich Man and the Rich Man is compelled to feed him.

Let’s review briefly what happens in the story as it is written:

  1. The rich man is rich, he has many flocks and herds.
  2. The poor man is poor but he has a lamb that is loved and cherished.
  3. A traveler comes to visit the rich man and needs to eat.
  4. In order to feed the Traveller, the rich man chooses to take away the cherished lamb from the poor man instead of taking one of the many lambs in his own flocks.

Now let’s imagine the story played out in a different way, and I think this will help us to identify who The Traveller represents:

  1. The rich man is rich, he has many flocks and herds.
  2. The poor man is poor but he has a lamb that is loved and cherished.
  3. A traveler comes to visit the rich man and needs to eat.
  4. In order to feed the Traveller, the rich man simply takes one of the many lambs from his own flocks.

In this imagined version of the story, there is no problem right?  No harm, no foul.  The Rich Man is happy.  The Poor Man is happy with his Cherished Lamb.  The Traveller is happy and full of delicious lamb chops.

The point is this: The arrival of The Traveller set things in motion, but the simple fact that the traveller arrived at the house of the rich man was not in and of itself anything bad.  It could have ended up differently than it did.

This is getting long.  So stay tuned for Part III coming soon!

Who do you think The Traveller represents in the real life story of David?  Who do you think The Traveller represents in our lives?

28 June, 2009

Am I the man? I AM the man. Part I

I've been reading through II Samuel and recently came upon the story of our beloved King David and his sin with Bathsheba in chapter 11. Then in chapter 12 is where the prophet Nathan is sent by God to confront David about his sin.

In 2 Samuel 12:1-6 Nathan used a powerful story to illustrate exactly what David's sin looked like to the outside observer. And as we know, David, seeing the transgression from a position outside of himself declares that the rich man who killed the poor man's lamb should make restitution and be put to death.

Then come the words of Nathan in verse 7 that seem to hang in the air even to this day:
And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man.
There it is. It's that punch in the gut you know you deserve. As you lay there on the ground gasping for breath, you are incapable of being angry because you know it is exactly what you needed.

The conviction of the Holy Spirit can be the same in my life as a follower of Jesus Christ. How many times are we told in the book of Proverbs that every way of a man is right in his own eyes?

Thank you Lord for the Holy Spirit who shows us the sin in our lives that we would not see clearly on our own.

But seeing the sin is only the first step. After realizing that he indeed was the man, David had a choice to make. He had to choose how he was going to react to God pointing out the sin in his life. He had to decide whether to push aside God's efforts at reconciliation and proceed in his sin, or to repent from his sin and return to fellowship with Almighty God.

In verse 13 we see David's decision:
And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD.
David chose correctly. His repentance didn't eliminate the consequences that followed, but fellowship with the Lord was restored.

So what about me? What about you? What is my response when the Holy Spirit speaks to me clearly and says, "Ryan, thou art the man".

I too have to make the same decision David did; to accept God's efforts to reconcile me to Himself and repent from my sin, or choose to go on in my sin trying to ignore God's conviction.

Recently Keeley and I had a "break in fellowship" over an issue. As you might have guessed, I was the man in the situation. God made it abundantly clear that my sin had caused the problem and I needed to repent and make things right both with God and with my wife.

Accepting the blame goes against our nature. Great, great grandpa and grandma Adam and Eve provided us with an excellent legacy in this area, the original blame shifters. It is easier put the blame on someone else (my wife for example) than to accept the wrong and repent.

This time worked out fine. I listened to the Holy Spirit and made things right with God and my wife.

But what about next time? And the time after that? And the time after that?

I want to always respond correctly. "Yes, Lord. I am the man. Please forgive me"

How do you respond to the Holy Spirit's conviction in your life?

For Part II we will take a look at the characters in the story that Nathan used to confront David. Who do the characters represent in the life of David and what can learn from them?
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