If God has called you to be his messenger, if you're to be one that's to fill a pulpit of some church someday, then for God's sake make preaching a skill.
Do it right or don't do it. Don't apologize for a slovenly done job in the pulpit. God calls you to be a confronter confronted.
We'll raise up in this generation men that can do the job in the declaration of the truth. We're talking about the secret life of sin. Through this historic face-off, we find deep lessons on life and love, even when conflict is painful and awkward.
Chuck assigned a one-word title for today's passage. We're talking about confrontation. David, the great man of God, was not perfect. When he was about 50 years of age, perhaps a little older, he committed adultery. And then rather than facing it and admitting it, he covered it up with premeditated murder, and adding insult to injury, he lived a lie of hypocrisy and deception for the better part of a year. In a very marvelous move on God's part, he brought before David a man who told him the truth.
And I don't think any other confrontation has ever been so brief and so effective. Tonight we're looking at that very honest advisor who told David the truth, and I'd like you to turn to 2 Samuel 11 to start with, and then we'll work our way into chapter 12. If you look at the last sentence of verse 27, the 11th chapter, the thing that David had done was evil in the sight of the Lord. What was evil 3,000 years ago is evil today, even though many people do it.
To cheapen a marriage with an adulterous relationship is still a willful sin, even though many carry it out. Maybe nobody else noticed, but God noticed, and he began to mark his plan and stretch out a strategy that was designed to bring David to his knees at just the right time. Flash over to Psalm 51, a psalm of David when Nathan the prophet came to him after he had gone into Bathsheba.
So this psalm was written in David's journal after Nathan had paid that fateful visit. David admits in the middle of it, verse 2, wash me thoroughly from my sin, from my iniquity. Cleanse me from my sin. I know my transgressions.
My sin is ever before me. He wasn't relaxing, taking life easy. He had sleepless nights. It went on and on until finally, you notice, he says in verse 12, restore to me the joy of thy salvation. He had no joy. He stopped writing.
You don't read many psalms written by David during that 12 month interval. In fact, he says in verse 10, create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. He was unstable. He felt inferior. He was insecure. He couldn't handle the blows of the office because he was living a lie. Sin does that to you. It's part of the wages that sin inevitably pays. Now 2 Samuel chapter 12 is the story of this incredible confrontation where Nathan stepped into David's life and told him the truth.
Let's work our way through it. To begin with, will you notice that Nathan was sent by the Lord, verse 1. Then the Lord sent Nathan to David.
I think the most important word in the entire sentence is the first one, then. It's believed by many Old Testament scholars that there was a 12 month interval that passed before Nathan paid the visit. The baby was at least three months old. God waited until just the right time.
He let misery do its full work and then he stepped in. Now if you are the one who was called upon in today's future to confront someone in their sin, learn a lesson from that word then. The timing is as important as the wording. Simply to tighten your belt and grab your Bible and take a trip and confront a person who is in sin at your convenience is unwise. You better be sure that you're sent by the Lord. Nathan was. Then the Lord sent Nathan to David and he came to him and look at what he said. Now I want you to put yourself in the sandals of that fearless prophet. No prophet was ever given a more difficult commission than Nathan. He was to stand before the most powerful man in the nation and tell that man what the man had denied for a year and no one else around the place would tell David. There were some raised eyebrows, there were some tongues and cheeks, but nobody would be honest and forthright enough to say, David, you're in sin. God said to Nathan, go to David and tell him. Now will you observe that as he was on his way to David's presence, he thought through how he would present this confrontation.
It was a brilliant stroke. Verse 1 continues, he came to him and said, there were two men in one city, the one rich and the other poor. The rich man had a great many flocks and herds, but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb which he bought and nourished. And it grew up together with him and his children. It would eat of his bread and drink of his cup and lie in his bosom.
It was like a daughter to him. David's on the edge of his chair listening. He's thinking, he's telling a story of something happening in the city of Jerusalem.
He's moved over the story. A traveler came to the rich man. He was unwilling to take from his own flock or his own herd to prepare for the wayfarer who had come to him.
Rather he took the poor man's ewe lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him. David was in a most vulnerable spot as a result of the wise words of Nathan. Moved with compassion over this situation, he struck like lightning. David's response is a declaration of his own sentence.
Listen to it. David's anger burned greatly against the man and said to Nathan, as the Lord lives, the man who has done this deed deserves to die. Sentence number one, he must make restitution for the lamb. Sentence number two, he had no compassion. Number three, you know when God has a person ready for confrontation, it's remarkable how they will prepare and even say the very things that need to be said that can ultimately be turned right back against them. In that vulnerable strung out moment, David stuck his head in the noose and all Nathan had to do was give it a pull.
You are the man. I am absolutely convinced, though the text doesn't say it, that David's jaw dropped open. First of all, he didn't know anyone new and certainly he didn't think anybody, especially this trusted prophet, would ever be the one to confront him.
