Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Shepastor: “Hindrances to Healing: An Era of Few Nathans”

Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful., Proverbs 27:6 (KJV)

1Then the LORD sent Nathan to David. And he came to him and said,
“There were two men in one city, the one rich and the other poor.
2“The rich man had a great many flocks and herds.
3“But the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb
Which he bought and nourished;
And it grew up together with him and his children.
It would eat of his bread and drink of his cup and lie in his bosom,
And was like a daughter to him.
4“Now a traveler came to the rich man,
And he was unwilling to take from his own flock or his own herd,
To prepare for the wayfarer who had come to him;
Rather he took the poor man’s ewe lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.”
5Then David’s anger burned greatly against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the LORD lives, surely the man who has done this deserves to die. 6“He must make restitution for the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing and had no compassion.”
7Nathan then said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the LORD God of Israel, ‘It is I who anointed you king over Israel and it is I who delivered you from the hand of Saul.
II Samuel 12: 1-7 (NASB)

Even men and women after God’s own heart can become blind to their own destructive and sinful behaviors. According to the scriptures, David was one such man. The same David that slew Goliath, spared Saul’s life on two occasions and praised God with all of his heart also became an adulterer, schemer, user and murderer. David, however, had something (or someone) going for him that many leaders don’t have today. David had a Nathan.

Verse 7 of II Samuel 12 declares,

7Nathan then said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the LORD God of Israel, ‘It is I who anointed you king over Israel and it is I who delivered you from the hand of Saul

We only hear of the prophet Nathan in relationship to this passage of scripture. God used Nathan to call David to accountability when his power and authority apparently blinded him. David could easily see the injustice, cruelty and oppression committed against the individual in Nathan’s story. He was astonished, however, when Nathan boldly declared, “You are the man!”

In order for Nathan to confront David, several things had to be clear in his mind:

(1) Nathan had to fear God above man. The fact that God was sending Nathan to confront a king did not deter him from obeying God’s dictate. Nathan had to settle it within himself that no consequence rendered by the king would compare to the repercussions if he disobeyed the Lord.

(2) Nathan did not use David’s glorious record to justify present behaviors. Nathan did not ignore, deny or cover David’s ugly and destructive actions. He did not view speaking truth to power as antithetical to love, appreciation and support.

(3) Nathan trusted that truth would ultimately strengthen and heal David. Without Nathan’s obedient confrontation, David may never have acknowledged his grievous transgressions and been cleansed of his sins.

We could learn a lot from Nathan’s example. So often, the fear of loss of position, a place in the “inner circle,” and “favor of a king or queen” trumps speaking the truth. Sometimes, a lack of confrontation or even acknowledgement that wrongs are being committed has nothing to do with position. It can be a blatant disregard and insensitivity. Sadly, those in positions of power avoid being called to accountability by misusing, abusing and oppressing those who appear to have no voice.

Since individuals with a voice (and some level of perceived influence) are least likely to be effected by a duplicitous leader, they deny, ignore or even protect a leader gone awry. If a bruised, broken, and oppressed individual dares to speak up and share their grievances or injustices committed against them, the response is swift and strong. Frequently they are castigated, maligned and ostracized for having the audacity to speak against such an “upright and wonderful” leader!

As a result, men and women who once were valiant, humble, beautiful, and faithful witnesses of the most high God become drunk with the wine of the world and obsessed with the power and position, given to them by the Lord. They have no one who says to them, “You are the Man/Woman!” While human eyes may look the other way or look the same way and proclaim a false reality, God, “who sits high and looks low” sees all. The Lord is still on the side of the oppressed, whether they be in the church, the community, the Nation or the world. In His due season, all will be revealed.

The Lord, however is still calling for Nathans – men and women who will fear God above the reproach of people, men and women who realize that sin is no respecter of persons, men and women who understand that all of us have the unfortunate capacity to do evil, no matter how stellar our record. God is calling for more Nathans – individuals who will speak truth to power, understanding that speaking truth is not antithetical to love, loyalty, appreciation or thankfulness, but speaking truth, is love.

Through Nathan’s faithfulness, David was called to accountability and convicted to write one of the most powerful psalms of the Bible, Psalm 51. David was pricked to the heart, cried out to God for forgiveness and provided a tremendous portrait of what true repentance looks like.
If we want to promote health and healing in our churches, in our communities, in our Nation and in our world, let us pray for and if appropriate be a Nathan.

During this Holy Week, may we reflect upon both Nathan and David and listen for God’s message to us through each one.

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Until Next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,
Pastor Chris

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