We stand before God’s people


Nathan the Prophet


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Nathan the Prophet

By James Vasquez

We stand before God’s people and
Denounce them for their sin.
We bring his word to kings that they
May e’er his favor win.

His voice to nations far and near
Has he appointed us,
And pity well the miscreant
Who deems it frivolous.

Now hear as I recite to you
Just how God spoke his word
To David when in dire need
Some prophet’s voice be heard.

For David had it in his heart
To build a house for God
Of cedar and all lined with gold,
‘Twould leave the people awed.

Most worthy was the Lord, he thought,
Of such a temple grand.
Each worker was prepared, of course,
To start at his command.

I quite approved the project and
To David then I said,
“Do all that’s in your heart for God
Has in this vision led.”

But when I heard more clearly yet
Just what the Lord had willed,
I quickly spoke to David that
This passion might be stilled.

“The Lord has dwelt in tents e’er since
From Egypt he called out
His people to a promised land
Through many’a desert route.

“Nor has he wished a temple built
That he might there reside,
In lowly tents he made his home,
And was quite satisfied.”

I told him how the Lord, indeed,
Would build his legacy,
Establishing upon the throne
Through all eternity,

A son to reign in righteousness,
Forever loved by God,
But duly censured when astray
And punished with the rod.

“’Tis he,” God says, “who’ll build my house,
And peace shall mark his reign.
His enemies will I subdue
And long-sought rest ordain.”

Thus did I bring the message to
Great David on the throne.
I spoke for God, he could but heed,
And all its meaning own.

Another time there was when he,
Who ruled throughout the land,
Was found in yet more urgent need
Of prophet’s reprimand.

For he had taken Bathsheba
And bedded her by night,
Thus casting shame upon the throne
And on his honor blight.

I well recall that early morn,
The greeting that he bid,
As if he bore a conscience pure
And nothing from me hid.

And quickly all God’s message I
Proceeded then to say,
For prophets must not hesitate
Or lag in any way.

I told him of a man within
His kingdom, rich and strong,
Who, when a guest arrived to dine,
Incurred this grievous wrong,

He took his neighbor’s one ewe lamb,
And served it up instead.
The lamb was like a child to him,
And by his hand was fed.

I watched as David’s wrath broke forth,
Some vengeance he’d exact.
He thought the man should lose his life
And was about to act.

“You are the man!” I said to him,
In words designed to damn.
And in that moment David knew
‘Twas he who took the lamb.

My words went straight to David’s heart,
Nor did I aught withhold.
With tear-filled eyes he listened as
God’s word to him I told.

“The sword shall not depart your house,
Contempt you’ve shown for me.
Your enemies themselves look down
On such depravity.”

“The Lord,” I said, “in kindness has
Removed your sin this day,
But he who will be born shall die,
And that without delay.”

Yes, prophets oft are called to bring
Such messages to men,
Of warnings, judgments, dire rebukes,
In person or with pen.

More pleasant is our role the day
A king we would anoint,
Invoking blessings from the Lord
And his decrees appoint.

But this, as well, its trials brings,
As I discerned first hand
When David was about to die,
And who would take command?

For Adonijah craved the throne.
‘Twas Solomon’s, we thought.
And with Bathsheba and a priest
King David’s help we sought.

And moving quickly, then, we placed
Upon the king’s own mule
Young Solomon midst trumpet blast,
That rightly he might rule.

The plan worked well, most thankfully,
For if in this we failed,
The three of us had long since gone
And countless angels hailed.

And thus I’ve told you of our ways
But envy not this life.
‘Tis not a thing just any man
Would greet with drum and fife.

* * * * *

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from the October 2008 Edition of the Jewish Magazine

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