But that was the man to do it. Proverbs 27 says, faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. The Hebrew says, trustworthy are the bruises caused by the wounding of one who loves you.
Beautiful? It's a causative stem in that verb and it says the one who loves you bruises you and those lingering wounds are faithful. They're trustworthy. The confrontation is the best thing in the world for you. And David at that moment had his trusted friend say, you're the man. You're the one that fed that wayfaring thought.
You're the one who said to that stranger called lust, I'll take someone else's lamb and I'll satisfy my strange lust with that. David, you're the man. Let me pause and add a word to some parents who are here. It is your task to maintain a standard in your home.
The lifestyle of your child is not to determine the standard of your home. Do not be intimidated by that. You have a style of life that you have determined before God. It is a style that is called holy and right.
At least I trust it is. And I want you to know that children have a way of intimidating that style of life. But down deep inside, they don't want you to lower your standard. They want you to stand pat.
They want you, if no one else, they want you to provide that unbending rod that says we will not lower our standard regardless. I had a dad come to me some time ago and spell out before me a tragic story of his own son. And as he began to describe to me one act after another of this son, I just finally had to level with the man and say, look, you're lowering your standard to stay away from the pain of confrontation.
This boy is ruling the home. Furthermore, he's lost respect for his mom and dad, though he won't say that out of his own lips. Confront him. Tell him the truth. Stand your ground. My hat goes off to any parent who stands that ground. You will go down in history as some of those quiet, silent heroes that God has reserved some very special rewards for. We're living in a day of great compromise.
And I want you to learn a lesson from Nathan as a confront her. God's standard has not changed, though the eras pass and styles change and lifestyles change. He is still holy. He is still pure.
You're the man. And then before David could interrupt the conversation, Nathan went on. Thus says the Lord God of Israel. Notice I'm not calling this Nathan's message. I'm calling it the Lord's message, because it's not the prophet's message. He's just the mouthpiece of God.
Look at what he says. He says, You're the man. It is I, says the Lord, who anointed you king over Israel. It is I who delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave you your master's house and your master's wives into your care. I gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if that had been too little, I would have added to you many more things like these. You think God didn't have his heart on David?
Ask for it, my friend, and I'll give it to you. Why have you despised the word of the Lord by doing evil in his sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword. You've taken his wife to be your wife and have killed him with the sword of the sons of Ammon.
Now, therefore, mark this. The sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised me. I thought he took Bathsheba. Yes, you despised me.
I thought he killed Uriah. Yes, but as a child of God, you despised me. And you took that wife that was not your wife to be yours. Behold, I will raise up evil against you from your own household.
Oh, we'll see that in days to come. David experienced the grief of his home like few men in the scriptural record. From this time on, you can't believe what happens in his home. Turmoil, tragedy, rape. There's an uncontrollable son.
There's another one that actually drives his father from the throne. You'll have grief in your home, David. I will even take your wives from before your eyes and give them to your companion, and he shall lie with your wives in broad daylight. Indeed, you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel and under the sun.
Whew. Oh, I talk about the consequences of sin. David stands there or sits there with his mouth open and leaning back, perhaps staring at the ceiling, listening to the voice of God from Nathan. And he says the one thing that is appropriate, I have sinned against the Lord. The eminent British biographer by the name of Alexander White, spelled with a Y, writes these words with regard to the faithfulness of Nathan and all the budding young preachers.
Please listen. Preaching is magnificent work. If only we could get preachers like Nathan. If our preachers had only something of Nathan's courage, serpent-like wisdom, skill, and evangelical instancy. We ministers must far more study Nathan's method, especially when we are sent to preach awakening sermons. Too much skill cannot be expended in laying down our approaches to the conscience of people. Nathan's sword was within an inch of David's conscience before David even knew that Nathan had a sword.
One sudden thrust and the king was at Nathan's feet. What a rebuke of our slovenly unskillful blundering work. If God has called you to be his messenger, if you're to be one that's to fill a pulpit of some church someday, then for God's sake make preaching a skill.
Don't do it right or don't do it. Don't apologize for a slovenly done job in the pulpit. God calls you to be a confronter, confront it. People still wait long for the message of God. He still is honoring the preached word. One of my prayers is that he will raise up in this generation men that can do the job in the declaration of the truth, not self-appointed men, not men that are greedy, men that say what God has said and say it without fear.
Let the chips fall. I tell you, when reading Nathan's testimony here, I stand back and say, may his tribe increase. I don't know that I could have done it.
That was an awesome, awesome task. Now behind the scenes there are counselors that must do the very same thing. You don't preach, but you counsel. And by God's grace, when you come across an individual who has willfully, not accidentally, but willfully stepped into wrong, knowing that he's done it, face it with him. Call it what it is.
Certainly at the right time and in the right way, but do it. For God's sake, don't hedge. Raising up in our generation sort of a new breed that when faced with sin will redefine it or explain it away. Don't explain it away. Call it sin. Say it like it is. It's a tremendous relief that comes over the center when someone honestly says, you have been wrong, face it.
