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Nathan And Gad To David

Messages from many prophets appear in the historical parts of the Holy Scriptures. To some of these we wish to draw attention. Firstly we note that Miriam and Deborah are spoken of as prophetesses at times of great deliverances from Israel's enemies. Then we have two unnamed prophets who spoke from God, one to Israel early in the dark days of the Judges (6.8); and one to Eli the priest because of his failure to control his sons.

Later through Nathan came very important tidings to David. The king, musing on God's goodness to him, decided to build a house for God, because the divine dwelling was one of curtains only. The proposal was pleasing to the prophet, but the LORD made it known that David was not to have this honour, because he was a man of blood. It was reserved for his son who would sit upon his throne. So "Solomon built Him a house" (Acts 7.47). From this we learn it is no small matter to be permitted to build a house for the LORD. This is true whether we think of days of triumph and glory, as were the days of Solomon; or remnant days, as were the days of Zerubbabel. Would that this were better appreciated in our own day and time! When the Remnant started to build the house in the days of Haggai the prophet, the LORD repeated the encouraging words, "I am with you", and added, "I will bless you". Then beautiful is the promise, "In this place will I give peace" (Haggai 1,2).

Nathan had yet another communication for David. At the return of the year, at the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab and his servants to destroy the children of Ammon, but he himself tarried at Jerusalem. He was reclining at ease while his servants were bearing the brunt of the battle. It was then he saw and took Bath-sheba, the wife of Uriah. In addition he planned and brought about the death of that valiant soldier. Concerning all this we read, "But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD" (2 Samuel 11).

By the time that Nathan was sent to David the child by Bath-sheba was born. Fully nine months had passed since that fateful day when he sinned against God. During these many months he had covered up his sin. Unconfessed sin brings a cloud between God and His servant. They were months of silence and roaring -silence in respect to his guilt, and roaring because of his misery. Fellowship with God was lost, the heavens became brass and the earth iron, peace and comfort were not to be found. Psalm 32 reveals much in David's experience. He says,

"When I kept silence, my bones waxed old

Through my roaring all the day long.

For day and night Thy hand was heavy upon me:

My moisture was changed as with the drought of summer.

(Selah)"

True are the words of Isaiah 59.2, "Your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear".

At length God intervenes and Nathan is sent with his message. It concerned a poor man who owned a ewe lamb that he had brought up and was like a daughter to him, and a rich man who possessed flocks and herds, but when a visitor came he spared to take of his own flock, but took the poor man's lamb and dressed it for the man that was come to him. As David listened his anger was greatly kindled. He judged the man to be worthy of death, and he commanded that he restore the lamb fourfold. To this Nathan replied, "Thou art the man". In this manner David's sin was brought home to him, and he said, "I have sinned against the LORD".

Nathan was faithful to inform David that judgement from the LORD would come upon him. It is ever true that "God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth unto his own flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth unto the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap eternal life" (Galatians 6.7,8). "Now therefore": said the LORD, "the sword shall never depart from thine house", and, "I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house... For thou didst it secretly:

but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun." David by his actions had despised his God, and besides the above judgements that would come upon him, the child would surely die.

When David had confessed his sin, immediately God said through Nathan, "The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die." Wonderful must have been the joy and comfort that these words brought to David. He had pronounced the death sentence upon himself, but the LORD forgave the now contrite sinner. No longer is his moisture changed as with the drought of summer, for he says, "I acknowledged my sin unto Thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid: I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and Thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin" (Psalm 32.5). In the joy of sins forgiven he sings:

"Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is

covered.

Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity,

And in whose spirit there is no guile."

He had cast himself upon the mercy of God, and the 51st Psalm shows that his sorrow and repentance were deep and real. Said he, "A broken and a contrite heart, 0 God, Thou wilt not despise". With the writer of Psalm 119.145 he could say, "I have called with my whole heart; answer me, 0 LORD".

The mercy and the judgement revealed in this story recall the words of Psalm 99 verse 8,

"Thou answeredst them, 0 LORD our God:

Thou wast a God that forgavest them,

Though Thou tookest vengeance of their doings."

And of the word spoken through angels we are told, "Every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward," and the solemn question presents itself to us, "How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?" (Hebrews 2.2,3).