Read: 2 Samuel 11 – 12
Reflect: When we think about parables, we generally think about Jesus’ parables in the New Testament but this form of teaching also exists in the Old Testament. An example of this is in 2nd Samuel chapter 12 where we read the story of the “Poor Man’s Ewe Lamb”. It was a story given by Nathan the prophet to King David. To understand this parable, we have to first look at chapter 11 to see the situation that caused the prophet to confront David. Here we read that King David had committed adultery with a beautiful woman named Bathsheba whom subsequently got pregnant. He then tried to trick her husband Uriah the Hittite into going home to sleep with his wife so that Uriah would think that the child was his. When that didn’t work, David enlisted the help of his Army Commander Joab to put Uriah in a situation where he would be killed in battle. David’s’ plan worked and Uriah was killed but the Scriptures tell us that God was not pleased. The Lord then sent Nathan the prophet with a message for David in the form of a parable.
The prophet’s story tells of a rich man who had many flocks and a poor man who only had one small lamb but it was very precious to him. The Bible tells us that the lamb was like a daughter to the poor man. Then a traveler came to the rich man’s home for a visit. The rich man, instead of using one of his many sheep or cattle to feed the visitor took the poor man’s lamb and cooked it for his guest. He took the only thing of value, apart from his family, that the poor man had.
When David heard this story, he was enraged and declared that the perpetrator should die! The prophet then told King David that, “You are that man!” Suddenly, everything stopped for King David and he was now confronted with his own sin. He went from looking outward and judging someone else to looking inward and acknowledging his own wrongdoing. To his credit, King David acknowledged his sin and the prophet told him that God forgave him but that there would be consequences for his actions. There always is.
You see, David had put himself in a bad place; it’s when a child of God does not walk with God but instead chooses to follow after his or her own desires. God gave David everything. Like the rich man, King David had many possessions, including many wives, but he chose to take Uriah’s wife and to kill Uriah to hide the sin. Uriah was the poor man with one precious lamb and David stole it from him. How did David get to this place? What would take a man who was so close to God’s heart to a dark place of adultery and murder?
First of all, it usually doesn’t happen overnight. David stopped being vigilant in his walk with God. He was living the good life and had everything he needed. Obviously, he wasn’t living a life dependent on the Lord. David was still God’s child but the flesh had taken over. In the ancient Near East, a ruler was expected to lead his troops into battle but David was at home in Jerusalem watching a woman bathing instead! That’s not exactly setting yourself up for spiritual success. There’s nothing new under the sun. It happened to David thousands of years ago and it can happen to us today. David took his focus off following God and his mind and eyes wandered. Then came the sin and the cover up. Even if there’s little initial shame, there is no hiding the sin. There eventually is always guilt for the wayward child of God. It’s the Spirit of God internally telling us that we are in the wrong place. Fortunately, for David, God didn’t cast him away. He sent Nathan the prophet to confront David. The king then confessed his sin and God forgave him. Thankfully, the Lord always does!
Apply: Where are you in your walk with God? Are you in a good place or in a bad place? Are you as King David was at one point, self-sufficient and doing your own thing? If you are, be careful. As David found out, it’s a slippery slope which can lead to sin and awful consequences. If you are there today, confess your sin. God will forgive you and renew you. He loves you and will always love you. We are human beings just like King David and we can stumble too. It takes vigilance to stay close to God but that’s the good place.
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