1 The Lord sent Nathan to David. When he came to him, he said, “There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. 2 The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, 3 but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him.
4 “Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him.”
2 Samuel 12:1-4
Each time I read David’s story, I feel gratitude that God forgave David for the gravest of sins. Obviously, if David’s heart allowed him to be forgiven for murder and adultery, my less heinous sins are covered. I’m fully aware that my lies and unholy thoughts offend God just as badly as the worst of David’s sins, but knowing his were forgiven assures me mine are too.
Nevertheless, reading Nathan’s parable stopped me in my tracks. I began to wonder, Have I ever stolen anything precious from another?
Have I ever stolen someone’s pride? Perhaps a man takes pride in his menial minimum-wage job. Have I ever made a remark that might have made him feel as though he should be striving for more? Have I ever stolen someone’s confidence? Suppose a girl thinks she sings beautifully, her confidence soars, then something I call constructive criticism spews from my mouth.
Righteous anger would flow from my pores if I encountered a person engaging in human trafficking. Like David, you’d hear my indignant cry.
5 David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, “As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this must die! 6 He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.” (2 Samuel 12:5-6)
I can not wrap my brain around thinking it’s OK to take a child or an adult and sell them as chattel. Anyone who would snatch another human and treat them like property deserves no parole. But what if my words or actions make someone feel as helpless or abused, am I any better?
When we take credit for another’s accomplishments or climb the rung of success at the expense of a co-worker, we fall into the trap of David. Regardless of how much we love Jesus or sing His praises throughout the week, using power, coercion, or trickery to get what we want at the expense of someone who lacks influence or the ability to strategize makes us no better than the great king when he killed Bathsheba’s husband then took her home for his wife.
People often put others down to make themselves feel better. Yes, these actions begin as defense mechanisms, protection from those who seek to harm us, but when they mar the innocent, it’s the same as having a gun for self-defense then using it out of fear and accidentally killing a child.
As soon as he was found out, David repented. “I have sinned against God.” He realized that though his actions were against Uriah and Bathsheba and the family they hoped for, he ultimately sinned against God. David understood the truth of Matthew 25:45: “Whatever you did not do for the least of these, you did not do to me.”
Our challenge today lies in discovering what we do to the least of these on a regular basis. After we identify it, we can repent, and after we repent, we can change because as children of God and co-heirs with Christ, we don’t want to be stealing any lambs.
Thanks so much for reading!
I’m wondering if you might tell a friend about this blog today.
Just below this devotion, you’ll find some share buttons
If you put it on Facebook or Twitter, be sure to tag me!
@LynneModranski or #LynneWrites4Jesus
And feel free to leave a comment below!
I love to hear from you!