In our modern times, a prophet is often described as someone who can predict the future. In ancient times, a prophet was also known as a person who was gifted with profound moral insight and exceptional powers of expression. Prophets in the Old Testament ran the risk of telling the truth, but because it was uncomfortable they were condemned as false prophets and punished. Some prophets remained true to their calling and spoke the truth, even when it might mean death. In 2 Samuel 12:1-4, we hear Nathan confront King David over the King’s inappropriate relationship with Bathsheba. King David had ignored the conviction of the Holy Spirit and his own conscience, so God had no choice but to send in the prophet Nathan:
“Then the LORD sent Nathan to David. And he came to him, and said to him: "There were two men in one city, one rich and the other poor. "The rich man had exceedingly many flocks and herds. But the poor man had nothing, except one little ewe lamb which he had bought and nourished; and it grew up together with him and with his children. It ate of his own food and drank from his own cup and lay in his bosom; and it was like a daughter to him. And a traveler came to the rich man, who refused to take from his own flock and from his own herd to prepare one for the wayfaring man who had come to him; but he took the poor man's lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him."
King David immediately condemned the rich man in the story, eager to pass on the sentence of a guilty man by passing judgment on someone else (5-6): “So David's anger was greatly aroused against the man, and he said to Nathan, "As the LORD lives, the man who has done this shall surely die! And he shall restore fourfold for the lamb, because he did this thing and because he had no pity."
But Nathan wasn’t done yet (7-9): “Then Nathan said to David, "You are the man! Thus says the LORD God of Israel: 'I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave you your master's house and your master's wives into your keeping, and gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if that had been too little, I also would have given you much more! Why have you despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in His sight? You have killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword; you have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the people of Ammon.' "
Do you have “Nathans” who are willing to confront you with the difficult parts of your life? Are you willing to listen to them when you go astray or encounter challenges from Satan, or do you condemn your friends as false prophets and discontinue the friendship as punishment for their honesty?
I’m studying the Rule of Life of the Society of St. John the Evangelist and here’s a 1:28 minute video they’ve prepared on “intimacy” and the need for a “wise friend”.
Blessings, my friend,
(See video below or click on this link)
(click below for an MP3 file)