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Monday: Wake-Up Call — 29 Comments

  1. Nathan was a very wise man. He knew that telling people they are sinners straight out would only put him offside, so he told a story. I like Nathan's approach. Story-telling is a powerful approach to getting a message across, particularly when the message is potentially unpalatable.

    In my recent history one of the greatest contributors to my spiritual thinking has been Adrian Plass, a Christian humorist. I remember reading one of his stories and laughing so much that Carmel told me off. Then, a couple of minutes later, the story really hit me. Though incredibly funny, Adrian Plass had sent a stunningly enlightening message about the meaning of true Christianity reducing me to tears by the power and simplicity of the message. The next day Carmel read the same story ... And I said, "Told you so!" as she had the same experience.

    Nathan had a hard message for David. He also had a long history and knew David very well. He had the compassion to get the message through the wall the David had built around himself. I know that this lesson is essentially about David and his restlessness and restoration, but an important corollary to this story is the role of Nathan.

    When we feel the call of God to rebuke and chastise, do we stop and consider the best strategy. Do we charge like a bull leaving a trail of wreckage behind us? Or do we seek the guidance of the Lord, and find ways to provide support, encouragement, and restoration?

    Jesus said:

    Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Matthew 5:9 KJV

    Can the deliverer of a tough message be a peacemaker?

    I have a grandson called Nathan. I hope he lives up to his biblical namesake.

    • Agreed Maurice!
      Nathan was tactful.

      Story telling is a great way to help others see the bigger picture. Jesus understanding that all too well, used parables to help His listeners grasp the concepts He shared.

      My God help us to display Jesus' method in our strategy to help others back on the path of righteousness. Recognizing that we too err and would not appreciate it if those who rebuke us, left the humanity out of the rebuke. Let's treat each other with love and tender care.

      P.S Maurice, please share! Which one of Adrian Plass' stories were you referencing?


    • "get the message through the wall that David had built around himself"


      Growing up, I used to regularly clean my brothers' bedrooms. My 8-year-older brother would pay me with stickers which I could trade for trinkets at his auctions. Hilariously, he would even wear a silk scarf to play the role of the auctioneer. To this day, I still find it easier to do the dishes at my friends' homes or to help them organize their closets than I do to clean up my own messes.

      David was like this too. He was able to point his spy glass out over his walls and peek in on his subjects. In hearing Nathan's story he thought he was seeing an ethical injustice done by some man in his kingdom and he become very angry about it. David's high walls of self-satisfied superiority and power gave him the vantage point to see the perceived deficits in some man he didn't even know. But he could not see that he himself was dangerously close to losing all compassion (2 Samuel 12:6).

      I like how you identify Nathan as a peacemaker. I once heard that a "peacekeeper" runs from conflict, while a "peacemaker" runs toward conflict to reconcile people to God and to one another. I can see Nathan reaching for the spyglass of judgment in the hands of an angry, blind man to gently turn it around onto himself. Jesus did this too in Matt 7:3-5. Jesus says in effect, "Don't try to clean up someone else's mess until you've asked God to help you clean your own similar one."

      Carl Jung said, “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” And Marian Keyes: “The things we dislike most in others are the characteristics we like least in ourselves.”

      I think the story about the cold-hearted rich man angered David because it reminded him of something he disliked within himself. He just didn't know what that was until God, through, Nathan, broke through that barrier.

  2. Have you ever played hide and seek game in your childhood? For those of us played it knows it very well and remembers how fun it was!
    The object of the game is to hide from a person-named "It' who trying to find you.The last person who is still hiding becomes the new 'it".....'It could not find you. You could really use your imagination to seek out better places to hide . Finding the best-where no one could get you- was the best strategy...

    This is what happened to David. He committed the sins of sleeping with Bathsheba. He tried to play hide seek from other people and from God!
    He killed Uriah and then took Bathsheba as his wife...but of course he couldn't hide forever. Nine months later,the child comes and literally all hell breaks loose...his sins were out to the public!

  3. Today’s lesson states “David recognized that sin, which makes our heart restless, is primarily an affront against God, the Creator and Redeemer.” The typical dictionary meaning of the word “affront” is to insult or offend someone. Is this what God experiences when we sin - insulted and offended?

    When the Patriarchs and Prophets quote states that “All wrong done to others reaches back from the injured one to God”, what is it referring to? What is it specifically that reaches back to God?

    What does God experience when we ‘sin’?

    • Nathan did very well the way he spoke to the king and David, nailed it by giving judgment , he also feard the Lord,

    • Well, Phil, it is possible to insult and offend someone without that person feeling insulted and/or offended, as I can testify from experience in teaching young adolescents. In the turmoil of their lives, they often feel restless and don't know why. They do crazy things to get attention - including trying to insult and offend their teachers. However, as their teacher, I tried to understand why they were acting that way. That meant that sometimes I would just ignore the behavior and at other times I would administer appropriate "judgment," as befit the occasion.

