“...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!” (2 Sam. 12:4-7)
Sometimes we walk through life seeing what we want to see. We are caught up in our lives, our desires, our dreams for personal success and happiness. The decisions we make are the things that help us reach our goals, to obtain the objects we pursue. We become blinded by our desire and can't see how far we've drifted, away from the path the Lord placed before us. We justify our sin as we take comfort in it.
If something doesn't change, we can find ourselves far from the God who made us to find fulfillment in him. As miserable as we are without him in the center of our lives, it often takes a catastrophe to bring our focus back on him. By His grace, the Lord can intervene and make sure our foolishness is exposed, and our selfish and sinful plans come to an end. The question is what we do, when that happens.
In the passage above from 2 Samuel, King David is living in sin. He has many wives, and yet finds the time to desire a married woman living near the royal quarters. He does the unthinkable -- sending her husband, one of his generals, into battle, and making sure that the man dies fighting on the front lines. This enables David to take his wife. David cannot apparently see how far he has fallen from the man he had once been, when he wrote so many of the Psalms.
The Lord doesn't let him go, though. Nathan is given knowledge of David's sin by the Lord, and confronts him. Not with the direct truth, which might have given David the chance to build arguments in his defense, but with a story of a poor man whose lamb was taken and slaughtered by a rich man. David immediately reacts to the rich man's sin. David never sees it coming. He is the man. As we read David's response to the judgment brought against him, we can picture him on his face, seeking God's mercy.
What will it take, to bring us back to the Lord when we have walked so far in the other direction? Sometimes it is a massive failure, as we see our plans exposed or ruined. A scarier thought is that we never make it back, that we pursue our own plans apart from God until we've run completely out of time. The Lord wants so much more for us. He wants to restore us, to put us on his path. To help us to find fulfillment in him. There is no fulfillment in pursuit of our dreams apart from him. Only emptiness and disaster.
Have you become blind to sin in your life? I lived that way for a section of my life, content in my own selfish plans, living life under my own control. I was unhappy, but couldn't find my way back. Then the Lord intervened. In his mercy, he took away the things I was depending on, and all I was left with was him. He was all I ever needed. Now I live with his blessings and am surrounded by his presence. It's hard to believe I was willing to trade those things away, but I did, for a time. If you're in a similar spot, the Lord is calling you back. Hear his voice, follow the path he lays before you.