Nathan told David, “thou art the man”! I am not a prophet, nor the son of a prophet, therefore God has never spoken directly to me about the condition of another person’s life. I am not an apostle, therefore, I don’t have insight into a person’s private thoughts and motives as Peter did (Acts 5:1-11). However, I am a teacher of God’s Word and that requires that I speak in specifics and not just generalities about sin. It is my responsibility to make the application of God’s word personal, and it is the learner’s responsibility to apply the Word personally. If people cannot see their need for the message of God’s word, then I have failed in my duty.
When Nathan came to David and told him the story about the man and his little ewe lamb, he did not initially tell David that he was the one who was guilty. The story was designed to arouse feelings of unjustness, so that David could make personal application to his own behavior. David was enraged because of the selfish and unfair behavior Nathan described (2 Samuel 12:1-6). Then, when Nathan said to David, “Thou art the man” (2 Samuel 12:7) David’s eyes were finally opened. We might wonder how David had not known what he had done before Nathan said, “Thou art the man.” When David committed adultery, then, having failed to cover up his sin with Bathsheba, carried out the plan to have her husband Uriah the Hittite killed so he could have his wife, he was not unaware of what he was doing. How can one hide the awfulness of such behavior from himself? To even ask the question is to see our own faces reflected in David’s mirror, because we also hide sins in our hearts. Every one of us in the church has areas of weakness and commits sin. Some more than others! Sometimes, we bury those sins so we don’t have to face the act or the consequences. For the Christian who is trying to live right, remorse must follow. David’s conscious remorse and heart-felt anguish are revealed in Psalm 51. David got the message!
Our judgments about the application of God’s Word can be flawed and our lives spotted by our own imperfections, but that’s no excuse for not dealing with one’s sin. Weak and bland preaching that makes people feel good about themselves, but never addresses wrong attitudes and sinful practices, causes people to be deceived. One has to be willing to see how God sees their sins before he can ever repent of them, and God does require repentance (Acts 2:38; Acts 8:22; Acts 17:30). There is something to be said for one on bent knees with tear stained cheeks for the cleansing of the heart (2 Corinthians 7:10).
When you hear the phrase “thou art the man”, have you applied that statement to yourself to determine your standing with God? It should be one of the last questions you ask every night: “Am I the Man (or Woman)?