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How to Confront Someone: Lead with a Story

Nathan takes a wise approach when confronting David about his sins

King David, a man after God’s own heart, is far from perfect. After the Bathsheba affair and the subsequent murder of her husband at the hand of scheming David, God wants to deal with David and restore him to right relationship. This story provides an example of how to confront someone.

The Prophet Nathan Confronts David

God sends his prophet Nathan to confront David. This is not an assignment I would want: to go tell the king, who as the power to summarily kill me, that he’s a filthy sinner.

Nathan could have marched up to David’s throne, pointed an accusatory finger, and yelled, “You’re a sinner, and you’re going to hell.” I don’t think this would have gone over well.

Instead Nathan takes an indirect approach. He tells David a story. If this tactic sounds familiar, Jesus does the same thing, teaching the people through parables, which give folks an identifiable tale with an underlying spiritual truth.

Nathan’s story begins with “There were two men…” One is rich and one is poor. One is greedy and one is righteous. The greedy one steels from the poor one and…

King David Responds

King David can’t contain himself. He pronounces judgement, void of mercy, on the wealthy, greedy man.

Then Nathan drives his point to the heart of David. “You are that man.”

David feels conviction. He simply says, “I have sinned.”

His road to restoration begins. But David’s repentance doesn’t absolve him of the consequences. He will still face punishment. Though God is merciful, he is also just. The two go together. 

Though God is merciful, he is also just. Ask King David. Click To Tweet

Though the child of his adultery dies, David and Bathsheba later have another son. His name is Solomon and he succeeds David as king.

I wonder how events might have unfolded had Nathan not began his meeting with David by sharing a story.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is 2 Samuel 10-12, and today’s post is on 2 Samuel 12:1-8, 11-12.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Women in the Bible: Bathsheba

Bathsheba, a beautiful woman, is married to Uriah. Despite being a foreigner, Uriah is loyal to the nation of Israel, King David, and God; he is an honorable man, who is off fighting in the army.

Back home, David, from his rooftop vantage, sees Bathsheba bathing. Both are at fault. David shouldn’t have been looking, and Bathsheba should have been discrete. David summons her to sleep with him.

If she goes willingly, that makes her an adulteress (and David an adulterer). If she agrees because it’s unwise to say “No” to a sovereign king, then David essentially rapes her. Regardless, she becomes pregnant.

To cover up their tryst, David summons Uriah from the front lines. After two failed attempts to send Uriah home to the arms of his wife, David resorts to plan B. He develops a battle strategy to bring about Uriah’s death. Uriah unwittingly carries that plan with him when he returns to the front.

Uriah dies as planned. Bathsheba morns his death. David marries her.

Later, Nathan confronts David for his actions. Once exposed, David acknowledges his mistakes and seeks God. However, their love child becomes sick and dies.

Then David and Bathsheba have Solomon. Solomon eventually becomes king, just as David promised Bathsheba. Centuries later, Jesus is born, David and Bathsheba’s direct descendant, through Solomon.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is 2 Samuel 10-12 and today’s post is on 2 Samuel 11:26-27.]

Learn about other biblical women in Women of the Bible, available in e-book, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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