1 This assembly goes hand in hand with the one on forgiveness as it recounts the story of Nathan the prophet telling King David the truth about the king's sins, after which David repents and writes the psalm used in the Forgiveness assembly
2 You could make this story more visual by projecting pictures of David, Uriah, Nathan and Bathsheba with their names beside them, or by asking four children to appear to represent each of the characters during the telling of the story.
3 I know that it's the right thing to tell the truth, but sometimes it's really hard to do. Can you think of times when it's hard to tell the truth?
(Use these examples if the children can't think of anything:
- when telling the truth will get you in trouble, like if you admit you broke something
- when telling the truth might hurt someone's feelings, like if you tell them their new hairstyle looks silly
- when telling the truth makes you different from everyone else, like when everyone else supports Man U and you support Liverpool and you say it out loud.)
For some people, telling the truth can mean being put in prison or even being killed for saying what they believe in. It can be very risky to tell the truth. You have to be a real hero.
Like Nathan. Nathan lived in the time of King David, about 1000 years before Jesus was born. He was a prophet. And prophets tell the truth in every situation. Even when it's uncomfortable. Even when it's dangerous. Even when it means telling really important people they are wrong. Would you like to be a prophet?
Now King David was mostly a brilliant king. But once he did something quite appalling. He had fallen in love with the wife of one of his army commanders called Uriah. Because he wanted to get rid of Uriah and marry the woman himself, David sent Uriah off to the front line of the battle where the fighting was fiercest. King David made sure that Uriah would be killed so that he could marry Uriah's wife. Uriah was killed and David took the woman to be his wife. It was murder.
Now God sent the prophet Nathan to David to tell David the truth about what he had done. And Nathan looked at the rich powerful king. Perhaps he wondered what David would do to him when he challenged the king for doing such a terrible thing. Perhaps David would have him thrown in prison, or maybe even killed. But Nathan knew that whatever the risk to himself, David had to hear the truth. So he told him the truth in a story.
'Your highness,' he said. 'There were two men in a city. One was rich but the other was poor. The rich man had many sheep and cattle but the poor man had nothing but one little female lamb he had bought. The poor man fed the lamb and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food and drank from his cup and slept in his arms. The lamb was like a daughter to him. Then a traveller stopped to visit the rich man. The rich man wanted to feed the traveller but he didn't want to take one of his own sheep. Instead he took the lamb that belonged to the poor man, and he cooked it for his visitor.'
David was furious and said that the rich man should die for doing such a terrible thing, and pay the poor man back four times over. Then Nathan told the king the truth straight. 'You are that man! God says that he gave you great riches and power and many wives of your own. But you killed Uriah and took his wife!'
What did David do? Did he have Nathan thrown in prison or killed? No, because he was an honest man even though he had made this one big mistake. Instead, because of Nathan's story, he saw the truth and said, 'Yes, I have sinned against the Lord.' And in a great psalm, he wrote down how sorry he was for doing such a terrible thing, and God forgave him.
Because Nathan wasn't afraid to tell the truth, David could be free again. He could be right with God and could carry on being a wise and good king.
Let's take a moment to be quiet and think how hard it was for Nathan to tell the truth. Think about Jesus, who told the truth all the time, even when it cost him his life. Think about whether you want to be a hero like them and tell the truth even when it's really difficult or dangerous.
Lord, help us to be heroes and to be brave enough to tell the truth. Thank you that the truth always leads to freedom in the end.