Gathered: Honest Relationships
2 Samuel 11-12:25
Gathered Series – This month we are looking at the importance in being in honest relationship characterized by a desire to get closer to God and being more genuine with each other. We want to invite strangers to experience and belong to God’s family. People are so disconnected from one another and from God and we really believe we are called to be bridges between people and to God. One of the ways we hope these types of relationships develop in our church, is by encouraging everyone to be part of Growth Groups, groups of 3-4 men or women who get together to read the Bible, pray and hold each other accountable.
Opening question (10 min): Tell us about the best friend you have ever had. What made that person such a good friend?
Today, we are going to read a story that happened around 1000 years before Jesus, so around 3000 years ago. We are going to read a pretty lengthy passage, so we can get the whole story, but we are only going to focus on the second part of the story about living in honest relationships with each other.
We will read the passage, then we are going to ask 4 types of questions
- Observation questions: Simply what the passage says
- Interpretation questions: What does the passage mean
- Correlation questions: What else does the Bible say about this topic
- Application questions: How can we live out what we learn in this passage.
Read 2 Samuel 11:1 – 12:25 (10 min)
What initial observations do you have from these verses?
Observation questions (10 min):
- What was God’s response to David’s behavior displeasing him in vs. 11:27? Sending Nathan in 12:1
- What are some of the characteristics of Nathan’s confrontation of David? Nathan found an effective way to confront David, Nathan spelled out David’s sin, Nathan recalled God’s blessings on David prior to his sin, Nathan spelled out the consequences of David’s sin, Nathan communicated God’s forgiveness
- What can we see about the way David responded to being confronted about his sin? He recognized his sin before God (12:13), he accepted the terrible consequences of his sin, and most importantly, he went to God (he pleaded with God 12:16, he worshipped God 12:20
- What kind of consequences did David face as a result of his sin? The sword would never depart from his house (12:10), Calamity would overcome his house (12:11), David’s son would die (12:14)
- Do these consequences seem harsh to you? Segway into interpretation
Interpretation questions (10 min):
- What risks were involved in Nathan confronting David? His own life, being exiled,
- On Nathan’s confrontation of David
- Why did Nathan choose a parable to confront David? He must have known that was most effective
- What does David’s response to the parable Nathan told David show us about David? It seems like he was full of rage about something he himself was guilty of
- Context: It is important to note that David and Nathan had a prior history and relationship. In 2 Samuel 7 we see that Nathan and David had already been talking about what God was communicating. This event did not just come out of the blue. How does this prior relationship between David and Nathan impact what we see in this story? Confrontation without relationship is very difficult and may even be counterproductive!
- David could have killed Nathan or exiled him, but why didn’t he? It is clear that David was truly cut to the heart with remorse and understood that Nathan was speaking on God’s behalf. In fact, he wrote Psalm 51 as a result of this incident, where you can see how remorseful he was.
- Context: Bathsheba became the mother of Solomon and Jesus would come from her after many generations (Matthew 1:6 “the wife of Uriah”) What does the rest of the story show us about God’s grace? God can and does redeem the most awful of situations. He brings beauty from the ashes!
Correlation (10 min): What does the rest of the Bible say about having honest relationships? Simply read them and talk about what they say
- Galatians 6:1 “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ”
- James 5:16 – “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”
- Matthew 18:15-17 15 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector
Application questions (10 min):
- What do we risk when we confront one another with sin? Loss of relationship, disagreement as to what constitutes sin
- Has anyone ever confronted you? Have you confronted another person?
- What do we learn about confronting each other?
- Establishing a relationship of trust and where God is the center is an important foundation
- Finding the right method to confront others is important (direct confrontation, indirect confrontation, a metaphor, a group intervention)
- Help the person understand God’s heart for them, His grace, love and goodness, not just their sinfulness
- Reinforce the idea that God forgives and your love for the person
- The goal of confrontation should be restoring relationship with God and with others.
- What happens if the goal of confrontation is other than restoration?
- As we can see, even in the case of David’s sin, God was faithful in bringing Jesus, His Son, through Bathsheba, so we always have to keep in mind that God is in control, even of the consequences of sin. How can we keep God’s grace in perspective in the midst of sin?
- On living in honest relationships:
- Why should we live in a way that invites people to confront us? Isn’t that really uncomfortable? It is VERY uncomfortable, but God made us for relationship and we all have blind-spots that need to be pointed out by others. Following Jesus is a team sport. We live life together!
- What are some practical ways in which we can live in such a way that we can be in the right place to confront and be confronted by others? Growth Groups are a great way for us to establish the kind of relationships that invite others into this type of relationship with us. We share life together by opening up about our struggles and inviting others to speak into our lives.