according to your promise to your servant.
Let your mercy come to me, that I may live;
for your law is my delight.
2 Samuel 12:1-31
David had been much favored, had earned much success, had worked hard and achieved a lot. And he gave in to his desires for an attractive woman--and to cover up what he had done, had precipitated the death of her husband.
The Lord is not happy about this.
So, the Lord dispatches Nathan to convey the divine message.
Pause here. How do you think that God accomplishes things? Have you been asked to step in? Or, have you heard God's voice coming through someone willing to interfere in your business?
Back to David.
As soon as Nathan tells him the story about the poor man's lamb, David instantly recognizes the injustice. He still can tell right from wrong--at least, someone else's right from wrong.
Pause again. When we descry or disdain someone else's flaws, how do we catch sight of our own? The Lord sent Nathan. Watch out for the Nathan in your life.
Jesus was reassuring his disciples that even after he left them, the Spirit would continue to be their guide. This reassurance is meant for us, as well. We can continue to hear.
Jesus spoke to specific people, living in a particular geographic area, subject to the laws and customs of their time. Because of the Holy Spirit, we are able to hear the truth that will guide us--as different as we are from the original disciples, as different as our governments and environments are.
Jesus tells his followers that he is going and the Advocate is coming. This Spirit will guide the followers into all truth, will declare to them the things that are to come. We read this message as comfort--to them and to us, the continuation of the church.
I'm grateful to Fred Craddock for pointing out the implicit concern contained within this warning:
This text has been used to bless every fad and notion, but the fear of the new and different must not cause the church to abandon the promise. When the church becomes protective and defensive, ... preachers become curators. The Spirit continually presses the question, What is the meaning of Jesus Christ today?Psalm 119:65-80
The Lord has made everything for its purpose,
even the wicked for the day of trouble.
All those who are arrogant are an abomination to the Lord;
be assured, they will not go unpunished.
Prayer for Today: O Lord our God, through your Holy Spirit, open us to discern your truth through all the new things that we hear. Amen.