Is There Any Adequate Way To Fool God?
"But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD, and the LORD sent Nathan to David. He came to him, and said to him, "There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor. The rich man had very many flocks and herds; but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. He brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children; it used to eat of his meager fare, and drink from his cup, and lie in his bosom, and it was like a daughter to him. Now there came a traveler to the rich man, and he was loath to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the wayfarer who had come to him, but he took the poor man's lamb, and prepared that for the guest who had come to him." Then David's anger was greatly kindled against the man. He said to Nathan, "As the LORD lives, the man who has done this deserves to die; he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity." Nathan said to David, "You are the man! Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel . . ." (2 Samuel 12:1-7, NRSV)
In 1 Samuel 13:14, King David is described as a man after God's own heart. Despite engaging in some of the most morally bankrupt behavior, he was yet quick to repent. Within the text, (2 Samuel 12:1-7), David's actions included theft; lying; coveting; adultery; conspiracy; unfaithfulness and murder. As ruler, David deliberately took another man's wife and impregnated her. Conspiring to cover this up, David set up the woman's husband to have him killed only after this same man (not knowing what the King or his wife had done) refused to return home from battle (within David's army) to lay with his wife. Bathsheba was the woman and Uriah, the Hittite, was her husband.
The above passage chronicles God's anger with David. Nathan the prophet was led by God to illustrate how a greedy and elitist man gratuitously took and killed off the sole possession of a poor man simply to entertain his quest. As David's anger was kindled, Nathan informed the King that he was the one whom had been guilty of taking all that had belonged to the poor man, leaving him alone, in debt and in even greater wantonness.
Many are our modern day religious leaders who conspire with lies or re-defined truth to cover up morally bankrupt behavior. Despite holding the office of Pastor, Bishop or Presiding Elder, these are the ones who head the church, all the while plundering the resources and treasury designated for ministry improvement, educating the youth, and evangelizing the community for Christ. While some may pray, seeking for repentance, the mandate of having to restore all that was taken must and will come to fruition.
The prophet Nathan declared that the King's conscious dereliction will result in trouble being raised from within his own house; such trouble will be public and indistinguishable from the same plot executed from the King's own sword.
David, himself, even exclaimed in verses 5-6, "As the LORD lives, the man who has done this deserves to die; he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity." Like in the days of scripture, to every action there is a consequence, whether good or bad. Is there any adequate way to fool God? What is done in the dark has a way of coming to the light.
[Jamal-Dominique Hopkins (Ph.D., University of Manchester, U.K.) is C.E.O. of the non-profit Christian think tank, the Institute for Advanced African American Christian Thought (IAAACT). He is the author of Thinking Out Loud: Thoughts and Reflections on Life, Faith, Culture and Crisis (Journal Publication, 2013), and "Duty or Responsibility? The African American Evangelical's Identity" in the Journal of African American Christian Thought (2009). Hopkins is available for preaching, speaking or conducting workshops or seminars. To contact him or to contribute to IAAACT, visit www.iaaact.weebly.com.]