The words in bold above are attention-grabbing. In Jerusalem at that time King David was a Middle Eastern Ruler who, despite having God’s holy spirit within, had been a wrong-doer – an adulterer and a murderer. He is interviewed by Nathan, a long-standing friend of his, who faithfully spoke the God’s words to him and to the nation.
Compare him with President Assad of Syria interviewed this week by the US network ABC and broadcast by the BBC (instead of being recorded in the national archives of Israel as was the case with King David above).
King David had been faced by Nathan with a story about a wealthy farmer who, instead of taking a sheep from his huge flock to make a feast for an important visitor, had taken the only sheep, the only possession of a poor man nearby – and killed it.
King David responds in outraged justice - “As the LORD lives, the man who has done this deserves to die, and he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.”
Nathan, God’s man, says to King David - “You are the man! .....”
ABC’s Barbara Walters questions President Assad searchingly about 4,000 dead Syrians. He replies – “I did my best to protect the people, so I cannot feel guilty...”
The National Archives of Israel record David’s response when Nathan reminds him that he bedded the wife of one of his best soldiers, made her pregnant and then, to cover it up, put that soldier in the front line of battle where he was killed.... David instantly said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.”
President Assad told ABC - "You feel sorry for the lives that has [sic] been lost. But you don't feel guilty - when you don't kill people."
President Assad will be dealt with - tomorrow. That’s what always happens. His rule will not last. He will not live forever. President Gaddafi’s rule ended a few weeks ago. So did his life.
With one sweep of a dragon’s tail, 4,000 lives are lost. How many more?
But what about King David? Nathan was immediately able to say to him these highly significant words: - “The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die. Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the LORD, the child who is born to you shall die.” Then Nathan went to his house.
Forgiven by Almighty God. Yes. Did King David escape all the consequences of his actions? No.
How forgiven? On what grounds? How could the God of total truth and justice, the LORD, forgive this ancient Middle Eastern King?
Jesus Christ, Son of David, Son of the LORD God Most High, would die on a cross 1,000 years later for the sins of others. “The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die.” King David was born in Bethlehem. Joseph and Mary, because they were descendants of David, had to go there in AD 0 so as to be included in the census of Caesar Augustus.
Immediately before Jesus’ death (and resurrection to life three days later), a blind beggar in Jericho shouted repeatedly “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.” He too was forgiven and had his sight restored as well.
King David (alive 980 BC) is forgiven by the cross and resurrection of Jesus the Messiah, Son of David, Son of God.
And that is still possible for President Assad this Christmas. On one condition.....