Who is Your Nathan?

By on October 10, 2011

lego character of king DavidBy Karen Lembo –

One of the highlights of my summer was completing Anointed, Transformed, Redeemed: A Study of David by Priscilla Shirer, Beth Moore, and Kay Arthur with some Bible loving women at my church. How refreshing to be in the Word throughout the summer, when most everything else I do spiritually shuts down.

I was especially touched by the prophet Nathan and his role in King David’s life after he sinned so despicably with Bathsheba. In our generation of television crime stories and soap operas, we hear about cheating, lying and murdering so much, it fails to faze us. But step back with me for a moment and think: this was the same David, called as a shepherd, anointed by Samuel, who fled from Saul and penned all those beautiful psalms we use to worship God and depend on him by following David’s example.

This was the man who claimed to be blameless, the “man after God’s own heart.” Eventually, his achievement and status led him to cheat on one of his own mighty men, attempt a cover up, and, when that failed, to have his friend murdered. And he almost got away with it.

Let us ask: What would have happened next, had Nathan not been sent? As the story goes on, Nathan was sent by God to confront David. Without Nathan, David would have thought he had successfully gotten away with his sins. As we all know, we never really get away with our sin; Satan uses our failures to terrorize us in our private moments.

Most likely, having been trapped by his sin, David would have continued wrestling with guilt for years to come, or he might have become hardened to God in the future. But because Nathan confronted David, David had to deal with his evil deeds, leading to remorse, repentance, and God’s forgiveness. (It did not, however, eliminate the consequences, which, as God foretold, would follow David and his family for the rest of his life.)

Let us ask another question: What if David had rejected Nathan’s accusation? Perhaps he may have even had Nathan killed to, perpetuating the sin and the cover up. But this is where David reveals his true nature, for certainly he proved himself a “man after God’s own heart.” He was grieved, he repented, and he moved on “Deeper Still” with God.

I’m not sure I have always appreciated the Nathans in my life. I don’t like to be confronted by my faults. Since most of my culture feels the same way, and tolerance rules the day, I don’t usually have to worry about such confrontations, because few people are willing to risk relationships in order to be loving truth tellers. Having completed this study, I want to recommit myself to inviting Nathans into my life, if God should send them. (By the way, I feel compelled to point out that not every “prophet” is God’s servant–some can speak falsely and derail us, so we must be on our guard in prayer to “test” the spirit by which we are confronted. True prophets are trustworthy people of integrity who have our best interests in mind and heart. They know us well and have established a loving relationship with us.)

Recently God has introduced me to a new Nathan in my life–my youngest daughter. Until now, my other children have struggled with confrontation and verbalizing their emotions. Katie does both with ease. In her gentle way, Katie has responded articulately to my insensitivity. Despite her own fault in various situations, I find I must take a breath, consider her words, and agree with her conclusions. I now realize, if I shut my child down by rejecting the truth she is revealing to me, I will become as hardened to sin as David might, had Nathan not intervened.

As we grow “older and wiser,” we may also grow increasingly obstinate. Perhaps we have been ashamed of our sin in previous confrontations and we have learned to put off further confrontations. We might be tempted to reject the Nathans God sends our way, or out-maneuver them so that they cannot have their say. Often these Nathans come in the form of family members. Have you noticed this? Might you be out-maneuvering Nathans whom God might be trying to use to redirect your path? Dear friends, let us open our hearts to God and accept the truth tellers he sends our way.

Let us openly invite feedback, especially from our husbands, friends and children, who very well might have a better perspective on our situation than we do. In order to receive this feedback, we must not respond defensively, but gracefully to their comments. While this takes great courage, a moment’s discomfort will far be eclipsed by the pleasure of walking in freedom from sin, guilt and shame and in a deeper relationship with our Lord.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24) If you choose to use a Nathan to reveal my sinful attitudes and behaviors, help me to surrender to Your will and repent. I know I won’t like what they have to say, but I guess that’s ok because You don’t like what I’ve done! God I thank You for the Nathans You send because I never want to grow hardened to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Karen Lembo is a writer and artist currently residing in Salisbury, MD with her husband Art, and their three children, Emily, Arthur, and Katie. She has extensive experience as a Bible study and small group leader, children’s minister, and Moms in Touch prayer group leader. Karen’s blog, “Living Above the Laundry Pile”, and her artwork can be accessed at http://www.karenlembo.com/.

About Karen Lembo

Karen Lembo is a writer and artist currently residing in Salisbury, MD with her husband Art, and their three children, Emily, Arthur, and Katie. She has extensive experience as a Bible study and small group leader, children’s minister, and Moms in Touch prayer group leader. Karen’s blog, “Living Above the Laundry Pile”, and her artwork can be accessed at www.karenlembo.com.

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Who is Your Nathan?