      If I, as a mere human, can refuse to feel insulted or offended by insulting and offensive behavior, I'm sure God does not feel insulted or offended either by the behavior of His creatures. Instead He might feel sad or disappointed. But through it all, He looks for ways to pull us out of the slime pit into which we have fallen through such behavior.

      David's behavior was so damaging because the ripple effect had consequences on his family and the nation. And, as a leader of God's people on this planet, David's sin had consequences in denigrating the character of God.

    • I believe you are absolutely on to something Inge when you state:

      “If I, as a mere human, can refuse to feel insulted or offended by insulting and offensive behavior, I'm sure God does not feel insulted or offended either by the behavior of His creatures. Instead He might feel sad or disappointed.”

      I find evidence of this in Genesis 6:6 - that God ‘regretted’ having made humanity because He was “grieved in His heart”. This grief was the underpinning experience that God felt in response to ‘sin’. God had created mankind to share in the abundant life that comes (only) from living to benefit others. But humanity, with the guidance and encouragement of Satan, had taken that gift of life and instead used it to abuse, exploit and destroy others. Humanity had become so irreversibly corrupted and degraded that this abuse, exploitation and destruction was what their heart most deeply desired (Genesis 6:5).

      God would have been disappointed that this is how his gift of life had been misused - disappointed for the hurt and destruction that people experienced as a result. Perhaps we would differentiate this type of disappointment by the term grief-based disappointment.

  4. David had committed presumptuous sin. David fully knew what he was doing. David was the King of a powerful nation and no one dare speak against him. Kings destroyed prophets who speak against them. He tried covering up sin with sin, but had to cover up that sin again with another sin. To end the sin cover up was finally death cause a dead person can’t speak. He was sending the man home to make it look like he came home and something great happened. A pregnancy. David did other things before but I am supposing he never thought the Lord would’ve stepped in so angry.
    What a supplanter!!!

  5. One of some other biblical „wake up calls“ is read in
    the book of Job.
    In chapter 40 for example God does the rebuke personally after having heard Job insisting on his righteousness and innocence condemning God for what happened:
    Job 40: v 2-8 KJV
    „ Shall he that contendeth with the almighty instruct him? He that reproveth God, let him answer it.
    Then Job answered the Lord and said:
    Behold I am vile, what shall I answer thee. I will lay mine hand upon my mouth.“
    Verses 7an 8 are also interesting to read, actually the whole chapter includes wise quotes from God for us to learn.
    So my conclusion is although compared to David‘s major sin, Job was indeed innocent, yet not sinless and so are we always in need of asking the Lord humbly to draw our attention to our weaknesses in the light of His divine strength.

  6. As far as Nathan's rebuke to David is concerned, I would use one word " Approach ". How we approach every matter is of utmost importance. We must avoid hatred in our dealing with brethren taken in sin. Paul cautions : BRETHREN, if a man be overtaken in a fault , ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness ; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Galatians 6:1. We are to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves in our approach to people who have fallen in sin. How Jesus approached the sin of Simon against his own niece Mary Magdalene is the best example which Pastors, Elders and Church members need to follow. It's clear from the Spirit of Prophecy that it's Simon who destroyed Mary by sleeping with her that led her to flee to Magdala. When we read how Jesus told a parable to rebuke Simon's adultery, so was the Prophet Nathan. Read the whole story from Luke 7 : 36 - 50. Jesus never exposed Simon, He respected his privacy so must we also respect people's privacy. The Spirit of Prophecy says something in this regard which is an object lesson for all of us : As did Nathan with David, Christ concealed His home thrust under the veil of a parable. Simon was touched by the kindness of Jesus in not openly rebuking him before the guests. He had not been treated as he desired Mary to be treated. He saw that Jesus did not wish to expose his guilt to others, but sought by a true statement of the case to convince his mind , and by pitying kindness to subdue his heart. Stern denunciation would have hardened Simon against repentance, but patient admonition convinced him of his error. He saw the magnitude of the debt which he owed his Lord. His pride was humbled, he repented, and the proud Pharisee became a lowly, self - sacrificing disciple. The Desire of Ages p. 566 - 568. Thanks

  7. "Why do you think Nathan chooses to tell a story...?"

    Does this question assume God is not involved here? Also, why is Nathan's story considered a “trap”? Nathan was sent to reveal the truth, still hidden from the guilty sinner, and to bear the glad tidings should repentance be forthcoming. David would be candidly fair and just if not realizing he was the culprit in the story. God, as always, was seeking to save, not trap.

