DISCERNMENT: Nathan Saw Below Surface

“Then Nathan said to David, "You are the man! Thus says the LORD God of Israel: 'I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul.”

2 Sam. 12:7

Like Samuel before him, the prophet Nathan served as a leader to the leaders. God used Nathan to correct his erring leader.

Nathan knew David had slept with another man’s wife and subsequently caused the man’s death. Although the king had multiple wives, he still insisted on having one more. Nathan saw a greedy and selfish heart in Israel’s king. Few individuals in David’s reign wielded the influence or had the guts to confront him in his sin. Once Nathan discerned what David had done, he gained an audience with the king, told him a compelling story, and with great poise dealt with the problem in a caring but firm manner.

Nathan could act as he did because of his keen, God-given discernment. He knew what had happened and what lay beneath the surface of David’s wicked behavior. Discernment goes deeper than knowledge, resembling intuition. At times, discernment is a gift; at other times, it results from much experience. Discernment brings a profound perception of what is occurring, either on the outside or the inside of a person.

Nathan had keen discernment because:

1. He had been listening to God (v. 1)

2. He knew David’ circumstance (vv. 1-6)

3. He was objective in his perspective (vv. 7, 8)

4. He understood the root issues (vv. 9-12)

5. He saw the ultimate cause and effect (v. 14)



Sunday Morning Lesson

“21” Crucial Qualities of Christians:  #7 - DISCERNMENT

1 Kings 3:1-14


I. The Quality Defined

    a. 1 Kings 3:9

II. Pharaoh Recognizes Joseph’s Wisdom

    a. Gen. 41:25-57

    b. Gen. 47:13-26

III. Hiram and Solomon Strike a Deal

    a. 1 Kings 5:1-12

IV. Seek Wisdom and You Will Find It

    a. Prov. 2:1-15

V. Conclusion

    a. 1 Kings 3:9


Sunday Evening Lesson

Are You Dependable To God?

Rev. 2:8-11


I. Can He Depend on You?

    a. Phil. 1:6

    b. Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:38; Acts 22:16

II. People in the Bible God Could Depend On

    a. Eph. 4:11-16

    b. 2 Tim. 4:2; Gal. 2:20

    c. Acts 20:28

    d. 1 Tim. 4:12

III. Brother AND Sister In Christ

    a. Acts 2:42; Heb. 10:25; 1 Cor. 14:40

    b. Col. 3:16

    c. 2 Tim. 4:2

    d. Eph. 4:16

    e. 1 Cor. 11:23-26

IV. Brother OR Sister In Christ

    a. Matt. 5:14-16

    b. Rom. 7:4; Eph. 6:4; 1 John 1:7; James 1:27; James 5:13-16

V. Can The Lord Depend On You Today?

    a. Rom. 10:17

    b. Heb. 11:6

    c. Acts 2:38; Acts 17:30

    d. Matt. 10:32, 22

    e. Acts 2:38; Acts 22:16



DISCERNMENT: Balaam Didn’t Get It

Num. 22:21-35

Balaam has borne the brunt of many a joke. Here was a prophet who lacked discernment that it took a donkey to sense the presence of a threatening angel and to bring the terrible danger to his attention.

Balaam lacked both discernment and intuition about what was happening around him. Not the following observations about Balaam’s error:

1. Balaam angered God because he disobeyed what he knew to be right (v. 22)

2. It took the Angel of the Lord standing in the way to stop Balaam (v. 23)

3. The seer could not discern the Angel’s blockade (v. 23)

4. Balaam’s own agenda so consumed him that he whipped his donkey for responding to the Angel (v. 25)

5. God enabled the donkey to speak when Balaam still didn’t perceive his danger (v. 28)

6. The donkey discerned more than Balaam and interpreted reality for him (vv. 28-30)

7. It took a divine miracle for Balaam’s eyes to be opened (v. 31)

No leader can long enjoy success without developing a healthy sense of discernment. Lack of discernment nearly got Balaam killed. He did not discern the Lord’s presence, and he confessed his lack of discernment (Num. 22:34). God said the prophet would surely have been killed had it not been for his discerning donkey (22:33). When he finally realized his peril, Balaam had to feel both ashamed and embarrassed. It is one thing to lack discernment; it is another for your donkey to possess more of it than you do!