“But the thing David had done displeased the Lord.” – 2 Samuel 11:27b
This verse comes after one of the most famous stories in the Bible. King David abuses his authority and privilege by bringing a married woman, Bathsheba, in his palace with the intention of committing adultery. Then, after learning she is pregnant, he orchestrates the murder of her husband to cover his sins. Once Bathsheba mourns the death of her husband, she is brought into David’s house to become his new wife. This, collectively, is the “thing” that displeased the Lord; indeed, it was pure evil (Psalm 51:4). And based on God’s justifiable displeasure, the verdict we would expect from His judgement seat might sound like, “The Lord sent ruin to David.” But something unexpected follows…
“The Lord sent Nathan to David.” – 2 Samuel 12:1a
Unless we linger, it is easy to overlook the profound grace that is in this sentence. God sent an advocate, the prophet Nathan, to reveal something in David’s heart he could not see himself; he was no longer chasing the Lord, he was chasing idols. Nathan uses a clever story to function as a mirror, reflecting the sin in David’s heart in a way David could not see prior. But God’s goal here was restorative, and in six Hebrew words, the heart of a heavenly Father is put on display. It truly was God’s exposing love that led David to repentance. Without question, the Lord was displeased with David; the abuse of power, the adultery, the lies, and murder, but still His movement towards David and the exposure of his heart was not punitive…it was redemptive. As Biblical Counselor, Jim Pocta, often says, “God’s love is both exposing and embracing.” God’s commitment to David was not contingent on David’s commitment to God. David was the Lord’s own possession; the Lord Almighty was with him (2 Sam. 5:9), he was chosen by God (1 Sam. 16:1), and a man after God’s heart (Acts 13:22). Ironically, David, though once a shepherd, had lost sight of God’s grace and the Good Shepherd brought him back into the fold.
Consequently, these words reveal a profound truth relevant for us today.
At our worst, God gives us His best. — Mike Wilkerson; Redemption, p.67
As sons & daughters adopted by God we may, at times, invoke our Father’s displeasure, but never His dis-ownership. For as the Lord sent Nathan to David, so also, the Lord sent Christ to us. “…the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world” (1 John 4:14). It truly is God’s kindness that leads us to repentance.
“This is what the work of grace aims at – an even deeper knowledge of God, and an even closer fellowship with Him. Grace is God drawing us sinners closer and closer to himself” – J.I. Packer
If you feel far from the Lord over your sin, if shame feels like the theme of your story, Burke Care would love to walk alongside you.
Father, You have sent Your helper, Your Holy Spirit to guide and direct me. He is the power in my life to change my heart. Thank you for placing the Holy Spirit in me as I await Jesus’ return. You, Father, are the only one who has promised to come and get me out of exile. Show Yourself faithful to Your promises. I cling to Your righteousness and goodness. Amen!
- How has God shown his patience and mercy towards you in the past by not punishing you for 100% of your wrongdoing?
- Does a sense of injustice arise in your heart when you consider things to be unfair?
- How would you rather God treat you when you knowingly violate one of His commands or statutes?