Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!
– Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
When you think of people who have spoken into your personal life, you will likely come to find that their influence was significant because they told you what you needed to hear, not what you wanted to hear or what would make you happy. Their willingness to speak truth, despite the tension it could cause in your relationship, was a gift.
In 2 Samuel 11, David, the king of Israel, hit a low point. He had an affair with Bathsheba, a married woman. In an effort to cover his tracks after learning she was pregnant, David called Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah, home from the battlefield in hopes that time with his wife would offer an explanation for her pregnancy. However, Uriah, being loyal to his comrades on the battlefield, told David that he refused to eat, drink and be with his wife during a military campaign. When Uriah returned to battle, David had Uriah put on the frontline, resulting in his death.
David took Bathsheba as his wife and moved on. But the Lord was displeased and sent Nathan to confront David (2 Samuel 12). Speaking to David’s roots as a shepherd, Nathan told David the story of a poor man who had a single lamb that he took pride in and treated like family. One day a rich man who had a large flock of sheep had a visitor. Rather than offering one of his own sheep, he took the single lamb of the poor man to feed his guest.
David was immediately outraged by Nathan’s story. He declared that the rich man should die and pay four times over for the lamb he stole. A realization set in as Nathan responded to David’s anger saying, “You are the man.” Seeing the parallels of his recent sin, David repented saying, “I have sinned against the Lord.”
It took a man like Nathan for David to realize his wrongdoing. But Nathan did not stop there; he spoke truth into David’s moment of conviction, reminding him that while there would be judgment, the Lord had done away with his sin. What a beautiful picture of a Gospel-centered friendship built on conviction of sin and also an understanding of the Lord’s great mercy. Shortly after his meeting with Nathan, David wrote Psalm 51, a beautiful psalm of repentance and praise to God.
Who is the Nathan in your own life? Who is willing to call you out when you sin and do not see your own need for repentance? Thank that person today and pray that your children also have valuable, meaningful relationships that encourage Christ-like behavior. Pray for godly relationships and for friends that are not too insecure or nervous to say when something is wrong. Pray for “Nathans” to be placed in their school, jobs, future college and beyond.
May our children be marked with a boldness that seeks justice for the moral standard that God has given us. We pray our children join with David when he writes in Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”
Download the entire 7-day devotional, Praying for Our Nation's Youth, here: