I know that I’ve given you quite a bit to read today. But remember last time when we felt committed to spend more time in the Author’s work so we can be more like Him and His Son? Remember–the method-actor? 2 Samuel 7 tells about the feelings of King David of Israel, who happens to live in a magnificent royal palace, that God’s Ark, which contains the 10 Commandments given to Moses, and represents the presence of God Almighty Himself, resides in a tent, called the Tabernacle, just as it has for many, many years as God traveled with His people out of slavery, out of Egypt, through that hot, dry desert for 40 years and then, finally, into the promised land. Wow, that’s quite a run-on sentence! I’m tired! Think I’ll take a little rest! Back to King David and his palace, where he complains to God’s appointed prophet, Nathan, about his feelings that God also needs a proper palace to reside in. It’s just not right! And Nathan, without missing a beat or uttering a prayer, says to go for it!–‘Whatever you have in mind, go ahead and do it, for the Lord is with you'(2 Samuel 7:3). I’m sure David is delighted to hear this and off to sleep he goes. And a good sleep it is! A satisfying one! But Nathan, like he’s eaten way too many hot dogs at Coney Island on the 4th of July, has got word from the Lord who says, ‘hey, back off, buddy! I never told you and anyone else that I need a house to live in. I’ve moved with my people wherever they have gone. Tell David to call off the construction crew. Get your earnest money back. And by the way, Nathan, next time check with Me first before you open your…well, you know!’ Let’s not be too hard on Nathan for how many times have we opened our mouths, made a decision, committed ourselves only to realize (probably when things fell apart)that I had forgotten to consult the Lord, to pray for His direction? I have. And I can’t tell you how many times, for I can’t count that high! You too? Hot dog, I’m not alone! But seriously it’s only obvious that to get with the Lord first is the way to go, the best way and should be, well, in time, the only way. Catch yourself…make it a holy habit to pray first to the Lord. Just a short prayer…a realization that you and I want what He wants, to go where He wants us to go, to seek Him in every single part of our lives. Like the old hymn, “All to Jesus I Surrender, All to Him I freely Give…” You did notice that there are two sections of 2 Samuel for today? 2 Samuel 11 & 12 tell us the story of David and Bathsheba, and God’s need to confront King David with what he has done. And look who God sends to confront the King…yes, His prophet Nathan! And this time Nathan doesn’t tell David what the King wants to hear, but has a message that would make me shake in my sandals if I were Nathan. Confront the King with a horrendous story of sin and lying and murder and adultery and coveting and stealing and on-and-on. And Nathan knows that the king’s reaction could spell the end of Nathan’s ministry and even his very life. But, no hesitation is recorded here. He’s heard from God. He goes right to David with a parable of a terrible theft that just grabs the heart of the King. It is a very moving story that Nathan tells. It engrosses the King’ mind and heart until he just erupts with indignation–‘David burned with anger against the man…the man who did this deserves to die…because he did such a thing and had no pity'(2 Samuel 12:5&6). And that’s when Nathan, girding his loins with courage and guts, says ‘You are the man!’ I think Nathan has learned a valuable lesson–seek the Lord first and foremost, and then follow through with what you know from Him, no matter what the cost or the price to pay. Pray to the Lord– and then press forward in courage and His strength. I like Nathan. I’m like Nathan. Not perfect by a long-shot, but willing to grow in and for the Lord? You too? To God first…from now on!