Last time we began the story of David and Bathsheba. Stories have a way of communicating the very thing we need to hear, but more than that, they can penetrate our defenses, the ones we so easily construct when someone talks to us more directly.
We have all become very adept at hearing what we want to hear, seeing what we want to see, and blocking out the rest. But the moment we hear a story about someone else, our pride and insecurity relax, and the message has a chance of sneaking in a side door. And maybe, just maybe, touching our heart.
God gave David the better part of a year after he committed adultery and murder to come to his senses and repent, but he did not. And so, He prompts a prophet named Nathan to confront David. And God uses one of his trump cards — He has Nathan make up a story to tell the king:
“There were two men in one city, the one rich and the other poor. The rich man had a great many flocks and herds. But the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb which he bought and nourished; and it grew up together with him and his children. It would eat of his bread and drink of his cup and lie in his bosom, and was like a daughter to him. Now a traveler came to the rich man, and he was unwilling to take from his own flock or his own herd, to prepare for the wayfarer who had come to him; rather he took the poor man’s ewe lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.”
Then David’s anger burned greatly against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the Lord lives, surely the man who has done this deserves to die. He must make restitution for the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing and had no compassion.”
Nathan then said to David, “You are the man!” 2 Samuel 12:1-7
Nothing had been able to penetrate David’s heart, but this simple, little story made the essence of the problem incredibly clear: “because he did this thing and had no compassion.” The rich man unnecessarily took something very, very precious from the poor man, as if it were nothing, as if it didn’t matter, and broke his heart. When he should have been satisfied with the abundance that was his.
God tells David He has given him everything: the throne, his palace, many wives, and He would have given him even more. But David can only hang his head, for he is the man. All he’s able to say is, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And God forgives David.
Now, you might not think this story is very much like Dorothy’s, or the two brothers from Luke 15, or any others you can think of — but that’s where I believe you’re wrong. Most stories have more in common than not.
David forgot where all his blessings came from, where all true goodness comes from. He somehow came to believe he needed something more, but this led him down a very destructive path, like the prodigal son. David forgot and wandered, but he remembered and returned.
Dorothy ran away from home because she lost her confidence in those closest to her, not without reason. She found herself in Oz, a magical and incredible place, but all she really wanted was to return home, the place where all true goodness resides. Dorothy forgot and wandered, but she remembered and returned.
Welcome, I'm Sam!
A fellow traveler on this journey we call life and this path we call the Christian faith, wanting to speak to anyone who will listen about the incredible things that God (only because of His incredible grace) chose to reveal to me. Stories have always been a mirror in which we can see ourselves, if we only look more closely. We are all like the children of Israel in the wilderness, wanting and needing to establish ourselves in the promised land. Stories can help us to get there, and to flourish there.
I can't wait to get to know you!