This morning’s entry from the Mockingbird Devotional comes from Sean Norris.
Nathan said to David, “You are the man!” (2 Samuel 12:7, NIV)
Life is a game of denial. In fact, I would argue that most of the things we fill our day with are, or at least can be, tools for denial. Work, play, shopping, television, relationships, hobbies, philosophies—anything can be used to manipulate the reality of things gone wrong. It would not be too far to say that Christianity itself has often been used as a tool of reality-rejection.
People often have a sober view of themselves around the time of their conversion. They are confronted with the reality of their need for help, and like Saul on the road to Damascus, they fall off their horse and cry out for mercy from the Lord. This sobriety, however, proves fleeting. Old habits die hard, and we return to striving against reality faster than you can say pickle. Almost as soon as we become Christians, we start the business of working Jesus out of a job.
Consider David. We often look at him as an example of humility and dependence upon God. He suffered greatly while being persecuted under King Saul, and he was keenly aware of his need for God’s grace. But when Nathan comes to him, he is now the king of Israel, the chosen one of God, the “man after God’s own heart.” Nathan comes to him and tells him a story of betrayal, deceit, and murder and asks David to judge the fate of the perpetrator in the tale. An amazing thing happens: David is so disconnected from himself that he promptly and indignantly dispenses a harsh judgment upon the guy in Nathan’s story. Then the anvil falls. David has taken the bait, as it were, and Nathan delivers the crushing reality to which David is blind: “You are the man!”
There is no wiggle room here. There is no compromise due to his kingship. There is simply the pointing of the finger; the definitive, indisputable reality that David is the guilty man. This “man after God’s own heart” is the adulterer, murderer, betrayer, liar, and denier. (Aside: Isn’t it interesting that often, like David, the qualities you react to most harshly in someone else are also true of you?)
We are just like David. We are okay with the fact that we are the guilty ones until we are the chosen ones, but no one wants to face the fact that we continue to be the guilty ones afterward. In becoming Christians we often think our deceit and pride have (or should have) been arrested. But just like David, our denial cannot last. No matter how hard we resist it, we will always be brought face-to-face with the mirror. God’s Law, which demands absolute perfection, will always catch up to us. After all, it is written on our hearts that Nathan’s words are true.