I teach my students that parables in the Bible are like hidden land mines. You don’t know what they are about until the end, and it is usually about you. When you discover the true meaning of a parable, it can be life altering. In 2 Samuel 11, King David was used to being in charge. As ruler, he did not answer to anyone...except the Lord. In today’s reading, God sent the prophet Nathan to rebuke David by using a hidden land mine (2 Sam. 12:11).
Nathan’s parable about the young lamb would have appealed to David’s pastoral upbringing as well as his authoritarian responsibilities (vv. 1–4). His reaction for “the rich man” to pay back that which had been lost several times over was in accordance with the law (Ex. 22:1). However, Nathan then pulls the curtain up on his parable and announces to David, “You are the man!” (2 Sam. 12:7).
Nathan reminded David of the Lord’s blessings and asked a probing question, “Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes?” (v. 9). The Moody Bible Commentary says, “To despise the Lord suggests holding His Word in contempt and disrespect.” We often forget that when we sin we demonstrate hatred toward God.
David finally and rightly confessed his sin (v. 13). Under the Old Testament Law, David’s sin against Uriah warranted the death penalty. Perhaps that’s what he thought he deserved. But Nathan alerted David of an alternate route: “The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die” (v. 13). Owning up to our sin is hard. It is much easier to blame others or, like David, hide it. Sometimes we convince ourselves that our actions are justifiable, but we are always accountable to the Lord.
>> Ask yourself the same question Nathan asked David in verse nine. Don’t water down what you’ve done or make excuses. Instead, turn to God and ask for forgiveness. He alone can take away our sin! (v. 13).
Lord God, give us the courage to accept the truth about ourselves. You already knew who we were when You saved us. Help us admit our sins, knowing they are already paid for and forgiven through Jesus’ blood.