Be a Nathan

Writing over at The Glorious Table today! See below for a preview or link to the full post here.

I am a mental health therapist by training. In this role, I’ve had all kinds of difficult conversations because they come with the territory. However, in my personal life, I haven’t had many opportunities (or maybe I’ve just been too scared?) to engage in intense confrontation with a friend. I don’t mean the type of confrontation where we are in conflict with one another. Instead, I mean the kind of confrontation that’s needed when someone steps outside of their usual values or appropriate boundaries. In fact, only one example comes to mind.

The type of confrontation I am talking about is the kind between Nathan and David in 2 Samuel. The scene that led up to this confrontation is pretty famous, but let’s quickly review the bullet points found in verse 11:

  • David’s men were away at battle, but he stayed at home.
  • David took an evening walk on his roof and noticed the beautiful Bathsheba bathing a few houses over.
  • David asked about her, found out that she was his soldier’s wife, and slept with her anyway.
  • Bathsheba became pregnant.
  • In an effort to cover his indiscretion, David called Uriah home.
  • When Uriah would not sleep with Bathsheba out of loyalty to the men still away fighting (strong irony for David), David sent Uriah to the front lines of battle, where he was killed.
  • David then downplayed the loss of Uriah and took Bathsheba as his wife.

This account takes up the entire eleventh chapter of 2 Samuel and ends with this sentence: “But the thing David had done displeased the Lord.”


As famous and salacious as this event is, that’s not where we are focusing today. Instead, we are jogging one chapter further and watching what David’s friend, the prophet Nathan, did in response to David’s actions. It’s pretty incredible. Let’s take a look at 2 Samuel 12:

  • “The Lord sent Nathan to David.”
  • Nathan told David a story about a rich man who took away a poor man’s only lamb and killed it for dinner rather than killing one of his own flock.
  • David was indignant, insisting that the rich man should die and repay the poor man four times over for his actions and lack of pity.
  • Nathan came strong with the conviction, telling David, “You are that man!”
  • After so many poor decisions, David finally repented and had to live with the consequences of his actions, which included the loss of his and Bathsheba’s first child.
Anne Rulo The Glorious Table Be a Nathan

Important Takeaways from Nathan and David’s Relationship

Much is made of Nathan and David’s interaction specific to the situation with Bathsheba. But Nathan had been with David for some time (see 2 Samuel 7:3). Their relationship began long before the Bathsheba incident and continued long after (see 1 Kings 1:11). Here are some important takeaways from their long relationship.

  1. The first sentence of 2 Samuel 12 says this: “The Lord sent Nathan to David.” No matter how close we may be to someone, it is important to consult with God to see if we are the one who is supposed to say something about their choices. We definitely don’t want to be having this kind of conversation without God’s permission and guidance. Pray (a lot) before you speak.
  2. Nathan and David had a relationship. While it is possible that God can ask us to speak into the life of someone we barely know, it tends to be more effective when there is an established rapport. Nathan likely got through to David because he had “earned the right to be heard.”
  3. Nathan was willing…

To finish the full post link here.

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