In 2 Samuel 12:15, we find the phrase “Then Nathan went to his house.” It appears to be an inconsequential detail of a greater narrative. Yet every Word of God’s revelation is profitable, and we should meditate upon why God chooses to include certain details in His Word.
What strikes me most about this verse is that it points to God’s sovereignty over all things. Consider that Nathan had just rebuked David for his sin with Bathsheba and the murder of Uriah the Hittite. In 2 Samuel 12, the only immediate response we hear from David is “I have sinned against Yahweh,” (2 Samuel 12:13).*
Now the next thing you might expect is for Nathan to flesh out what David did wrong or to give him some practical advice on avoiding temptation. Maybe half of American Evangelicalism would have expected Nathan to lead David in a sinner’s prayer. But instead of doing any of that, we are only told that Nathan went to his house, leaving David alone with his thoughts, and with the Lord.
I suspect that Nathan went to his house and prayed. That is, after all, what men of God do, right?
Christians must be people of action. When we are called to go, to delay is sin. And I think we all fail in the area of speaking ‘when we ought to speak’ and doing ‘when we ought to do’ on many occasions. But I suspect that we are more likely to fall short in the area of prayer.
When he confronted the king of Israel regarding heinous sin and pronounced terrible judgment on him, Nathan knew where to go for help, to the Lord. We are called to give the gospel out indiscriminately and to rebuke, exhort, and correct others with all longsuffering. We are called to teach children and provide discipline and instruction. We are to preach and teach from the pulpit.
Some of us even write Christian blogs.
But if we neglect the true source of power in the world, the power of God Almighty, all of those good things will be fruitless. And the way God has prescribed for us to call upon Him for help is through prayer. Oh, how many people prayed for you, dear saint, before you ever came to know the Lord yourself? Will you deny others those same petitions?
Will you live your life as a practical atheist, ignoring the supernatural power of God to intervene in even the direst situations? Our Lord Jesus would have you pray:
Luke 18:1 ESV And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.
Go to God in prayer and rest in his sovereignty. Rest in His perfect decree and know that He is good. Praying is cathartic for you and it’s true communication with the God who created you. It exposes your heart and helps you in your Christian life. And it’s frankly more powerful in its effect than the best efforts you can put into a situation. There are some things that we need to learn to rely on God to do because they are the things that only He does, like granting repentance to someone else.
You may even be surprised at what is accomplished by Him who does exceedingly and abundantly more than you can ask or think (Ephesians 3:20).
*And I do believe that was all that Nathan heard, that is, that David’s prayer in Psalm 51 was a private prayer offered after Nathan departed.