Best of Daily Reflections: A Simple Plan for Honest Living
But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord, and the Lord sent Nathan to David.
2 Samuel 11:26 - 12:13
Scott Smith’s book A Simple Plan tells the story of a man who stumbles upon a crashed airplane containing a satchel with $4.4 million. He takes the money home to his young wife. Without telling her the full amount, he explains that he’s found “some money.” She says he should return it. But when he pours the satchel full of money on the table, she watches as it cascades onto the floor. Her eyes widen. She reconsiders her original opinion, and together they develop a “simple plan” for keeping the money. Once they work out the plan, she says, “We’ll have to be careful. From now on, that’s what we’ll have to be—very careful.”
Oh, how sin complicates life! David sleeps with Uriah’s wife. When she gets pregnant, David has a “simple plan” to cover his tracks. But soon innocent people are dying. From the outside, Bathsheba looks like the grieving wife of a battlefield hero, and David looks like a noble king selflessly tending to the fallen soldier's family. But David and Bathsheba are living a monstrous lie. And they have to be careful—about everything.
Could they even enjoy each other? Lust brought them together, but surely the weight of lies, murders, and deceptions lay heavily on David, “a man after God’s own heart.” When you decide to follow God, he doesn’t prevent you from sinning; he just keeps you from enjoying your sins.
A year later, God sent the prophet Nathan to tell David the story of the rich man taking the poor man’s lamb. David was guilty of far, far worse, yet when he heard Nathan’s story, he called for the rich man’s execution and the four-fold restoration of the poor man’s property. Our own guilt often make us either permissively inclusive or narrowly condemning. David was the latter.
That’s when Nathan offered the verdict, “You are the man!”
Nathan went on to describe all that God had done for David and all God had yet in mind to do—except for this terrible sin. To his credit, David offered no denial and made no excuses. David said, “I have sinned against the Lord.”
David confessed so quickly he must have wanted to confess, to tell the truth. Once any of us decides to follow Jesus and to love him, there can be no peace apart from the truth. Everyone from Adam to David and from David to you and to me has discovered the only truly simple plan—living in the truth.
When the wife of Uriah heard that her husband was dead, she made lamentation for him. When the mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife, and bore him a son.
But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord, and the Lord sent Nathan to David. He came to him, and said to him, "There were two men in a certain city, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had very many flocks and herds; but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. He brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children; it used to eat of his meager fare, and drink from his cup, and lie in his bosom, and it was like a daughter to him. Now there came a traveler to the rich man, and he was loath to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the wayfarer who had come to him, but he took the poor man’s lamb, and prepared that for the guest who had come to him." Then David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man. He said to Nathan, "As the Lord lives, the man who has done this deserves to die; he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity."
Nathan said to David, "You are the man! Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: I anointed you king over Israel, and I rescued you from the hand of Saul; I gave you your master’s house, and your master’s wives into your bosom, and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would have added as much more. Why have you despised the word of the Lord, to do what is evil in his sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, for you have despised me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife. Thus says the Lord: I will raise up trouble against you from within your own house; and I will take your wives before your eyes, and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this very sun. For you did it secretly; but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun." David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the Lord."
2 Samuel 11:26-12:13
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: What’s it like trying to live with a lie? What’s so complicated about it? David is one of Israel’s greatest figures, yet in considering the things David has done, why would Israel call him “great”?
PRAYER: Merciful God, reveal to me the places where I am allowing lies to distort my life. No matter what it may cost me to confess and face the consequences, strengthen me to do so now. It is better to confess than to be found out, and it is better to live in truth than in lies. Amen.