“…. There were two men in one city; the one rich, and the other poor. The rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds: But the poor man had nothing, save one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up: and it grew up together with him, and with his children; it did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter. And there came a traveller unto the rich man, and he spared to take of his own flock and of his own herd, to dress for the wayfaring man that was come unto him; but took the poor man’s lamb, and dressed it for the man that was come to him.
I know this story is familiar, Just incase it still isn’t, I’ll spare you the bible search, It’s the famous Nathan-David gist after the man after God’s heart took another man’s wife for himself, tried to make it go away by getting him drunk and sending him to his wife and after this failed, he plotted and suceeded at killing the same man by putting him in close proximity with the fierce battle.
It was a brave thing to do in those days to tell a king that he was wrong, because unlike what is obtainable in democracies around the world today, The king could have your head on a platter in a matter of seconds. We’ll give it to the prophet for the tact he used to communicate this, again showing how story telling can get the job done while spilling less blood.
The proverbial rich man’s injustice to the poor man, consumed with greed he considered a poor man lamb more deserving of a slaughter for the entertainment of this visitor than one of his own flock, further reinforcing the truth that more stuff isnt the Cure to greed but contentment. However, I’m not about to call for the Rich man’s head like what happened the first time this story was narrated to one rich, handsome and powerful man.
King David passed quick judgement on this proverbial capitalist, without empathy. He’ll pass judgement without giving the rich man a fair hearing. He’ll realise minutes later that by just removing the word, “lamb” from the picture and replacing it with the word, “wife” anywhere we see the word, “lamb”, that story has been brought to the door step of his conscience. In passing his verdict, He’ll flare up saying, “As surely as God lives, the man who did this ought to be lynched! He must repay for the lamb four times over for his crime and his stinginess!”
Nathan’s response, “You’re the man!” “And here’s what God , the God of Israel, has to say to you: I made you king over Israel. I freed you from the fist of Saul. I gave you your master’s daughter and other wives to have and to hold. I gave you both Israel and Judah. And if that hadn’t been enough, I’d have gladly thrown in much more. So why have you treated the word of God with brazen contempt, doing this great evil? You murdered Uriah the Hittite, then took his wife as your wife. Worse, you killed him with an Ammonite sword! And now, because you treated God with such contempt and took Uriah the Hittite’s wife as your wife, killing and murder will continually plague your family. This is God speaking, remember! I’ll make trouble for you out of your own family. I’ll take your wives from right out in front of you. I’ll give them to some neighbor, and he’ll go to bed with them openly. You did your deed in secret; I’m doing mine with the whole country watching!” Then David confessed to Nathan, “I’ve sinned against God .” Nathan pronounced, “Yes, but that’s not the last word. God forgives your sin. You won’t die for it. But because of your blasphemous behavior, the son born to you will die.”
The speed with which David was forgiven had me thinking what would have been had David not sentenced another to such punishment.
So we approach correction with love, wisdom, and all the tact we can muster ensuring that correction should at no point be mistaken for condemnnation. We go the extra mile to ensure we’re not misunderstood in delivering God’s verdict to God’s child.
Without making light of wrong, and how the believer should conform to the one whose true image and likeness we have become in the substitutionary sacrifice, we should be grateful for God’s mercy, how he doesn’t act out our own verdicts on us, but beyond that we have been recreated and now have his spirit made one with his, that means now more than at anytime in our existence we have more mercy to give, more pardon to dole out, more empathy to show those who err, truth is just tweaking the story a little would bring that scenario right to our door steps. The verdict for the believer has become thus, “In that we’ve put our faith in what Christ did, we are dead to sin and alive to righteousness”.