How to Confront Sinners
When David sinned
with Bathsheba, he broke all of the Ten Commandments.
He coveted his neighbor’s wife, lived a lie, stole
her, committed adultery, murdered her husband, dishonored
his parents, and thus broke the remaining four Commandments
by dishonoring God. Therefore, the Lord sent Nathan
the prophet to reprove him (2 Samuel 12:1–14).
There is great significance
in the order in which the reproof came. Nathan gave
David (the shepherd of Israel) a parable about something
that David could understand— sheep. He began with
the natural realm, rather than immediately exposing
the king’s sin. He told a story about a rich man
who, instead of taking a sheep from his own flock, killed
a poor man’s pet lamb to feed a stranger. David
was indignant, and sat up on his high throne of self-righteousness.
He revealed his knowledge of the Law by declaring that
the guilty party must restore fourfold and must die
for his crime. Nathan
then exposed the king’s sin of taking another
man’s "lamb," saying, "You are
the man...Why have you despised the commandment of the
Lord, to do evil in his sight?" When
David cried, "I have sinned against the Lord,"
the prophet then gave him grace and said, "The
Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die."
Imagine if Nathan,
fearful of rejection, changed things around a little,
and instead told David, "God loves you and has
a wonderful plan for your life. However, there is something
that is keeping you from enjoying this wonderful plan;
it is called ‘sin.’" Imagine if he
had glossed over the personal nature of David’s
sin, with a general reference to all men having sinned
and fallen short of the glory of God. David’s
reaction may have been, "What sin are you talking
about?" rather than to admit his terrible transgression.
Think of it — why should he cry, "I have
sinned against the Lord" at the sound of that message?
Instead, he may have, in a sincere desire to experience
this "wonderful plan," admitted that he, like
all men, had sinned and fallen short of the glory of
If David had not been
made to tremble under the wrath of the Law, the prophet
would have removed the very means of producing godly
sorrow, which was so necessary for David’s repentance.
It is "godly sorrow" that produces repentance
(2 Corinthians 7:10). It was the weight of David’s
guilt that caused him to cry out, "I have sinned
against the Lord." The Law caused him to labor
and become heavy laden; it made him hunger and thirst
for righteousness. It enlightened him as to the serious
nature of sin as far as God was concerned.