When I was in high school, I broke up with a boy because we believed different things. I was heartbroken, desperate, and a teenager. His sister was my best friend, and (bless her) she listened to me for weeks, probably months, pine for him after it was over. I still remember to this day the way she took care of me, and the way she finally confronted me with truth so that I could move on. We were chatting before going to bed one night, and she told me she had something she needed to say. “My brother asked a girl from church on a date. I really like her, and she’s really nice. I think he likes her a lot, too.”
I was crushed. I tried to deny it; I tried to get her to tell me something that would paint this other girl in a negative light, but she was too good of a friend to do that. She had my best interest in mind, and it was about time to rip off that bandaid. She spoke those words with truth, and with love. She cared too much about me to allow me to continue wanting something I just couldn’t have. She didn’t want me to be jealous of him, and she ultimately wanted me to move on. He was still my friend, and her brother, and they were still a family I cared deeply about. She forced me to see that I was wrong, that I needed to see a different side to the story and change.
“Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.” Proverbs 27:6
I can’t say that I immediately changed my behavior after that, or that I moved on, and never was jealous of that boy again. What I can say from that moment is that I knew that she had my back. She is a friend who speaks truth even when it hurts, who loves deeply, and will always, always be on my side. If you don’t have a friend like this, I encourage you to find one, or be one because they are worth more than a million friends who won’t tell you hard things.
When we meet David in today’s reading he has gone off the deep end. He has committed unspeakable, repeated sin, and nobody has called him out. Not one of his advisers, his servants, his family members, or wives have said a word to him about it. His behavior has obviously been unacceptable, and has hurt so many, but no one is willing to tell the king he is wrong.
“The Lord sent Nathan to David…” 2 Samuel 12:1a
Sometimes someone we trust, know, and love, has to speak words that we don’t want to hear in order for us to hear them. God may have been trying to reach David in other ways, but David needed to hear it from one of his trusted advisers. He needed his friend, his colleague, someone he had walked with, to say “Dude David, what have you done?” This revelation did not make David feel good, it did not make David a better person right away, but it shook him out of his sinful state.
After Nathan confronts David, he begins to do the right thing. He accepts his punishment, and then goes back to the good work of being king. He is no longer lounging around his palace being tempted and giving in. We need people in our lives, friends, who will confront us and knock us out of our comfort zones. We need friends to be straight up with us and tell us “You are this man,” like Nathan said to David. You are doing wrong, you need to shape up, God wants you back.
Nathan clearly loved David. He wanted what was best for him, and he was listening to, and hearing from, the Lord. If we want to speak words of truth to our friends, we need to listen, and then speak. Nathan slowly breached the subject with David; he didn’t just shout at him “David you committed adultery and killed a guy! What is wrong with you?” He told David a story, invited him to feel anger, and in turn, feel the weight of his sin. And then he spoke what the Lord had told him. If we want to be bearers of God’s truth into peoples lives we have to listen. We have to hear God, and we have to slowly walk in the words that he gives us. We might have to share a little knowledge, and let God do the rest of the work. We might have to speak a harsh truth, and then walk away until they’re ready to hear it.
When my friend spoke words that hurt she knew they would help in the long run. She was gentle, she listened, and she consoled me as I expressed my hurt and anger. She let me feel what I was feeling, but she never went back on that truth. She held firm, and I had to change. Nathan held firm to the truth he heard from the Lord, and David needed to hear it, and needed to change.
Nathan came from a place of deep love and deep care for David, and for the work of the Lord that David was a part of. If we need to challenge our friends, or those that the Lord has placed in our care, our ministry, we need to listen to the Lord. We need to speak only out of love, and we need to be sure that every word we say is truth. And after we speak words of truth, we need to continue the care, continue the work, and be the friend God called us into that moment to be.
In this moment we are in need of friends who will say to us: “Stop scrolling, stop complaining, go read your bible, stop judging, you can only control your actions not others…” or whatever it may be. We need friends to speak godly words of truth, and we also need to be friends who speak these words. How can you be a friend like Nathan this week? Who of your friends needs a reality check? Who can you go to, in love, and encourage? Listen to the Lord, be that friend, and speak your truth.
Week 9: Final Week of David: 2 Samuel 22-1 Kings 2:12
- When reading David’s speeches in chapters 22-23, write down all of the attributes of God listed there. Take some time this week to praise God for these things.
- In David’s final words, how can we see that his life informed his view of God?
- When he passed the kingdom onto Solomon, what was his advice? How can we use this advice today?