I don’t think there’s a person alive who doesn’t sometimes need a third party in some way. Surely, you’ve been there. I know I have. When you’ve done all you can, when you’ve reached the end of your knowledge or resources, when you simply can’t see clearly . . . that’s when it takes a third party!
In 2 Sam. 12:1-15, a well-known story is told. Well, actually it’s the “fall-out” of a sad story. The chapter before, David commits adultery with Bathsheba. And if you’ve read that story with a “fine-tooth-comb,” you’ll notice David makes about nine errors in three ways:
- Leading up to sin.
- Engaging in sin.
- Covering up sin.
David, the “man after God’s own heart” (1 Sam. 13:14), gets completely off-balance. Loses perspective.
Instead of leading his army to defend his kingdom, he assigns that task to his general. But he stays home, lounging. Maybe bored? Perhaps tired? Possibly discouraged? Not initially intending to do wrong.
In this off-focus condition, David falls.
Have you been there? Off-balance? Maybe bored? Perhaps tired? Possibly discouraged? Not initially intending to do wrong.
God brings accountability to David – the man of His choosing – because He is a Good Father. He confronts the “man after His own heart” to help get him back on track. When something is wrong, unjust, off-balance – shouldn’t it be made right? Isn’t it best to get back on the path God has for you?
There are consequences to getting off track. This is where David finds himself.
Brief List Of Events:
- God sends Nathan, the prophet, to confront David. In other words, his moral failing isn’t “secret.” God sees the lead up compromises, the sin, and the cover-up.
- Nathan engages an effective tactic – story-telling. A selfish man has many sheep, yet he takes the one sheep of a poor man. Apparently, the poor man cherishes this little animal, like a daughter. (v. 3)
- The rich man slaughters the little sheep to serve a guest. Are you starting to feel disgust? David gets MAD when Nathan tells him this story! And he speaks out – loudly – a severe punishment over this man.
- Then comes the lightening bolt accountability as Nathan says, “You are that man.” (v.7)
- And so begins the exposure, the painful realizations, the consequences, the surgical fix, and the healing from a loving God – who wants His children back on track.
Sometimes It Takes A Third Party
The main teaching point of this story is something the text doesn’t really state. It’s not an in-your-face obvious truth. It’s not even a right-to-the-point lesson. In fact, you have to dig for – meditate on – pensively consider. Let’s look.
God reveals a very special part of His own heart in this accountability. In other words, He gives David – and you and me – a peek into His great, beating heart that is “for“ mankind. God reveals He, Himself, is sad, sorrowful, angry, yet loving and forgiving. God is holding accountable “a man after His own heart” – even as He experiences His own grief over the circumstances.
This is very much like a parent, guardian, or teacher role when you highly esteem (and love) a child or young adult. Yet you must engage accountability to correct what is off-balance.
But let’s step away from this main teaching point and come back to it later.
Rulers Of Earth
First, let’s remember mankind’s purpose to rule the earth. That means globally and individually. This responsibility ranges from:
- Monitoring conditions to keep our home, Earth, in balance, in proper rhythm, in sync with systems God created – as care-takers of creation
- Fair management of governments, nations, and communities
- Each individual’s responsibility to manage one’s own life.
We’re supposed to keep things in healthy balance in cooperation with God.
When we get off balance, God is automatically involved. He must be! He’s not a distant by-stander. As the Creator, Father-figure, and the only third party that can restore balance globally and individually – He’s involved!
Be Content – No Matter What
Second, a side teaching point of this content – be content in The Lord in all circumstances. The back story of human history strongly suggests God’s people need to practice personal contentment.
When To Be Content
Being content is a struggle for everyone. Think of your own life as I ponder mine. It’s a lot easier to be content when things are generally going well. That’s when it’s easier to not be anxious or upset.
But the issue of being content covers all of life – good times and bad. Being content in the Lord at all times is a safe-guard in spite of developments of all kinds. Even under great duress, testing, or sufferings, there’s no other way to live a healthy, balanced life than to embrace contentment in Jesus.
A Third Party Option
Sometimes it takes a third part to show where you went wrong, when you stepped away from being content in Jesus. When we talk about a third party, we often picture a friend, family member, pastor, teacher, and such. But I have another party I’d like to put forward as a credible, accurate, never-miss-anything option.
I suggest Scripture can be that reliable third party. However, this third party requires a tender leaning into God’s voice and a willingness to be trained in His ways.
Most of us tend to see wrongs with a self-serving slant – especially when referring to wrongs in other people. However, God wants us to see “to-the-tiny-degree” where we are at fault. His Spirit is faithful to teach, and He prefers Scripture as the teacher’s manual.
Ps. 139:24 says, “Point out anything You find in me that makes You sad, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”
So, the question is – are you faithful to listen and respond to what Scripture points out? “To-the-tiny-degree?”
What Stands In The Way?
Too often people focus on things that get them off track:
- What you want in life
- Your agenda, not God’s
- Being angry – legitimate or not
- Feeling cheated, ostracized, persecuted
- Your sufferings
- Feeling lonely or hurt
- Being genuinely afraid
- And so on.
Some of those things must be addressed. Life is hard. And everyone goes through tough stuff. But when you focus only on the tough stuff, you lose focus on contentment. You lose sight of Jesus. This affects your ability to manage your individual life and influence (ruling). It also affects contentment.
Back To The Back Story
I promised to get back to the main teaching point. Here we go.
God’s response to David – even as He holds him accountable – is incredible! It shows His great love and kindness. It also shows His broken heart over how people choose everything else over Him.
After listing everything He has done for David throughout David’s young difficult life, God proves He’s been very involved in the circumstances . . . unseen, but still extremely involved.
Here’s what God says in verse 9. “And if this were too little, I would add to you as much more. Why have you despised the word of the Lord to do what is evil in His sight?”
You could say it like this – “If all I’ve done for you wasn’t enough (too little), including the cross, I would have done even more for you. But this isn’t about My desire to bless your life. It’s about what you prefer over Me . . . over My provisions and interventions. And it breaks My heart! Yet, I must point-blank ask you – why do you disregard My instructions and promises? Why do you continue to choose less than My best for you? Is there a reason you prefer evil pursuits to assuage your emptiness and to fill your loneliness? Why not use your will – the gift I gave you – to choose to be content in Me? To choose Me!”
So, What Have We Learned?
First, you are a manager of all that’s in your scope of influence. (Ruling the earth and your life.)
Second, God wants you to practice contentment in Him because you trust Him.
Third, God is involved all the time where you cannot see Him. He cares as a Father – enough to bring accountability. God wants to get you back onto His path. This is a clear sign of His deep love for you, and He is heart-broken when you don’t trust Him enough to obey Him.
We haven’t mentioned yet – David got back in sync through this sorrowful situation. He regained his balance. His response to God is beautiful. “I have sinned against the Lord!” (2 Sam. 12:13)
God forgave David and got him back on track. Good accountability carried out in love. God will forgive you and me if we respond like David – with sincere repentance.
Application Questions and Thoughts
- Are you off-balance? Confused? Tired of the battle?
- Are you turning to God for guidance in life challenges?
- Will you accept His methods to restore balance in your life, even if it includes accountability?
- Have you chosen to be content in the Lord in all circumstances?
- What should you change to be content in the Lord?
- Are you aware of the heart-wrenching sadness God has when you aren’t contentment in Him?
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