05 July 2012

Expensive & Expansive

I'm way behind in posting about ladies' Bible study - a month or so... 'cause life got really busy but also because I simply needed some time to process how the Lord is speaking to me through these desperately poor, mostly uneducated, illiterate women and their simple, blatantly honest, uncomplicated, expensive (as it it has cost them much in this world) yet so expansive, faith.

If you'll recall, we'd been looking at confrontation - and so we'd finished the previous study by reading what is probably the most well-known confrontation described in Scripture, found in 2 Samuel 12.
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 deserves to 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! This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more. Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.’ 
“This is what the Lord says: ‘Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity upon you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will lie with your wives in broad daylight. You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.’”
Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.”
I'd asked the women to, based on the biblical account, imagine how the confrontation transpired and to be prepared to discuss
  1. what Nathan did right, and
  2. what David did right.
Boy, were they ready! Look at this list of all the ways Nathan handled this confrontation well, according to these ladies:
  1. Nathan remembered that the one he was confronting was God's annointed, God's beloved, God's chosen.
  2. God initiated this confrontation - it wasn't Nathan's idea. Rather, the Lord sent him.
  3. He approached David in humbleness and humility (as seen by his word choice) rather than smug superiority.
  4. He was smart in his confontation. He knew David well and was able to involve not just David's intellect, but also his feelings.
  5. Nathan allowed David to pronounce his own judgment.
  6. He never sugar-coated the truth: he was honest and straight-forward about David's fault and his consequences.
  7. He seemed to be heart-broken by sin, that his king had sinned and that David would live with consequences for the remainder of his life here on earth.
Then, I asked them to describe to me what, in David's response to this confrontation, we should seek to emulate.
  1. David trusted God - as seen by his response to all that happened in the rest of the chapter.
  2. David valued Nathan as a man and also beloved, annointed, chosen to be God's messenger.
  3. He listened attentively to Nathan.
  4. He responded honestly.
  5. He accepted responsibility.
  6. David repented.
  7. He recognized that all sin is ultimately sin against God, 'causing others to despise His name.
After this really good discussion, we went on to slowly read 2 Samuel 13, because there we can see examples of poor confrontations... or places where confrontation should have occurred, but didn't. I left those lovely ladies wih instructions to be prepared for a similar discussion the next time we met. Similar but different, because they were to think through all that happens in this next part of the story, identify where confrontations did or should have occurred and this time talk about what went wrong.

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