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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Who's Nathan are you?

We probably all have a close friend - someone who seems to know most of the "dirt" in our lives.  At best, these individuals only know us "most of the way", though.  There are always some parts of "us" which we believe are kept hidden - those really secret things we just hope no one ever learns about us.  The only one who really knows us "all the way" is the one who actually created us - God himself.


You're the One I've violated, and you've seen it all, seen the full extent of my evil. You have all the facts before you; whatever you decide about me is fair. I've been out of step with you for a long time, in the wrong since before I was born. What you're after is truth from the inside out. Enter me, then; conceive a new, true life. (Psalm 51:4-6 The Message)


Indeed, God has all the facts about us and he still loves us!  Now, if that doesn't amaze you even a little, you will miss the rest of what I am about to tell you!  David comes to the realization, with a little help from a faithful friend, of just how much his sin has driven a wedge between him and God.  It was even God's love for David which caused Nathan (the prophet) to bring the message of "conviction" to David.  David had wallowed in his sin long enough - Nathan was about to turn the tide for David with the message of forgiveness he would bring him.


A faithful God provides a faithful friend.  Did you ever stop to consider the friend God has placed alongside you for the journey you are on today?  In reality, this one may be able to see and know some things about you, but when God is in them, they see much more than we might imagine!  In the moment of our greatest need, a faithful friend is always willing to point us directly to the source of where our need will be met - Christ!


David's confession is a hard one.  He has been "out of step" with God for a long time.  He has let time pass, making the shame and guilt he has experienced about his sin simply mount to almost insurmountable levels.  In fact, if you read many of the writings of David around this period in his life, you will discover he is sinking deeper and deeper into depression.  His body aches, he cannot sleep, he feels like his bones are withering away inside.  He needs deliverance - and God prepares the messenger - Nathan.


We may not know the exact one God will use to point us in the right direction again.  The truth remains, God cares too much about us than to leave us wallowing in our self-pity and sin for very long.  He will send a faithful friend - one who will bring the message of forgiveness and restoration we so desperately need.  Whenever we are faced with the choice between self-pity and total restoration, the choice should be simple, right?  But...how many times do we reject the words of restoration simply because we don't "feel" forgiven?  


David said it well, "What you are after is truth from the inside out."  How this is accomplished is in the very next sentence:  "Enter me and conceive a new life - one that is true."  No amount of self-help will do what God intends to do himself.  The faithfulness of Nathan's message of forgiveness opens David's heart to the possibility of God's touch.  Change is possible - but it is in the exchange of our self-pity for his truth of forgiveness where it is accomplished.  


As long as we "wallow", we never allow God to enter into us afresh.  Self-pity is really doubt in disguise - doubt of God's willingness to forgive us - doubt in our ability to move beyond the consequences of our sin.  When we "wallow", we are moving kind of clumsily, floundering about as best we can, but never really enjoying the journey.  When we yield our "wallowing", we find deliverance. 


A faithful friend opened the door for David to realize the fact he needed God to "enter him" - taking over his doubt and self-pity, erasing his guilt, eliminating his shame, and righting him on solid ground.  A faithful God opened the door of forgiveness wide to David - as he does to us.  It is not so much in us "entering" into God - it is much more about God entering into us!  We often get this backward - we want to wash away our own guilt and shame.  God reminds David (through a faithful friend) - the washing is HIS business!  In entering in, God makes all things new.  Figures, doesn't it - the Creator knows the creation best!  Who can make "new" better than the one who made it in the first place?