Sin's Selfdiscovery
2 Samuel 12:7
And Nathan said to David, You are the man. Thus said the LORD God of Israel, I anointed you king over Israel…

In this lurid sentence the prophet of God condemned the guilty king out of his own month. It was no mild utterance, this, but one charged with moral passion and righteous anger. The circumstances called for the word, too. The wretched man upon the throne now saw, and for the first time, what ms sin really was. It was guilt calculated upon and persisted in, guilt covered up even in David's own mind by sophistry and self-excuse. Now comes the moment of revelation, when the true state of things is declared to David's consciousness just as it had long ago been declared unconsciously, though he never dared to face the truth. Imagine the scene that is hinted at in this chapter rather than described. David sits upon the throne in the day of his splendour, surrounded by his mighty men, and the plain-garbed figure of the prophet of God appears on the scene. He is made welcome — why should it not be so? This victorious king is the chosen of the Lord. What message can Nathan have to bring but a message of good? The court is hushed to listen. The wisdom and righteousness of David respond eagerly to the demand of the prophet. Thus and such the rich man has done. Thus and such vengeance is called for, retribution to be awarded. What saith the king? "And David's anger was greatly kindled against the man." The court is silent, waiting for the prophet to speak. One sentence it is which issues from his lips, how terrible only David knew. though the awe-stricken listeners must have felt, too, something of the impact of the tremendous utterance, "Thou art the man." Self-deception is never very difficult. Men are curiously averse to calling things by the right name. There is no kind of hypocrisy so subtle and so dangerous as the hypocrisy which is hypocrite to itself and will not acknowledge its own presence. We can cheat ourselves as David did. that because the world knows nothing and because there is a euphemistic word to describe a foul thing, that therefore God is deceived too. He is not, and heaven is not. The world of truth interpenetrates this, the world of glory is not a handbreadth off. You cannot hide from the eternal right. As Arthur Hugh Clough hath it in one of his most familiar lines, "Listen before I die, one word. In old times you called me pleasure; my name is guilt." What a dark name, what a foul name, what an unpronounceable shuddering word you would have to apply if you were honest, some of you, to the things you have done! God, you see, applies the right word — "Thou art the man." In God's economy, in God's moral world, the meaning of punishment is that the soul is compelled to see itself as it is, and to acknowledge the eternal justice. Come it soon or come it late, God's verdict upon sin is written large in the experience of the sinner. I was reading recently in one of Maurice Maeterlinck's books, I think the last, a paragraph something to this effect. I do not quote, I only paraphrase — If a man hath done a guilty deed, if a man hath been betrayed by himself, dragged down by evil propensity, and hath the courage and the faith to rise again, the day comes, the moment is his when he can say, It was not I that did it. Of course you see the paradox of the mystic. Yes, but it was a truth stated in paradox. A man may so rise above the habitual level of his own character that deeds are forgotten. It is not so much the deeds that matter, it is the climate of the soul, it is the moral atmosphere in which you live that is telling out the truth. A man's real fall often antedates by long the fall that the world can see and judge him by. But, look you, if a man has risen so far by virtue of his penitence that he reaches the heart of God; so exalting himself, by true humility that he is no longer capable of that old sin, it is, as it were, blotted out of the book of remembrance. To such a man I would be entitled to say in the name of the Lord of Hosts, "Thou art not the man," the man that was, but another, redeemed, purified, made holy by the Spirit of God. There are some people who are morbid in their retrospection and their view of their own moral delinquencies. Remorse is not repentance. Morbidness is by no means humility. There is another way and a higher. It is impossible for you to contend with God. Once you have realised that there is no longer need for you to remain in the prison-house. If any man is hopeless concerning the past I call him to a deeper as well as a higher life. An old mediaeval mystic once wrote, "In every man there is a godly will which never consented to sin nor ever shall." You know what that signifies. It tells you that the deepest self in every man is Christ. What? Yes, I mean it. Until conscience is dead Christ is not gone from the soul of any man but that Christ you may be crucifying.

(R. J. Campbell.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul;

WEB: Nathan said to David, "You are the man. This is what Yahweh, the God of Israel, says: 'I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you out of the hand of Saul.

Preaching to the Heart
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