I almost called this the #1 friend you need, but I realized that is Jesus. So, if you have Jesus as your #1 friend, who do you need to find next? Psalm 141 provides the answer.
“Let the righteous man strike me–it is a kindness;
let him rebuke me–it is oil for my head;
let my head not refuse it.”
The #2 friend everyone needs is the righteous friend who has permission to strike us when we sin.
Obviously, David isn’t talking about literally getting punched in the face. He is talking about the spiritual rebuke that can feel a whole lot like getting kicked in the gut. He’s talking about the kind of friend who can look even his king in the face and say, “You’re the man!” Nathan was that kind of friend to David.
What is this business about oil on the head? That doesn’t sound pleasant at all. In fact, about the last thing I want is to have someone pouring oil on my head. But keep in mind the first time David had someone pour oil on his head. You can find it in 1 Samuel 16:12-13 when Samuel anointed David king. What David is saying is Nathan’s rebuke was as much of a blessing to him as Samuel’s anointing was. Getting corrected was as great to him as getting to become king. Interestingly, David didn’t have a son named after Samuel, but he did have one named after Nathan (2 Samuel 5:14-16).
We all love the friend who anoints us king, but the friend who confronts us for our sins? Not so much. But we all need that friend. We all need that friend who sees us walking a dangerous path and warns us. We all need that friend who saw us commit a sin and corrects us. We all need that righteous friend who loves us so much he/she will not let us continue down a path of destruction.
Who is your Nathan? Who do you allow to smite you?
I’d like to offer a special thanks to some of my Nathan’s (one of them literally). Thank you Max Dawson, Terry Francis, Andrew Roberts, Clay Gentry, David Roberts, Jason Hardin, Nathan Williams. Although, it is too late for me to name any of my sons after you, please keep smiting me.