The Courage to Confront

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. The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, 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. “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.” David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, “As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this must die! He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.” Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! 2 Samuel 12:1-7

Courage

Courage

The story of Nathan confronting King David is one of the more powerful and profound moments in the Old Testament. In speaking on the text, J. Vernon McGee said, “In my judgment, Nathan is the bravest man in the Bible. I know of no one who can be compared to him.” When you consider what was asked of him and what was at stake, I would most certainly agree with McGee. Just how much courage does it take to confront a brother in sin? Even more, just how much courage does it take to confront the King who is in sin and has to power to extinguish your life? This is what Nathan faced when God called him to go to David.

Now it is important to note from Scripture that we are all called as followers of Christ to spur one another along towards love and good deeds. Galatians 6:1-2 reminds us we all need people in our lives who are willing to hold us accountable to following Christ and walking in holiness. Simply stated, we all need people in our lives who care whether or not we are living in righteousness or in sin — and they are willing to speak up and into our lives to encourage us in the pursuit of Christ. We need both accountability and editability.

Here is the simple reality — holiness matters. And to walk in holiness requires accountability. It requires having someone who is willing to speak into your life to spur you on to faithfulness. And should we stumble, we need someone to speak up so that we don’t believe the lies we are employing to justify our position. Not only do we need such people in our lives, we must be such a person for others. Secret sin can never be our friend. I think this is why Spurgeon once said, “You say that you can handle your secret sins, that there is no one hurt by them. But you may as well ask the lion to let you put your head into his mouth. You cannot regulate his jaws; neither can you regulate sin. Once done, you cannot tell when you will be destroyed. You may put your head in and out a great many times; but one of these days it will be a costly venture.” Costly indeed. And also bloody,embarrassing, and devastating.

We all need a Nathan in our life. And we all need to become a Nathan to others for their well-being too. We need people who will love us enough that they will have the courage and calling to confront us when we need them — and we need to have the courage and calling to help our brother who is in need. IT Matters!

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Achan for a Break’in

But keep away from the devoted things, so that you will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them. Otherwise you will make the camp of Israel liable to destruction and bring trouble on it. All the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron are sacred to the Lord and must go into his treasury. Joshua 6:18-19

Holy to God

Holy to God

I have to wonder if Achan was asleep when God issued this order. Surely he didn’t just defy a direct command from God? Could it be he was outside the camp feeding the camels or that he arrived to the battle late because he over slept? Even still, did no one tell him what Joshua declared as a command of God or did he simply defy a direct declaration from God?

There is something inside of me that wants to give Achan the benefit of the doubt, but clearly his decision to take those items devoted to God didn’t happen by accident or because he missed the memo – he deliberately defied the command of God. And the result of his actions had a terrific ripple effect throughout a nation.

Now before we jump on Achan and smear his name for his actions, might we take a gander at our own actions and attitudes first?  Truth is there is a little Achan in all of us. There is a small part of us that thinks the rules don’t apply to us. There is a tiny belief that we’re special and God will let us slip by because of His grace. There is that small part in us that just doesn’t quite believe that our disobedience to God’s Word is really that significant. There is a small part of us that thinks no one will notice the sin we are harboring and that it is not really that big a deal. We think what we are doing isn’t hurting anyone and that it is no big deal in our own lives. BUT IT IS A BIG DEAL. All sin is a big deal to a holy God who desires holiness for His people and intimacy with His people. Consider the words of the apostle Peter:

Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy. 1 Peter 1:13-15

I wonder what kinds of things each of us might be harboring in our lives today that are hurting ourselves and others. I wonder what things we have tapped as insignificant that are significantly impacting our relationship with God and others. As we discover in the story of Achan, God doesn’t miss anything. And in His jealousy for intimacy and holiness, He will not tolerate our rebellion but will work to uphold righteousness for our sake and for His glory.

Take record today and consider your thoughts and actions. And should you have stumbled, then follow the prescription set forth in 1 John:

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:8-9

It matters.

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