The prophet Nathan had a big job ahead of him. With fear a trepidation, he had to approach King David and confront him with his terrible sin of murdering Uriah and committing adultery with Bathsheba. God instructed his prophet to speak the truth to the king. I wonder what went through Nathan’s mind. Perhaps he thought that the king would blow up and take out his anger on him. Perhaps he thought he had drawn the short straw among his fellow prophets. However, when Nathan confronted David with his sin, God broke David’s heart, and he admitted his sin and repented in sincerity and bitterness of spirit. David accepted the rebuke and confessed his sin. Psalm 51:1-4 records his prayer: “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; according to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight…”. Because David accepted the rebuke, He was forgiven, and God has used his prayer in Psalm 32 and 51 to bless countless believers down through the centuries.
People today have a hard time accepting rebuke even when it is spoken in love. They are more likely to shift the blame, deny the charges, or to lash out in anger to justify themselves. They tend to always plead not guilty. God’s Word tells us: “faithful are the wounds of a friend” (Prov. 27:6), and “the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).
God does not want us to continue in our disobedience and sin. Because He loves us so much, He will raise up a Nathan to come to us with the truth. He will use a godly friend, the faithful preaching of the Word, or a family member to confront us from time to time. We will be hurt at first, but our spiritual healing will come when we embrace the blessing of rebuke.