    All sin is against the Sovereign God because "sin is the transgression of the law"(1 Jn 3:4), regardless of what else it might be. When God is always in our thoughts, our first reaction will be concerning Him. Recall how God told Moses that Israel was sinning against Him, not Moses. Samuel was told a similar thing when Israel chose a king. Can we see why repentant David was considered a man after God's own heart? Do we see our sins against others as against God first and foremost? Even the petty sins?

    • Robert- the Bible says ‘David was a man after God’s own heart.’ Check out the explanation of the quote. David got that honor when he was walking in the fear of the Lord not after. Patriarchs and Prophets gave a reading for all of us.

      Nathan rebuked David while he was living in active sins. A pregnancy was involved. I believed David had the choice to kill the fetus by (abortion) murder, or kill the grown man by (murder). Was David afraid of Uriah retribution, that he might wage a war against him when the story gets out? He took the man life but did he mourned and groaned? The Lord in his wisdom laid the baby to rest at birth despite David repentance. Look at the far reaching influences of sin. David was all about covering up sins to look great in the sight of men.

      • Absolutely Lyn, that is why I wrote "repentant David". It is always God's desire for sinners to repent, for this alone will allow them the benefit of God's grace of redemption in Christ.

        While guilty of unrepented sin, David was not found in God's favor. Ps 32:1-5 among other passages of scripture make this point clear.

  8. "Wake me up when it's over." Those were the infamous words uttered by the former prime minister Basdeo Panday, when information reached him during the 1990 coup attempt in Trinidad and Tobago, and sadly, it seems to be the unspoken words of leaders and members alike today, who choose to "sleep" rather than take action.

    The dictionary says that if something is a wake-up call, it makes you realize that you need to change the way you do something, to avoid a problem in the future..it ignites a need to take action.

    In Revelation 3:2-3, we read, “Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you” (NIV). 

    "God calls upon all, both preachers and people, to awake. All heaven is astir. The scenes of earth's history are fast closing. We are amid the perils of the last days. Greater perils are before us, and yet we are not awake. This lack of activity and earnestness in the cause of God is dreadful. This death stupor is from Satan. (Testimonies for the Church 1:260, 261. ChS 81.2)

    In today's lesson, David responded to his wakeup call...the big question is, what am I doing about mine?

  9. When we read this account of David's seemingly "unpardonable sin" over and over it's hard to resist the thought "how stupid can you get?" David did his research to fact check Bathsheba - whose daughter she was and whose WIFE she was - yet those realities did not deter him. He was on a blind mission to steal, kill and destroy, but this man after God's heart did not know it.

    The old adage "devil finds work for idle hands" and if I might add idle minds too, really found fulfillment in David's life that fateful Spring afternoon. Wrong on all accounts, David should have been out at battle with his army fighting God's enemies to deliver His chosen people. Instead he was sleeping till evening like a lazy dog, when he should have awaken from morning and gone to work for the Lord. That was his mission! Then he planned his lustful adulterous sin and carried it out, notwithstanding he knew very well who Bathsheba was. I often wonder if Bathsheba could have refused this invite or resist David's sinful advances without consequences. So because David was king did he have the right to force her into sinning against herself, her husband and against God? Did Bathsheba suspect what was going to happen when she was sent for by David's orders? There are apparently more questions than answers.

    Then David felt compelled to continue to weave his tangled web of deceit, with his strategic coverup to trick poor faithful Uriah into going home to sleep with his now pregnant wife in order to coverup the paternity issue. Uriah did not fall into the trap hence, like in any dramatic movie, consequently had to be taken out. What a mess! Lie on top of lie, deception evil scheming and self deceit.

    Our stories may not have been as dramatic as David's but we are no less guilty for "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God ". At first David may have felt sorry because of the consequences of his terrible sins - swift judgment of God which meant certain death based on the verdict he had himself pronounced to the prophet Nathan. He would be shamed and disgraced for this premeditated wickedness he had done to hurt so many persons and moreso to hurt God who had been so good to him through his life.

    Thank God for Psalm 51:10 where David sees his true state and prostrates himself before God in heart contrition and repentance. God's mercy indeed endures forever.

  10. Why the parable? Like all stories from God there is a succinct moral. Here’s the rub: human rest- restfulness- incites sin. Sin breeds restlessness that terrible virus which broke out with terrible and devastating consequences. King David believed that he had arrived at a state of deeply profound restfulness. He had arrived!..such ease.The privilege of kings to sleep until noonday when at war surrounded by the trappings of privilege; then to rise and gaze on all that belonged to him (compare with Nebuchadnezzar) the wife of a warrior in his trusted inner circle and finally to hatch a devious and wicked plan using the power entrusted to him by God to cover over his sin. The parable breaks apart all of the king’s presuppositions using his highly developed sense of justice, familiar objects and unrecognised assumptions of what is true ‘rest’.

