This prophet lived up to the meaning of his name, “he [God] has given”. He was a necessary and helpful gift from God to David. he served as God’s spokesman to David and proved himself a fearless friend and counsellor, always willing to speak the truth, even when he knew great pain would result.
In confronting David’s multiple sin of coveting, theft, adultery, and murder in his affair with Bathesheba, Nathan was able to help David see his own wrongdoing by showing that he would not have tolerated such actions from anyone else. David’s repentance allowed Nathan to comfort him with the reality of God’s forgiveness, and at the same time remind him of the painful consequences his sin would bring.
Nathan’s approach helps us to judge our actions. How often do we make choices that we would condemn others for making? It is helpful to ask ourselves how God and others see our actions. Unfortunately, we have a huge capacity to lie to ourselves. God still provides two safeguards against self-deception: his word and true friends. In each case, we get a view beyond ourselves. You are holding God’s word. Let it speak to you about yourself, even if the truth is painful. If you don’t have a friend like Nathan, ask God for one. And ask God to use you as a suitable Nathan for someone else.
Strengths and accomplishments:
- A trusted adviser to David
- A prophet for God
- A fearless, but careful confronter
- One of God’s controls in David’s life
Weakness and mistake:
- His eagerness to see David build a temple for God in Jerusalem made him speak without God’s instruction
Lessons from his life:
- We should not be afraid to tell the truth to those we care about
- A trustworthy companion is one of God’s greatest gifts
- God cares enough to find a way to communicate to us when we are in the wrong
- Occupations: Prophet, royal adviser
- Contemporaries: David, Bathsheba, Solomon, Zadok, Adonijah
Key verse: “Nathan reported to David all the words of this entire revelation” (2 Samuel 7:17).
Nathan’s story is told in 2 Samuel 7 – 1 Kings 1. He is also mentioned in 1 Chronicles 17:15; 2 Chronicles 9:29; 29:15.