In the book of Exodus, we get to read the story of God saving the people of Israel from slavery. He saves them in an incredible, miraculous way, then literally splits a sea in half to help them escape. And then He tells them, “Follow me—we’re going on a journey through the desert. At the end of the journey, I’ll lead you to an incredible new land, where you can settle down and be free.”
If you know anything about the story of the Israelites, you may know that their little journey gets sidetracked. (more…)
What David did in this passage should horrify us. This man, chosen by God to lead God’s own people, used his power, influence, and position to commit terrible acts of violence against others. David commanded that his employees (the people he was supposed to be leading with fairness and integrity) fetch him a woman—a married woman—he was attracted to so he could sleep with her. (This wasn’t exactly a request this woman would have been permitted to refuse.) Then, when he found out she was pregnant, David tried to cover up his crimes by manipulating her husband into coming home. When Uriah refused to leave his fellow soldiers behind while a war was raging, David again used his power and influence and conspired to have him murdered. This was not an accident. This wasn’t a mistake made in the heat of the moment. Each of David’s sins were willfully selfish and destructive acts that hurt people and disobeyed God. This was a big deal. God was not going to let these acts go unchallenged.
God spoke to the prophet Nathan with a message for David. Read 2 Samuel 12:1-14
Wow. There is so much we could talk about here, like Nathan’s wisdom in how he approached the situation, his courage as he spoke truth to the king, David’s willingness to accept correction, God’s justice as He judged David for his actions, or God’s mercy when He spares David’s life.
I would love to talk about all of these things, but let’s stick to the topic at hand: speaking truth when a friend is out of line.
There’s a book in the Bible called Ruth—it’s a pretty good title because it’s all about the story of a woman named (you guessed it) Ruth. Here’s how her story begins.
There was a happy couple named Elimelech and Naomi. They had two sons. They lived in the land of Judah (which today is part of Israel and Palestine), but decided to move to Moab (which is part of Jordan today) because there was a famine in their homeland and they were starving. There was a slight problem with this move, though. Elimelech, Naomi, and their sons were Israelites, which meant they served the God we know from the Bible. But many of the people of Moab believed in what the Israelites believed to be false gods. Moab had food, but these different people groups did not exactly get along. This move to a new country was probably pretty scary for Elimelech, Naomi, and their sons, but things seemed to be going well—at first.
One of the most famous friendships in all of the Bible is the friendship between David and Jonathan. These two men were both pretty impressive people when they met each other. David was famous for having killed the giant Goliath and Jonathan was famous for being the son of Saul, the King of Israel.
Now here’s where the trouble starts. Saul was the King of Israel and had been very powerful for a very long time, but he was getting older. I know being rich, famous, and powerful is most people’s dream, but here’s the problem with power: the more powerful you are, and the longer you hang onto that power, the more afraid you become of losing your power. That’s what happened to Saul.