Often truth comes to us in stories. So it happened to David. He had coveted his bodyguard’s wife, committed adultery with her and had murdered her husband. Then he married the widow and had a child by her. But David at this point in time was walking so far away from God that he never realized he had sinned. Though he was a man after God’s own heart (I Samuel 13:14, Acts 13:22), his failure shows us that we too can fall if we do not watch ourselves in times of success.
Yet the point here is something different. David was living in sin and yet failed to realize it. It took a story to shake him up. Thus also God does with us. He has communicated to us through many stories in the Bible; especially in the Old Testament. Coming to the New, Jesus used many stories to teach truths of God’s kingdom. It tells us that stories have power to touch us in a deeper way than any other mode of communication.
So now the question is, is God telling you a story today? If so, are you listening to it? For example, the story of the Good Samaritan that Jesus told can challenge us as to what our attitude toward a person in need is? The story of the flood can teach us that those who are found in Jesus (the ark) will find safety even when the world is drowned in judgement. The olive leaf in the beak of the dove also teaches us that in Jesus, new beginnings are possible.
God uses stories because our ears are shut to truth otherwise. Even when others rebuke us for our sin, we might not be willing to listen. But somehow or the other, we open our ears and hearts to stories. It helps us to see ourselves and our situation from an outside angle. That helps us to see the truth.
The important thing is to listen to God when you listen to stories. You might be hearing a story from a friend. Or you might be watching a story in a movie. Or you might be reading a novel. Whatever it be, God can use stories to communicate to you truths.
But David went one step further. When David burned with anger at the unjust treatment meted out to the poor man by the rich man, and he pronounced judgement on the rich man saying, “the man who did this deserves to die! He must pay for that lamb four times over,” he was unknowingly passing judgement on himself. So dear child of God, when you make a judgement when you hear a story, be careful. You might be passing your own judgement. For after you speak, God might point out, “You are the man!” (2 Samuel 12:7 NIV).
Will your response then, like David, be “I have sinned against the LORD” (2 Samuel 12:13 NIV)?