Through the Bible Day by Day
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.
THOU ART THE MAN
A year followed on his sin, but David gave no sign. He describes his condition during that awful time in Psa_32:3-4. Conscience scourged him incessantly, but he did not return to God until Nathan had been sent to fetch him. The Good Shepherd went after that which was lost until he found it. “He restoreth my soul!” But soul-agony is not enough, keen though it be; there must be confession.
Nathan’s parable was the mirror in which the true enormity of the king’s sin was held up to his face. He was judged, and he judged himself. By the manifestation of the truth, Nathan commended himself to the king’s conscience, as in the sight of God. And finally came the home-thrust-Thou art the man. The words of confession were immediate and deeply sincere. There was no thought of the human wrongs he had done. All were included in the great sin against God. “Against thee, thee only, have I sinned.” And the confession was met, as it always is, by an instant assurance of pardon-“The Lord… hath put away thy sin.”
And Nathan departed unto his house. And the LORD struck the child that Uriah's wife bare unto David, and it was very sick.
ACCEPTING THE LORD’S JUDGMENT
When Nathan had gone, David beat out his brief confession into Psa_51:1-19. He knew that he was clean, because purged with hyssop, Exo_12:22; that he was whiter than snow, because the hand of the Redeemer had touched him, and the joy of God’s salvation had been restored. And now he bowed himself before the train of evil consequences that must ensue. Sin may be forgiven, but the Father must needs chasten his child.
The little babe died. It cuts us to the quick when innocent children suffer for our wrong-doing. Two years after, David’s sin was repeated by one of his sons, while another sought to dispossess his father of the throne. In Amnon’s offense David beheld the features of his own passion, and in Absalom’s revenge, his own blood-guiltiness. Psa_41:1-13; Psa_55:1-23 are supposed to record his sufferings during those dreary years, when it seemed as if the sunshine had passed forever from his life. The wonder is that he treated Rabbah so harshly; but it may be, as some think, that its fate was decided during the months which preceded his confession, when the misery of his soul made him petulant and exacting.
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