Written by Rev. Brandon Durán
As a child, I regularly read my Picture Bible. It was a paraphrased version of the Bible in the format of a graphic novel. The comic book style images brought the stories to life. There are a handful of stories that have left a lasting impression on me into adulthood. One such story comes from 2 Samuel 12 and it is a conversation between the Prophet Nathan and King David.
The Lord sent Nathan to David. When Nathan came to him, Nathan said, “There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him.”
“Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him.”
David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, “As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this must die! He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.”
Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you all Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more. Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him…
David forgot who he was and he forgot the purpose of his power. He allowed his blind spot to become massive and it swallowed him. My mind’s eye clearly sees the image of Nathan’s finger pointed right at David’s heart as he delivers the line, “You are the man!” The image and the message shook me and it still shakes me. I know I have blind spots. I believe we all do. How easy it can be to pretend we don’t have them. How difficult it is to seek help in identifying them and addressing them. How tragic it is to miss what is obvious right before us.
Faith in God and understanding our self go hand in hand. We cannot grow in faith if we are unwilling to grow in our knowledge of ourselves. Or to put it another way, when we are willing to face our failings, address our hurts, and do the hard work of understanding why we do what we do, then we will inevitably grow in faith.
In that moment with Nathan, David had a choice. He could say, “How dare you accuse the King!” and kill the prophet, or he could humble himself and repent. David chose the latter. As a result, he composed Psalm 51 and he grew in faith.
I want to grow in my faith and in my ministry as a pastor. If you see a blind spot or something I need to think about, address, or change, please contact me. Brandon-Duran@centralunionchurch.org