Nathan – The Kinder, Gentler Prophet

Prophet’s Name: Nathan
Miracles Performed: None Recorded
Most Noted For: Coining the phrase, “You’re the man.”
Era Served: Reign of David and early years of Solomon 

 Most prophets in the Old Testament were fiery preachers warning of God’s coming wrath if the people did not repent. Prophets demonstrated Israel’s depravity and called the nation or an individual back to God using tactics ranging from lying in cow dung to slaying hundreds of cultists, usually accompanied by a miracle or two. Nathan, however, liked to let people down easy, at least that’s what he did with King David.

David’s adultery with Bathsheba and subsequent murder of her husband (2 Samuel 11) was evil in the sight of the Lord (2 Samuel 12:9), and so the Lord sent Nathan to give him the message. Now Nathan was a long time confidant of David and it is always hard to be the bearer of bad news to those you love, so before Nathan told David of the Lord’s judgement (the death of the child carried by Bathsheba, the rebellion of his own children and constant war throughout his reign as king, 2 Samuel 12:10-12) he told the story of a rich man who stole a poor man’s only lamb (see 2 Samuel 12:1-4). David was so enraged by the rich man’s actions that he demanded he pay fourfold and said that he deserved to die. To which Nathan simply replied to David, “You are the man.”

In the end, David repented and lived out the consequences of his actions.

A lesson learned from Nathan’s encounter with David:

It is sometimes necessary to rebuke those with whom we are close, and when done with a loving attitude they may see the error of their ways and repent.

Although David still had to live with the consequences of his actions, because of Nathan’s allegorical story of his sin, he repented. The bible records that because of his repentance, David was not put to death and today we know David as a man after God’s own heart. That’s high praise for an adulterer and a murderer, but it shows the love of God towards all sinners and his willingness to “put away [our] sin” when we repent.

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One Response to “Nathan – The Kinder, Gentler Prophet”

  1. DNewman Says:

    That passage is also a good lesson of what can happen when we forget to put God first. All of these posts are very good and informative, supported by great scripture. They were very helpful to me.

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