2 Samuel 12:7-13a
Nathan said to David, ‘You are the man! Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: I anointed you king over Israel, and I rescued you from the hand of Saul; I gave you your master’s house, and your master’s wives into your bosom, and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would have added as much more. Why have you despised the word of the Lord, to do what is evil in his sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, for you have despised me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife. Thus says the Lord: I will raise up trouble against you from within your own house; and I will take your wives before your eyes, and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this very sun. For you did it secretly; but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.’ David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the Lord.’ Nathan said to David, ‘Now the Lord has put away your sin; you shall not die.
Reflection by Ellen Green
First, a little bit of context for today's reading. In the section just before, we hear about Uriah the Hittite and his wife Bathsheba, with whom King David commits adultery. David orders Uriah to be killed so that he can take Bathsheba as his own wife. The story goes that God was so displeased by this sequence of events that he sent the prophet Nathan to rebuke David. Nathan tells David a parable about a rich man who stole a lamb from a poor traveler rather than kill one of his own large herd. Naively, David condemns the rich man in the story, judging that he should be harshly punished. We pick up the story at the point where Nathan makes David see that he has behaved in much the same way as the rich man of the parable. By David's own logic he deserves to be harshly punished. But today's text concludes with David realizing his own error and hypocrisy, and Nathan granting him God's forgiveness. David had clung to the idea that he was one of the good guys, that evil was something other people do. We too tend to take a defensive position when evil is described by the #me-too movement or Black Lives Matter or advocates for the dignity of immigrants. David chose to acknowledge his sin. His repentance is followed by an assurance of grace. The same is offered to us.
God, may the deep peace of your unconditional love and grace give me courage to own up to my sin. Amen.