“What about your friiiiiiiiends, will they stand their ground, are they gonna be lowdown, yeeeaaaah”. Okay I know it’s corny but any chance I get to include TLC in something I am gonna take it.
Main Scriptures: 2 Samuel 12 and Proverbs 27:5-6
Far too often we see entertainers doing all kinds of crazy stuff while surrounded by a group of trouble makers, hangers on and yes men who are along for the ride of fame but usually don’t stick around long enough for the consequences. It’s unfortunate the kind of people that fame can draw sometimes. I know we’ve all seen entertainers make a string of poor choices that get out to the media and we think, “They CAN’T have any real friends!” But sometimes, it’s not so much about the wrong people you are letting in as much as it is about the right people that you may be keeping out.
Here’s an example: I have a very small group of people I call my All Access Friends. These are people that have full access to information about any part of my life. They have shown themselves to be true and trustworthy friends. Yet within this circle, I have just one friend that I refer to as my Nathan. When everyone may be clapping and cheering me on, she is also clapping and cheering but will stop to raise one finger in the air and say “Yeah but my question is this…” She will then challenge my motives and my actions with grace, often showing me things from a perspective that I otherwise would not consider. She is my Nathan (thank you Tonya).
I am fully convinced that everyone needs at least one Nathan.
Who Is Nathan?
The name Nathan means “God has given” which basically means gift. Nathan, a prophet in King David’s inner circle, was definitely that. Anyone that will go to God in prayer and listen to Him on your behalf is truly a gift. I tend to think that Nathan wasn’t just a spiritual leader in David’s eyes. In fact, David went on to name one of his sons Nathan and I wonder if he named him after this person who played such a huge role in his life.
One of the things that I liked about Nathan was that he truly had David’s best interest at heart. God knew this and trusted him enough to go to David with His truth. We see this for the first time in 2 Samuel 7 when David has this good intentioned idea to build a temple for God. Nathan’s response to this was…
“Go, do all that is within your heart, for the Lord is with you.”
Translation: You the man, boss. God knows your heart.
Now building a temple wasn’t a terrible idea. It was quite noble actually. However, doing it David’s way was not the way God wanted. The Lord gave a word to Nathan that night explaining that it was actually David’s son who he wanted to build the temple. Nathan went back the very next day to tell David what God had shared with him about what the plan to build the temple should be. Why is this important?
Nathan’s initial response sounded good but it wasn’t the truth. He misspoke. Not a big deal, we all do that from time to time. For the people we care about, we will sometimes name and claim things for people that are not to be theirs. For some people however, it’s not a matter of being a true friend and wanting to see them happy; for some it is just a matter of tickling someone else’s ear because of what they can do for them. Nathan didn’t try to tickle David’s ear nor hide the fact that even as a prophet he spoke out of his own mind and not from the heart of God. I bring this up because I’ve seen this happen. Be careful and please pray for wisdom when it comes to people who speak to you about anything concerning your life, especially if they put the God stamp on it. Some people just want to be attached to your life for all the wrong reasons and will make it seem like their intentions are good and godly just to be a part of your circle. It was more important to Nathan that David be in right standing with God than it was for him to appear right in what he initially said. That’s huge.
However lots of us are more familiar with Nathan’s role in the story of David and Bathsheba found in 2 Samuel 11. This story has about everything a good steamy Hollywood movie is made of. To make a long (but really good) story short, let me just give you a quick rundown of this infamous tale:
1 “Battle, shmattle”, David decides that unlike most kings, he doesn’t need to go to battle this one day so he sends his army without him. Chillin’ out on the rooftop of his palace, he sees a beautiful woman, Bathsheba, bathing on a rooftop across the way.
2 He inquires about who she is and finds out that she’s the wife of of Uriah who happens to be one of his soldiers. Doesn’t stop him from summoning her to the palace though. She comes through the crib, they have sex and wouldn’t you know it, she winds up pregnant with King David’s child. David then devises a plan to get Uriah to come out of battle and go home to sleep with his wife. That way when the baby is born it will appear to be his.
3 King David pulls Uriah out of battle and has him over to talk man to man about the war. He later sends Uriah home hoping that he will sleep with his wife so it will look like she is pregnant with his baby and not David’s. However Uriah, a noble man, bless his heart, feels bad that his fellow soldiers are camping out while he gets to go home. He decides to sleep at the palace entrance along with the palace’s guard. David then has to go to Plan B.
4 Plan B: David has Uriah over for dinner and gets chummy enough with him to get him drunk. Uriah still refuses to go home and spends another night at the palace’s entrance. Now David has to go to Plan C: Put him in an area of the war where he is bound to get killed. Unfortunately, Plan C is the plan that worked. Uriah gets killed and David and Bathsheeba get married. Of course God sees all of this and is not a bit pleased.
So what does the bible say that God does?
“So the Lord sent Nathan to David…” 2 Samuel 12
We are living in a time where it’s pretty popular to say “Only God can judge me.” Yes God is our judge but a lot of times when people say this they mean only God can point out their faults to them. It’s pretty arrogant to think that the only way that the Almighty God himself should speak to some of us is by writing a message on a wall or through a burning bush or by coming down himself to appear to us. God often sends people. Yes, flawed imperfect people just like us. Don’t be so prideful that you miss what God wants to say to you through the people he sends your way. By the time you learn the lesson on your own, it may be too late.
I think it’s important to note how Nathan approaches David. He didn’t wag his finger and say “Oooooooh God knows what you did last summer!” He tells him a story. He describes a situation of a rich man who had many flocks and a poor man that had nothing but one little lamb who was very dear to him and his family. The rich man had a visitor coming to town and instead of taking from one of his own flock, he took the poor man’s lamb, killed it, and served it to his guest. David was so mad that someone who had everything would so maliciously take from someone who had nothing. He said to Nathan that “As the Lord lives, the man who has done this is worthy of death.” To which Nathan replied (my translation), “David, YOU ARE THAT DUDE!” He doesn’t blast him and tell him what a terrible person he is for what he did. He tells him what God says. He explains to him that after all that God had blessed him with, he went and took a poor man’s wife and had him murdered. He then went on to tell him what the Lord said the consequences of his sin would bring him and it was not pretty. Not only would there be much strife in his kingdom but his newborn son was to become sick and die. David sorrowfully repented and prayed for his son to be spared but the Lord did not see fit to heal him and he later died. David got himself together and continued to worship God anyway.
The bible says in Proverbs 27:6 that “Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.” You need people in your corner who care more about you than they care about your feelings. People who want you to be successful in your life, not just your career. People that want you to prosper not because of what it could look like for them but because they care for you as an individual whether you have everything or nothing. If you have shunned such people because they insist on telling you the truth that you don’t want to hear, I encourage you to go to them and ask them for forgiveness. If you look at your current circle of friends and realize that you don’t have one person that tells you the truth, it’s time to make some squad cuts and pray for God to send some faithful friends your way. No friendship should ever take you further away from God. The right friendships should only help you grow closer to him because they are a reflection of his love for us. The right relationships are crucial to our lives. Please choose who you share your life with wisely.