Nathan said to David, “You are the man!” (2 Samuel 12:7).
I am always amazed that, having committed adultery with Bathsheba and killing Uriah (2 Samuel 11), the Lord had to send Nathan the prophet to convict David of his sin. If ever a sin was obvious, it was David’s. Adultery and murder are at the top of most people’s list of grave sins.
Perhaps this is the point. . After all, David’s sins were deep and permanent. Regardless of how much he might have regretted his sins, he could not take them back, and nothing that he could do could make it right. Uriah was gone, and Bathsheba wounded and pregnant. Would David have been convicted if Nathan had come to him and said, “You murdered Uriah and committed adultery with his wife!”? Somehow I doubt it. So the Lord sent Nathan—and sent him with a story about a rich man who, instead of preparing a lamb of his own to serve a dinner guest, killed and prepared the only lamb of his poor neighbor.
Let me suggest a couple of lessons here. First, conviction of sin is the Lord’s doing. David apparently unmoved by his sin, the Lord sent Nathan with a word that David could hear. One of the deeply frustrating aspects of our abortion culture is that despite the abundant evidence of dismembered little bodies and broken relationships and depression, and an increasing callousness in our world toward human life of all kinds, we don’t see what we are doing. And arguments concerning the beginning of life or the proper place of sex often have little traction. Why? Because the intellect is not the main issue. We want what we want, and we will figure out how to justify our taking what we want. And we won’t look squarely at our sin, for fear of what might happen if we did. We need the Lord to convict us of sin (John 16:8).
Secondly, I find it curious that the Lord’s word to David was indirect. David was outraged at Nathan’s story, indicating that David’s sense of justice was intact, even though he was blind to his own case. But notice that Nathan didn’t give a sermon on adultery or murder, but rather told a simple story that aroused David’s sense of justice. It worked. David saw that the story was about himself. And perhaps this approach would work now, for we live in a world intensely concerned with justice. For instance, our society, in the main, abhors the practice of rape for profit that is modern sex-trafficking. Can we draw the connections between sex-trafficking and abortion? Our culture almost universally condemns slavery and racism. Do we see the connections with abortion and assisted suicide? Our world is increasingly aware and rightly intolerant of the oppression of women. There really is a war on women, but not from the direction that we are used to hearing in contemporary political election-year rhetoric. Can we see it? We live in a world whose sense of justice is, at least in part, intact. Herein, with thought and prayer, and the guidance and help of the Holy Spirit, lies an opportunity.
The end of the story is sobering, but hopeful. The consequences of David’s sin didn’t vanish. The consequences of sexual sin and murder never do. But David was forgiven. His eyes now opened, David confessed his sin, and Nathan spoke the word he needed to hear: “The LORD also has put away your sin.” Whether directly or indirectly, confronting the world with what abortion is is weighty business. The word of the Lord concerning abortion is an invitation to grace, even as it is a word of judgment. Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of all kinds.