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What the Bible says about Nathan
(From Forerunner Commentary)

2 Samuel 12:1-7

Nathan had to teach David the seriousness and repulsiveness of his concealed sins by seeing it mirrored in someone else. God often uses negative behaviors in people with whom we come in contact to reflect the hideousness of our sins. Like so many faults I see in others, they are often mirrors of my own shortcomings and failings. The problem when I use others' proverbial specks as mirrors of my planks is that I fail to reflect upon the warning etched on the bottom: “Objects in mirror are closer than they appear.”

David F. Maas
Specks as Mirrors

2 Samuel 23:1-7

Because of his zeal for Him and His Kingdom, God used David mightily as a prophet to flesh out many of those promises in his writings, the Psalms. In his last words, David refers to the fact that God had inspired him: "The Spirit of the LORD spoke by me, and His word was on my tongue" (II Samuel 23:2). We should not understand this to mean that God inspired him only in his last words but that the Holy Spirit was behind his entire contribution to the Old Testament, which was primarily the compositions we know as "psalms."

Even so, his last words have struck commentators down through the ages as unmistakably prophetic and specifically Messianic in tone. Adam Clarke writes, "The words of this song contain a glorious prediction of Messiah's kingdom and conquests, in highly poetic language." Of II Samuel 23:1-7, the Keil and Delitzsch Commentary states:

[The chapter contains] the prophetic will and testament of the great king, unfolding the importance of his rule in relation to the sacred history of the future. . . . [T]hese "last words" contain the divine seal of all that he has sung and prophesied in several psalms concerning the eternal dominion of his seed, on the strength of the divine promise which he received through the prophet Nathan, that his throne should be established for ever. . . . These words are not merely a lyrical expansion of that promise, but a prophetic declaration uttered by David at the close of his life and by divine inspiration, concerning the true King of the kingdom of God.

A substantial number of his psalms are clearly prophetic, even some of those that seem, on the surface, to describe his own feelings of despair and abandonment during the low periods of his life. With just a slight shift in perspective, they can often be seen as describing Christ's struggles to master His own human nature and trust in God for deliverance. In fact, if we bring a prophetic eye to the reading of many of David's psalms, we can perceive their predictive nature.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
David the Prophet

James 3:2-10

For years, I read these scriptures, and I always thought, "I'm not starting forest fires with my words. I'm not viciously devouring people like a roaring beast. I can take this in stride and not worry so much about examining this. After all, these examples are for the extremes: the Adolf Hitlers, the serial criminal minds, the hardened and bitter sinners who retreat from humanity. This isn't me!"

God sometimes focuses our minds on the things we are guilty of by allowing us to experience the same behaviors from others. David did not see himself as he was behaving and affecting others until Nathan described to him another man's behavior (II Samuel 12:1-4). David was so outraged by the man's gross actions and attitude that he, as king, declared the death penalty on him (verses 5-6). Had this been an actual individual, chances are David would have pursued the matter to see the man brought to justice! However, the man he judged as worthy of death was none other than himself (verse 7).

We experience similar lessons. We are at times brought into the company of people who are offensive to us, whose behavior hurts us, and whose words can cut us and wound us, because something in the experience will teach us what we need to learn. God is allowing us to experience ourselves.

We chuckle at times, observing how someone known for gossiping will howl in dismay when he is gossiped about, or how a person often critical of others is intolerant of criticism directed toward himself. We say about teasing, "Don't give it unless you can take it!" Similarly, we enjoy people who are warm and friendly, and we feel warm and friendly when we are around them. Happy people tend to attract other happy people, while bitter or angry people often find another unhappy person with whom they can share their complaints.

A deeper principle can be employed here: If we look at others' behaviors, we can learn to see ourselves. Job's friends had this opportunity. They saw Job going through his calamities, how miserable he was, and in their care for him, they did their best to find his fault and help him solve his dilemma. In the end, God simply dismissed these three friends and all their long-winded speeches because they failed to recognize the very thing God gave them opportunity to see: They failed to see themselves in Job.

Job was not singled out for this experience because he was Job. He represents mankind, blinded by himself and unable to see the reality of God. Even today, many centuries later, we examine the life and thoughts of Job in an effort to see ourselves in his shoes; we try to learn from his experience by exposing the same faults within us. This aids us by allowing us both to see what we might miss and to change what is incompatible with our Creator.

How often do these opportunities emerge for us to see ourselves in the actions of others? In the past decade, we have had many opportunities to witness the effects of deceitful men upon trusting and unsuspecting people. We have seen people shift allegiances and loyalties but deny doing so by their words. We have seen couples speak words of lifelong devotion only to cast them aside for a new attraction. We have seen friends and family who expressed the deepest of commitments to one another both deny those relationships and turn against one another. We have seen hearts broken by sarcasm and neglect. We have seen the crushing effects of criticism upon those needing reassurance and encouragement.

Most of us do not escape life without being deeply touched by such actions from others. But how incredibly sobering it is to see ourselves in these actions of others, to realize that we are guilty of the very things that may have hurt us deeply! We, too, are responsible for spreading the flames of a fire that devours and destroys all in its path. The evil of our tongues is as limitless as the evil James describes.

A sharp tongue is a weapon, no less as effective as a pointed spear or a sword honed to a razor's edge. A sharp tongue has no place among the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). It does not express love, spread joy or promote peace. It shows no patience, kindness or goodness in its words. It betrays faithfulness and gentleness, and most of all, it shows no measure of self-control.

My sharp tongue has been a contradiction to the convictions I have expressed nearly all my life. I never saw it until I had to come face to face with the jabs, slices, and pricks of other sharp tongues, and to feel the fires they started within me. I would beg the Father for understanding, of why such communication should exist and why I should receive it with such bitterness—until I finally saw, as David did, that I am the guilty one.

Staff
Are You Sharp-Tongued? (Part One)


Find more Bible verses about Nathan:
Nathan {Nave's}
 




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