“Nathan said to David, “You are the man!” 2 Samuel 12:7
God has blessed me to be a part of an accountability group for men in pastoral ministry. Once a month the men take turns “sitting on the hot seat” and sharing about certain things happening in their particular ministry context and personal life. In addition to having a safe place to share some of the highs and lows of ministry, God has used these settings to develop life-long friendships. It is not uncommon for someone in between meetings to sends a text asking for prayer for a difficult issue or upcoming meeting. I’ve come to truly cherish the godly men who are living out Galatians 6:2 even as they pursue God’s heart and will for their lives and the community of believers they serve.
And yet, the so called “hot seat” can be quite a humbling experience. You see, while you are given freedom to share whatever is on your heart, the brothers are also given the freedom to offer biblical counsel and even encourage you to consider alternate ways of assessing things and responding. This is actually the real gift of these meetings. There is the opportunity to hear from and even be corrected by individuals whom you know love the Lord and care deeply about you personally.
It would seem to me that David and Nathan shared this kind of healthy and God-honoring accountability relationship. While we have a great deal of knowledge about David, Nathan the prophet is more of an obscure figure. And yet, it is fascinating to note the times Nathan shows up on the scene. For example, Nathan first shows up in 2 Samuel 7 when David is contemplating building a temple worthy of God’s glory. Who does he turn to for advice? Nathan first encourages him to go forward, but after hearing from God, counsels David against following through with his plans. And David listens to him. The second appearing of Nathan happens five chapters later as he boldly, yet gently confronts David for his sin against Bathsheba and her husband. Again, David listens to the voice of his friend. And then there was the time Nathan appears towards the end of David’s life (1 Kings 1). David’s son, Absalom is planning a vicious coup that David is unaware of. Nathan moves quickly to have David appoint Solomon as king in order to thwart Absalom’s scheme. And guess what? David listens. Whether for encouragement, rebuke or counsel David knew he could trust Nathan to provide wise, God-honoring accountability.
Now, most of us are fairly comfortable receiving encouragement and counsel. In fact, we often seek after those things. But how do you respond when its pointed out that a particular behavior or way in which you are thinking is not okay? Are you quick to try to defend yourself or justify your actions? Do you decide to end communications with the person who confronts you with biblical counsel about an area of your life that is clearly out of alignment with the will of God? Herein lies a sure test of humility. David could have very easily chose to ignore Nathan, or worst, make life very difficult for him. But he listened instead. He listened… knowing that Nathan was a man devoted to God and that he had David’s best interest at heart.
Who are the Nathans God has providentially placed in your life? These are men and women who love the Lord, cherish His Word and who truly care about you as a person. Let them place you on the hot seat occasionally. Allow them to challenge some of your thoughts and actions. Thank them when they offer a loving and gentle rebuke towards you. The decision to do so will save you from a thousand heartaches and regrets.