“...that I may gain Christ and be found in him...”—Philippians 3:8-9, NIV1984

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Courage and Parables

1 And the Lord sent Nathan to David. He came to him and said to him, “There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor. 2 The rich man had very many flocks and herds, 3 but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. And he brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children. It used to eat of his morsel and drink from his cup and lie in his arms, and it was like a daughter to him. 4 Now there came a traveler to the rich man, and he was unwilling to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the guest who had come to him, but he took the poor man's lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.” 5 Then David's anger was greatly kindled against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the Lord lives, the man who has done this deserves to die, 6 and he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.” 7 Nathan said to David, “You are the man!”—2 Samuel 12:1-7, ESV
NathanandDavid
David and Nathan by Matthias Scheits [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
On one afternoon while king David was relaxing and neglecting his kingly duties, he decided to go to his rooftop where he noticed the beautiful Bathsheba, wife of Uriah as she bathed. King David lusted after her, committed adultery with her, and then had Uriah murdered in an attempt to justify marrying Uriah’s wife to cover up her conception. It was a simple plan, and it was easy for David to carry out and justify. If this happened today, David would have just urged Bathsheba to abort the baby, and he would not have married her if he was able to get his lustful desires fulfilled anyway.

It seemed like the right thing to do until God removed the blindfold from David’s eyes using the courage of Nathan, God’s prophet, to tell David a parable. Parables are powerful because they communicate underlying principles and truths in a different context from the hearer’s current context, often bringing clarity by the use of extremes. This is probably one reason why Jesus used many parables.

One thing I try to do is to use parables or simple illustrations of a principle taken to more of an extreme to help people understand the truth. The challenge for me is to do this in a loving way. Still, we need to pray for God to remove the blindfolds from people’s eyes. Having the courage to stand for the truth is the most loving thing to do, and it is certainly what our society needs right now—men and women who unapologetically stand up for biblical truth despite how this may offend others or bring insult and slander. Good never results from compromising with anti-biblical ideologies or failing to stand against them.