Do something about it and then help them with what to do. I'll tell you, Nathan came and he said, you are the man, David, and this is the result. David standing absolutely condemned said, I have sinned. I have sinned against the Lord. Verse 13, Nathan said to David, the Lord has taken away your sin. You shall not die.
Look at that restoring comment. David, I agree. It's wrong. You've admitted it. You've repented of it and God won't kill you, David.
Tremendous support right there. However, verse 14, however, because by this deed you have given occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, that does happen when the Christian of this caliber sins. The child also that is born to you shall surely die. So Nathan went to his house, period, end of confrontation. It's over. David's standing there. Nathan doesn't pray, doesn't conclude.
He turns around, walks to the door, opens it, steps through, closes it. And David's alone. And that is when he wrote Psalm 51.
Man. It might sound like a strange thing to say, but I believe that a gush of relief swept over David. I finally have someone who knows the truth and the secret is out. And I finally have it open before God so that the pus can run and the infection leave. I remember as a young fellow having a stone bruise.
Many of you have never heard of that, perhaps. At least that's what we called it in my young years. I bruised my heel down deep right to the bone. And from the bone or nearby there grew an infection that began to swell and swell until finally I could not wear a shoe on my foot. And for the longest time I had to walk on the ball of my foot.
I couldn't put any pressure on the heel. And the swelling grew and grew and that center of the infection grew more and more to the surface to where I could not stand a sock on the foot after a while. We were afraid of blood poisoning as streaks began to run up my leg and finally we went to the physician. And he said what I didn't want him to say. He said, we'll have to lance this.
Because I couldn't run, I had to stay there. And he lanced it. I literally felt sort of a gush of relief as the infection just sort of poured out right there. A place where he did it. And I will never forget suddenly there was a relief even of the pain.
Though the lancing was painful, the relief of the pressure had happened. Now, spiritually speaking, that's what David must have felt. Some of you need to be confronted. In a congregation this size, you can be sure some of you need someone as honest as Nathan to tell you the truth. You are the man. You are the woman. I do not know who you are, but you know. Perhaps not even another soul knows the truth of your private life.
By and by as time passes and weeks have turned into months and perhaps even months into years, it's beginning to take its toll on you. You can't hide it any longer. And the Spirit of God comes like the Nathan in David's life and looks you right in the face and says, Face it.
Admit it. Chuck Swindoll has much more insight to draw from this convicting story in 2 Samuel. Whether you envision yourself as David in this story or his confront or Nathan, we urge you to join us next time when our study continues. This is Insight for Living. If you'd like to learn more about this ministry, we invite you to visit us online at insightworld.org. If you're among those who receives Chuck Swindoll's newsletter called Insights, I want to make sure you saw the recommended reading list for your entire family. Summertime is a wonderful season for recreational reading. And the newsletter clearly illustrates a wide variety of great options.
In the event you don't receive the newsletter in the mail, you can easily access the information by going to insight.org slash summer. And then let me draw your attention to one of Chuck's most popular books because it'll help your entire family grow deeper in their Christian walk. It's called Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life. This classic volume of 144 readings will help you grow closer to God in whatever stage of life you happen to be in.
It'll also help you identify what's truly most important in life through the practical and sometimes fun activities offered at the end of every chapter. To purchase Chuck's devotional book called Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life, go to insight.org slash offer. Or call us if you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888. As a nonprofit ministry, we are completely reliant on the voluntary contributions from those who value Chuck's daily Bible teaching. As God prompts you to give, please follow his leading.
You can call us if you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888. Or visit insight.org slash donate. You've heard him teach about the Holy Land using word pictures to make us feel like we're actually strolling through the old city. Learning about Jerusalem is fascinating for sure, but seeing the land of Israel with your own eyes is life changing.
In fact, it's absolutely magnificent. And now you can see Israel with Chuck Swindoll and the gracious hosts and experts assembled by Inside for Living Ministries. Join us on an unforgettable 12-day tour, March 5th through the 16th, 2023. At special sites along the way, I will teach from God's word. We'll worship at the Mount of Beatitudes and share the Lord's table at the Garden Tomb. In fact, we'll sail the Sea of Galilee together and we'll visit places where Jesus walked and taught.
To learn more, call 1-888-447-0444. Just imagine walking along those sacred sites and seeing the Bible come to life before your very eyes. Mark your calendar for March 5th through the 16th, 2023. And make your reservation by calling 1-888-447-0444 or go to insight.org slash events. Inside for Living Ministries Tour to Israel is paid for and made possible by only those who choose to attend. I'm Bill Meyer inviting you to join us when Chuck Swindoll continues his biography of David, a man of passion and destiny.
That's Monday on Insight for Living. The preceding message, Confrontation, was copyrighted in 1978, 1988, 1997, and 2009. And the sound recording was copyrighted in 2009 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
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