It had been a messy affair, literally.

But now at last things seemed to be going well. After all, who could fault a king for indulging his fantasies? That's what kings do. One night you go out for a stroll, you see a beautiful woman, you want her, you send for her, she comes to you. It's as simple as that. Kings have been doing that sort of thing since the beginning of time.

Whatever the king wants, the king gets.

That's why they call him the king. And in that day, in that time, it shouldn't have seemed like a big deal. It still happens today. Who among us is ever really surprised to find out that a president or a prime minister has a girlfriend on the side? It doesn't happen all the time, but it does happen, and people hear about it and shrug their shoulders or they snicker a bit and make jokes or they don't like it but they keep it to themselves. Not to justify things, you see, just to observe that this is the way things are.

The king felt like things had finally settled down. There was that problem with the woman's husband. Not an easy thing to get rid of him. He was the loyal soldier type that wouldn't easily be tricked. So the king had him killed in battle. Complicated in a way, but the man ended up looking like a hero in his death. Then the king felt free to take the woman as his wife. So he did.

Then came the happy news that the woman was pregnant. All was right with the world.

But there were other precincts to be heard from. "The thing David had done displeased the LORD" (2 Samuel 11:29). The king was about to learn the hard way that God is not mocked and "Be sure your sin will find you out" (Numbers 32:23).

Enter Nathan, the man of God.

He told the king a little story about a rich man with many sheep who stole from a poor man the one ewe sheep his family owned. What shall be done to the rich man who acted so ruthlessly? "He should be put to death," the king exclaimed in his anger. Then the man of God delivered his message.

"You are the man!"

In a moment, in one heart-stopping instant, the king knew the truth, knew what Nathan was saying, knew that he was the rich man who had cheated the poor man. The king knew! Very quickly comes the Word of the Lord:

"I gave you everything you had."
"I made you king."
"If this was not enough, I would have given you more."
"Why did you despise my word?"
"You took this man's wife."
"You had him murdered."
"There will be nothing but trouble for you from this day forward."
"Your family will suffer because of your sin."

Then came the worst news.
"Your son will die."
The king wept and prayed and fasted, but the child died.

Then came the time for the king to do the hardest thing anyone can ever do, to look in the mirror and say, "I have sinned." Those may be the three hardest words in the English language. No one wants to say, "I have sinned." We would rather do anything than say that. But there is no getting right until we admit how badly we have done wrong.

You can read the rest of the message online.

 You can reach the author at ray@keepbelieving.com. Click here to sign up for the free weekly email sermon.