You are that man: 2 Samuel 12.1–15 (15 September 2020)

Bible Society's Daily Reflections follow the M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, designed for those who want to read the whole Bible in one year. Each reflection focuses on one of its four daily chapters. Darllenwch rhain yn Gymraeg.



Lord, open my ears to hear what you have to say to me; open my heart to love your word, and open my mind to understand your truth.


Daily reflection: 2 Samuel 12

David had committed the perfect crime. As we know from any number of Hollywood movies, though, there's always a catch. In this case, the catch was the prophet Nathan. He tells David a parable. The poor man is Uriah; the pet lamb is Bathsheba; David himself is the greedy and oppressive rich man. David is blind to his own wrongdoing until Nathan opens his eyes: 'You are that man' (verse 7).

David's repentance preserves his own life (verse 13). But he still faces Nathan's judgement, which foreshadows the trials he'll face later in his reign (verse 11). The immediate consequence, though, is the death of his and Bathsheba's child.

Today, we wouldn't imagine God doing this. In earlier Bible times children and family were regarded differently. A father had the power of life and death over his children (Genesis 22, Judges 11); there was a sense of ownership. Punishing a man through the death of his children had a kind of logic to it. 

Repentance from sin is built in to Christian discipleship. As we recognise ourselves in Scripture, or through the words of others, we too are brought face to face with our shortcomings. There's blessing and release to be found in confession and repentance. But sin carries painful consequences, for ourselves and for others. Christians today love the testimonies of redeemed sinners – the more lurid the better, perhaps. But it's far better not to go wrong in the first place; serious sin leaves a trail of destruction, whether the sinner repents or not.



God, show me myself, I pray; let your word be a mirror where I see myself as I am, like David. Bring me to repentance when I fall, and keep me from sin.

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