  11. GOD KNOWS our future! To GOD, Uriah and the newly born baby did not die! They slept, awaiting the great resurrection morning! Their sleeping was a gain to GOD! May be, if they had lived beyond that time, they would have died in sin and GOD lost them!

    If David, the murderous prostitute at the time of killing Uriah, had died in his sins, GOD would have lost him!

    David lived and repented and that's a gain to GOD! GOD won 3 - 0 against satan here, Uriah, the baby and David!

    Remember, OUR CREATOR, GOD, doesn't want anyone to die in his sins, but to repent and be saved! Ezekiel 33:11!

    Our GOD is love! 1John4:8,16! Just imagine, how long was the devil's probation before he was totally cast out of GOD'S sight? It was until the crucifixion of JESUS CHRIST when JESUS shouted, "it is finished!" That it referred to the devil! John19:30!

    GOD'S love is exceedingly amazing! It is wholly good! HE allowed JESUS to die, so that we would be saved!

    So, next time you see GOD not acting according to your expectations, accept it! He knows that it has some good outcome!

    ```Be blessed all🙏🏽```

  12. What is the ‘Wake-up Call’ meant to do? What does this call make us aware of? Is it that our ‘wrongs’ are measured in light of God’s justice, mercy and grace - His Law?
    Personally, I stay away from ‘analyzing/judging’ other’s motives, especially as they relate to moral and ethical standards set by the Creator of all that is.
    We are admonished to let His wisdom judge those wrongs; He will apply His judgement based on the motive of the heart. Who can claim to rightly judge the heart of someone else if we cannot even judge honestly our own heart?

    Reading Ellen White’s insights is a delight! It speaks so eloquently to who is 'hurt' when we live our lives precariously.
    We all realize that effects of right and wrong choices last a lifetime. I consider our heavenly Father seeing us as ‘a work in progress’, sticking with us even in our lowest times; or I might say - especially then. He knows that all actions prompt a reaction; if we love God, He will cleans us of our unrighteousness in the process.
    If I say I love God but do not show it by loving my fellow traveler by avoiding harm/discomfort/daubt coming to them, then my love of God is put into question.

    David was God’s choice, the best man available to secure the territory promised to the children of Israel. I feel sad about David's choices and am touched by his grief, seeing that he was the friend after God's heart.
    As a ‘latecomer with hindsight’, I chose to exercise compassion and understanding and learn from his experience.

  13. I was wondering why the judgment against David was that the baby had to die? It seems a lack of justice. It also seems a foreshadowing. We know all Bible stories reflect the salvation story. David loses his firstborn son (with Bathsheba) as a wage of sin. God the Father sacrifices His firstborn Son as a wage of sin.

    • Thank you for that thought, Esther. I had not thought of it as a reflection of the salvation story before ...

      On another level, though, it probably hurt David more to see His baby die than to suffer some punishment himself.

      • Esther and Inge, I have wondered and had discussions surrounding the need to take the babies life. I still don't understand why the baby. I have wondered if there was a genetic defect that prevented him from living. I've wondered if it was because the child would have been a constant reminder to David, the Israelites and surrounding nations of David's egregious sin. Maybe this is what is implied when God says your sin will be removed. It does speak to the other side of the mercy coin which is justice. I hadn't considered the thought that the death of this son probably brought David back closer to God then if then child had lived.

        • Thank you, Myron. I think you're right "the death of this son probably brought David back closer to God then if then child had lived." There are so many nuances to the story that are only apparent when we stop and reflect.

          While we cannot know all the "why's" of God's actions, we can trust Him and learn from the lessons He provides ...

    • Consider also the life of that child of "sin", especially with the other siblings, given the circumstances. Maybe God spared this illegitimate child a life of woe through no fault of its own? Many questions that God alone can answer. Do we still trust Him?

      It was a son of Bathsheba who sat on the throne after David, who went on to write 3 very profound books of the old testament.

  14. I agree with many statements above but I think the reason for the parable has another use, as well. The story is not about sex, it is about use/abuse of power. When God (through Nathan) points out David's sin, he doesn't point out sex. He points out that all that David has, he has because God gave it to David.

    David's sin is against God b/c he started his sin long before the sexual act. He was starting to be like the King of Babylon in heart but was known as God's representative on the outside. David was starting to take credit for all that he surveyed, at least in his heart. God set David right.

    May we always understand what our true sin is and what leads us to chose the outward sins we commit. That our hearts may be cleansed and therefore our actions.

  15. Why does david respond with I have sinned against the Lord rather than I have sinned against Bathseheba or I am a murderer?

    • Eva, what is the definition of sin? Sin is coming short of the glory (character) of God and/or breaking His Law. David raped Bathsheba and killed Uriah but they were not His Ruler who determined the Principles by which he should live.


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